Ton Venhoeven on nature-inclusive cities and regions

Nature-inclusive cities and regions for all

Ton Venhoeven is the Founding Partner of VenhoevenCS and is also a speaker at the conference Build for Biodiversity the 5th and 6th of March. In Ton’s presentation he will come around an important contribution in which will be to make entire cities, metropolitan regions and the countryside nature-inclusive. We have to realize this while simultaneously regenerating far away ecosystems.

Before the conference you can read an inspiring interview with Ton here.

What is your background and how do you work with urban nature and biodiversity?

I am a practicing architect, urban planner with a keen eye for scientific knowledge and application in innovative research projects. We promote nature-inclusive urbanism and architecture at all scale levels. We see the city as an important biotope and urbanism as tool to regenerate natural ecosystems, both in cities and urban regions.

What will it take for the construction industry to become part of the solution to the global biodiversity crisis?

On the one hand we need to learn how to create circular constructions without negative externalities like CO2 emissions, pollution, social issues etcetera. This way concrete, steel and ceramics must become clean and circular construction materials or in the long run must be abandoned. Timber is only a sustainable solution if we let trees grow old and in biodiverse forests. This way they absorb large quantities of CO2 and contribute to biodiversity. Agriculture already occupies 70% of available land surface, which is far too much. We need to reduce this to a maximum of 50%. This requires major transitions in agriculture with unfortunately very little room for biobased building materials.

How do you think we can create a greener and healthier city? Which actions can we take?

We must organize traffic in a different way. Start by removing cars from neighbourhoods. Mobility hubs at 500 meter walking distance create lots of free space in neighbourhoods that can be used for rainwater infiltration, healthy soils and biodiverse neighbourhoods. Mobility hubs can also be used to improve city logistics and kick start a more local and circular economy.

What will it take to make biodiversity a bigger role in people’s consciousness and on the political agenda?

Make attractive plans, organize conferences, publish, discuss, broadcast, but maybe most important: broadcast, get the press behind it.

Which projects are you currently excited about when it comes to urban biodiversity?

Singapore has a strong and inspiring strategy for greening the city, but they are also very old examples. In the past I used the Hanging Gardens of Babylon as a strong reference. Today we are working on a range of plans for buildings, neighbourhoods and cities. I will tell more about them in my lecture.

A quick bonus question: If you had to be an animal, which one would you be?

I would like to be a bird.

Do you want to hear more about nature-inclusive cities for all?

Join the conference Build for Bioiversity the 5 and 6 march and hear an interesting talk with Ton Venhoeven on nature-inclusive cities and regions for all. Learn more about the conference and sign up here.

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