When starting a new development project there are a considerable number of factors that need to be taken into consideration, from initial design to overall completion. Here at Wharton we understand how important it is to consider natural infrastructure from the beginning. There are many benefits to integrating your design with the natural world, but leaving it to the last minute can see costly delays.
Within this article we give you six reasons why ecology is important to you as a developer, and explain how doing it right the first time is beneficial to you and your project
1. Urban Greening
Measures such as green walls and roofs are multifunctional and bring so many benefits to your site – from enhancing flood defences to keeping areas cool. They also act as a haven for biodiversity and provide so many wider environmental benefits. Trees are able to provide shading and act as valuable habitats for birds in areas of deficit such as inner cities. Ecological enhancement in urban settings will also reduce pollution.
2. Sights and Sounds!
Trees and hedgerows are known to provide a valuable habitat and foraging resource for a wide range of species, but they can also provide additional benefits of acoustic and visual screening. This type of screening is often used when a development is near to trainlines or busy roads and can also be incorporated to improve views.
3. Health and Social Benefits
There is a proven link between nature and open green space and good mental health. By incorporating habitats that are multifunctional and provide community benefits – such as orchards or wildflower walks – you are creating a better space for the future occupants of your site. As well as improving mental health, this will increase socialisation and integration and provide spaces for people to come together to take part in hobbies and leisure activities. This will all add value to your site.
4. Cultural Heritage
From beautiful blossoms to the lark ascending, when thinking of the UK and the ample countryside and outside space we have available, our thoughts turn to fields of green, dense hedgerows and the running rivers that surround. The habitat in the UK is unique along with our wildlife and this should be a celebrated and cherished as part of our culture and heritage. Incorporating native species into development proposals provides people with a strong sense of ‘home’, and also the great character the UK has to offer.
5. Pest Control
Birds, reptiles and mammals such as hedgehogs and bats, are great natural pest control measures. Multiple studies have assessed the effectiveness of birds and bats on pest control within agriculture, and these benefits can translate into a garden environment as well. Bats for example will predate on midges and mosquitoes during the summer months (making evening barbeques or gatherings much more enjoyable!). There are many ways you can entice these species into your site, from hedgehog friendly fencing to bat boxes hidden on the side of houses.
6. Increased House Prices
It is well established that properties with access to, or views of, natural green space are often able to be sold for higher prices than those without these features in the same areas, because they are more appealing to buyers. By incorporating semi-natural habitats throughout a development site, you also create a ‘sense of place’, in addition to the aforementioned benefits. Incorporating ecology within a development site doesn’t have to be seen as a tick box exercise; with real consideration, planning and collaboration it is possible to create a space that future occupants will enjoy, as well as a development that is more desirable to buyers, and therefore more profitable.
We are already working with a wide range of developers who understand the benefits that ecology can bring to their sites.
If you don’t want to miss out on all of the benefits that a well-designed scheme which incorporates bespoke ecological measures can provide, get in touch with us today to see how we can help you better design for the future.