Huri Te Ao Hoahoanga - School of Future Environments
Aotearoa New Zealand
  PhD, BDes (Int Arch).  Author of Regenerative Urban Design and Ecosystem Biomimicry  
Auckland University of Technology

Te Wānanga Aronui O Tāmaki Makaurau

Dr Maibritt Pedersen Zari 

Associate Professor

Journal Articles

(click on the icons for links to the papers)

Carbon Sequestration and Habitat Provisioning through Building-Integrated Vegetation: A Global Survey of Experts

Carbon sequestration (CS) and habitat provisioning (HP) through building-integrated vegetation are interlinked approaches that could potentially reduce climate change and biodiversity loss attributed to the built environment. However, a practical approach is required to integrate CS and HP into building design. A two-stage approach was undertaken in this research; firstly, preparing a conceptual framework from an extensive literature review and, secondly, gauging the perspective of building industry experts on that framework through a survey. The survey was designed to determine expert opinion related to establishing the data gathering approaches, progressing to identifying strategies and methods to quantify them, and finally, monitoring performance indicators for achieving CS and HP goals. The results of descriptive analyses performed after data collection indicate a notable difference in opinions between built environment professionals (group A) and environmental scientists and researchers (group B). The findings indicate that respondents emphasized maintaining vegetation in order to maximize CS rates and biodiversity levels. Moreover, spatial ecology considerations, including landscape-level parameters (vegetative area coverage, habitat availability, quality, and connectivity) and species-specific parameters (species selection based on their CS rates and habitat requirements for keystone species), must be analyzed while designing buildings for vegetation-based CS and HP.
Regenerative living cities and the urban climate–biodiversity–wellbeing nexus
Nature Climate Change  12, 601–604  

The expansion of urban environments contributes to climate change and biodiversity loss. Implementing nature-based strategies to create ‘regenerative living cities’ will be critical for climate change mitigation and adaptation and will produce measurable biodiversity and wellbeing co-benefits.

Urgent Biophilia: Green Space Visits in Wellington, New Zealand, during the COVID-19 Lockdowns 

Land, Vol 11, No. 6, Pg 793

Urgent biophilia describes the conscious desire of humans to seek interactions with nature during periods of stress. This study examines the changes in frequency and reason for visiting urban green spaces by residents of Wellington, New Zealand, to determine whether resident behavior during a stressful period exemplifies the principles of urgent biophilia. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns were used as the study period due to the significant physical and mental health stressors they triggered. Pedestrian and cyclist counters located in key urban green spaces in Wellington were used to collect data on visits pre- and post-pandemic. Two surveys were used to assess residents’ reasons for visiting urban green spaces during lockdowns. Increased green space visits were seen during the strictest lockdowns, though there was some variation in visits depending on the location of the green space. The most frequently reported reason for visiting green spaces during lockdown was mental wellbeing, followed by recreation. These results suggest that Wellington residents used urban green spaces as a coping mechanism during stressful lockdown periods for wellbeing benefits, exemplifying the principles of urgent biophilia. Urban planners and policymakers must consider and implement urban green infrastructure as a public health resource.

An Oceania urban design agenda linking ecosystem services, nature-based solutions, traditional ecological knowledge and wellbeing
Sustainability, Special Issue: Responding to Climate Emergency: Design, Planning and Assessment of the Built Environment. Vol. 13, No. 12660

Many coastal peri-urban and urban populations in Oceania are heavily reliant on terrestrial and marine ecosystem services for subsistence and wellbeing. However, climate change and urbanisation have put significant pressure on ecosystems and compelled nations and territories in Oceania to urgently adapt. This article, with a focus on Pacific Island Oceania but some insight from Aotearoa New Zealand, reviews key literature focused on ecosystem health and human health and wellbeing in Oceania and the important potential contribution of nature-based solutions to limiting the negative impacts of climate change and urbanisation. The inextricable link between human wellbeing and provision of ecosystem services is well established. However, given the uniqueness of Oceania, rich in cultural and biological diversity and traditional ecological knowledge, these links require further examination leading potentially to a new conceptualisation of wellbeing frameworks in relation to human/nature relationships. Rapidly urbanising Oceania has a growing body of rural, peri-urban and urban nature-based solutions experience to draw from. However, important gaps in knowledge and practice remain. Pertinently, there is a need, potential—and therefore opportunity—to define an urban design agenda positioned within an urban ecosystem services framework, focused on human wellbeing and informed by traditional ecological knowledge, determined by and relevant for those living in the islands of Oceania as a means to work towards effective urban climate change adaptation.


Conceptualising therapeutic environments through culture, Indigenous knowledge and landscape for health and well-being

Sustainability. Vol. 13, No. 6 pg 9125.

Academic research has long established that interaction with the natural environment is associated with better overall health outcomes. Notably, the area of therapeutic environments has been borne out of the recognition of this critical relationship, but much of this research comes from a specific Western perspective. In Aotearoa-New Zealand, Māori (the Indigenous people of the land) have long demonstrated significantly worse health outcomes than non-Māori. Little research has examined the causes compared to Western populations and the role of the natural environment in health outcomes for Māori. The present study aimed to explore the relationship between Māori culture, landscape and the connection to health and well-being. Eighteen Māori pāhake (older adults) and kaumātua (elders) took part in semi-structured interviews carried out as focus groups, from June to November 2020. Transcribed interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis and kaupapa Māori techniques. We found five overarching and interrelated key themes related to Indigenous knowledge (Mātauranga Māori) that sit within the realm of therapeutic environments, culture and landscape. A conceptual framework for Therapeutic Cultural Environments (TCE) is proposed in terms of the contribution to our understanding of health and well-being and its implications for conceptualising therapeutic environments and a culturally appropriate model of care for Māori communities.

Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Climate Change Adaptation and Wellbeing: Evidence and Opportunities From Kiribati, Samoa, and Vanuatu
Frontiers in Environmental Science. Special Issue: Nature-based Solutions for Natural Hazards and Climate Change, online, OA

Climate change and urbanisation in combination put great pressure on terrestrial and ocean ecosystems, vital for subsistence and wellbeing in both rural and urban areas of Pacific islands. Adaptation is urgently required. Nature-based solutions (NbS) offer great potential, with the region increasingly implementing NbS and linked approaches like ecosystem-based adaptation in response. This paper utilises three Pacific island nation case-studies, Kiribati, Samoa and Vanuatu, to review current NbS approaches to adapt and mitigate the converging resilience challenges of climate change and urbanisation. We look at associated government policies, current NbS experience, and offer insights into opportunities for future work with focus on urban areas. These three Pacific island case-studies showcase their rich cultural and biological diversity and, importantly, the role of traditional ecological knowledge in shaping localised, place-based, NbS for climate change adaptation and enhanced wellbeing. But gaps in knowledge, policy, and practice remain. There is great potential for a nature-based urban design agenda positioned within an urban ecosystems framework linked closely to Indigenous understandings of wellbeing.


Architecture as Green Space: Enhancing urban ecosystem services using building envelopes

Advances in Environmental and Engineering Research. Special Issues: Climate change and biodiversity Volume 2, Issue 4, doi:10.21926/aeer.2104029

Urban green space is the primary source of vegetated habitat in cities, though most cities lack the quantity, quality, and connectivity of green space needed to provide essential ecosystem services for the health, well-being, and resilience of human and non-human species. In reaction to urban densification and the increasing frequency and severity of climate change impacts, this study argues that architecture could strategically provide vegetated habitats to supplement existing urban green space and provide refuges for non-human species during extreme disturbances. A spatial analysis was conducted to test the performance of existing green space against targets for human well-being and avifauna habitat needs in a 1.93 km2 neighborhood in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, during normal and flooded conditions. The results showed an insufficient quantity and connectivity of green space during both normal and flooded conditions to meet the habitat needs of avifauna. Though the quantity and accessibility targets for human well-being are met under normal conditions, there is insufficient green space to meet those targets during flooded conditions. During normal conditions, 9% of the roofs in the neighborhood need to be converted to living roofs to achieve the targets for both human well-being and avifauna. The amount increases to 17% if the targets are to be maintained during flooded conditions. Strategic placement of at least 3% of the vegetated roof habitats would increase the connectivity of the existing green space network and suggests roof locations that should be prioritized for conversion. The study concludes that though ground-level open green space is limited, with ecosystem-specific habitat design and supporting governance policy, the surplus of existing architectural surfaces could be used to increase urban habitat provision, thereby enhancing the health and resilience of humans and avifauna in cities.


Biomimetic Urban and Architectural Design: Illustrating and Leveraging Relationships between Ecosystem Services.

Biomimetics. Special Issue: Biomimetic Architectural and Urban Design. 6(1). Pg 116

Redesigning and retrofitting cities so they become complex systems that create ecological and cultural–societal health through the provision of ecosystem services is of critical importance. Although a handful of methodologies and frameworks for considering how to design urban environments so that they provide ecosystem services have been proposed, their use is not widespread. A key barrier to their development has been identified as a lack of ecological knowledge about relationships between ecosystem services, which is then translated into the field of spatial design. In response, this paper examines recently published data concerning synergetic and conflicting relationships between ecosystem services from the field of ecology and then synthesises, translates, and illustrates this information for an architectural and urban design context. The intention of the diagrams created in this research is to enable designers and policy makers to make better decisions about how to effectively increase the provision of various ecosystem services in urban areas without causing unanticipated degradation in others. The results indicate that although targets of ecosystem services can be both spatially and metrically quantifiable while working across different scales, their effectiveness can be increased if relationships between them are considered during design phases of project development.


Adaptation to Climate Change in Small Island Settlements.

Ocean & Coastal Management 212(105789). Pg 1-6.

Adaptation to climate change in small island settlements poses unique issues of access, cost, governance and cultural, historical, and ecological preservation. There is a need therefore to focus research efforts on these small coastal settlements in order to assist and support their communities to develop and implement adaptation. This article is an initial attempt to evaluate and categorise these issues for island settlements, based on case studies and general perspectives on adaptation. Six island settlement case studies are used from around the world: Cocos Islands (Australian territory); Shishmaref, USA; Broad Channel, USA; Samsø, Denmark; Ciutadella de Menorca, Spain; and Port Vila, Vanuatu. This article describes and assesses impacts, adaptations, and capacity within each of the six case studies, and outlines the relationship of the Sustainable Development Goals system to small coastal settlements in general.

Ecosystem Services Assessment Tools for Regenerative Urban Design in Oceania.

Sustainability. Special Issue: Eco-Cities, Green-Blue Design ad Regenerative Sustainability. 13(5) pg 2825.

Tools that spatially model ecosystem services offer opportunities to integrate ecology into regenerative urban design. However, few of these tools are designed for assessing ecosystem services in cities, meaning their application by designers is potentially limited. This research reviews and compares a range of ecosystem services assessment tools to find those that are most suited for the urban context of Oceania. The tool classification includes considerations of type of input and output data, time commitment, and necessary skills required. The strengths and limitations of the most relevant tools are further discussed alongside illustrative case studies, some collected from literature and one conducted as part of this research in Wellington, Aotearoa using the Land Utilisation and Capability Indicator (LUCI) tool. A major finding of the research is that from the 95 tools reviewed, only four are judged to be potentially relevant for urban design projects. These are modelling tools that allow spatially explicit visualisation of biophysical quantification of ecosystem services. The ecosystem services assessed vary among tools and the outputs’ reliability is often highly influenced by the user’s technical expertise. The provided recommendations support urban designers and architects to choose the tool that best suits their regenerative design project requirements.


Urban Ecosystem-Level Biomimicry and Regenerative Design: Linking Ecosystem Functioning and Urban Built Environments.
Sustainability. Special Issue: Regenerative Buildings and Beyond: Scale Jumping Sustainable and Net-Zero Designs to Regenerative Neighbourhoods, Districts, Communities, and Cities. 13(1) pg 404.

By 2050, 68% of the world’s population will likely live in cities. Human settlements depend on resources, benefits, and services from ecosystems, but they also tend to deplete ecosystem health. To address this situation, a new urban design and planning approach is emerging. Based on regenerative design, ecosystem-level biomimicry, and ecosystem services theories, it proposes designing projects that reconnect urban space to natural ecosystems and regenerate whole socio-ecosystems, contributing to ecosystem health and ecosystem services production. In this paper, we review ecosystems as models for urban design and review recent research on ecosystem services production. We also examine two illustrative case studies using this approach: Lavasa Hill in India and Lloyd Crossing in the U.S.A. With increasing conceptualisation and application, we argue that the approach contributes positive impacts to socio-ecosystems and enables scale jumping of regenerative practices at the urban scale. However, ecosystem-level biomimicry practices in urban design to create regenerative impact still lack crucial integrated knowledge on ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services productions, making it less effective than potentially it could be. We identify crucial gaps in knowledge where further research is needed and pose further relevant research questions to make ecosystem-level biomimicry approaches aiming for regenerative impact more effective.


Sense of place and belonging in developing culturally appropriate therapeutic environments: a review.
Societies. 10(4) pg 83.

The connection the Māori, the Indigenous people of Aotearoa-New Zealand, have to the land is threatened by the effects of colonisation, urbanisation and other factors. In particular, many Māori suffer significant health and wellbeing inequalities compared to the non-Māori population. In an effort to reduce such inequalities, there is a growing consciousness of the need to better understand the cultural and place-specific determinants that affect the health and wellbeing of population groups in different environments. This article explores how environmental and cultural connections to land enable the development of place-specific and culturally-driven principles that promote the health and wellbeing of Māori populations. It argues that concepts of place, belonging, landscape and wellbeing play an important role in linking environment and culture as well as in contributing to creating therapeutic spatial environments that promote both human health and ecosystems. A set of principles is developed that allows for the landscape design of such therapeutic environments while accommodating the socio-cultural and environmental values that promote health and wellbeing of both Māori and non-Māori people.


Promises and Presuppositions of Biomimicry.

Biomimetics. Special Issue: Biomimetics from Concept to Reality, 5(3), pp.33.

Under the umbrella of biologically informed disciplines, biomimicry is a design methodology that proponents often assert will lead to a more sustainable future. In realizing that future, it becomes necessary to discern specifically what biomimicry’s “promises” are in relation to sustainable futures, and what is required in order for them to be fulfilled. This paper presents research examining the webpages of the Biomimicry Global Network (BGN) to extract the claims and promises expressed by biomimicry practitioners. These promises are assessed using current literature to determine their presuppositions and requirements. Biomimicry’s promises are expressed in terms of potential for innovation, sustainability, and transformation and appear to depend on perceived relationships between humanity and nature; nature and technology; the underlying value judgements of practitioners. The findings emphasize that in order for the communicated promise of biomimicry to be realized, a particular ethos and respectful engagement with nature must accompany the technological endeavors of the practice.


Biomimicry for Regenerative Built Environments: Mapping Design Strategies for Producing Ecosystem Services.

Biomimetics. Special Issue: Biomimicry and Sustainable Urban Design, 5(2), pp.1-17.

Built environment professionals must solve urgent and complex problems related to mitigating and adapting to climate change and biodiversity loss. Cities require redesign and retrofit so they can become complex systems that create rather than diminish ecological and societal health. One way to do this is to strategically design buildings and cities to generate and provide ecosystem services. This is an aspect of biomimicry, where whole ecosystems and their functions are emulated, in order to positively shift the ecological performance of buildings and urban settings. A small number of methodologies and frameworks for ecosystem services design have been proposed, but their use is not wide spread. A key barrier is the lack of translational work between ecology concepts and practical examples of ecosystem services design for a built environment context. In response, this paper presents research underpinning the creation of a qualitative relational diagram in an online interactive format that relates ecosystem services concepts to design strategies, concepts, technologies, and case studies in a format for use by built environment professionals. The paper concludes that buildings and whole cities should be expected to become active contributors to socio-ecological systems because, as the diagram shows, many strategies and technologies to enable this already exist.


Devising urban ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) projects with developing nations: a case study of Port Vila, Vanuatu

Ocean & Coastal Management. Special Issue: The Unusual Suspects in Climate Change Adaptation – Small Coastal Cities and Towns. 184(105037), pp.1-13.

As the linked impacts of climate change and degradation of ecosystems continue to be felt, particularly in developing countries, it is vital that methods for development that concurrently address adaptation to climate change, rapid urbanisation, and ecosystem degradation be explored. Further development of approaches which are participatory and embedded in an understanding of the importance of symbiotic relationships between socio-cultural and ecological systems is particularly important. Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is one such method that is gaining recognition and momentum in areas where developing nations face converging pressures and drivers of change. EbA methodologies to date, are often ill-defined in an urban context and lack consideration of future social and ecological scenarios however. In response, this paper describes a methodology for developing urban EbA projects in a small island developing nation context. The methodology was developed and applied by a multi-disciplinary team working under the auspices of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The application of this methodology in Port Vila, Vanuatu indicated: i) the needs of local people must be at the forefront of project planning, requiring a participatory design process; ii) EbA solutions development must be multidisciplinary and iterative; iii) appropriate quantitative and qualitative data is vital as a basis for EbA project development, requiring adequate time for data gathering; iv) urban and coastal EbA projects must be developed holistically, recognising socio-ecological systems that extend beyond the urban area itself; v) the complex overlapping landscape of governmental and international aid financed projects must inform the development of new EbA projects; vi) potential monetary and non-monetary benefits, costs and risks across multiple factors must be carefully assessed in EbA project development; and vii) project implementation requires ongoing engagement and a readiness to adapt to on-the-ground realities.


Utilising nature-based solutions to increase resilience in Pacific Ocean Cities

Ecosystem Services, Special Issue: Ecosystem service approaches to addressing sustainability issues in Oceania. 38(100968), pp.1-10.

‘Ocean Cities’ of the Pacific are where urban landscapes and seascapes meet, where built and natural environments interface, and where human behaviour and urban development have profound impacts on both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Ocean Cities are at the forefront of climate change consequences, urbanisation challenges, and other development pressures. This article discusses the potential for nature-based solutions (NbS), including those focused on ecosystem services, in Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as a response to climate change, population growth, and urbanisation. Attention is directed to identifying the benefits of NbS and case-studies from Pacific SIDS, and if not available regionally, further afield. The article provides focus on possible barriers to implementation of NbS in a Pacific SIDS context and potential policy responses to these. Conclusions are threefold: (i) addressing interlinked ecological, climate, and human wellbeing issues in an integrated, ocean-focused and climate-responsive manner is vital for sustainable development in island systems; (ii) NbS can provide significant human wellbeing and biodiversity benefits in this context; and (iii) Pacific Ocean Cities, with a significant body of relevant traditional knowledge and emerging NbS experience, can inform global understanding of how to address converging urbanisation and climate change issues in Ocean Cities.


Understanding and designing nature experiences in cities: a framework for biophilic urbanism.

Cities and Health, published online: 09 Dec 2019, pp.1-12.

This paper employs a unique ecosystem services analysis methodology to evaluate how cities could support or generate ecosystem services. Ecosystem services analysis can provide quantifiable goals for urban ecological regeneration that are determined by the site-specific ecology and climate of an urban area. In this research, the ecosystem service of habitat provision is the key focus. The role of urban green space and urban forests is crucial within this. Setting ambitious targets for urban ecological performance and ecosystem services provision is of great importance due to the large negative environmental impact that cities currently have on ecosystems and, therefore, ecosystem service provision, and because healthier ecosystems enable humans to better adapt to climate change through creating potentials for increased resilience. A comparative case study analysing the ecosystem service of habitat provision in two existing urban environments with similar climates (Cfb according to the Köppen Climate Classification System) but in different parts of the world, namely Wellington, New Zealand and Curitiba, Brazil, was conducted to examine how the ecosystem services analysis concept can used to devise urban habitat provision goals. The paper concludes that, although achieving habitat provision goals derived from ecosystem services analysis in urban areas is likely to be difficult, determining quantitative site- and climate-specific staged goals could enable urban design professionals to increase the effectiveness of conservation and regeneration efforts in terms of ecosystem service provision from urban green and blue spaces.


Devising Urban Biodiversity Habitat Provision Goals: Ecosystem Services Analysis.

Forests, 10(5), pp.391.

This paper employs a unique ecosystem services analysis methodology to evaluate how cities could support or generate ecosystem services. Ecosystem services analysis can provide quantifiable goals for urban ecological regeneration that are determined by the site-specific ecology and climate of an urban area. In this research, the ecosystem service of habitat provision is the key focus. The role of urban green space and urban forests is crucial within this. Setting ambitious targets for urban ecological performance and ecosystem services provision is of great importance due to the large negative environmental impact that cities currently have on ecosystems and, therefore, ecosystem service provision, and because healthier ecosystems enable humans to better adapt to climate change through creating potentials for increased resilience. A comparative case study analysing the ecosystem service of habitat provision in two existing urban environments with similar climates (Cfb according to the Köppen Climate Classification System) but in different parts of the world, namely Wellington, New Zealand and Curitiba, Brazil, was conducted to examine how the ecosystem services analysis concept can used to devise urban habitat provision goals. The paper concludes that, although achieving habitat provision goals derived from ecosystem services analysis in urban areas is likely to be difficult, determining quantitative site- and climate-specific staged goals could enable urban design professionals to increase the effectiveness of conservation and regeneration efforts in terms of ecosystem service provision from urban green and blue spaces.


Ecosystem services impacts as part of building materials selection criteria

Materials Today Sustainability, 23 March, 2019. 100010

The built environment is responsible for large negative ecological impacts due in part to the vast amount of materials used in construction. Concurrently, construction and demolition activities result in vast amounts of materials being buried, burnt, and dumped. It is essential therefore to analyze the impact of building materials acquisition, use, and transformation on the ecosystems people inhabit and rely upon for well-being. Typically, this is examined in terms of material use, energy use, and emission of pollutants including greenhouse gases. The impacts various materials have on complex and interconnected networks of ecosystem services are rarely considered. In light of this, this article introduces the concept of ecosystem services in relation to selecting materials for the construction of the built environment. A methodology for applying ecosystem services analysis to building materials specification is presented, and a series of example matrices that examine a selection of materials that are grown, extracted, or made are provided. The article concludes that the potential for positive change in terms of the ecological impact related to building materials across their lifecycles and in how built environments and the materials within them are designed, specified, valued, built, and used is apparent if an understanding of ecosystem services is integrated into built environment materials selection.


Site selection of urban wildlife sanctuaries for safeguarding indigenous biodiversity against increased predator pressures.

Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 32, pp.21-31.

Biodiversity loss in urban landscapes is a global challenge. Climate change is a major driving force behind biodiversity loss worldwide. Using Wellington, New Zealand as a research site, the aim of this research is to show how the most suitable patches of vegetation in urban landscapes can be identified, ranked, and prioritised as potential urban wildlife sanctuaries. This is in order to protect vulnerable indigenous fauna from some of the indirect impacts of climate change such as increased predator pressures and the spread of diseases among urban fauna caused by rising temperatures. A GIS-based multi-criteria analysis of spatial composition and configuration of patches of vegetation was undertaken with reference to eight factors affecting the quality of habitat patches and accordingly fauna behaviours in urban landscapes. Results show that Zealandia, the Wellington Botanic Garden, the Town Belt, and Otari-Wilton’s Bush are respectively the most important urban sites for establishing pest-free urban wildlife sanctuaries in the study area. This research reveals that patch size should not be considered as the single most important factor for the site selection of urban wildlife sanctuaries because the collective importance of other factors may outweigh the significance of patch size as a single criterion. Lessons learned in the course of this research can be applied in similar cases in New Zealand or internationally in order to facilitate the process of site selection for the establishment of urban wildlife sanctuaries in highly fragmented urban landscapes suffering from rising temperatures and other climatic changes.


Components of landscape pattern and urban biodiversity in an era of climate change: a global survey of expert knowledge. 

Urban Ecosystems. pg 1-18.

There is sufficient evidence to show that both humans and fauna are profoundly affected by landscape pattern composition and configuration in relation to adaptation to climate change impacts in urban landscapes. Despite this, global-scale research that ranks which components of landscape pattern play the most pivotal roles in this process is absent. Also lacking is in-depth examination of the potential areas of conflict between biodiversity conservation targets and those that pertain to human dimensions of climate change adaptation goals in relation to landscape patterns. The research aim was to determine how to identify, rank, and weight the most important components of landscape pattern affecting urban biodiversity in the changing climate and how to address areas of conflict between biodiversity conservation and human dimensions of climate change adaptation goals in terms of the spatial patterning of land cover classes distributed across urban landscapes. To do this, a global survey of 87 participants from 69 academic centres involved in at least 325 research projects between 2000 and 2017 was conducted. Of the eight components of landscape pattern identified and ranked by participants worldwide, the three most important components are respectively patch size, connectivity and proximity, and land cover heterogeneity. This research reveals that opinions of participants with experience in conducting research in the Southern Hemisphere in general and Oceania in particular influence this ranking. While a range of recommendations from specialists have been gathered and weighted, there is still much more research required to address areas of conflict between what fauna and humans need in the face of climate change.

The importance of urban biodiversity – an ecosystem services approach.
Biodiversity International Journal. Vol. 2, No. 4 pages 375-360.

Biodiversity loss is an urgent global problem that is both caused by and has impacts on humans. Because most humans now live in cities there is a need to understand how cities impact biodiversity and how urban biodiversity impacts people. Ways of integrating biodiversity concerns into urban planning and architectural design are urgently needed. This mini review communicates the basis of a developing design and policy making strategy for urban environments that is based on an ecosystem services model.


Land cover change and management implications for the conservation of a seabird in an urban coastal zone under climate change. 

Journal of Ecological Management & Restoration. Vol. 19, No. 2, pages 147-155.

Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) is one of the most ecologically important seabirds in New Zealand and depends strongly on terrestrial ecosystems for nesting, moulting and breeding. Wellington, New Zealand, is one of the world's most important biodiversity hot spots for this species, mostly in confluence with human urban settlements. This species is currently suffering from the local impacts of climate change associated with urbanisation. Two suburbs of Wellington, New Zealand, that are used seasonally by Little Penguin as terrestrial habitat were selected as the study area to address two issues: (i) how local impacts of climate change may affect the population and habitat structure of species in urban coastal zones where land cover change occurs; and (ii) how landscape management practices may help to mitigate the impacts imposed by climate change on the species in such a context. Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems techniques were applied to quantify and measure the extent of the prehuman forests and current land cover classes in the study area to reveal the degree to which land cover has changed from predevelopment to the present time. The research shows that land cover change in the study area has been widespread and partly irreversible, particularly in areas covered by the class Built‐up Area. Results reveal that there are still spatial opportunities to safeguard this vulnerable species against the ill effects of climate change through landscape management practices.


A spatial analysis of land cover patterns and its implications for urban avifauna persistence under climate change. 

Landscape Ecology. Vol. 33, No. 3, pages 455-474.

Although biodiversity in cities is essential to ensure the healthy functioning of ecosystems and biosecurity over time, biodiversity loss resulting from human interventions in land cover patterns is widespread in urban landscapes. In the Southern Hemisphere, climate change is likely to accelerate the process of landscape upheavals, and consequently biodiversity loss. The aim of this research is to test the potentials of landscape pattern composition and configuration in safeguarding indigenous avifauna against the local impacts of climate change in urban landscapes, with reference to New Zealand. To build up a platform for landscape pattern interpretation, the literature was reviewed and semi-structured interviews with six subject-matter experts were conducted to provide information about the most important avifauna in the study area, key information on their ecological traits and niches, possible impacts of climate change on their primary habitats, and spatial requirements for ongoing species survival as the climate continues to change. A spatial analysis of land cover patterns was undertaken in Wellington, New Zealand using GIS and FRAGSTATS.


Utilising exotic flora in support of urban indigenous biodiversity: lessons for landscape architecture.

Journal of Landscape Research. Vol. 43, No 5, Pages 706-720.

Evidence shows that in the absence of intact natural habitats, some exotic patches of vegetation may play a compensatory role in supporting indigenous biodiversity in urban environments. This paper suggests that in urban settings where landscapes already contain non-natives, both indigenous and exotic flora may be necessary to maintain indigenous biodiversity. The research was constructed based upon a review of the current literature combined with a GIS-based spatial analysis of urban landscape patterns, using Wellington New Zealand as a case study. The research provides evidence concerning different aspects of utilising indigenous and exotic plant species to argue that a balanced proportion of indigenous to exotic plants may be advantageous in order to respond to some aspects of biodiversity loss. The results have three immediate implications for landscape architecture practices at the urban scale and reveal important issues that should be addressed by future research.
Biomimetic Urban Design: Ecosystem Service Provision of Water and Energy.
Buildings. Special Issue: Biomimetics in Sustainable Architectural and Urban Design, Vol. 7, No. 1 pages 21.

This paper presents an ecosystem biomimicry methodology for urban design called ecosystem service analysis. Ecosystem services analysis can provide quantifiable goals for urban ecological regeneration that are determined by site specific ecology and climate of an urban area. This is important given the large negative environmental impact that most cities currently have on ecosystems. If cities can provide some of their own ecosystem services, pressure may be decreased on the surrounding ecosystems. This is crucial because healthier ecosystems enable humans to better adapt to the impacts that climate change is currently having on urban built environments and will continue to have in the future. A case study analyzing two ecosystem services (provision of energy and provision of water) for an existing urban environment (Wellington, New Zealand) is presented to demonstrate how the ecosystem services analysis concept can be applied to an existing urban context. The provision of energy in Wellington was found to be an example of an ecosystem service where humans could surpass the performance of pre-development ecosystem conditions. When analyzing the provision of water it was found that although total rainfall in the urban area is almost 200% higher than the water used in the city, if rainwater harvested from existing rooftops were to meet just the demands of domestic users, water use would need to be reduced by 20%. The paper concludes that although achieving ecological performance goals derived from ecosystem services analysis in urban areas is likely to be difficult, determining site and climate specific goals enable urban design professionals to know what a specific city should be aiming for if it is to move towards better sustainability outcomes.


Mimicking ecosystems for bio-inspired regenerative built environments.

Journal of Intelligent Buildings International. Special Issue: Biomimetic Building Design. Vol. 8, No 2, Pages 57-77.

This article examines ecosystem biomimicry for its potential to contribute to the evolution of intelligent built environments. Ecosystem biomimicry is the emulation of how ecosystems work or what they do in a design context. The article begins by ascertaining whether analysing the urban built environment from the perspective of how ecosystems function could be a significant step towards the creation of a built environment where positive integration with, and restoration of, local ecosystems could be realized. The aim is to examine ecosystem biomimicry for its usefulness as a practical tool for research, evaluation of existing built environments, and design of new or retrofitted developments. The significance of such research is that it could provide a comprehensive basis for the development of ecosystem-based biomimicry that is practical, measurable and has multiple potential benefits. The concept of ecosystem services is analysed and used to define a framework for employing ecosystem biomimicry in an urban built environment context. Through a ranking research exercise, key ecosystem services that may be of most benefit to focus on in a built environmental context are identified, and the results of a case study testing the usability of ecosystem biomimicry to determine design goals for retrofit of an existing city are presented.

Ecosystem services analysis: Mimicking ecosystem services for regenerative urban design.
International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment. 4, 1. Pages 57-77.

This paper proposes using an understanding of ecosystem services to determine measurable goals for urban regenerative design that are based on site specific ecological reality. This is termed ecosystem services analysis. The usability of the ecosystem services analysis concept is tested through a case study of an existing city. The case study demonstrates how the concept could be used as a tool to evaluate the performance of an existing built environment, and how it could reveal places to intervene in the built environment to create a more robust, adaptable and cohesive system. This is important because more than half of all people live in urban environments, cities have a large negative impact on ecosystems, humans are dependent on ecosystems for survival, and issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss are already impacting on the built environment and people, and continue to become more urgent.


Ecosystem processes for biomimetic architectural design
Architectural Science Review (ASR). 58, 2. Pages 106-119.


This research investigates how ecosystems are able to be robust, resilient and capable of adapting to constant change, in order to devise strategies and techniques that could be transferable to an architectural or urban design context. This is to aid the creation, or evolution of urban built environments that may be better able to integrate with and contribute to ecosystem health. Specifically, this paper examines the processes of ecosystems and presents an integrated set of principles that could form the theoretical underpinnings of a practical ecosystem biomimicry approach to sustainable architectural design. This is significant because although using an understanding of how ecosystems work has been proposed in some biomimicry and industrial ecology literature, as well as in related fields, ecosystem processes suitable for use in a design context have not been thoroughly defined, or mapped to express how these processes may be related to each other. The possibility that employing ecosystem processes in architectural or urban design could lead to built environments able to mitigate the causes of climate change and adapt to the impacts of it is examined. Benefits and disadvantages of such an approach are elaborated upon.


Ecosystem services analysis in response to biodiversity loss caused by the built environment
S.A.P.I.E.N.S. 7, 1.


The aim of this paper is to establish a broad overview of the impact urban areas have on biodiversity and to determine the predicted major impacts that biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation have and will have on the built environment. Common built environment responses to these impacts will also be examined. Regenerative design that uses the ecosystem services analysis method is proposed as a way of responding to biodiversity loss while simultaneously addressing climate change mitigation and adaption in a built environment context. This is examined for potential benefits and disadvantages.



Ecosystem services analysis for the design of regenerative built environments

Building Research & Information, 40, 1. Pages 54-64.

‘Neutral’ environmental outcomes in terms of energy use, carbon emissions, waste generation, or water use are worthwhile but difficult targets in architectural and design. However, the built environment may need to go beyond efforts simply to limit negative environmental outcomes and instead aim for net positive environmental benefits. This implies that the built environment will need to contribute more than it consumes while simultaneously remediating past and current environmental damage. Such development could be termed ‘regenerative’. The potential for understanding and then mimicking ecosystem services is explored for setting goals for regenerative developments, designing them, and finally in measuring their successes or failures as they evolve over time. Potential benefits and difficulties inherent in such an approach are examined. Key leverage points are identified where the systems of the built environment may be changed in order to move towards a regenerative urban environment. Analysing the urban built environment from the perspective of how ecosystems function could be a significant step towards the creation of a built environment where positive integration with, and restoration of, local ecosystems may be realised.


Biomimetic design for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Architectural Science Review, 53, 2.

This paper examines biomimicry, where organisms or ecosystems are mimicked in human design, as a means to either mitigate the causes of climate change the built environment is responsible for, or to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Different biomimetic approaches to design are discussed and categorised and a series of examples illustrate the benefits and drawbacks of each approach. Biomimicry’s potential role in addressing climate change in the built environment over the short, medium and long terms is examined. Specific principles of ecosystem biomimicry for architecture have been deduced through a comparative cross disciplinary review and are presented. It is posited that the incorporation of a thorough understanding of biology and ecology into architectural design will be significant in the creation of a built environment that contributes to the health of human communities, while increasing positive integration with natural carbon cycles.


Changes in climate driving changes in architectural education.
ARCC Journal, 6, 1.

Sustainability issues, in particular climate change, have become significant drivers of change in architectural education. It is posited that engaging in the reduction and offsetting of greenhouse gas emissions in academic institutions, particularly those responsible for the education of new generations of built environment professionals, could become an important part of creating built environments that can more effectively contribute to mitigating the causes of climate change.