The coexistence of amenity and biodiversity in urban landscapes
Amenity is a long-standing component of town planning and municipal governance. Biodiversity is a far more recent concept, yet interpreting the conservation mandate in a local context is a significant challenge for landscape and urban planners. This article explores the concepts of amenity and biodiversity and investigates their compatibility in an urbanising world. Their historical expression in law and urban planning is considered, and empirical research on the links between human well-being, green environments and biodiversity is reviewed. We argue that amenity is an underutilised vehicle for achieving biodiversity goals in line with new urban greening paradigms because of its long-standing currency with planning professionals. However, conflict between biodiversity and amenity can arise in practice, depending on a city’s social–ecological context. These challenges can be overcome through setting clear objectives, utilising scientific evidence, engaging with local communities and ensuring landscape policy is sufficiently flexible to accommodate local needs and characteristics.
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