BSUD – Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design

Design to enhance biodiversity within the urban fabric

More about BSUD
Designing cities that benefit both people and nature will help to conserve threatened species and improve human wellbeing. By considering biodiversity from the beginning of the planning process, BSUD helps to simplify biodiversity-friendly design, which can then deliver a broad range of nature conservation and liveability outcomes.

The BSUD framework was created by Garrard et al. (2018) to be applied across a range of urban development types. The aim of the framework is to create suburbs that are of net benefit to native species and ecosystems through the provision of essential resources.

BSUD is innovative in the field of sustainable urban development as it focusses on creating onsite gains for biodiversity. By identifying synergies between development and biodiversity objectives, BSUD improves the transparency of decision making and represents a fundamental shift in the way we think about including biodiversity in urban planning.

The five principles of BSUD are:
1. Maintain or create habitat for target species
2. Facilitate dispersal
3. Minimise disturbance and other threats
4. Facilitate natural processes (such as pollination)
5. Facilitate positive human-nature interactions

BSUD: from theory to practise
The Ian Potter Foundation have awarded us a prestigious 4-year research grant to mainstream the Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design framework.

The aim for the next four years will be to translate BSUD from theory to practice, documenting methods and developing metrics to measure success. We are excited to be working with industry partners Yarra Valley Water and Lendlease to apply the BSUD framework in two new urban developments. These sites will act as action-research case studies to help us understand the challenges faced in implementing BSUD within the urban planning & development process. Work on this project started in February 2021.

We are in the process of building a website to hold more resources and act as a contact hub for everyone engaged with making our cities healthy places for people and nature. Watch out for updates!

Acknowledging our support network.
The importance of BSUD has been acknowledged by a variety of organisations, including our project partners Yarra Valley Water, Lendlease, GHD, BirdLife Australia, The Green Building Council of Australia, Greening Australia, and the Australian Conservation Foundation and The Victorian Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
The original BSUD framework was supported by funding from The Myer Foundation, the National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub and the NESP Threatened Species Hub.

Artist’s impression of a biodiversity sensitive urban green space

For more information, please contact Sarah (sarah.bekessy@rmit.edu.au), Georgia (ggarrard@unimelb.edu.au) or Holly (holly.kirk@rmit.edu.au)

About The Ian Potter Foundation
The Ian Potter Foundation is one of Australia’s major philanthropic foundations. The Foundation makes grants nationally to support charitable organisations working to benefit the community across a wide range of sectors including the arts, medical research, public health research, early childhood development, community wellbeing and environmental science. The Ian Potter Foundation aims to support and promote a fair, healthy, sustainable and vibrant Australia.

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