Planning and designing for conserving nature in cities

Urban biodiversity weaves through the fragmented landscapes of our towns and cities. Biodiversity is inherently important and a key contributor to human and environmental health. Yet urbanisation is a major driver of biodiversity loss.

At ICON Science we work toward building a better understanding of urban socio-ecosystems, their dynamics, and opportunities to improve their health. We study the human-nature interface to evaluate and develop strategies for the conservation of urban biodiversity and enrichment of human life through involvement with nature. We focus on ways to contribute to environmental decision-making, planning and community engagement.

Examples of questions we are currently working on:

  • How to design urban green spaces for human well-being and biodiversity?
  • How can we maximise wildlife connectivity in the urban matrix using spatial modelling tools? (Holly Kirk, Research Fellow)
  • Biodiversity sensitive urban design: How can we plan, design and build cities so that they make a positive, on-site contribution to biodiversity and encourage everyday access to nature for residents? (Georgia Garrard, Holly Kirk, Casey Visintin & Sarah Bekessy)
  • How can we prepare effective plans for urban green infrastructure at the local government level? (Thami Croeser, PhD Candidate) 
  • How can translating ecological research enable design practices that support biodiversity within urban areas? (Cris Hernandez-Santin, PhD Candidate) 
  • How should we modify standard management practices to be better conserve threatened species in cities? (Pia Lentini, Senior Research Fellow)
  • What balance of behavioural and ecological interventions will allow for more positive human-wildlife interactions in cities? (Pia Lentini, Senior Research Fellow)


For collaboration or further information about current projects under this theme please contact the relevant lab member above. This theme is supported by an Ian Potter Foundation grant, an ARC Linkage grant, and the Ecological Society of Australia.

Image: Thami Croeser

Image: Katherine Berthon

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