Incorporate Biodiversity in Urban Planning to Sustain Ecosystems – says Architect



On May 22nd, in commemoration of International Biodiversity Day, wePlanet Africa organized a webinar titled “Biodiversity in Your Backyard: How Local Actions Make a Global Impact.” The event highlighted the vital role biodiversity plays in general well-being and addressing climate change. 

The webinar guest speaker, Maryanne Kinjanjui, an Architectural Designer with Kenya’s ministry of public works defined biodiversity as the variety of life on Earth, encompassing all living organisms, including plants and animals. The webinar informed participants on how to incorporate biodiversity into urban development plans. 

Participants learned that biodiversity offers essential services like carbon sequestration and soil stabilization. Wambui emphasized that biodiversity significantly improves the quality of life and air, especially in urban areas, by ensuring effective filtration and absorption of waste and preventing soil erosion. She also noted that while biodiversity can exist without humans, humans cannot exist without biodiversity, underscoring our reliance on it. 

This realization called for the incorporation of biodiversity into urban planning and design, such as integrating parks and trees to maintain the natural balance of life. “Everywhere there is infrastructure today, there was biodiversity before,” Maryanne said, prompting a call to continue regreening our communities and sustaining ecosystems. 

She added that people will only conserve biodiversity if they understand its benefits. Understanding and utilizing these benefits can motivate conservation efforts and expand biodiversity through initiatives like planting new trees in our communities. 

Maryanne highlighted that today, 50% of the world’s population lives in cities, and by 2050, this will increase to 60%. This urban growth means more activities and emissions contributing to climate change. Conserving and incorporating biodiversity in urban areas is a key strategy to mitigate the adverse effects of population growth. 

Urban planning should prioritize conserving existing biodiversity rather than clearing it away. To be Part of the Plan, like this year’s theme states, MaryAnn called for massive tree-planting initiatives in towns and along highways. 

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