Imagine cities where birdsong blends with the urban hum, creating a natural symphony in the midst of concrete spaces. This vision, relegated to the realm of dreams as urbanisation accelerated, is gradually becoming a tangible reality. So much the better! The integration of biodiversity, and birds in particular, into urban environments is more than just an ecological embellishment; it's a fundamental change in the very concept of urban life.
Nature and human health: a vital link
The impact of nature on our mental health is undeniable. This is confirmed by numerous studies on the subject, such as the recent one by Geoffrey H. Donovan, which highlighted the dramatic consequences of biodiversity loss on human health, particularly cardiovascular and respiratory health. In short, according to this study, tree mortality increases human mortality. To reach this conclusion, Donovan, a biologist, analysed the disappearance of more than 100 million trees killed by the forest pest known as the emerald ash borer and found a significant increase in human mortality rates. "I was interested in cardiovascular and respiratory diseases because they are influenced by air quality and stress," explained Geoffrey H. Donovan in an interview with PBS Radio, quoted by huffingtonpost.fr.
"In the 15 states infested by the beetle, the researcher found that 15,000 more people died of cardiovascular disease than the average in areas not affected by the insect," the news site reports. The same was true for respiratory diseases, with 6,000 more people dying in deforested areas. And as if to underline this link, "the researcher also found that the longer the insect had been present in a region, the higher these mortality rates were, whereas it takes 'between 2 and 5 years for a tree to die'," as the biologist himself reminds us.
Other studies, such as those by Ulrich and Parsons, confirm the link between nature and human health. They show that the presence of vegetation has a calming and regenerative effect on the human psyche, underlining the importance of integrating nature into urban living spaces. Specifically, their research showed that hospitalised patients with views of green spaces from their windows recovered faster and required less pain medication than those with views of walls or sterile urban spaces. Similarly, studies in prisons show that inmates with access to natural spaces suffer less stress and anxiety. These findings underline the therapeutic power of nature, not only as a source of emotional wellbeing, but also as a factor influencing our physical health.
Current urban planning: an obstacle to the rhythm of birds
Landboost®: the intelligent integration of biodiversity in urban development
Several projects are underway and will see the light of day as early as 2024. Where?" In a Parisian apartment block, where a colony of sparrows has taken up residence. This is thanks to the brick façade, which has allowed them to slip in and build a nest," continues Hippolyte Pouchelle. This apartment will soon have its external insulation replaced, but the brickwork will remain. However, wild animals will no longer be able to pass through. So we worked with the architects to ensure that a special reception area would be incorporated into the new façade. Another project involves the construction of a school canteen near Grenoble. We started with a study of the existing building to identify the reception areas that birds had created for themselves. The aim was to provide new, more suitable, shelters that would not have any long-term effects on the structure (cracks, holes, etc.).