The People, Cities and Nature Programme is a 4 year project undertaking internationally-leading research on urban nature and the benefits of connecting urban New Zealanders to their biological heritage. The team will be working in close partnership with cities and community-based groups to create safe and abundant habitats for indigenous plants and animals in our cities, supporting New Zealand’s national and international biodiversity commitments and realising economic, social and health benefits for our people.
Two key facts are behind the People, Cities and Nature research programme.
- Many of the native plants and animals that are special to New Zealand (our native biodiversity) are threatened or in decline and are rarely seen in our cities and towns.
- Most people in New Zealand live in urban areas where councils are spending large amounts of money on projects to restore native biodiversity, often relying on community support and volunteers.
This research will help create flourishing natural environments to improve the quality of life, health, and economic wellbeing in our cities and towns. Our native plants and animals will have a better chance of thriving and urban restoration projects will be more cost effective.
University of Otago researchers Claire Freeman and Yolanda van Heezik working with Audrey Heyzer (PhD student) and Yvette Buttery (Research Assistant) are undertaking the following research as part of the project: To identify the types and combinations of urban green spaces that deliver effective health and nature connection benefits and whether these can also contribute meaningfully to biodiversity conservation. The research is being done in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. The ultimate aim is to actively inform initiatives and policy concerned with motivating people to value, protect and enhance biodiversity, in particular, indigenous biodiversity.