Driving nature-led design.


Callum Mooney, Sustainability Consultant

Understanding the meaningful impact.

Additional Author,  Robert Winch, Senior ESG Consultant.

First published in New London Quarterly.

In recent years there’s been a growth in awareness of the benefits nature can provide in urban environments including wellbeing, local cooling, and flood management. Alongside emerging investor-driven reporting and biodiversity net gain policies, nature-based solutions are fast becoming an appealing mechanism in the urban planner’s toolkit to enable sustainable change.

However, evaluating and prioritising different solutions remains challenging due to limits in measuring their monetary and non-monetary value.

Our sustainability group has been developing a novel approach to ensure nature’s inclusion in evidence-based decision-making, recognizing the human, economic, and intrinsic benefits largely uncaptured by existing building stock. They catalyse nature-led design discussions and foster collaboration by uniting project stakeholders and creating open communication channels to leverage the potential of nature and align competing stakeholder priorities, delivering value for clients, people, and planet.

This holds significance not only in terms of addressing the ecological emergency but works to centralise individual experiences, placing people’s well-being at the heart of designs.

To support these discussions, they compiled their research and knowledge to develop a modelling tool ‘Biome’. This illustrative dashboard measures and compares key performance indicators against pre-set targets to appraise landscaping strategies and quantify the benefits. Design elements and nature-based solutions can be changed with results calculated in real-time for instant feedback.

Biome’s strength lies in its ability to rapidly optioneer designs, flexibly tailor the landscape elements to respond to stakeholder and project priorities and quantify both the monetary and non-monetary value created.

This ultimately empowers collaborators to understand the meaningful impact they are having through their nature-led design choices.

Our sustainability group have already successfully deployed the tool to deliver evidence-based reasoning for the inclusion of green space for a central London Masterplan, resulting in a biodiversity-rich, people-focused landscape design with significant potential social returns.