The residents at Luciano’s Pai’s residential development in Turin use messaging service WhatsApp to maintain a shared conversation for community living.
As the sharing economy gains traction, co-housing is becoming a commercially attractive proposition to developers, according to a recent article. Luciano Pia’s residential development, 25 Verde, in Turin shows a rigour that is hard to come by when architecture and plants meet and offers a paragon of a healthy, sustainable and community-building architecture. For them living in this green haven has become the norm, just as the wider architectural community is deciding this sort of thing must become the norm.
In the centre of the development stands a raised garden teeming with birds though the intimacy of this space is dependent on the season but a mixture of deciduous plants and evergreens ensures shade in the summer and greater light penetration during winter.
Beyond, a space has been turned into a miniature allotment for growing strawberries, in keeping with a fruit-growing theme that runs through Pia’s work regardless of whether the building is overtly ‘green’. Here, the residents have started to make their own jam.
Back in the UK, debates around green architecture have been rekindled recently by the Green Building Council’s publication of the Demystifying Green Infrastructure report which aims to help architects view vegetation as more than a ‘fluffy optional extra’. They are all rich exercises in placemaking that share an interest in layers, but also plant life.
Using your landscape strategy to attract butterflies is easy. It is a question of the right substrate and topography combined with species specific planting to create good habitat. The predominance of chalk close to the surface in the south of England makes this even easier.
Case studies were discussed at a recent Charted Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) event aptly named ‘Towns to Downs: Ecological Engineering within the Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere Region’.
The event was held at Dorothy Stringer school in Brighton, East Sussex, where a school teacher with a vision for attracting the small blue butterfly Cupido minimus to the city had created a butterfly bank by exposing the underlying chalk within the school grounds and creating raised banks in a sinuous formation. The area was one of many created across the Brighton and Lewes region as part of a landscape scale project aimed at reconnecting the ‘towns with the downs’. The event proved that even small-scale habitat creation within built up areas can be successful, with the small blue butterfly and even the rare Adonis blue being recorded on site for the first time ever, as well as many other species.
In the south-east there are huge expanses of chalk, and creating or enhancing butterfly banks as part of a mitigation or enhancement for a proposal could be a successful method of gaining planning permission for development. Butterfly banks do not require a large expanse of land, but merely the right substrate and management regime and they will add to the existing ecological network of butterfly banks within the region. In addition, they host a range of colourful flower species which can become part of an existing landscaped area of a development.
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