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Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Our Vision is to transform urban environments for the well-being of people and planet. To achieve our vision will take time but we are gardeners so we must be patient. Green infrastructure occurs in the liminal space where architecture meets landscape architecture, structures integrate with the natural world and buildings adjoin nature. These are the spaces and places where we specialise.

People Like Plants

This is a simple inescapable fact. We like to look at nature. We like to be in nature. Whether it is gazing out the window, working in the garden or escaping to the country we find being surrounded by nature to be calming, restorative and balancing for our souls.

However, there often seems to be a disconnect between our view of the value of nature during our leisure time and how we perceive its value during the working week. We compartmentalise nature to the extent where we believe it has little or no beneficial part to play in large sections of our lives.

There is a compelling and growing evidence base to suggest that this is not a very forward thinking position to adopt. Rather, it is proven that nature plays a significant role in improving, enhancing and enriching our urban landscapes whether it be indoors or outside.

There are significant and interconnected qualitative and quantitative benefits to be had by targeting green infrastructure to where it can do most good: in our streetscapes, offices, schools, universities, hospitals, shopping outlets, stations and airports etc. We have worked in all of these locations and have witnessed the benefits over the course of a number of years and this is why we do what we do.

Our Philosophy

We work with our clients on principles of collaboration, integrity and excellence, believing that our shared expertise will bring the best results. We believe in form and function. We know that our work is there to enrich the urban environment so it needs to look good and stay looking good but we also want it to do good as well. We want to enhance the appearance of the urban landscape whilst reducing some of the negative effects of urban living at the same time.

We will always seek to design and include elements to deliberately address an environmental need. Whether this be seeking to reduce air pollution (inside and outside), increasing biodiversity (outside only!) or full on phytoremediation. Even on the schemes where the primary driver for clients is aesthetics (and there are many good standalone reasons why we should seek to bring natural beauty into our urban environment) we can still achieve what we call ‘sustainability by stealth’.

Phytoremediation

The use of living plants in the removal, degradation or containment of contaminants.

Sustainability

The Russian doll model of sustainability nestles the economy (profit) within society (people) which is in turn nestled in the environment (planet). This is a hierarchical model that allows for strong sustainability. The premise is that economic activity (profit) is only required to help society (people) and society (people) can only exist if there is a viable environment (planet) on which to do so. Without a viable biosphere society cannot function and without society there is clearly no point in an economy. We very much adhere to this model of sustainability at Biotecture.

Sustainability

There is a fundamental difference between this hierarchical model of sustainability and the often held three-legged stool model of People – Planet – Profit. This P–P–P model is a very convenient way for modern businesses to look at sustainability and many do so. It is also wrong. The three-legged stool theory suggests that if any of the three legs (people, planet or profit) are out of balance with each other the whole stool will wobble and fall over.

We need a planet with a viable biosphere but the planet really doesn’t need us. Actually it would probably be better off without us!

Humans and The Extinction Crisis

Humans and The Extinction Crisis

Threats to Biological Diversity: Global, Continental, Local. U.S. Geological Survey, Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife, Research Unit, University of Idaho.

In all of our dealings we try to adopt the principles of strong sustainability. We need a better way of valuing our resources, rather than basing everything on its monetary value. This is why we always order the benefits that Green infrastructure can bring in the following hierarchy.

  1. Planet
  2. People
  3. Business

In our experience life can go out of balance when this hierarchy is neglected.   We are seeking to grow our business in a manner and fashion that both enhances the environment and is of benefit to society whilst always being mindful of the need for a healthy bottom line.

We started out on our mission to make the world a greener place in 2007.  Together with our partners and clients we continue to work towards a sustainable future.

Richard Sabin
Managing Director
December 2018

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