Creation of high diversity biotope based urban green solutions in Malmö

Authors and Affiliations: 

Ann-Mari Fransson, Landscape architecture, planning and Management, Swedish Agricultural University, Alnarp
Annika Kruuse, City of Malmö
Johanna Andersson, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Gothenborg
Jenny Stålhamre, White Architects, Malmö

Corresponding author: 
Ann-Mari Fransson

Malmö is a growing city with a political decision to densify rather than expand on the highly fertile agricultural surrounding land. The comprehensive plan holds a vision of a dense and green city with high biodiversity and strong ecosystem services. There are also many other national and global goals that is governing the planning and development of a modern city aiming towards development of ecosystem services and high biodiversity. This is visible in many of the plans for new development projects in which a lot of green structures often are included. There are, however, few good examples showing how this could be done practically. Sweden is no exception. To make the conservative construction business dare to try new solution, realistic full scale local examples are vital.
The aim of the project BiodiverCity ( is to create small, cunning biotopes with a high biodiversity. Build green multifunctional solutions that work in a dense city. The project has constructed innovative nature based solutions that delivers a multitude of ecosystem services. It is well known that one of the most prominent factors responsible for the loss of biodiversity is the loss of habitats (Fahrig 2003) and the creation of new biotope that may host many habitats halter this depletion of biodiversity (Hautekeete et al. 2015). Urban areas are able to host a high number of plant species (McKinney 2008), the soils may be controlled and modified and thus the potential for creating a high variety of biotopes is large.
Private and municipal developers and contracting authorities have been cooperating in groups with experts within different fields around the construction of long-term sustainable biotopes. These groups have dealt with different aspects like biodiversity, satisfaction of tenants, aesthetics, architecture and safety. To create sustainable biotopes the groups addressed the most suitable plants and substrate composition considering the local environmental and physical conditions like wind, sun exposure and the local biotope types. Most biotopes have been constructed as new project but a few retro-fits have been made.
In total 28 different cases have been constructed within four different product types; green roofs, urban biotopes, three-dimensional and mobile green constructions and green facades. Most cases were finished in 2014 and establishment success, weed abundance, diversity of bumble bees and butterflies, organization and operation has been evaluated in some of the cases.
Experiences from the project so far are that it is possible to create green small scale green infrastructure with good conditions for biodiversity. Most of the needed products can be found on the market, but need to be combined in new ways. Knowledge from, and cooperation among, several professions are needed for a good result. After the establishment phase the management intensity of the green infrastructure can be low if the biotope is constructed in a correct way. Knowledge transfer between different stages within a development project is a critical factor.


Fahrig, L., 2003, Effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity: Annual Review of Ecology Evolution and Systematics, v. 34, p. 487-515.
Hautekeete, N. C., L. Frachon, C. Luczak, B. Toussaint, W. Van Landuyt, F. Van Rossum, and Y. Piquot, 2015, Habitat type shapes long-term plant biodiversity budgets in two densely populated regions in north-western Europe: Diversity and Distributions, v. 21, p. 631-642.
McKinney, M. L. 2008. Effects of urbanization on species richness: A review of plants and animals. Urban Ecosystems 11:161-176.

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