Nature Cots is an urban nature research project by Mieluisa. The aim is to bring intensive nature to the concrete jungle via small scale portable nature devices – Nature Cots.
Urbanization and urban densification are global megatrends. Because of the densification, there is not always room for large natural areas in cities. Therefore it is paramount to develop strategies on how to bring intensive nature to cities in small scale units.Climate change, chemicalization of our natural environment and the rapid degradation of biodiversity are global challenges. It is important to develop new biodiversity enhancing approaches in all scales of urban planning and design. In Nature Cots project we study how urban biodiversity could be increased via small, human size scale solutions and interventions. What could we achieve with small, portable or even completely mobile ”nature generators”? How could these small Nature Cots enchance the networks of urban nature?
In this project we study the interface between the built environment and nature. What is ”built”, what is ”natural”? It is possible to bring nature into cities in countless ways: by building new nature, by conserving existing nature and by using different hybrid models. The aim is to create light weight structures that bring more nature into the city. One of the goals is to make people understand that even small actions can have large effects on urban biodiversity. The project also wants to encourage people to take action by presenting existing approaches and proven tactics.
In the project we study the effect of natural elements on the urban space. Different focus themes include the effects on human health, on the senses and experienced comfort, on air quality, on water purification, on energy conservation, on sustainability and on human use for example in urban farming. We also study nature that already flourishes in cities and try to find out what we could learn from it when developing Nature Cots.
In addition to the concept level, we will develop schematic interventions to actual urban spaces. One study area is Jätkäsaari in Helsinki, Finland, where the construction of a 18 000 resident, 6 000 workplace urban neighborhood is currently on the way. When a large new area like Jätkäsaari is built in phases, the new residents often have to live years without proper green areas, surrounded by construction sites. In places like this, Nature Cots could bring great relief. Interventions could include green walls as construction site fencing, a soundproof mini oasis or movable plant installations. They could bring comfort and the positive effects of nature to challenging urban areas before the prospective green areas and parks are built. And when the green areas are ready, the Nature Cots could act as small scale waypoints in the urban green network between the larger green areas.
In Nature Cots project we also study different financing models for the actual realization of nature generators. Crowdfunding, ad-funding, ecosystem service compensations and other new models have brought new ways to realize these interventions.
We also study what kind of related urban nature projects are going on already. On NatureCots.fi website we will publish our findings and show inspirational projects from around the world. Together we can build a future where the nature and cities intertwine in a mutually beneficial way. Welcome aboard!