|dc.description.abstract||One of the main goals of nature conservationists is to protect expansive natural environments outside the city, such as National Parks. However, as the majority of the world’s population now live in urban areas, it is time to reverse this focus and give some attention to the urban environment and the role of natural environments within the city.
Therefore, this report has three objectives: Firstly, to outline the reasons why natural environments are important in the city; secondly, to examine why they have not been provided adequately in the past; and thirdly, to show how this situation can be improved. Throughout this report, examples from Christchurch are used to illustrate the principles being discussed, and Travis Swamp is used as a case study for closer investigation.
A natural environment with the urban setting is defined by the existence of ecological processes and a perception of naturalness. It is an ecosystem that evolves along ecological principles rather than human designs, contrasts the urban setting and is largely perceived as a natural landscape.
Natural environments are important because of the wide range social, personal, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, recreational and education benefits that occur as a result of their existence and accessibility when located in the city. However, they have tended to be overlooked in the past and not been protected. The failure to provide and protect natural habitats has occurred as a result of the dominant economic ideology, a limited framework for urban planning, and a lack of awareness about their importance.
To improve their provision in the future, awareness and involvement of the community and councils needs to take place. Urban planning needs to better integrate natural values and ecological principles. Economic oriented decision-making needs to give more weighting to previously under-represented, non-monetary, natural and social values. Possible steps to include in a natural environment strategy are: gathering natural heritage information, prioritising and identifying possible sites, acquiring and protecting sites, and then revegetating them using ecological principles, and developing environmental interpretation for visitors.||en