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  • Ian Boyd, Arc Consulting

Artecology - Doing One Thing made a difference

Artecology won the Small Scale Permanent Award in 2016 for the Maxted Close Nature Space with Sovereign Housing Association. It’s a fantastic little spot, revived and reimagined, from leftover corner to bustling community asset! We’d have done this anyway, it’s what we love to do, so why did we go for the Big Biodiversity Challenge?

We’re not really into trophies, our office shelves are covered with fossils and owl pellets so there’s just no room. We did it because the Big Biodiversity Challenge stands for more than the projects it encourages, just as the playground we created stands for more than its space on the map. The Challenge urges us to ‘do one thing’, but that’s far from cursory – it’s about bellwethers and lodestars, taking action, however small, that stands for big thinking.

Working with CIRIA has helped us to develop our focus on bringing biodiversity to the built environment. Seawalls and piers, bridges, tunnels river channels and roads; shops, schools, industrial units and housing estates; town squares and city rooftops - the world of ‘grey infrastructure’ is our speciality. We design and manufacture building ornament, renders, cladding, tiles and finishes, each with a pattern and texture tested for its potential to generate and support nature. We combine built installations with specialist planting, creating hotspots of wildlife activity, providing life-cycle resources for birds, mammals, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, fish and marine ecology. This is Urban Rewilding!

Artecology is about communities too. We believe in the health benefits of wildlife encounter. We believe in the right to excellent public spaces that add value to urban living. The Big Biodiversity Challenge has given us the confidence to push on and find new and better ways to condense practical ecological benefits into small spaces and everyday places, working with fantastic people to make a difference. The Challenge celebrates great ideas and positive actions - so do one thing, and have a go!

Entry for the 2017 Challenge and Awards closes 12 June, so don't delay!

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