Sanja Rubesa, Operations Project Manager, and Duska Novakovic, Associate in Technical Operations at MPC Properties, shed light on the significance of biodiversity in urban environments.
What is Biodiversity and its Importance in Urban Environments?
Biodiversity, as defined by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB) established at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, refers to the variability among living organisms. It encompasses a comprehensive range of plant, animal, fungal, and microorganism life.
Biodiversity plays a crucial role in providing essential resources such as food, drinking water, clean air, medicine, and shelter. In scientific circles, urban biodiversity holds significant importance, particularly due to the contrasting conditions urban areas present compared to what ecosystems require for growth and development.
“Inspired by the limitless wonders of nature, people today, amidst rapid technological advancement and increasing detachment from nature, yearn for integration with the natural world within urban environments.” by Prof. Dragica Obratov – Petkovic, Associate Prof. Biljana Jovic, Assoc. Olga Gajanic, Biodizajn u arhitekturi, pejzaznoj arhitekturi i modi, 2021, Revista Brasileira de Expressão Gráfica.
The Role of Urban Biodiversity
Urban biodiversity contributes to numerous positive outcomes, including improved air quality through carbon dioxide sequestration and oxygen release, preservation of diverse species’ habitats, mitigation of the heat island effect, and promotion of public health. It represents a vital aspect of MPC Properties’ Green Strategy, as they lead the region in developing, constructing, and managing modern shopping destinations and business centers.
Throughout the planning, construction, and facility management phases, MPC Properties conducts feasibility studies that incorporate environmental impact analyses and propose protective measures. These studies consider the site’s location, its proximity to protected areas, and areas of significant biodiversity value. Our strategy entails monitoring the impact of climate change, surface and underground water, noise, and air pollution, as well as the effects on flora, fauna, and soil.
“With varied spatial combinations and ecological urban planning parameters, an array of solutions that ensure prescribed ecological comfort and high design flexibility can be achieved.” – by Ana Mitic-Radulovic, Ana Simic, Slavoljub Ljubic “Mogućnosti primene ekološkog indeksa u planiranju Beograda”, CEUS Center for Experimental and Urban Studies 2022, 16.
MPC Properties’ Initiatives to Preserve Biodiversity
MPC Properties actively preserves biodiversity through several initiatives. These include the establishment of indigenous gardens, collaboration with the Belgrade Association of Beekeepers and the Mad Med association for an urban beekeeping project, and the promotion and adoption of alternative transportation methods. Additionally, composting is integrated as a waste management strategy.
Use of Autochthonous Plants
The use of indigenous plant species, harmonious with the natural environment, significantly contributes to habitat preservation. At the UŠĆE commercial complex, over 50 different types of vegetation covering approximately 20,000 m2 were planted. These include row seedlings, deciduous trees of various sizes, meadow plants, ornamental grasses, annual and perennial flowers, bulbs, and creepers. These green areas provide habitats for diverse animal species. Moreover, a “drop by drop” irrigation system and rain sensors enable controlled water usage.
Pioneers in the Development of Urban Beekeeping
MPC Properties is a pioneering force in urban beekeeping in Belgrade, with 12 beehives already placed on the roofs of our shopping and business centers, including the UŠĆE commercial complex and Navigator Business Center 2. In just a few months, these beehives have produced an impressive 130 kg of honey. As part of our commitment to the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) strategy, we organize a series of “green” events and workshops aimed at educating the community. These include workshops on honey-making and presentations for children highlighting the importance of bees in our ecosystem.
Promoting Alternative Transport
Furthermore, MPC Properties actively promotes alternative modes of transportation within our business network. We provide adequate parking stations equipped with chargers for electric cars, bicycles, and scooters, offering convenience and necessary infrastructure to users. Across our network of business facilities and shopping centers, we have a total of 400 bicycle parking spaces, encouraging the use of alternative transportation methods for cleaner air and healthier lifestyles.
Moreover, we have installed 46 charging stations for electric cars, and the UŠĆE Shopping Center proudly features the first BIKEEP parking station in the Balkans with chargers specifically designed for electric bicycles and scooters. Similar stations will be positioned in other shopping centers owned by MPC Properties by the end of the year.
The UŠĆE complex boasts approximately 16,000 m2 of green areas, generating around 96 m3 of organic waste annually. Recognizing the significant impact of biodegradable waste on the environment, we have implemented a composting project to complement our recycling efforts. By introducing composting as an additional waste management strategy, we can process organic waste and produce valuable compost, which benefits soil health and reduces the burden on air and water quality.
MPC Properties Commitment to the Environment
In summary, MPC Properties understands the vital role of biodiversity in urban environments. They prioritize the preservation of habitats, promote sustainable practices such as indigenous gardens and urban beekeeping, and actively encourage alternative transportation methods. Their commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development ensures that urban areas thrive with biodiversity, contributing to a healthier and more harmonious relationship between nature and urban life.