Article: article from journal or magazin.
Beyond Prejudice : conservation in the City : a case study from Switzerland
Conservation in the city is challenging because of a continued view that the urban realm is antithetical to nature. This was clearly the case when the first Swiss National Park was established at the beginning of the 20th century. New Swiss legislation brought new approaches to the establishment of natural parks, in particular by including human activities as a logical component in their development. In 2010, a Federal think tank discussed opportunities for launching a new kind of park: the Urban Natural Park. This paper reports an analysis of this discussion, together with the study of the literature dealing with conservation in the city and natural parks. It shows that a clear antagonism between city and nature still remains present, reflected in an implicit hierarchy hidden in the designation of natural parks: wild nature is nominated as the best nature; if not wild, the best nature is identified as rural; if neither wild nor rural, nature is thought not to be the concern of natural park policy. The Swiss Biodiversity Strategy implemented in 2012 is a recent recognition of the importance of urban nature for biodiversity conservation. This recognition, however, condemns urban nature to a special status, situated outside the usual framework of conservation management. I conclude by arguing that anti-urban bias must be addressed because it inhibits effective conservation strategy, prevents the identification of existing environmental qualities of cities and, eventually, has negative impacts on biological conservation outside the city because it fosters urban spreading.
Anti-urban bias, Natural value, Natural parks, City, Switzerland
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