Recent research has highlighted the significance of cities for biodiversity, making them important places for conservation in their own right. Current conservation approaches in cities are mostly defensive. Thus, they focus on remnant pockets of natural areas or try to protect particular species that occur in the built environment. These approaches are vulnerable to further urban development and do not create habitats. An alternative strategy is to make wildlife an integral part of urban development and thereby create a new habitat in the built-up area. Here we address the challenge of choosing target species for such wildlife-inclusive urban design. The starting point of our conceptual framework is the regional species pool
, which can be obtained from geo-referenced species data. The existing habitat types on and around the development site and dispersal barriers limit the species numbers to the local species potential
. In the next step, the site’s potential for each species is analyzed—how can it be upgraded to host species given the planned development and the life-cycle of the species? For the final choice of target species, traits related to the human–animal interaction are considered. We suggest that stakeholders will be involved in the final species selection. Our approach differs from existing practice, such as expert choice of priority species, by (1) representing an open process where many species are potential targets of conservation, (2) the involvement of stakeholders in a participatory way. Our approach can also be used at larger spatial scales such as quarters or entire cities.
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