Urban meadow instructions for stakeholders
The urban meadow created as a part of the Pollinator Highway in Tallinn provides several types of insects in the area with various nectar-rich flowering plants while also offering a pleasant environment for visitors. To increase the level of native species in the city, the City of Tallinn drafted instructions on creating further urban meadows and increasing local native biodiversity. These are available from the Tallinn Botanical Gardens.
The aim of the urban meadow guidance is to offer knowledge to stakeholders about how to increase insects’ food table with various nectar-rich flowering plants. The urban meadow guidance can be obtained by contacting the senior gardener at the Tallinn Botanical Gardens (Liivi Mäekallas). It covers specific issues on local conditions, such as soil and moisture. People also need to know what they want the area to look like. More economical solutions can be found by taking local conditions, low maintenance needs and a vision for the future into account.
Description of practice
An inventory of pollinators carried out in 2019 revealed that a section of the Pollinator Highway, part of which is the lawn at Ehitajate tee 105c, was the area with the lowest number of pollinators in the corridor. To increase biodiversity in the area and offer a visually pleasant environment for people, an urban meadow was created in the area with the active involvement of citizens.
● Urban meadow guidance was prepared, offering useful information for stakeholders about increasing insects’ food table while providing a pleasant environment for people.
● The guidelines include the area’s geographic position and soil conditions; a description of possible solutions for improving the area’s biodiversity and visual appearance, such as suitable flora for the area and how many seeds are needed for a specific area of land; and a description of maintenance needs, including when and how to build the urban meadow and the specific tasks required in the first few years.
● Pollinator monitoring in the area began in 2022 to see the effects the urban meadow has on the area’s biodiversity.
Who was involved
● City district officials, the B. Green project team, Tallinn’s Urban Environment and Public Works Department.
● Construction of the urban meadow was undertaken by a qualified specialist, a landscape architect and a geodesist.
Promotion and communication
The method was promoted on the Pollinator Highway’s social media account (Instagram), the webpage (www.putukavail.ee) and on Tallinn TV.
Information and visual aids were sent to the Tallinn City districts that the Pollinator Highway passes through, which in turn passed these on to their residents using their webpages and Facebook groups.
● Skills: the construction work was supervised either by a specialist with qualifications in gardening or a landscape architect.
● Tools: a percometer was used to determine the amount of nutrients in the soil, as well as construction tools, an information board for the project area and a lawn trimmer
● Software: the Estonian Land Board map application, a design program (AutoCAD) and a visual design program (Photoshop)
Constructing the urban meadow and completing the instruction manual took about 12 months from 2020 to 2021.
|Level of participation||
|Urban planning challenge(s) tackled||Governance and institutional factors
Knowledge and skills
● Co-planning and co-design take time because of the need for negotiations and to obtain approvals. The planning/design process takes at least half a year. In addition, the best time to sow a meadow is the autumn, when there is the most moisture to germinate and the seeds can go through their natural winter cold season. The availability of seeds from local seed producers is also important, as the autumn is the time to harvest and clean the seeds.
● It is necessary to consult specialists in landscape architecture and gardening, and with knowledge of creating biodiversity in an area
● It is important to assess the characteristics of each location individually to determine the next steps on maintenance.
● Having a strong team and supportive collaboration with city districts helped to organise the urban meadow and made the process smoother.
● The effects of the urban meadow were seen instantly: the number of pollinators increased, the location became visibly more pleasant and this made it more enjoyable for the area’s visitors.
● Increased knowledge of the importance of urban meadows among specialists and the area’s visitors
Urban meadow guidance: Mäekallas, L. (2020). PUTUKAVÄIL 2.0. Niiduhaljastuse maastikuarhitektuurne lahendus Ehitajate tee 105C