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Biodiversity is growing in Tartu's city centre parks

Tartu City Government Press Release

Biodiversity Photo: Maris Tomba

15 June / This summer, around Uueturu Park, Poe Street Park, Barclay Square and the riverside cafes, you may notice grassy areas where the grass is higher, which are being mowed less frequently than the surrounding grassy areas. This is one part of the ‘Curated Biodiversity’ project.

Tartu will be Europe's Capital of Culture in 2024, and the city's public space is an important part of the entire programme. The Capital of Culture programme project ‘Curated Biodiversity’ helps to make the city a more pleasant place to spend time, bringing both a richer selection of activities and nature to the city’s parks.

The reduction in mowing is the first biodiversity-enhancing phase of the ‘Curated Biodiversity’ project. More plant species grow in taller grass, and a more diverse environment is a better habitat for insects, small animals and birds. Encouraging and promoting biodiversity is necessary to ensure that there is clean water, soil and air, and that the benefits of nature are also available in the city and to everyone. Park areas with higher grass will be mowed again at the end of summer, during the period of yellowing.

The project’s leaders – Karin Bachmann, Merle Karro-Kalberg, and Anna-Liisa Unt – explained that the biodiversity of urban nature at first glance points to something a bit wild and uncontrollable, and in order for people and urban nature to coexist, diversity must be carefully directed and organized. This is the idea behind curation.

‘The landscaping principles utilised in the city centre’s parks developed during the period of post-war restoration works, when lawns replaced ruins and trees were planted. However, the space between buildings has great potential to be a pleasant, diverse and opportunity-rich environment for whoever or whatever is living in the city, be it plants, animals or people,’ said Merle Karro-Kalberg.

Participation in the Tartu 2024 development process, i.e. in the incubation of all projects presented in the application for the European Capital of Culture, takes place via the project. Those projects that are able to pass it successfully will reach the official European Capital of Culture programme, and the following activities will be implemented during the period 2021–2024.

Last changed 15.06.2020