Designing wildlife into the equation is possible and works when the right questions are addressed from the start.
A common application of ecological principles into urban/rural design is the establishment of natural to semi-natural patches (or remnants) of areas that would serve as habitat for wildlife. This design application begs the question, “For which wildlife species?” In many (of my) dealings with design firms and city/county departments, this rarely is addressed. For the most part, people look at a land use/cover map and try to conserve as many of patches as possible, without much thought about wildlife species in the area or those migrating through.
While conserving any remnant patches is a laudable goal, in many instances the amount of patches, in terms of actual area, that a developer will conserve is limited. Thus, it is critical to select the patches that “give the most bang for the buck.” An ecologist would select those patches that benefit local species or improve species richness, depending on the original goals and what the site can offer. Selecting the “best” patches can benefit a variety of species, but it depends on the scale of the design and those species that respond to the geometry of the landscape at that scale. (2014) By Dr. Mark Hostetler, University of Florida, on The Nature of Cities.