Environmental microbiome research shows that microbial communities help to shape complex ecological processes that influence human and environmental health. Researchers are currently investigating the potential health-inducing interactions between humans and the environmental microbiome, particularly in urban areas. However, not only are there inherent technical issues to overcome in implementing the findings of this research, but there are also complex social, political and economic factors that affect the design, construction and management phases. Drawing on a recent paper discussing opportunities for Microbiome-Inspired Green Infrastructure (MIGI) (Robinson et al. 2018), we set out criteria for an ‘Environmental Microbiome Toolkit for Urban Designers’ that could be used by planners, architects, landscape architects and civil engineers. We provide a worked example of this toolkit to design a public space in Sheffield, demonstrating practical design techniques to consider the environmental microbiome and its role in human and ecosystem health. The Landscape Institute (LI) is the professional body that regulates and represents landscape architects, providing guidance across all spheres of the profession. One of the key functions of the LI is to develop and maintain the LI Plan of Work, regulating the work that landscape architects undertake at each stage of a project, from landscape assessment through to conceptual and detailed design, contract administration and landscape management. We apply these industry-standards to show how the environmental microbiome should be considered in landscape assessment, design and management, bridging the gap between research and practice and providing a common reference point for future policy development and industry regulation.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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