Bridging the Distance: Accommodating Wildlife Interaction in an Urban Setting.
Currently within the Wellington region there is an abundance of green spaces hosting a variety of native and exotic wildlife species (Rastandeh, Brown, & Pedersen Zari, 2018; “The Sanctuary,” 2018). These species are somewhat confined to a ‘home’ green space, in that travel between habitats involves difficult navigation between dense urban and residential structures (Forman, 1995; Rastandeh, Brown, et al., 2018). Many native species are not able to make long distance flights (Wittern & Berggren, 2007); and as a result habitat fragmentation is occurring at a rapid ecological level. The built form is limiting and discouraging wildlife movement, as well as being dangerous for smaller animals (Forman, 1995; Santiago, 2014). Currently tiny patches of vegetation provide wildlife with a directional indication of intended movement, but overall urban planning is designed for humans only. Aside from the lack of possible movement between habitats, there is also an absence of human connections to these spaces. There is a missed opportunity to introduce humans to ecological spaces, in that it allows a physical link and understanding to be achieved, as well as additional wellbeing benefits (Ell, 1981a; Santiago, 2014). With these two existing elements; the lack of wildlife movement between established habitats and the connectivity of humans to these spaces, there is also a third element of how interaction between people and wildlife within urban locations is absent. People are stuck with contributing towards the rapid decline of habitat, there are very limited positive interactions that are being utilised (Rastandeh, Brown, et al., 2018; Santiago, 2014). Infrastructure and specific designed elements that provide the correct facilities to allow for interactions between wildlife and humans is largely non-existent and crucial in the face of biodiversity loss and fragmentation. This thesis aims to establish a set of design guidelines towards understanding how interaction can be utilised within the design profession, as a way to reduce biodiversity loss, fragmentation and to increase exposure to unique species. Exploration at different scales, macro, meso and micro will be addressing different issues to answer the question of what types of interactions will be occurring within these spaces.