Biodiversity by Stealth-Rod Barnett

Living Earth Collaborative Seminar featuring Rod Barnett, Sam Fox School of Design

How do we introduce large-scale, meaningful biodiversity programs into the urban field? Fundamentally, there are two kinds of urban terrain:

a) public space  
b) private space

Because these types of terrain are funded, managed and controlled differently, we need to consider different types of design program that will effectively hasten the evolution of urban territory into ecologically effective biodiverse communities that operate at cross-urban scales. This means adapting terrains eventually at scales that are bigger than community parks, bigger than university campuses and bigger than urban riparian zones, eventually, even, that are as big as the city itself.

To do this we need two things:

a) feasible urban biodiversity models that are city-scale
b) small-scale strategies that introduce biodiversity in ways that are palatable to public and private constituencies.

The talk will discuss how these are issues are being addressed in the WashU landscape architecture program, using case studies. It argues that, since there is some public and community resistance to biodiverse landscapes, we may need to introduce them by stealth.