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my project

Lets provide complex green spaces that encourages wildness in our cities.

Wild the City explores the benefits of creating wild spaces in urban places.  Our current city parks fail to provide a complex experience of nature.   Here I will propose a metamorphosis for these spaces from the tamed gardens of exotic trees and mowed lawns to wild and diverse spaces that celebrate local New Zealand identity.

Kaitiakitanga (protecting and enhancing the environment) is a New Zealand tradition.  It can and should continue, but in a manner embracing our distinctly kiwi identity- by embracing local plants and thus creating habitat for our unique wildlife.  Then our native, natural, and wild country will be reflected even in our civilized spaces.  Our cities can reconnect with their deeper history, and thus share a narrative from their ecological and biophysical, as well as cultural and history.

Through an enriched experience of nature in their everyday life, urban New Zealanders will be more connected with their own heritage and surrounding landscape. By experiencing local native plants and animals, they too can develop an environmental ethic, a kaitiakitanga.

Unique urban parks, exemplary of each cities natural environments, will both locate the city geographically and become as iconic and identifiable as local architecture.

In Essence:

Childrens’ exposure to what is commonly, albeit problematically, called ‘wild nature’ influences their physical and emotional development.  As people live in more urbanised environments they tend to have less access to, or appreciation of, this concept. To experience wild nature first hand, there are two options; take people to nature or bring nature to people.  Bringing wild nature back into the city provides opportunities for people to interact with nature in their daily lives.  These opportunities often are limited to backyards or urban parks. To date, the role of urban parks predominately has been to provide amenity and aesthetic spaces.  Urban parks are rarely seen as an opportunity to provide complex multipurpose spaces that also embrace wild nature.  ‘Wild’ is  a term closely linked with the concept of biodiversity,  on which I define as endemic native species richness.

The proposed project explores issues of accessibility, intended vs actual function, potential for wilding, levels of biodiversity and the consequent potential for social, psychological and health benefits.

Through blogging, I will demonstrate the issues involved in providing complex multipurpose spaces that embrace wildness in urban settings. The blog also will provide a forum to discuss issues raised.  

4 Comments leave one →
  1. stacey obrien permalink
    March 24, 2010 1:16 am

    Hi Tess,

    I agree with your ideas about bringing, experiencing and nurturing the wild experiences into our parks for the benefit of children. Do you know of any academic papers that touch on this wild subject?


  2. tessbunny permalink*
    March 24, 2010 8:33 am

    Hi Stacey,
    Yes, here are a few key references. Richard Louv is very passionate about reconnecting children with nature. He is in Australia now presenting at Healthy Parks, Healthy People Conference in Melbourne.

    Blamford, A, Clegg L, et al (20020 Why conservationists should heed Pokemon. 295:2367-2367.
    Chawla, L. (2006). Learning to love the natural world enough to protect it, Barn.
    Lester, M., S. Lester, et al. (2007). Play, naturally: a review of children’s natural play, Ncb.
    Louv, R (2008) Last Child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
    Tanner, R. (1980). “A New Research Area in Environmental Education: Significant Life Experiences.” Journal of Environmental Education 11(4): 20-24.

  3. stacey obrien permalink
    March 24, 2010 8:09 pm

    Hey Tess,

    Thanks for that, much appreciated. I look forward to reading those, and keeping an eye on yr site.

    take care



  1. Urban Field Studies - urban wilderness

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