Rewilding Ballard | Growing Small-Scale Community Habitat
van Bemmel, Rhys Edward
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The current magnitude of global environmental challenges, including climate change and mass species extinctions demands an intensely greater level of integration between human and natural systems. This design thesis explores the incorporation of urban wildlife habitat into the built environment as one important approach for addressing these problems. It is argued that the mixing of humans and nature in urban natural environments will serve to not only bolster wildlife, but will help to grow ecological understanding amongst individuals as well as support human health and wellbeing. Focusing on the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, the research and design presented emphasize the opportunities that small-scale sites present for both urban wildlife habitat as well social interactions with nature. The leveraging of small private and public sites for wildlife habitat is an effective strategy to address this goal in the face of intense population growth that renders the acquisition of property for parks and habit increasingly infeasible. Two design proposals are offered, one addressing habitat opportunities across the neighborhood as part of a district-scale framework, and another for a small park at a shoreline street end site. In this second portion of the design strategies for small-scale habitat improvements are overlaid with programmatic elements to create a park space that will serve the Ballard community and function as habitat. It is hoped that the design proposal for this park will help garner neighborhood support for future planning of the site which consists of 3 acres of city owned properties.
- Landscape architecture