Urban planning for biodiversity after bushfires

The Weitzman School’s Richard Weller visited Sydney for a two-week intensive on critical urban challenges and converting a parkland into an incubator for wildlife.

It was just six months ago that the Weitzman School’s Richard Weller brought together urban planners, conservationists, policy makers, and representatives of major cities for a symposium to examine the imminent threats to biodiversity around the world from urbanization. “Life on earth is dying,” Weller said at the time. He referred participants to a vast new set of data visualizations that he co-authored for The McHarg Center which show that habitats in eastern and southwestern Australia are at risk.

A bushfire burning in Queensland Australia

The threat became starker this month as the country has battled historic bushfires. Weller was in Australia to lead a two-week studio at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), so he asked students to take one of Sydney’s major parklands and convert it into an incubator for wildlife.

“This is not about making another zoo,” insists Weller, who is professor and chair of landscape architecture, Meyerson Chair of Urbanism, and co-executive director of The McHarg Center. “I’m not asking students to design enclosures for animal incarceration and human pleasure. This is about incubating biodiversity, it’s a scientific and educational exercise to create a new relationship between citizens and wildlife.” 

Read more at the Weitzman School.