THE ECOCENTRIC CITY: INVITING URBAN WILDERNESS
This project blurs the city's manicured world of pets and pests. It tries to dispel some of humans' perceived threats of uncontrolled nature.
The anthropocentric city landscape has resulted in a loss of biodiversity within the city, with detrimental effects for the well-being of all its urban species. The natural uncontrolled edges of cities, where nature is allowed to prosper, has been edited out and is increasingly disappearing as post-industrial landscapes are redeveloped. As climate change forces species' to move through urban habitats, the likelihood of a chance encounter between the wild animal and human city dweller will increase. The current perception of nature within the urban environment will treat these events as a threat. Whilst many urban dwellers are for rewilding the rural landscape, there is less acceptance of allowing wilderness into their own habitat, the city. There is a romanticised assumption that wilderness is less disruptive in rural areas, although much of the rural landscape is at this point monocultured agriculture.
With a focus on the city of Glasgow, "The Ecocentric City" entails the installation of interventions which changes the humans perception of the notion of wild animals as unwanted pests, creating a mutualistic arrangement where animals are given spaces to occupy and claim space in the city in exchange for increased physical and mental well-being of the human. Infrastructure is added within the city which links habitats, increasing the agency of the urban animal. There are also structures for animal inhabitation, inspired by the Glaswegian "doocot" for pigeons, which provide opportunity for inhabitation for endangered bat and bird species in the city. Finally, a museum of Anthrozoology is proposed. It is an outdoor museum, set within the old Shawfield Greyhound Stadium, which educates visitors on humans increased separation from wilderness and how our relation with other species has changed and shifted in part due to philsophical shifts such as the Cartesian division between nature and culture.