Often nature and the city are seen in opposition. We travel to our nations parks and national seashores to experience migrating birds, blossoming wildflowers or to catch a glimpse of a rare butterfly. Our concept of nature is one of an untouched, pristine landscape. However, nature is also resilient and nuanced. It is expressed all around us in the city from the plants that sprout up in vacant lots to the red-tailed hawks that ride the air currents around our skyscrapers.
The concept of “Biophilic Cities” in which nature is integrated into city planning has recently been popularized by Tim Beatley. In his book, of the same title,he points out the many opportunities and models for how we might begin to plan our urban landscape to include wildlife. Building on E.O Wilson’s concept of Biophilia which describes our innate emotional connection to other living organisms, Beatley recognizes nature as an essential and nurturing part of urban life.
We see the San Francsico’s Parklet program as a unique opportunity to respond to these ideas. As an art and design collaborative, the Studio for Urban Projects is interested in engaging our community in re-imagining the city to reflect our most visionary ideals.
Open Field is a proposal for both a site specific Parklet as well as a modular system for creating configurable Parklet’s throughout the city. It create spaces for people as well as habitat for wildlife – bringing visitors into intimate contact with a sliver of urban wilderness. The project’s title is Inspired by the open field agricultural systems developed in Medieval Europe which wove together multiple uses of common land. The project extends this concept to areas used by humans and wildlife alike.