SAC # 90

Rewilding: Wild the City



TIME | 22 July 2010, 4pm onwards

LOCATION | CSAFE Seminar Room, , Dunedin

SPEAKER | Tessa Bunny


As people move to more urbanised environments they tend to have less access to nature. Opportunities to interact with nature are often limited to their own backyard or urban parks. To date, the role of urban parks has predominately been to provide an area for amenity and aesthetic purposes. Urban parks are rarely seen as an opportunity to provide spaces of ‘wild’ nature, a term closely linked with the concept of biodiversity. Given that existing parks are often failing to provide a complex experience of nature, this conceptual project explores transforming urban parks from the tamed nature of exotic specimen trees and lawns to complex multipurpose spaces that celebrate local New Zealand identity.

I am using a web log (blog) as innovative pedagogy, to communicate the ideology and aesthetic of re-wilding the city. A Sound-scape film is also being produced to raise the awareness of sensory experiences other than visual that are integral to quality urban spaces. I will communicate the reasons why we ought to use re-wilding as a mechanism by raising awareness of the psychological, social and health benefits identified in social science research.

There are significant community benefits from this project. Through an enriched experience of nature in their everyday life, New Zealanders will also be more connected with their own heritage and surrounding landscape. Quality green spaces in our urban areas will enhance people’s quality of life and provide valuable recreation opportunities in their daily life. By experiencing local native plants and animals, people are able to relate to it and more likely to develop an environmental ethic, a kaitiakitanga.

This new ideology will achieve distinctive New Zealand urban parks that locate us geographically, and are as iconic and identifiable as our architecture.

About the Speaker

Tessa Bunny has practiced as a landscape architect, working for district councils involved in streetscape design, large-scale design and managing community initiatives. She is undertaking a Masters in Science Communication at University of Otago. Her project entitled Wild the City focuses on creating complex green spaces that encourages wildness in our cities. This has involved using a range of mediums to communicate the science; including public lectures, a public art installation and creation of a blog. Tessa is also producing a film about the importance of sound as a sensory experience in our cities.

As a landscape architect I have constantly been evaluating what makes a good successful place. Through living in these different places, I have felt when a place is working and experienced living in positive and negative environments, both have lasting impressions. I have long thought about why we are always striving to get away from cities- when we have the opportunity to create exciting dynamic and satisfying places in our cities just by seeing the opportunities.


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