[POST BY Isis Boot]
As derives from the research in the past weeks, connectivity is a key factor for improving biodiversity. For urban planners amongst us, this is clearly not a new term of research. Not only are traffic routes such as highways and bicycle lanes important elements that are part of the urban design, it is also a way to locate an area in relation to its surroundings and understand it in context of a bigger system.
Although species of both flora and fauna do make use of human infrastructure to spread or transport themselves, either hitchhiking or using the banks of the road to move in their own way, connectivity of flora and fauna does not necessarily look like a (man-made) structure of roads. Some species can move by air (birds, insects, seeds of plants and trees, etc) whereas others prefer to travel through or over water (fish, amphibians , swimming birds, water organisms, insects, etc). Moreover, places on land that are inaccessible for humans may still function as key places providing green infrastructure for biodiversity. Facilitating for instance biotopes with the right conditions for certain species to procreate.
However, in our discussions it came to forth that the notion of connectivity in a biodiversity context may address more than physical networks of transportation flows, both manmade and natural. For instance, we wonder about trajectories within a natural cycle connecting different species and keeping biodiversity in balance. Again, placing individual routes in relation to a bigger system. All of these connections taken together form a type of infrastructure too. An infrastructure that is necessary for all species to survive. But how would this map look like? And how can this type of infrastructure be facilitated?
More specifically – and in context of our design process aiming for a man-made cure or solution improving urban biodiversity, we found that the relation or, in terms of infrastructure, connection of these species with its human fellow citizen is significant. Therefore it might be worth to broaden the interpretation of the concept connectivity for our research even more, adding the aspect of interaction as a means of connectivity. Not only opening up for the awareness of interaction between species within a holistic cycle, but meanwhile adding a layer of tangibility as a starting point for urban design and development.