Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths and beetles that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us almost every bite of food. They also sustain our ecosystems and produce most of the natural resources by helping plants reproduce. Without these animals, our ecosystem will totally collapse. However, this nearly invisible ecosystem service is a precious resource that requires attention and protection and in disturbing evidence found around the globe, is increasingly in danger. This pollinator network design responds to the issues of food shortages, climate change, urban biodiversity, and the desire to increase urban productive landscapes.
Designer: Yuchia Jan
Location: South Seattle, USA
Although there is a lot of open green space, green belts and parks in Seattle, their distribution is very fragmented and scattered. Besides, even though each node seems that it can provide food sources or micro habitats for pollinators, it cannot form a comprehensive corridor system. The Chief Sealth Trail is an ideal site to develop the pollinator connection not only because it is the longest green corridor in the South Seattle, but also contain several advantages for the pollinator habitat. The concept of this network design is taking the advantage of the Chief Sealth Trail as the backbone of the entire pollinator network system. Through the green infrastructures and ecological facilities to connect the surrounding green belts, nods and parks. Also, surrounding open green spaces could be the ideal anchor to continue this network system and green corridor.
How can local communities start the process to support the pollinator habitat? What are the design strategies that could be utilized in this network system? On the other hand, where are the ideal sites for pollinators to breed, pollinate and nest? How could pollinators produce the food and procreate without threatened by human activities? These questions explore the best way to respond these concerns by means of landscape architecture design.
We should focus on a long horizon for protecting the pollinator habitat and promoting the pollinator health. It could also provide more information about the choices when people want to support the pollinator habitats and set up a network system. The functions of nesting, habitats, wetland, wildlife crossing, education, productive landscape, wayfinding and infrastructure which can create the simultaneous benefits for people and pollinators.
1.Nesting: The nesting site is critical for the pollinators to have a home. It provides the hiding places for pollinators to breed without disturbance.
2.Habitat: A good pollinator habitat needs to provide enough food sources for pollinators as well as resting place for them while foraging.
3.Wetland: Since Seattle is surrounded by the water, the wetland habitat or floating wetland could also be an ideal place for the pollinator habitat without the human disturbance.
4.Wildlife Crossing: There are many migratory species in pollinator community, wildlife crossing features should help these pollinators safely migrate without the risk of being hit by the car.
5.Education: Educating the public about the importance of the pollinator habitat and natural systems is necessary. By means of learning gardens or outdoor classrooms, people can better understand these lovely creatures.
6.Productive Landscape: Crops and pollinators always have an indispensable relationship. This is important to generate the food for people and pollinator simultaneously through urban agriculture.
7.Infrastructure: Green infrastructure could be the most flexible and accessible place in the community to create the microhabitats for pollinators.
8.Wayfinding: The wayfinding function is not only for people to become aware of pollinator habitat, but also can be designed to attract pollinators to stay and rest.
Cratering five different landscape typologies that support particular pollinator habitat in this network system. Each typology includes a description of the landscape functions, the types of pollinators who would benefit, and a list of potential plant species. Additionally, each typology is illustrated in the context of the proposed South Seattle pollinator network, offering site-based applications.
As an anchor space in the pollinator network system, this pollinator center could be an ideal spot within the Chief Sealth Trail to show how the habitat typologies and toolbox could be implemented in the community or urban area.
People could visit the different themes in this center, including community gardens, parking lot, outdoor classroom and sphere structures. Each of the themes has their essential and indispensable functions and capabilities in the network design such as food production, habitat compensation, wayfinding and ecological legibility.
There are three different layers in this pollinator learning center. The first layer is the ground layer which includes the parking lot and community garden. The second layer is the workable green roof and ADA ramp for visitors to access the canopy to observe the pollinators from a different height. Last but not least, the bionic sphere structures which are not accessible to people and mainly serve the resting habitats for the pollinators.
In addition, the pavilions, walkable green roof and the sphere structure, create a totally different space with the learning garden at the ground layer. These pavilions can be the gathering space to host community events, a working office or the outdoor classroom.
The bionic spherical design is trying to mimic the shape of the hills along the Chief Sealth Trail and naturally merge with the existing landscape providing the wildlife crossing function. The main purpose of these structures is serving as resting and feeding habitats for the migratory pollinators such as Monarch butterflies and Rufous hummingbirds. Without disturbance from people and vehicles, the pollinators can pollinate, rest, or migrate in this quiet and safe place.
Also, these spherical structures have other environmentally friendly functions for the pollinator network system. These include reducing the urban heat, reducing the wind drag, purifying the air pollution and decreasing the noise. Those benefits are not only significantly helping to create the pollinator-friendly habitat, but also improving the quality of the urban environment.
This design is aiming to provides an opportunity to envision the potential and valuable green space in the city for optimal use as pollinator habitat. The concept of this pollinator network system is a bidirectional design, not only benefit humans and public health, but also improving the pollinators’ number and ecological diversity. The design itself is indicating the indispensable relationship between the pollinators and human beings. The principles of this design are aiming to increase the consciousness of biophilia, ecological legibility, biodiversity, and ecological equilibrium by improving pollinator habitat. This awareness and response builds from the inherent love of natural environment and other living creatures.
Yuchia Jan received his Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Washington in 2018. With his enthusiasm for artistic design, Yuchia focuses on environmental and ecological design in an aesthetic way. Inspired by the multiple beauty of the natural landscape, he experimented with using various graphic communication tools to create and develop site-specific designs. He believes, by means of the awareness of the natural environment and the passion for landscape architecture, the hierarchy of landscape layers will compose meaningful design for ecological stewardship. After graduation Yuchia joined PJA Architects in Seattle.