Wild Ways: A Fifth Ecology for Metropolitan Los Angeles

Playing off Reyner Banham’s classic Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, the studio will explore themes of connectivity, resilience and landscape infrastructure under the twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss in the Anthropocene. The work will interrogate and explore what a system of landscape infrastructure for connectivity across Southern California’s biodiversity hotspots might look like—in the face of growing urbanization and climate change. Proposals will embrace regional networks of wildlife crossings that are generated from the primary lenses of different endangered species; that layer in humans as both users and audience (on/in the crossings versus driving underneath or over them); and that account for intensifying threats of wildfire.  The goal is to invent the basis for a new metropolitan ecology—a mix of culture, geography, environment, and lifestyle (in Banham’s terms)—adapted to a rapidly evolving and warming climate.

The studio will be jointly sponsored by Arc Solutions, “an interdisciplinary partnership working to facilitate new thinking, new methods, new materials and new solutions for wildlife crossing structures” (their words), and the National Wildlife Federation.  The work will be used in part to demonstrate to public agencies and organizations across the North American continent the ways in which multifunctional landscape infrastructures can be imagined to re-knit ecosystems and communities in compelling ways.