Batty Landscapes: Rethinking Urban Pests.
Type of DegreeLandscape Thesis
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As a species we humans dominate the lands in which we live. Because of this we have started to lose respect for other species and often quickly dismiss them. This thesis looks to address this issue and change the way in which we value species. The species chosen to be the focal of this study is bats, as bats are one of the most misunderstood species and are often considered a pest. Bats however are one of the most ecologically valuable species in the world and benefit the lives of humans in tremendous ways. The goal of this thesis is to use bats as a tool to get people rethinking the way in which they value species by creating a shared realm in which both people and bats coexist. The project takes place in Florence, Alabama, a city surrounded by a healthy bat population, and attempts to make visible the presence and value of these bats. The design attempts to draw the bats in to the heart of the city by using a series of “bat trails”. These trails, composed of gardens and various light structures, act as insect attractors, which in turn attract bats as insects are the food source for nearly all species of bats in the United States. This introduction of bats in to the city is further supported by the creation of a large scale bat roost, called “The Bat House”. This structure not only supports the bat population but it also acts as an iconic feature within the heart of the city that the residents can identify and associate with the bats. The most important aspect of the structure however is its potential to combat white nose syndrome, a deadly fungus that has killed over six million bats in as little as seven years. The hope is that the city can not only rally around the bats and help them to survive this threat, but that the city also sees a shift in their thinking and readdresses the way in which they handle other ecologies.