Dr Mitchell Whitelaw at the pilot project site. Photo by Stuart Hay.

Dr Mitchell Whitelaw at the pilot project site. Photo by Stuart Hay.

Habitat for wildlife

Native wildlife living near cities are losing their habitat but a new project aims to save them, as Aaron Walker reports.

Around a third of all threatened species in Australia live in habitat that overlaps with urban areas.

Now a team of ANU researchers is working on a scheme to incorporate that habitat into functioning urban architecture.

Their innovative project will blur the lines between habitat restoration for local wildlife and active public places in our towns and cities.

The idea re-imagines public art and architecture to include functional habitat structures for native wildlife species, including birds, bats and reptiles.

These artificial habitats fill the gap for the trees that are removed. They also perform a cultural function, celebrating the many other species that share our city.

The project, Life Support, is a collaboration between the ACT Parks and Conservation Service and the researchers from the ANU School of Art and Design and the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.

Project organiser Dr Mitchell Whitelaw of the ANU School of Art and Design says: “It’s about providing habitat for native species in urban areas that can also be integrated into the human recreational environment.”The project came together when Whitelaw attended the Untaming the Urban symposium at ANU last year.