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Shanghai Clover Nature School & Pandscape Design: Nowadays, with the rapid urbanization, we are surrounded by high-rise buildings, cars, people and road traffic in all directions. At the same time, the original wildlife habitats in the city are facing many problems, such as disappearance, fragmentation, simple structure, invasion of alien species and so on. The number of urban wildlife is gradually decreasing, and many species have even disappeared from the city. Based on the assumption that more urban people can find natural resonance, we try to design and build Hongxu habitat garden combining human needs and animal living space in the city.
项目概况 Project overview
The project is located in Hongxu community, Xianxia new village street, Changning District, Shanghai. This is a typical old-fashioned public housing community in the 1990s located in the south corner of the community. It is a hidden and negative space after the demolition of the community. In the initial stage of the design, we found that wild animals such as Pycnonotus sinensis, Turdus merula and Callosciurus erythraeus live here. After the investigation of the surrounding resources and environment, we found that it is close to the Shanghai Zoo and the outer ring green belt, with a good ecological base. It can be a good corridor or transit station linking the two ecological patches. On this basis, it is possible to create a natural, quiet and light activity place, so we consider building a community garden with habitat function.
▼改造前 Before transformation
改造策略 Transformation strategy
场地面积不大，但需留出充足的空间作为鸟类、松鼠及昆虫的栖息停留场所，同时作为社区公共用地，需满足一定程度上的居民活动需求。所以整体思路为“人工形态向自然原生的过渡 ”， 重视居民活动的需求，同时将南侧小三角完全交还给自然，作为目标物种的栖息地或停留地，不设人行空间，人只能在旁观察、学习。
Although the area of the site is small, sufficient space should be set aside for birds, squirrels and insects to live and stay. At the same time, it should be used as community public land to meet the needs of residents’ activities to some extent. Therefore, the overall idea is “the transition from artificial form to natural origin”, paying attention to the needs of residents’ activities. At the same time, the southern small triangle area is completely returned to nature as the habitat or residence of the target species. There is no pedestrian space, and people can only observe and learn.
▼自然科普休憩区 Nature and science resting area
In the part of plant design, the original native tree species in the base, including Salix babylonica and Broussonetia papyrifera, are completely retained, and are connected with the canopy of Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Prunus yedoensis and Osmanthus fragrans in the next neighborhood to form a whole, creating a space for birds and squirrels. In addition, local species should be allocated as much as possible to provide food sources and shelters for local organisms, including Sapium sebiferum, Rubus hirsutus, Ilex cornuta, Lycium chinensis, etc.
Nature and Science resting area: Entrance with bright color was created to attract the crowd to the garden. Some wooden platforms near the existing willow trees and the north wall are the main area for residents’ leisure activities. The towering Salix babylonica showing the spirit of the venue integrates with the gallery.
▼保留的柳树展示场所精神 The Salix babylonica showing the spirit of the venue
▼廊架效果 Gallery effect
In order to increase the interest, the gallery is designed with two scales, one is the scale of normal adults for their resting, the other is the scale of children, to build a small children’s secret base. The colorful access door and outdoor blackboard increase the playability in the limited space, and also practice the concept of “Children Friendly” advocated by the team.
▼儿童尺度廊架的户外黑板 Outdoor blackboard with the scale of children
A small area of children’s playground is set beside the wooden platform. The loose filling material is soft and naturally decomposable bark. The parent-child interaction facilities are made of original wood, such as wood organ, balance beam and so on, which can attract people and enrich activities. At the same time, the interactive space between children and nature is formed through the explanation board and interactive facilities, so that children can get the natural inspiration of psychology and intelligence.
▼儿童游乐场地 Children’s playground
The place connecting with the bark pit is a game square, which is paved with permeable concrete and decorated with colored drawings. The theme is also related to bees and other animals, so as to make the best use of the small site.
▼游戏广场 Game square
The interactive experience area is located in the area with good illumination on the north side of the site, meeting the needs of urban residents to experience farming and gardening, allowing children to participate in labor and harvest, experience the changes of four seasons, and understand the source of food.
▼种植体验区 Planting experience area
The deformed “one-meter garden” planting boxes are strewn at random, mainly planting vegetables, and planting herbs in a variety of ways; the traffic space is made of economic permeable gravel, and the circular steps are themed with birds, insects, flowers, plants and so on, as well as some graffiti steps created from the social activities, to increase the science and interest of the site.
Some planting supporting areas such as gardening workbench, toolbox and so on are set up combined with the corridor, to facilitate the operation and management of community residents. Moreover, planting boxes for the disabled are set up to play the healing function of gardening.
▼残疾人种植箱 Planting boxes for the disabled
▼结合一米菜园设计的休憩座椅 Rest seats designed combining with one-meter gardens
The rainwater collection bucket is set to receive the rainwater which can be used as part of the irrigation water source in the autonomous planting area from the top of the rack. It shows the sustainable utilization of water resources. A small composting area is set up near the west wall to show the composting process as much as possible, so as to digest kitchen waste, treat garden waste in the ground and promote science popularization.
▼雨水收集系统 Rainwater collection system
The natural habitat protection area mainly aims at the target species observed in the previous investigation, and comprehensively designs the food source, water source and shelters to meet their needs. Except for necessary pruning and maintenance, people should not be allowed to enter as far as possible.
▼自然栖息保护区 Natural habitat reserve
Water is the source of life. As the core of the natural habitat reserve, the pond is located in the semi shade and semi sunny place, with gentle slope less than 1:1. The revetment is made of block stone and gravel to create a rough and porous interface, which can be used as a passageway and shelter for frogs, insects and other animals. The different depths of the pond can meet the water requirements of different habits of animals. Aquatic plants on the shore can purify water quality and provide shelters, breeding places and food sources for aquatic animals.
▼生态池塘，为蛙类、蜻蜓豆娘等提供栖息和繁衍的空间 The pond provides a space for frogs and dragonflies to inhabit and reproduce
In order to make it easier for birds to drink and bathe without being watched by natural enemies, small trees and shrubs were planted near the pond, and the plant crown edge was connected to form a barrier channel for birds to move. At the same time, the food source plants favored by birds and the plant rich communities with wide leaves suitable for nesting were selected. It was also considered that the winter bearing plants could provide “winter food” for birds, and the plants with fragrant flowers could attract honey-eating birds and insects.
▼授粉昆虫 Pollinating insects
In the area near the East, vanilla plants are planted and wildflower meadows are sown to serve as food sources or host plants for insects, such as butterflies, so as to create a small-scale insect habitat.
Different habitats may need to be built for different insects: for example, the coarse gravel sand on one side of the pond, a circular flower pool surrounded by stone cages filled with cement blocks, and the custom-made special insect box, which can provide holes and media of different sizes and densities to become a shelter for specific insects or protect them for the winter.
In addition to nature conservation, the area also has some functions of science popularization.
The right places are chose to set up bird watching point, the natural observation spaces are increased without affecting the life of birds, and professional infrared camera is equipped to track and record the positive effect of the garden on birds and other creatures. Insects attracted by plants can also serve as natural observation samples for children in the community.
▼复旦大学王放老师团队布设的红外相机 Infrared camera is equipped by Wang Fang’s team of Fudan University
▼红外相机拍到的黄鼬 Mustela sibirica captured by infrared camera
With the help of the public art studio of Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University and other partners, the three high walls around the site are presented to the community residents in a relatively artistic form in combination with the common animals and plants in the city, and the facade landscape space is optimized with relatively bright colors.
▼动物主题墙绘 Wall painting with animal theme
社区营造 Community empowerment
In order to fully activate the full function of the site and create a life of “Community Garden +”, we mainly implement the concept of community empowerment and residents’ participation around the site. At the same time, this is a garden with “Habitat Function”, which can provide food, water and shelters for wild animals. By using this form, people can participate in a variety of experience activities such as gardening, leisure exchange, fitness therapy, nature observation and so on close to home.
The implementation of Hongxu habitat means that we explore the possibility of actively building urban biodiversity in community space through integrating multi-party resources, cooperation and sharing. At the same time, we actively mobilize residents’ participation and form a sustainable garden management mechanism in combination with our exploration and practice in community empowerment.
After the renovation of the community garden, for community residents’ better understanding, use and maintenance of the garden, Hongxu neighborhood committee and the Nature Conservation Association (TNC) began to plan and organize a series of residents’ participation activities with us, so as to actively empower the community volunteers, including volunteer training, citizen scientist lectures, one-meter garden planting, ecological composting, natural observation skills explanation and other activities, so that residents can understand the rich functions of the community garden from multiple dimensions.
▼TNC 伙伴特别邀请 Bambu 主理人 Rachel 女士与 Jeff 先生作主题为“可持续生活”的演讲 TNC partners specially invited Ms. Rachel and Mr. Jeff, the director of Bambu, to give a speech on the theme of “sustainable life”
In a series of activities, the residents gradually realized the value of the garden, and enhanced the viscosity with the community garden in the continuous participation. Moreover, the Covid-19 epidemic makes us constantly reflect on the relationship with nature, and make us more deeply aware of the way to live in harmony with nature, actively practice sustainable life, and take care of the earth. Therefore, on World Earth Day, we organized the activity of “Ecological Pool Construction”, so that we can more clearly understand the important role of ecological pool in the garden, and plant rich aquatic plants to make the water body self-cleaning, and weaken the doubts caused by people’s vague cognition, such as more mosquitoes, black and smelly, and dangerous to children.
改造后的生物多样性 Biodiversity after transformation
In Hongxu habitat garden, there are clean water sources, rich food sources, safe shelters, and a large number of local plants are planted here, such as Morus alba, Broussonetia papyrifera, Sapium sebiferum, Zanthoxylum bungeanum, Sambucus williamsii, Rubus hirsutus, etc. so as to ensure that the selection of plants has high adaptability and non invasiveness as far as possible. After the completion of the construction, birds and animals soon settled down here. More than 10 kinds of birds, including Pycnonotus sinensis, Turdus merula, Spilopelia chinensis, Passer montanus, Phoenicurus auroreus, Zosterops japonicus, Phylloscopus proregulus, Tarsiger cyanurus, Copsychus saularis, Turdus obscurus, Cyanopica cyanus, Accipiter trivirgatus and mammals, as well as Callosciurus erythraeus and Mustela sibirica, have been observed and monitored here. The infrared camera, which cooperated with Wang Fang of Fudan University, clearly photographed the weasel living in this cave and going out for food. Every time residents go to the garden, they can find many birds drinking, feeding and resting here. It has become a real demonstration space for harmonious coexistence between man and nature in the city.
▼北红尾鸲 Phoenicurus auroreus
It is worth mentioning that Pycnonotus sinensis is a very common urban bird. We are awakened by its cheerful and fluctuating calls every day, and it is also very interesting to observe their life behavior. Because of their large number, wide food habits and excellent adaptability, they are important seed disseminators of many plants in many damaged forests and wastelands that need ecological restoration. The seed transmission distance of each Pycnonotus sinensis is about 1 km. In addition, through our observation and record, we found that on the mulberry tree in habitat garden of Hongxu community, a Pycnonotus sinensis catches insects every 2 minutes, and eats less than 1 minute, which is very efficient and can restrain the number of insects to a great extent. Therefore, birds such as Pycnonotus sinensis are important in urban ecology, and their ecological value should not be ignored.
▼白头鹎捉虫 A Pycnonotus sinensis catches insects
▼赤腹松鼠 Callosciurus erythraeus
In addition to the improvement of landscape space quality brought by conventional community renewal, the significance of this project is that we use the ecological regulation and bionic wisdom to provide a small habitat for urban wild animals and provide the surrounding residents with an ecological garden within reach. As one of the urban renewal projects in Changning District, this community garden with habitat function has attracted the attention of many media and the public since the completion of the renovation. In addition, It has been paid attention and praised by the State Council. We believe that with our unremitting practice and the support of more people, this kind of dot habitat garden will be connected into a line and a plane in the future, and will really help the creatures living in this city together with us, as well as human beings.
摄影师: 李杰 董大正（大自然保护协会TNC）
Project name: Shanghai Hongxu Habitat Garden
Completed: December 2019
Area: 450 square meters
Project location: Hongxu 2 Community, Changning District, Shanghai
Design company: Shanghai Clover Nature School & Pandscape Design
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead designer: Dr. Wei Min
Design team: Xie Wenwan, Li Jie, Ding Shiyi, Liao Xiaoping
Developer: Hongxu Neighborhood Committee, Xianxia Xincun Street, Changning District, Shanghai
Strategic partner: The Nature Conservancy TNC
Wall art design and drawing: Public Art Studio of Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University
Construction: Shufeng Landscape
Photographer: Li Jie, Dong Dazheng (TNC)
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