UBC Healthy Habitat

he UBC Healthy Habitat project, which will be referred to as the Habitat, seeks to tackle the aesthetic, recreational and ecological aspects embedded within the old center of campus. In previous iterations, I had displayed a more massive structure that allowed for passage along the preexisting pathways, and were enclosed by climbing walls, ladders, and garden boxes. However, after receiving feedback from the TA, I thought that this very intensive structure would radically change the feeling of walking through the site, and seemed too intensive to be practical. I then remembered the old permaculture adage of nature knows best. In this way, I thought I could design a space that allowed for collaborative design with nature’s eco-engineers: fungi. The fungi would provide the habitat, and the humans(myself and my hypothetical team) would provide the playground. This saves us the work of tending a garden and allows for a more organic feel to the playground. The primary activities include rock-walls, and myco-boulders(boulders made of irregularly-shaped biocomposites), which lead to platforms that provide viewpoints of campus. At the same time, the area in between each structure will begin the process of eco-restoration. Mushroom cultures will be placed strategically so that any soil toxins present will be broken down and bio-accumulated. These fungi will also help with the establishment of early successional species such as wildflowers and trees. The construction process will then follow an aided ecological successional pattern, meaning that early pioneering species will give way to late successional species such as Douglas firs, which would be further inoculated with rare fungi such as agarikon. The early successional trees will be used to construct more recreational equipment, and whatever wood chips are created are immediately returned back to the soil on site. As the late successional trees begin to grow large, more platforms can be created, thereby creating new views of campus. Each step of the way allows for a certain aspect of uniqueness, and that diversifies the variety of experiences that each individual receives when they visit the site. This eco-planning would cut down on costs for the future, and create resource feedback loops that provide ecosystem services to the people and organisms that participate in the site.

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