"Biophilia" (Stay at home version)
The more I see news of animals roaming around the streets, the more I wonder if we're giving them enough space to breathe. In Singapore, we like to boast that our city planning is mostly a "biophilic" design - our urban streets are speckled with trees, we have an extensive network of park connectors, and in there are still plans to make Singapore more of a 'City in a Garden'. And while these design elements are amazing, I do wonder if we're simply cherry picking the bits of nature that works the best in our favor. Plant trees, but trim them every now and then so they don't overgrow. Cats are ok, but cull the red junglefowl because they're too noisy, to say nothing of the shooting of mynahs (both the native and invasive species).
"Biophilia" is defined as an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world". When I was in school, I remember a lot of my clasmates would spam copious amounts of greenery in a building and simply label it as biophilic. I kept wondering if that was enough. The very act of building already suggests that we are clearing a piece of land, home to intricate ecosystems & more often than not, animals, to build. And no amount of making it 'eco-friendly', 'wildlife friendly' or 'sustainable' can really replace that (a concept I really struggled with in architecture school). (Also, who are we to come in and be so entitled to claim land willy nilly? Like everything belongs to us?)
Can urban living ever really truly be in harmony with the intricacies nature? I still don't know. I still don't know if after this whole pandemic is over, we will find ways to welcome wildlife into our neighborhoods, reduce pollution, etc. All I know is we have to start thinking about ways we can retain these elements when we revert back to 'normalcy'. If anything good has come out of this pandemic, I'm at least glad it has shown us a glimpse of what is possible.
Submission for @forest_app
's initiative #forestecotree
in collaboration with @treesforthefuture
where a tree is planted for every drawing submitted! Do join along! 😉