- Kids for Parks
Ornithologist Paweł Pstrokoński, who works for the University of Warsaw Botanical Garden, visited ASW at the invitation of the Product Design 8th-grade students. He offered firsthand information for their new research projects. Mr. Pstrokoński gave the students a lecture on urban wildlife and its needs, with an emphasis on the local environment. He challenged students to think about wildlife in a big city like Warsaw. He asked and helped answer questions like „Why is urban wildlife important? Why should people protect it?”
The preservation and development of green areas like meadows in cities is an ongoing trend in modern city planning in Central Europe, including Poland. “Cities, Mr. Pstrokonski said, are artificial structures made to serve humans, but humans should not forget about other residents of the city landscapes, who might have been living in those areas long before humans did.”
There are over 240 species of wild animals living in Warsaw, and this diversity in Warsaw’s ecosystem is crucial for the its stability. For this reason, it’s worth focusing not only on endangered species, but also to learn and understand better the lives and the functions of common species and design various tools and housing spaces for them.
Students learnt about how different wildlife groups, which inhabit Warsaw - mammals, birds, insects or plants - affect our everyday life. Certainly, designing for nature requires changing a mindset. Mr. Pstrokoński helped students to discover various ways in which one could think about nature-oriented projects, how to set up proper objectives and he also offered many helpful tips. He also threw in a variety of recommendations for future projects, like setting up meadows. He advised the students to consider the body sizes of the animals they are going to design accessories or even homes for. He also urged them to use biodegradable materials, less plastic and less glue.
Following the expert’s visit, the student’s next steps will be to study and select the species that they would like to create products for. Their goal will be to incorporate user- and environment-friendly features into their products.
Green areas are a valuable counterweight to polluted, concrete surroundings in cities. These areas improve our bodies and minds. Studies show that we live longer with greenery around us and the design students totally agree with that. Humans, the architects of today’s and tomorrow’s cities, should be more aware of all the other creatures that inhabit these conglomerated spaces, and include these creatures in future urban planning projects.