The increase in the world’s population and global industrialization processes are leading to species and habitat loss. Human settlement areas can now offer wildlife more attractive habitats than the agricultural deserts of industrial agriculture, leading to conflicts. So far, green spaces in settlement design are focused on humans, while humans are excluded from nature conservation biology. The alleged contradiction of nature and technology must be transformed into a constructive interplay in order for biodiversity to succeed. The aim of this research project is to provide design approaches for the promotion of biodiversity in settlement and recreation areas by means of design research extended to natural, cultural and media sciences.

How can media design interventions based on the Internet of Things contribute ecologically and culturally to the promotion of biodiversity in local ecosystems?

To answer this guiding question, media-technological infrastructures are designed and installed in three case studies in human-environment negotiation processes: in the cultural landscape of the Merian Gardens near Basel, in a former port area of the city of Basel, and in a nature reserve in the Basel agglomeration. For this, approaches and methods of ecology and cultural and media studies are combined with those of design research and computer science. The design interventions aim to give voice to plants and animals, to expand ecological knowledge and experience, to design new forms of interspecies coexistence, and thereby to cultivate ecological values and behaviors. Specifically, an ‘Internet of Things Toolkit’ will be developed to serve as a media technology infrastructure within the design interventions, forming a ‘Response-able Environment’.

Project Website

Research Institutions
  • FHNW Academy of Art and Design
  • FHNW School of Engineering
  • SWILD – Urban Ecology & Wildlife Research (independent research and consulting association)
Partners for Case Studies
  • Merian Gärten der Christoph Merian Stiftung
  • Bau- und Verkehrsdepartement Basel-Stadt, Städtebau & Architektur, Gesamtentwicklung Basel Nord und Stadtgärtnerei Basel
  • Technische Verwaltung Reinach Umwelt + Energie und Aufsichtskommission der Reinacherheide