Parking lot ecology

By Johannes Wiener in cooperation with Treecycle, Theresa Schütz and Rüdiger Suppin

2 square meters between a parking lot and train track, more than 20 different plant species, numerous lichens, insects and even a reptile. “Parking lot ecology” tries to highlight the biodiversity of those “neglected” urban in-between spaces, to look in detail of what is going on in front of our own houses. This was part of a workshop-series with young people from the Produktionsschule Jobfabrik/Volkshilfe Wien as a part of Kulturkatapult intivative, which deals with climate change in the city, urban ecology and the possibilities for transformation.

For this workshop we determined together the species of the plants, creating little name-tags with the Botanic and the German name of the plant. At the same time, we were looking at different qualities – for example the flowers that provide food to (wild) bees, bumblebees, butterflies and Hoverflies – but not just in a abstract way but while touching and smelling the plants. The idea behind this is to try to re-connect with the actual eco-systems that surround us, to get to know the complex relationships that occur in this couple of square meters and to expand from this towards the larger context. We were excited that “our” 2 square meters were also used by a beautiful sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) as a hunting ground and to hide itself from the falcon (Falco tinnunculus) which is living close by.

“Parking lot ecology” tries to bring ecology from the abstract to the concrete, from a romanticized image of nature who can only be appreciated if pristine and untouched by humans, to care for the weeds that grow between the cobblestones in defiance of the orders of the management of the parking lot.

At the end of the workshop series, we will create an architectonic intervention in this very parking lot bringing in trees, benches, and containers to collect rainwater.