Succeeding the Network: Redefining the infrastructural network through a multispecies lens

Natural habitats across UK have become fragmented, leading to the rapid decline of wildlife, and worsening the biodiversity crisis over the past several decades.

Using the Island Biogeography Theory and the metapopulation theory as the foundation, our project proposes a masterplan across Manchester that utilises the nodes and corridors approach to urban planning, while adopting a non-human perspective. Biodiversity nodes were identified based on recorded concentrations of wildlife sightings and were then connected via habitat corridors. The pedestrianised corridors, which replaced existing roads, allow for safe migration of species while connecting smaller habitats, resulting in one large metapopulation to ensure species survival and diversification.

A proposed monorail would replace the rewilded infrastructure – a more sustainable alternative mode of transport, with stations within each node. One such station was the Bradford Gas Works Station, located within the existing Bradford gas holder.

The initial concept for the station was a piazza, creating a central courtyard surrounded by activity. The design was developed further based on the concept “Being a Beast”, where design considers the perspective of non-humans. One key development was the façade design, which aims to encourage the growth of bryophytes.

Bryophytes were identified as the dominant species in the Bradford area. Consisting of mosses, liverworts and hornworts, they are highly adaptable and can rapidly colonise their environment. Bryophytes were found to thrive on porous surfaces with crevices. The façade is thus made from locally sourced limestone and slate, providing a rough and appropriate surface for bryophyte growth. This will create habitats for other creatures, beginning the revitalisation process of the site’s biodiversity.

The project continued to create opportunities for human and non-human entanglement - through its programme, user experience, landscape and rewilding - encouraging humans to connect with our non-human counterparts on a deeper level.