RESEARCH FUNDING: HMEI BUILDING FOR BIODIVERSITY

The built environment causes major land fragmentation and habitat loss through construction and raw material extraction. However, sustenance and growth of animal populations and diversity can be enhanced through urban master planning, engineered designs of wildlife infrastructure, and adoption of low carbon construction practices. Current master planning and engineering design are mainly focused on efficiency, economy and elegance, all human centric requirements. The goal of this project is to present the first animal-informed urban planning and infrastructure design methodology that generates and enhances bio-diverse habitats and passages based on circular economy principles. The research testbed is the rapidly changing environment of the Princeton University campus and its surroundings. Given that Princeton is endowed with a diversity of animal species, and the area will continue to develop, the site makes a perfect microcosm to study how design can impact biodiversity. This project will identify mammal species that indicate broader biodiversity, will research and test animal-informed suburban planning and infrastructure design, document their use, and raise public awareness of the enhanced campus biodiversity. Princeton can protect its natural endowment by fostering biodiversity as a primary ethic in development and design, setting an example for suburban spaces where human and non-human animals co-exist.