The main goal of DesignFriends is to promote design culture and introduce design thinking to other communities, therefore VšĮ Dizaino Draugai is a proactive initiator and partner of international and local cultural, design and art projects.
Currently working on:
BiodiverCities I - an educational project on wild biodiversity in urban areas.
Due to high levels of urbanisation and widespread homogenisation of the landscape, a large number of wild insect species are experiencing significant habitat loss and food shortages. Rapidly modernising cities often leave no room for local ecosystems, creating egocentric rather than ecocentric infrastructures that are exclusively for the benefit of humans. The drastic loss of biodiversity is driven by both a physical and emotional distance between people and wildlife.
The aim of the project is to raise awareness of the importance of wild insects in maintaining biodiversity through design tools, to encourage citizens to create urban wild spots and to educate about the full benefits of the human-wildlife interconnection.
Ecosystem is a network of flora and fauna, chemicals and the surrounding environment linked by complex interactions. Regardless of their attitude towards the environmental issues, humans are reliant on wild ecosystems: thousands of plant species and micro-organisms filter the water we drink and the air we breathe, wild insects pollinate the plants that become the fruit and vegetables on our tables.
One of the factors of a healthy ecosystem is the diversity of species and their interactions - it provides more resilience to various environmental disturbances. In times of unprecedented heat waves, flooded cities and droughts, one thing is certain: most ecosystems will adapt to drastic ecological and climatic changes. But will humans be able to live in this new environment? It is time to take serious action to allow nature and humanity to flourish together.
A conceptual design toolkit for the DIY production of wild insect housing structures has been developed by project leader Justė Motuzaitė (Integrated Product Design master student at Delft University of Technology) for the European Project “Urban Wild Pollinators” (2021). Together with partners from HyperInk she organised an educational workshop and introduced the toolkit at the Giardino San Faustino community garden in Milan, Italy. This kit allows the construction of an insect pollinator habitat module without prior knowledge in design or biology, which, when installed in a selected natural site, will create a favourable living environment for a variety of wild insect species. The BiodiverCities I project will develop this design toolkit by inviting Kaunas communities to an interactive workshop, improving the availability of the tools and increasing the involvement of the citizens by raising awareness.
The workshop will take place in Kaunas Fortress Park, along side where the city municipality is developing the Aleksotas Innovation Industrial Park (AIIP) on the site of a former aviation factory. Due to the close cooperation with the T-Factor project, this workshop will be one of the temporary activities of the Kaunas pilot, aimed at implementing innovative methods of urban regeneration. The AIIP covers an area of 30 hectares, bordering in the northern part with the Kaunas Fortress fortifications, located on the slopes, surrounded by nature. The development of the park will lead to the urbanisation of this area, which will radically disrupt the local ecosystem.
Workshop participants will use design thinking principles and personal experiences of living in the city to find ways to improve the tool kit design and installation processes of wild insect nests, making them a clearly understandable and easily accessible tool for biodiversity enhancement for city residents. It is hoped that the co-creation exercises and the site-specific regeneration concepts will help participants gain a clearer understanding of the global threats to wildlife loss and stimulate the development of local environmental initiatives.
Urban biodiversity is now a popular, vocal and very emotional topic in the public eye. The lack of dialogue between citizens and city authorities fuels polarised arguments but does not provide direction for meaningful action. Building a resilient urban ecosystem requires a cultural shift based on facts rather than opinions. BiodiverCities I aims to contribute to the promotion of action-empowering - ecocentric rather than egocentric - thinking among citizens and within city-making institutions.
Information about the workshop:
When? October the 5th, 11 am - 5 pm (1 - 1.30 pm: short break and with snacks provided)
Where? Kaunas Fortress Park. Lakūnų plentas 63, LT-46290 Kaunas, Lithuania.
Workshop guide: project leader Justė Motuzaitė (Integrated Product Design master student at Delft University of Technology)
Participation in the workshop is free. Registration is mandatory: https://forms.gle/oQHWjhhDq5GMZTXt9
KTU, VDU, Kaunas Fortress Park, DesignLibrary Kaunas, DesignLibrary Milano.
The project is financed by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.