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Title:Butterfly / urbanism
Author(s):Wang, Zoey Tsu-En
Advisor(s):Hays, David Lyle; O'Shea, Conor Edward
Contributor(s):Kraszewska, Katherine Therese
Department / Program:Landscape Architecture
Discipline:Landscape Architecture
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Monarch Butterfly
Danaus Plexippus
Urban ecology
Pollinator habitat
Abstract:The charismatic Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is the most iconic migratory butterfly in North America. It is also a susceptible keystone species because of the monotonous host plant on which its larvae depend—namely, milkweed. In fact, the loss of breeding habitat in the US, due to the use of herbicides and urban sprawl, together with the loss of overwintering habitat in Mexico, has caused the Eastern Monarch population to decrease dramatically during the past two decades. Butterfly/Urbanism proposes to enhance Monarch butterfly habitats through a new approach to agricultural economy, as well as through strategic urban design. In order to integrate Monarch butterfly habitat with a new type of urbanism, three aspects are involved: ecological design, unconventional agriculture, and socio-economic design. Monarch butterfly migration is a dynamic flow that can elicit economic opportunities in the territories where they stopover. By strategically planting milkweeds and nectar plants, this project both controls the Monarch butterfly migration route by manipulating proximity to habitats and catalyzes a food chain. Resulting opportunities for milkweed and insect-based economies piggyback on the existing economic system and topology formed by facilities and infrastructures. One general objective of this project is to evolve the ecological planning method outlined a half-century ago by Ian McHarg. His methodology precisely identifies the most appropriate places for different use with the fewest environmental impacts. However, McHarg’s way of seeing economic development as inevitably antagonist to the environment precludes possible alternatives which utilize economic activities as a support to natural ecosystems. This project presents a way to transform the impacts of human economy from ecological hindrance to ecological support. By synthesizing ecological function, economic incentive, and design culture, the symbiotic relationship between Monarch migration and economic activities shifts from parasitism to mutualism, eventually reaching the goal of sustainable Monarch butterfly conservation.
Issue Date:2017-07-20
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Zoey Tsu-En Wang
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-03-02
Date Deposited:2017-08

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