Urban Wildness

Vera Naydenova

Urban Wildness encourages a positive perception of the voids and overlaps in the urban and the natural fabric of the city by engaging children and parents with nearby wild nature. An experimental workshop based on storytelling, drawing, exploratory learning and play took place in Floridsdorf, Vienna. Population growth, migration and urbanization draw increasing attention to the urban-rural-natural interdependences.

Photos: Vera Naydenova

Photos: Vera Naydenova

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Urban Wildness seeks to reframe spatial dynamics commonly perceived as negative (sprawl, suburbanization, shrinkage) as potentially advantageous to biodiversity, sustainability and liveability. The project stresses an integrated understanding of the voids, overlaps and variations in the urban and the natural fabric. On community level, focus is on children’s perceptions and the use of creative tools for engagement with wildness in cities.

The project wants to reframe spatial dynamics commonly perceived as negative.

Children today often grow up disconnected from nature due to their increasingly structured, restrictive and media-saturated daily routines. Lack of meaningful encounters with local biodiversity at an early age limits the inner necessity to experience the outdoors and negatively shapes environmental attitudes later in life. Yet wild nature nearby home is an accessible resource to replenish deficits in knowledge and experience. In play, storytelling and drawing, a sense of wonder, familiarity and connectedness is built to replace irrational fears and naïve beliefs.

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By seeing through the uninhibited eyes of children, parental preconceptions about the permissible ways of interaction with nature in urban settings are also addressed. Urban wildness is seen as an experimental space to trigger a different consciousness and an attitude of mindfulness. Because the way we connect with our surroundings is the way we connect with each other.

Summer Term 2016
Vera Naydenova
supported by Cosima Terrasse and Jan Phillip Ley