Trend Watch June 2022

Animal crossing – world’s biggest wildlife bridge comes to California highway:

Landscape architects from Living Habitats have designed the world’s largest wildlife bridge, to be constructed over a California highway. The overpass will allow fauna of the Santa Monica mountains to safely cross a dangerous 10-lane stretch, writes Katharine Gammon for The Guardian.

Stretching 210ft (64m) long and 165ft (50m) wide across the 101 highway near Los Angeles, the overpass is designed to allow safe passage for lizards, snakes, toads and mountain lions. An acre of local plants on either side and vegetated sound walls hope to dampen light and noise for nocturnal animals as they slip across.

The project is funded by around 60% private donations and has been championed by Beth Pratt, a conservation leader with the National Wildlife Federation. Pratt has spent most of the last decade planning and campaigning for the project in defence of the mountain lions, a protected species in California and sadly frequent victims of the highway, which crosses critical habitat.

The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing project is set for completion in 2025. Read the full story on The Guardian.

Image: Living Habitats LLC/National Wildlife Federation.

Wildlife impact. Image: Living Habitats LLC/National Wildlife Federation.

Teen girls need better public spaces to hang out:

Basketball courts, skate parks and playgrounds overlook an important demographic: teenage girls, writes Alexandra Lange for Bloomberg CityLab.

There aren’t enough spaces for teen girls; they write: “Where aren’t teenagers seen as invaders? They are too big, too loud, too old for playgrounds, at least in the eyes of parents; and too young, too loud, too broke for restaurants, bars and stores.

“The problem is magnified for teen girls who, surveys show, are less likely to use the basketball courts and skate parks intended for adolescents, and run the risk of harassment, or worse, when they appear in adult spaces.”

Teen girls, they say, are looking for safe hangout spots with cosy social furniture, art and games that foster interaction rather than competition. Gyms, roller rinks and skate parks to try and fail without judgement or catcalls. Places to listen to music without paying for a festival ticket. Such places could also cater to different types of masculinity that are not fulfilled by skate parks and pump tracks.

“Making space for girls means rethinking which age groups need to swing and climb, how to encourage physical activity (and not just playing a sport), and how to make a safe, sheltered place for outdoor conversation, according to surveys.”

Read the full article for examples of practitioners and researchers in this space.

Photo: “Swing Time” in Boston, 2014, by Höweler + Yoon Architecture.


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