The Urban Ecology Lab begins where the built city encounters living nature. We increasingly understand that humans are not separate from nature, but depend on it for our health, well-being and happiness in life. The Urban Ecology Lab explores the future of the city as a living place, where people live together with many other forms of life.
In an era of climate change and biodiversity loss, the relationship between humans and their environment is in need of renewal. How do we relate to other animals, plants, soil, air and micro-organisms - in other words to the 'more-than-human'? What answers do they offer to major issues such as adaptation, resilience and mental and physical well-being?
The Urban Ecology Lab explores how different life forms, materials and socio-ecological systems come together in the city. Through local and small-scale experiments, we contribute to the transformation of our urban jungle into a vibrant ecosystem. Central to it are shared experiences between people and other life forms. We develop methods to (re)recognise the polyphony of an area, and deepen the imagination in order to arrive at new visions for the design of the city.
The Urban Ecology Lab researches and creates a new perspective on urban development involving living nature.
Together with communities of artists, citizens, urban developers and researchers, we actively go out into the field to develop ecological skills together. We call these 'eco-practices'. They enable us to experience and appreciate our environment in different ways. For example, we design and build outdoor spaces for and with different animal species, learn how to study the living environment with attention, and do artistic experiments. And sometimes we do nothing at all, to give the soil, greenery and other organisms more space and allow a place to run wild.
This is how we cultivate ecological citizenship and a new view of urban development involving more-than-human-life. We do this partly from our physical Urban Ecology Lab at the Amsterdam Science Park, where urban development and the living environment intersect.