How can design help us to connect with, and take notice of, nature that exists in urban environments?
Aim and Objective
Spending time immersed in nature has many proven physical and mental health benefits that are often experienced less by people who live in cities.
This project has two aims: to help users visualise the unseen and overlooked wildlife surrounding them; and to encourage playful exploration of our physical landscapes.
My objective is to create something that will help people get to know their locality better; to encourage them to get outside more; and to become more invested in taking care of their surroundings.
I set out to produce a series of outcomes rooted in psychogeographical techniques, intended to encourage playful movement around cities. These were adapted to have a focus on finding nature and on seeing a familiar neighbourhood in a new light.
I coined the term ’Biopsychogeography’ to describe this area of study. I have designed a set of outcomes that work together as part of a system, the first being a deck of cards which users can take out on walks with them. Each card offers a different prompt – some to break the user out of their usual routines, and some to encourage them to take a closer look at what is living in their surroundings.
The cards are accompanied by a workbook which offers some more prompts and activities designed to be done at a slower pace, with the intention of helping the user to build up a body of research on their locality. And finally, there is a website that allows users to upload their research and any outcomes they might be inspired to produce, to create a shared archive of work.
The outcomes are largely handmade through a variety of techniques intended to capture the textures and colours of urban nature – instead of pristine greenery and pastoral scenes we are more often confronted with moss growing on walls, foxes in our front gardens and weeds growing through pavement cracks. Some of the graphics were created through fairly traditional techniques such as monoprinting, marbling and painting, but I also took inspiration from graphics and lettering in urban environments and used spray paint, sgraffito and chalk. All of this is designed to evoke the feeling of being outside in a city – an environment that is much more familiar to most of us than mountains and forests.
How has your practice developed while studying the MA in Graphic Design with a global cohort?
Please follow this external platform link, to view the Final MA Project in full and/or portfolio documentation.