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Designing Living Systems examines the contemporary use of plants, soils and animals as biological materials and ecological systems for construction. Designing habitats for people and wildlife requires learning and applying a variety of ecological principles across scales. It requires learning about what makes up living systems including soil ecosystems, plants and their interactions, animals, food webs, water, and sunlight. Students will develop their own design language emphasizing form, aesthetics, and ecological function to shape spaces for plants and animals as living material. Students will learn about organisms, habitats and ecosystem structure and function across a range of natural to anthropogenic environments. You will also land uses, building types and occupancy, as well as to consider the history and development of urban areas and their social structure.
The interdisciplinary course includes experts from allied disciplines providing lectures and seminars alongside practitioners running tutorials guiding students in planting and ecological design. The subject builds on theories, principles and practices introduced in Natural History and focuses on design applications through assignments
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Build knowledge around urban biodiversity and habitat creation focusing on Australian species and biodiversity, soils, wildlife, communities and ecosystems, micro-climates, and water systems;
- Study the interactions across animal, plant, soil, hydrological and climatic conditions and the associated spatial patterns and aesthetic considerations of planting design to inform the construction of contemporary and future urban living systems;
- Understand designed and built landscapes ranging from green walls and green roofs to bioretention systems, waterways and remnant ecological communities;
- Develop the ability to select plant material palettes and prepare planting plans for a selected urban greenspace in Melbourne;
- Develop skills in landscape documentation techniques and in preparing habitat and planting plans for an urban project in Melbourne;.
- Ability to evaluate ecological design projects to understand their attributes and shortcomings.
- Learn about the design of specific habitat types across the built environment.
- Spatial thinking informing the composition, form, and aesthetics of multiscale and multifunctional ecological landscape designs.
- Ability to represent concepts through graphic representations, written and oral presentations.
Last updated: 10 November 2023