There’s no option B(ee)
An innovative design approach is connecting Aucklanders to nature’s pollinators in a way that benefits community and the environment
Presently, there is no machine, technology or device that can cross-pollinate crops to the same efficiency that our species of pollinators can.
In 2015, the Waitemata Local Board approved funding for stage one of a pollinator path to be installed in Grey Lynn. The vision of the path was to attract and safeguard pollinators in Grey Lynn and ultimately increase the production of Auckland’s urban food network.
Since then, the Local Board and Auckland Council have invested in the parks’ extension. Soon, Aucklanders can experience a fully formed path between Grey Lynn Park and Coxs Bay Reserve.
Landscape Architect, Andrea Reid, has been working on Pollinator Paths since early 2014. It started as a University study for her final year of a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree. In 2018 Andrea introduced the concept to the wider WSP Landscape and Urban Design team - now Pollinator Paths has grown into a fully-fledged movement within the business, with a team dedicated to working on the expansion of the project.
“Our primary objective was to increase the productivity of New Zealand’s crucial pollinators to support food security and to combat biodiversity loss.
. However, countless studies have proven health and societal benefits of green space in today’s cities. We hope that by encouraging more green space - particularly in Auckland’s more urbanised catchments - will provide a surplus of benefits for both people, place and the environment.” Says Andrea.
A place for people and pollinators
The park runs adjacent a new walking and cycling corridor. The proposed planting programme will enhance the ecological connections between the two parks
Working directly with key stakeholders of the park allowed for a greater end-result. Andrea and her team engaged with stakeholders regularly; seeking feedback for design while answering questions and concerns from the wider community.
“Our team worked directly with the key stakeholders of the park, including local residents and community groups that helped install and look after the park. We had over 100 volunteers working together to install the park, this helped give them a sense of ownership of their local assets, many continuing to assist with ongoing maintenance of the park over time." Says Andrea.
The Grey Lynn to Coxs Bay pathway is just the first of many Pollinator Paths and green space options that our team are working on. WSP’s team of landscape architects, urban designers, city planners and environmental specialists are connecting with councils and city planners across New Zealand, providing the technical knowledge and creative skills to implement functional, interesting, and scenic green spaces that can be enjoyed by all.
“We have a massive opportunity in New Zealand towns and cities to include more green infrastructure – that’s not as easy to do in other places in the world. With more thoughtful management of amenity green space and the installation of more urban greening features such as green roofs or living walls, we can create ecological networks at a finer grain throughout the city.” Says Andrea.
Why pollinators matters
In the next thirty years, our urban population and infrastructure will double in size. A key concern is the impact urbanisation will have on New Zealand’s precious habitats and native species.
The increase of impervious surfaces which is inherent in a continually developing city like Auckland has had strong impact on our wider ecological systems; reducing connections and biodiversity. In other words, we are replacing green space with more concrete and asphalt and destroying natural habitats.
Amongst the species that are under threat are the key contributors to New Zealand’s abundant food source, pollinators.
Pollinators are fundamental species in terms of maintaining the food chain in our ecosystem. Bees, pollinate one-third of our food supply and one-third of the feed for our meat sources nationwide. For New Zealand’s typical western diet- that’s about one of every third bite of food.
Today’s pollinators are facing severe habitat loss. Plus, climate change is impacting pollinator activity windows by altering foraging periods and their behaviours.