Ecological Design

My very first explorations of this topic occurred during my B.Sc., when I examined hiding cover in Microtus townsendii under the supervision of Dr. Alton Harvested at Simon Fraser University. During the same degree my special studies course was with Dr. Birute Galdikas where my topic was the design of environments for displaced orangutans. My next degree, an M.Sc. in Animal Behaviour at Western University was under the supervision of Dr. Miles Keenleyside where I worked on mate choice in Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum. As my interest in animal behaviour grew, so did my interest in the way non-human animals would fit into our ever-changing world. What of their spaces? Their needs? Their culture? My M.L.A. thesis in Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph focussed on the design of optimal environments for displaced species and asked a very simple question: How do we take in situ information about an animal and translate these requirements in the design of spaces to which an animal might be displaced? The result was an A-A-C or “Animal-as-Client” model. The thesis received Distinction from the University upon presentation and submission. A Ph.D. at the same University allowed me to dig deeper and more broadly and I worked in Mozambique on the sustainable integration of human and non-human animal communities using the life history traits of the Olive-headed Weaver (a bird, Ploceus olivaceiceps) as a focal species.

My professional designation as a practicing Landscape Architect also focussed on design relating to non-human animals and habitat design – though I have designed my fair share of parks, green roofs, plazas, streetscapes and residential gardens.

My time teaching and researching as a University Professor also allowed me to investigate the design of artificial snake dens and to teach ecology and design, primarily to graduate level students. Now retired, I still consult on special projects of interest – primarily in the area of habitat design and naturalization using landscape ecological theory. Oh, and when time permits I take paint to canvas, clay to hand or create art installations that ask us to ponder the natural world. Images below are from select project.

African Savannah Project, Marshall Macklin Monaghan, 1993-1996, Cheetah Habitat, Metro Toronto Zoo, National Award of Merit 2000 (CSLA),
The Design of an Artificial Snake Den, 2003, for Manitoba Conservation, CSLA Regional Award of Merit
Therapeutic Landscape (PTSD), 2008, NYC.
Queens West, Habitat Mitigation, 2009, ABB, NYC.
Park Design, 2012, “Giant Blades of Grass’ fence, Schollen & Company,