Conventional parks require extensive maintenance and resources such as potable water, energy and labour to stay “green” and “neat.” These responses are being challenged by climate change which is making Melbourne’s climate drier and hotter. Urban ecology, particularly the self-organizing assemblages of novel ecologies that can respond to climate change, offer a paradigm shift in “greening” public space. However, the messy appearance of novel ecosystems can hinder the broader appreciation and understanding of them by the public, particularly in cities where order is preferred over chaos.
Using pattern as a design method for conveying meaning and order, this project explores the value of novel ecologies in developing a new open space for Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market. The patterns are derived from the relationship between the forces that influence the site and various vegetation communities. The design’s complexity and richness come from the layered influence of wind, aspect, water and human disturbance, explored through the computational. An alternative maintenance regime of mowed paths is introduced to provide a direct indication of care and order. These design interventions allow for sophisticated speculation and the manipulation of ecological succession processes, and demonstrate alternative ways for designers to manage novel ecologies.