Collaborations Design Residency

Biodiversity Walks with Trajna & Debra Solomon

A Walking Residency* embarks on a two-week hiking tour across Ljubljana’s urban(ized) greens. This research collaboration between Trajna’s eco-social designers and multispecies urbanist Debra Solomon aims to delineate a green corridor, a connective pathway facilitating wildlife migration throughout the city.

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About

2-16 Apr 2024 | Ljubljana, Slovenia | MAO & Center ROG
9 Apr at 17.00: Artist talk & public walk, location: Krater feral ecosystem (entrance from Peričeva street)

Mentors: Debra Solomon (NL), Trajna
Crafting Biodiversity is a research project aimed at positioning craft as a reparatory land practice. Inspired by ecological corridors, the project focuses on designing techniques, tools, communication strategies, and spatial interventions to reduce land fragmentation and enhance the connectivity of urban biodiversity while advocating for the rights of all species to a healthy environment. The project is part of the MADE IN Platform for Contemporary Craft and Design commissioned by the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana & Center Rog.

Biodiversity Walks embark on a two-week hiking tour across Ljubljana’s urban(ized) greens. This collaborative research project between Trajna’s eco-social designers and multispecies urbanist Debra Solomon aims to delineate a green corridor, a connective pathway facilitating wildlife migration throughout the city. Commencing at Krater’s feral ecosystem and finishing at one of the city’s urban forests, eight exploratory walks running from dawn till dusk are planned together with the participation of transdisciplinary experts—biologists, ecologists, city planners, and landscape architects—to engage in diverse spatial readings, ranging from species dynamics to urban planning and administration. The walking practice employs Solomon’s Radical Observation methodology, which embraces the articulation of a diverse array of site readings and fosters ecosystem stewardship amongst groups with diverse ontologies. Meandering through neighborhoods, streets, and forgotten corners, the urban expedition will provide an opportunity to take note of and document the missing connections between human and non-human urban life. It will help grow our understanding of the best ways to foster the cultivation of a robust ecological network of urban greens that sustains biodiversity on the ground, avoiding simplistic solutions such as tree planting or the implementation of green roofs.

The Biodiversity Walks are a form of bottom-up diplomacy, an advocacy approach of the Krater collective rooted in Anna Tsing’s concept of slow disturbance. Through convivial events and settings, such as walking tours or tea ceremonies, creative practitioners, decision-makers and experts from various fields are invited to cross-pollinate their knowledge and to think together how best to co-design cities that prioritize multispecies justice and well-being.

About Debra Solomon

Debra Solomon (NL) is an artist and infrastructure activist with over 25 years of experience in public space. Her work merges art, infrastructure activism, and social sciences, focusing on biodiversity, climate crisis, and the multispecies right to the city and subsequent right to the urban metabolism. In 2019, Solomon coined the term multispecies urbanism and showcased the concept in the Dutch Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennial. Currently pursuing a PhD in Urban Planning at the University of Amsterdam, Solomon is also the founder of Urbaniahoeve – Social Design Lab for Urban Agriculture. Since 2010, Urbaniahoeve has been involved in critical spatial practices centered on interspecies care relations and biodiversity production. Urbaniahoeve’s current project is the 56-hectare Amsterdam Zuidoost Urban Food Forest, (called VBAZO) in Amsterdam Zuidoost. VBAZO is produced by the Urbaniahoeve collective (Debra Solomon and Renate Nollen) with local human and more-than-human communities.

About Trajna

Trajna, founded by Gaja Mežnarić Osole and Andrej Koruza, is a cultural association dedicated to cultivating and grounding innovative cultural strategies that encourage literacy in biodiversity and action among creative communities, decision-makers, and cultural and educational institutions. The organization has pioneered strategies for managing invasive species, engaging the City of Ljubljana in creating new circular economies and pioneering the Notweed paper brand, which utilizes cellulose from invasive plants for paper production. In 2020, Trajna initiated the Creative Laboratory Krater to care for and repair an 18,000m2 pioneering ecosystem that emerged out of a former construction site and facilitates (trans)local collaborations for eco-social practitioners. Within Krater, Trajna focuses on projects that intertwine regenerative material cultures, spatial and cultural politics, and pedagogical work, collaborating with the wider Krater collective, which includes architect Danica Sretenović, microbiologist Primož Turnšek, ecologist Sebastjan Kovač, designer Rok Oblak, and the multispecies community on the site. Krater was a finalist at the New European Bauhaus Prizes in 2022 and received the prestigious Plečnik Award for architecture in 2023.