anne poggenpohl
Design & environmental sciences

Urban Wilderness

Reimagining the concept of »urban nature«:
Ecological restoration through a new process of urbanization

Political Ecology & Urban Design

The 2016 United Nations (UN) Habitat III Conference recently declared urbanization as »one of the 21st century’s most transformative trends«. The current condition of “planetary urbanization” unequivocally reveals a multi-faceted ecological crisis in the form of climate change, soil degradation, deforestation and widespread loss of »wilderness« and accordingly habitat loss and extensive declines in wildlife populations.

A departure from the current mode of urbanization (with the aforementioned issues in mind) leads to a new process; one which seeks to stimulate an ecological recovery (both in urban and rural areas) and embody the right to the city. The human-centered design perspective is extended by giving nature an equal voice in the democratic urban process. Nature is not understood as a “disinterested third party”; nature is ‘us’ and is thus reinstituted into the politics of city design, governance and the production of urban space. Guided by a set of principles, and the reinstitution of nature by lending it a voice, a snapshot design of ‘how a city could look and feel like’ is presented. The design of a prototype gives a concrete vision that forms a basis of discussion.

Urbanization will inevitably have an enormous impact in the twenty-first century; however, the ways in which we define, construct and carry-out the process of urbanization, are entirely open. The process of urbanization that we collectively choose can be reframed. By presenting a reimagined vision of ‘urban nature’ we aim to foster discussion, debate and a fundamental re-thinking of what cities are, and what they could be. Our process and prototype show that a new kind of city is possible — already today.

For more information on the voices speaking for nature, the design process and the interdisciplinary nature of the team, please visit:
For the conference presentation and paper, please get in touch.with me. We would happy to send it to you.

with Stephen Leitheiser, Ella Schabrahm, Louis Schreel, Maria de Villafranca
supervised by Dr. Follmann

semester project at University of Cologne, 2016/17

10th »Sustainable Approaches for Health and Environment«

Diving into the Actor-Network Theory by Latour inspired me on how to rethinking current design processes. I lead the design process, introduced methods and vizualised ideas. I was co-author and co-presenter.

Urban Issues and Development
Urban Issues and Development
Urban Wilderness
Urban Wilderness
Urban Wilderness