High Rise Animalia


A new project posted on the BBC yesterday caught our eye. The project proposes to install  a handful (the numbers are a bit unclear) of animal “high-rise” buildings along an old industrial canal in Leeds. The chap behind the project, 26-year-old Neil Oxlee, suggests that his “man-made trees” will provide habitats for bats, birds, butterflies, insects and even foxes. In short, acting like small eco-attractors for many other species. We love the idea, but there are a few obvious and some less obvious issues here.

The first, as an astute reader of the BBC noted on their own is: why not just plant trees? Sure there would be a time lag, but the cost would be much much lower and in fact the time it would take the tree may in fact step right in line with the time it takes a falcon to reclaim old territory. Plus there are all those added nutrients that come with a tree — rotting leaves and mulch and the like.

Secondly, and we shouldn’t be too hard on Oxlee, is that we would hope that an understanding of the eco-system around him would produce a form, or strategy a bit more complex than vertical moss-covered towers. We fully understand that ecological forces are somewhat blind to form (i.e. a fox cares very little about a cubic, or spherical house) but this, we believe is the challenge at hand. Keep up the good work Mr. Oxlee and let’s start to get the animal experts and biologists on call.

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