Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Natural History of an Urban Wasteland: Hornsby Bend

The Natural History of an Urban Wasteland: Hornsby Bend
Urban wastelands in American cities are rarely included in “open space” or “green” maps of the urban landscape. In America, urbanization is portrayed as destroying nature and biodiversity, and urban wastelands are considered degraded and disreputable habitat. In contrast, many European cities actively promote urban wastelands as sites of biodiversity and natural history study, and the EU has policies supporting protection of these “new wilderness” habitats. This talk will explore scientific and cultural attitudes towards the natural (and unnatural) history of urban wastelands, and I will focus on the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant as a case study. In the 1950s, the City of Austin built the sewage ponds at Hornsby Bend and over the decades expanded the site to 1200-acres that is, also, home to a sewage farm, composting area, and old gravel pits. Rather than reduced biodiversity, Hornsby Bend has become noted for biodiversity, ecological research, and nature tourism. Join us as we explore the scientific and cultural complexity of urban wasteland natural history.

Join me today November 20, 2012 Tuesday – NOON to 1pm AT CITY HALL Boards and Commissions Room 1101, Austin, Texas