Last Friday marked our first “Bioblitz” in Bangalore, made possible in collaboration with our friends and colleagues at the Jana Urban Space Foundation.  Using the iNaturalist platform as a tool, this was a collective exercise in citizen science in which participants were challenged to geotag and photograph as much urban flora as possible in a defined area and timeframe.  

Taskertown, a bustling district of Bangalore’s central “Cantonment” zone served as our focus area.  This area is already well known for its comparatively dense tree cover and lined boulevards, but our eyes were fixed downward to track the more spontaneous and subliminal signs of biodiversity lurking in the cracks, lots and planters.  

Teams spread out to cover Russel Market, Infantry road and Bowring road. Working together we logged 71 observations in just over an hour.  This included ornamental escapees such as Boatlily (Tradescantia spathacea), common ruderal species such as Peepal Tree (Ficus religiosa), and even the colorful Marvel of Peru (Mirabilis jalapa) emerging from rubble heap near a local construction site.

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Will be working to identify and organize our findings in the coming days, and the project will continue to grow on it’s dedicated project page: Urban Meadows of Bangalore.  We hope this will be the first of many more urban Bioblitzes to come.  Future efforts may include more targeted spatial and botanical agendas such as focusing on the distribution of specific species, or tracking patterns of emergence within specific urban conditions or materials.  As with Commonstudio’s parallel project, the Global Urbarium, these efforts are intended to contribute to a growing body of research which is uncovering the many ways spontaneous urban plants actively contribute to urban experience and biodiversity in our cities.

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