The Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio rutulus) has found a home on San Francisco’s Market Street, living a complete life cycle in the London Plane trees that line the busy thoroughfare. The canyon of tall buildings lined with trees resembles the butterfly’s natural habitat – river canyons. When the city proposed a redesign for Market Street, the plan involved removing many of these trees. The Tigers on Market Street project was born to tell the story of this butterfly and its habitat. In 2013, the Tigers on Market Street project was invited by the City of San Francisco to participate in the redesign process, and to experiment with the design of San Francisco’s civic spine.
This project engages the public in this unique butterfly phenomenon, creates methods for creative interactions, and connects people to wildlife in one of the densest urban areas. Some of our plans include planting butterfly nectar planters in sun-filled plazas and intersections; and to illuminate this natural phenomenon and comment on the intersection between urban design and ecological systems, we plan to lead public walks, bioblitzes, and demonstrations.