Bison Prairie, new directions toward a more holistic approach to zoo design

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Douvris, Constantina
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Zoological gardens have withstood many changes since their beginnings. Today not only do many zoological gardens struggle to maintain a certain level of quality, but they are faced with tightening budgets. In light of these issues the role of the landscape architect has become more important not only as space makers but to integrate new criteria and respond to changing philosophies of zoo design within limited resources. The Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba is presently in its 93rd year of operation. For many years it has been an important source of information and entertainment for people of all ages. The onslaught of new knowledge in the last two decades has brought certain issues to the forefront such as Cultural Enhancement, Landscape Immersion, Habitat Imitation, and Behavior Enhancement. It is time now for the Assiniboine Park Zoo to revisit their mandate and embark on a new era. This study intends to investigate some of these important issues and develop a new site design for the bison enclosure that will serve as a prototype for the redevelopment of the Assiniboine Park Zoo. The Bison Prairie enclosure will encompass a more holistic representation of the natural environment for this animal.