Urban Refuge: How Cities Can Help Rebuild Declining Bee Populations

Urban Refuge: How Cities Can Help Rebuild Declining Bee Populations

With bees threatened by habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change, researchers are finding that planting flower patches in urban gardens and green spaces can help restore these essential pollinators. The results are already being seen in cities from Chicago to London to Melbourne.

Lurie Garden in Chicago has become an important home for bees and other pollinators. Jo ana Kubiak / Lurie Garden

By Janet Marinelli 

The billowing stainless steel forms of Frank Gehry’s Pritzker bandshell seem to float up from behind the 3.5-acre Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, backed by Chicago’s celebrated skyline. Another landmark in a city long a laboratory for innovation in architecture and landscaping, the garden has been called a “model of responsible horticulture.” Masses of flowering perennials and grasses are a striking counterpoint to the surrounding walls of concrete and glass. Perhaps most unexpected, at a place that sits atop a 4,000-vehicle underground parking garage and railroad depot in the inner city, are the bees that flit from flower to flower…