The Pollinator Pathway Design Criteria


The Pollinator Pathway is a challenge to connect the globe’s fragmented landscapes, which helps to offset the lack of biodiversity found in large-scale agriculture and suburban sprawl. More broadly, it is about a shift in environmental narrative—a recognition that to imagine the future we want, we need to dream and design bigger.

What defines a Pollinator Pathway? Pathways vs Pockets

The enthusiasm for this project includes people with a broad range of experiences and resources – from professionals like landscape architects, developers, and botanists, who are representing companies or non-profits, to neighborhood organizers or individual homeowners. However, there is confusion around what constitutes a pathway versus a pocket.

A Pollinator Pathway

drawing2 A Pathway is the goal. It provides connection by connecting two fragmented green spaces. Examples of Pollinator Pathways are connecting one park to another park, or a regional network connecting significant parkland.

A Pollinator Pocket

drawing1 A Pollinator Pocket is not a pathway, but it can serve as an anchor point for one. It supports pollinating insects without being connected to another green space—such as a yard, a planting strip, a series of yards on a block, or a city park.

Requirements for a Pollinator Pathway

Here are some basic criteria for developing a Pollinator Pathway:
  1. Connect Landscape

    The first definition of a Pollinator Pathway is that it connect two green spaces. This is easier to do if you’re a utility corridor, and much harder to do if you’re a homeowner gathering a network.
  2. Partner and Collaborate Across Fields

    Solving big problems requires collaboration. For every project, a partnership between ecologists and designers is essential.
  3. Maintain High Standards of Civic Design

    Design is important – especially in human-dominated landscapes. A Pollinator Pathway’s emphasis on native plants means they require extra planning to ensure lasting design.
  4. Meet Ecological Standards

    All new projects use very high minimum percentages of native plants, are hardy/drought tolerant, meet pollinator requirements, and are pesticide free.
  5. Don’t Displace Density

    In an urban context, a Pollinator Pathway is about not displacing urban density. This means using Transfer of Development, or, at minimum, only using underused space.
  6. Have Long-Term Maintenance Plans

    You are building a system for other species. A Pollinator Pathway must be cared for, for the long haul.


We’ve created a starter design kit for organizations to use in designing a Pollinator Pathway. You can download that here.