Every discipline has the responsibility to constantly create its own conditions of progress-its own instabilities-and today it is valuable to recognize that we have a unique opportunity to reconsider the core of the disciplines that help us think about the phenomenon of the urban: urban planning and design. The prevailing conventions of design practice have demonstrated a limited capacity both to respond to the scale of the ecological crisis and to adapt their established ways of thinking. In this context, ecological urbanism can be seen as a means of providing a set of sensibilities and practices that can help enhance our approaches to urban development. This is not to imply that ecological urbanism is a totally new and singular mode of design practice.
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Disagreement First, it should be able to provide a set of sensibilities and practices that enhance urban development, establish a cross-disciplinary and collaborative approach such that urbanism could be developed through ecology; and existing urban conditions could be retrofitted and be utilized for future planning. The former one try to combine programmatic instability with architectural specificity, which eventually generate an urban landscape, this is an ecological urbanism about interactions and superimposition through an artificial landscape.
While the latter one is all about separation and anti-urbanity through equal and disperse distribution of land to individuals. From these three examples, you can see how diverse the end result of ecological urbanism could be, driven by personal subjective bias and preference. Secondly, a multi-scalar design strategy should be established which means the scope of design should cover both small architecture and large urban planning.
The adaptive urbanism suggested by Andrea Branzi points out that the design should be reversibly evolving and provisory, it should be able to respond to changing needs of society. This is visualized in New Orleans regional planning where lefts over areas are intertwined with space of leisure, residential areas and working spaces.
Mohsen first started with listing the negative impacts of an automobile-based city, complaining about the general lack of investment in public regional infrastructure in the states comparing to that in European countries. He thinks that density is an essential element for a modern city. However, his latter quote of Los Angeles: The architecture of Four ecologies by Reyner Banham, who considers LA, a horizontally expanded metropolis as a place of impermanence, mobility and fantasy.
And he also mentioned the Greater Paris vision by French President Nicolas Sarkozy who suggested merging the city centre with suburbs with an automated rail system. In the world of ecological urbanism, new and unconventional ways that are not simply a copy of past successful examples are preferred.
Imagination is an important element for this. Instead of implementing laws to control waste production and energy consumption, why not just dump a huge pile of garbage in the middle of the city centre to remind people of their excessive exploitation of natural resources and destruction of the nature? If we do not confront ourselves and deal with reality both literally and metaphorically, current problems will not be solved fundamentally.
Therefore, solutions for ecological urbanism should not be bounded by architecture or urban planning ; it could be of any form in any fields you could think of as long as they have influence in shaping the city.
This stress on locality is echoed by the extraterritorial urbanism mentioned by Mohsen. It is about a bottom-up urbanism, which is exempted from conventional legal and regulatory framework to produce ingenious and creative solutions to improve urban life.
On the other hand, Gregory Bateson, suggested the economy of flexibility, which focuses on ideas systems and actions. By the analogy of a tight rope walker, this flexibility means an adaptive shift from one condition of instability to another, such that this ability become a reflex through repeated use which could be visualized in the social housing project in South Paris by Jean Renaudie in s.
It creates a new lifestyle by the flexibility and diversity of indoor-outdoor relationships through a design of a complicated geometric pattern. This flexibility is somehow interrelated with the last quality Mohsen covered — openness for disagreement. Chantal Mouffe clarified the difference between political and politics when it comes to the issue of conflicting relations. She refers political as a dimension of antagonism, which constitute to human societies while politics is a set of rigid practices or institutions, which order is created and people need to live within that framework.
This means that instead of avoiding conflicts, we should indeed utilize the energy and new points of departure from disagreements constructively to create a more diverse and adaptable society. Though there are a few criticisms about ecological urbanism, like the high cost of executing, ambiguity in its definitions etc… With the above framewor, hopefully, we would be able to engender greater opportunities for social and spatial democracy, politically and ethically and aesthetically, through unpredictable methods and cooperation among different fields, and eventually move towards a more pleasurable future.
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Moshen Mostafaavi: Ecological Urbanism
Mohsen Mostafavi, Gareth Doherty eds. Ecological Urbanism While climate change, sustainable architecture and green technologies have become increasingly topical issues, concerns regarding the sustainability of the city are rarely addressed. The premise of Ecological Urbanism is that an ecological approach is urgently needed both as a remedial device for the contemporary city and an organizing principle for new cities. Ecological Urbanism, now in an updated edition with over forty new projects, considers the city using multiple instruments and with a worldview that is fluid in scale and disciplinary focus. Design provides the synthetic key to connecting ecology with an urbanism that is not in contradiction with its environment. The book brings together practitioners, theorists, economists, engineers, artists, policymakers, scientists and public health specialists, with the goal of providing a multilayered, diverse and nuanced understanding of ecological urbanism and how it might evolve in the future.