A Critical Understanding Urban Ecosystems, the Epitome of Liveable Cities
Author: Vittoria Mencarini, Lorenzo Tinti
Affiliation: University of Ferrara – Department of Architecture, Italy
In the still dominant perception of a hierarchical order of nature, humans are disturbing ecosystems factors. We should move away from the one-dimensional dichotomy between natural and human interaction towards a more effective representation without nostalgia. The contact between human and natural habitats is close to the idea of maintaining and conserving a certain state of equilibrium, instead of letting natural habitats evolve into new ecosystems. In other words, energy management and the capacity of a system to self-organize (autopoiesis) defnes the difference between human and natural habitats. Where this capacity is not limited, a natural habitat is present. Contemporary landscapes (tourist coasts, reclaimed land, etc.) demonstrate this thesis by highlighting how human intervention is an indispensable factor in their maintenance. It is necessary to provide precise and sophisticated tools capable of synthesizing agents and forces within territorial transformations starting from a global understanding of natural processes. Ecological dynamics must be transformed into project parameters involved within design process. Here a further degree of integration is suggested above the level of simple natural ecosystems, where human is assumed as a key factor in landscape transformation and geography construction. Considering other paradigms that interfere with the same epistemological area, the contribution questions the theoretical and practical implications of rethinking the interaction between natural and artifcial ecosystems within the framework of landscape resilience. This perspective allows a territorial update by increasing the level of compatibility between the evolution of human habitat and the maintenance of natural regeneration times. This articulation, however, requires a reconsideration of landscape aesthetics beyond the beautiful and the consolatory, as well as a fundamental shift in landscape thinking from representation to action.
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