Processing Nature, Beyond the Antinomy of Ecological Pretence in Contemporary Planning. A Critical Understanding Urban Ecosystems, the Epitome of Liveable Cities | VITTORIA MENCARINI, LORENZO TINTI

Processing Nature, Beyond the Antinomy of Ecological Pretence in Contemporary Planning. A Critical Understanding Urban Ecosystems, the Epitome of Liveable Cities | VITTORIA MENCARINI, LORENZO TINTI

150 150 admin

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.


Publisher: Polis_press

Reference List
Ahern, J. (2005). Theories, Methods & Strategies for Sustainable Landscape Planning. In: Tress, B., Tress, G., Fry, G., Opdam, P. (eds.) From landscape research to landscape planning: Aspects of integration, education and application. Springer, pp.119-131;

Ahern, J. (2005). Urban landscape sustainability and resilience: the promise and challenges of integrating ecology with urban planning and design. Landscape Ecology, 27(6);

Belanger, P. (2014). Ecology 5.0. In: Ibanez, D., Katsikis, N. (eds.) New Geographies – Grounding Metabolism (6). Harvard University Press;

Capra, F. (1996). The Web of Life: A New Understanding of Living Systems. New York: Anchor Books;

Ellis, E. C. (2014). Ecologies of the Anthropocene: Global Upscaling of Social-Ecological Infrastructures. In D.I. Katsikis (Ed.). New Geographies - Grounding Metabolism (6), 20-27. Harvard University Press;

Ellis, E. C. (2018). Anthropocene - A very short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press;

Farina, A. (2005). Cognitive landscape and information: new perspectives to investi¬gate the ecological complexity. Biosystems, 79(1-3), 235-240;

Forman, R. T. (2008). Ecology and Planning Beyond the city. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Forman, R. T., & Godron, M. (1986). Landscape ecology. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons;

Furia, P. (2020). Connections Between Geography and Aesthetics. Aesthetica, 114, 35-48;

Goudie, A. (2013). The Human Impact on the Natural Environment. UK: Wiley-Blackwell;

Gunderson, L. H., & Holling, C. S. (2002). Panarchy: understanding transformations in human and natural systems. Washington D.C.: Island Press;
Hobbs, R. J. (2006). Novel Ecosystems: theoretical and management aspects of the new ecological world order. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 15, 1-7;

Holling, C. S. (1973). Resilience and stability of ecological. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics (4);

Lister, N. M., Reed, C. (2014). Ecology and Design: parallel Genealogies. Places journal, accessed 3 Jul 2021.

McHargh, I. (1969). Design with Nature. Garden City. N.Y.: Natural History Press.

Naveh, Z. (1995). Interactions of landscape and cultures. Landscape and Urban Planning, 32(1), 43-54;

Naveh, Z. (2000). The Total Human Ecosystem: Integrating Ecology and economics. BioScienze, 50(4), 357-361;

Odum, H. T. (1973). Energy, Ecology and Economics. Ambio, 2(6), Energy in Society: A Special Issue, 220-227;

Pizzo, B. (2008). Landscape and complexity between theories and practices. Ri-Vista ricerche per la progettazione del paesaggio, 25-32;

Schefer, M., Carpenter, S. R., Foley, J. A., Folke, C., & Walker, B. (2001)