Micropatches | an Ecology of Space

Aqualta by Studio Linfors
The cities of today have adopted a rather constructed space interpretation. It is filled with function and defined by a hierarchically organised activity scheme trained to fit the exercises ration. It works pretty well and most have managed to adapt to this interpretation, leaving only some baffled out unable to offer adaption possibilities.
As dpr-barcelona have beautifully illustrated in their most recent contribution to the Ecologycal Urbanism discussion in the post ‘Zoom in, zoom out. Focusing our cities under a microscope’ how aspects of scale play an essential role in the interplay between the different elements shaping space, moreover scale plays an other important role in actually understanding this interconnectedness between the different aspects. This relationship between scale and understanding, resolution and knowledge has powerful potential to illustrate the conduit an Ecological Urbanism potentially could develop.


Zoom in, zoom out Focusing our cities under a microscope

Caption from Polarizing, Petrographic, Geological

In 1977 Charles and Ray Eames [1] created a simple and evocative film called Powers Of 10  where they show exponentially a series of zooms starting from a couple lying placidly on a picnic. With this format, premonitory of current Google Earth, this film shows graphically our relative position into a number of systems and subsystems that are organized in a way that we are still trying to understand. At scale 10 (5) m it is difficult to differentiate the city from the natural space surrounding it. Travelling from the macro cosmos to the microcosm help us to discover our real position into this series of systems.

From the project Powers of Ten. Source: Powers of Ten

After this exercise of scale we can make another one, based on time, and observe Earth’s history in cycles or epochs. Then we can notice on the contingency of our presence into the planet. It is too presumptuous to believe that the main purpose of materials and energy is to sustain our existence. Slavoj Zizek's questions about this topic in his text Censorship Today  [Violence, or Ecology as a New Opium for the Masses] saying: "No longer can we rely on the safeguarding role of the limited scope of our acts: it no longer holds that, whatever we do, history will go on”. Humanity and its achievements are nothing more than one element in the current cycle of Earth’s history. Only at this scale we can perceive ourselves as organisms which interact in a series of systems that we call cities. These systems need a set of inputs for their livelihood, and his influence goes beyond their physical limits.

An example of these hidden connections is the case of soybean, mainly produced at South America [Argentina, Paraguay] but mainly consumed in China. Olmo Calvo Rodríguez, SUB photojournalist says

“In Paraguay there are more than 2,600,000 soy planted hectares  -double than 2001 - and last year produced 3.8 million tonnes. Most of which is genetically modified. In addition to the expulsion of peasants, the products used for fumigation are considered highly dangerous toxic.”

Soybean crop in Paraguay. Source: Nuestra Mirada

We had mentioned before that there are some disciplines that could help us in understanding the behaviour, connections and limits of our systems, and there are new evidences supporting these approaches. Under a thermodynamic approach to our cities, we would realize how smart it would be to rethink our patterns of growth. Understanding that our presence in the world had a beginning and will eventually have an end, and that’s just part of a cycle.

In his book “The End of History” [1992], Francis Fukuyama [2] writes about the ethical and social implications of new techno-scientific developments (e.g. bio-genetics). Fukuyama states "History should be viewed as an evolutionary process”.  Zizek prevents on Ecology as a New Opium for the Masses concluding with the unbelievable proposal of a German ecological scientist back in 1970s: “since nature is changing constantly and the conditions on Earth will render the survival of humanity impossible in a couple of centuries, the collective goal of humanity should be not to adapt itself to nature, but to intervene into the Earth ecology even more forcefully with the aim to freeze the Earth's change, so that its ecology will remain basically the same, thus enabling humanity's survival” [3].  Even appearing “green” and politically correct, today we can discover the same message hidden in scientific efforts and creative marketing strategies of most corporations specially those related to energy and mobility.

Cargill, one of the larger producers of ethanol and biodiesel. Source: 10 of Cargill's Next-Gen Biofuel Bets

After this exercise of auto-situation and as a balance to so outlandish proposals as the last mentioned, it seems an intelligent option to see the relationship of our cities with the environment, such as organisms and the biosphere that sustains them. Under this metabolic approach it’s easier to perceive our contingency and accept the challenge of decolonizing our ideas from the idealization of growth and progress, allowing us to adapt or revert our growing rhythm in a way similar to this described by Ivan Illich while referring to the wisdom of snail:

“The snail constructs the delicate architecture of its shell by adding ever increasing spirals one after the other, but then it abruptly stops and winds back in the reverse direction. In fact, just one additional larger spiral would make the shell sixteen times bigger. Instead of being beneficial, it would overload the snail. Any increase in the snail’s productivity would only be used to offset the difficulties created by the enlargement of the shell beyond its preordained limits. Once the limit to increasing spiral size has been reached, the problems of excessive growth multiply exponentially, while the snail’ s biological capability, in the best of cases, can only show linear growth and increase arithmetically”.

If instead of actively seek technological efficiency that allows us to maintain the level of energy and resources (call it growth or sustainable development), and ultimately creates better products for everyone... but also better wastes; we empower other connections between body [men] and systems [cities], based on the exchange of relational goods, labor support and network assets and the creation of open source systems that allow the appropriation and adaptation to the specific reality where they are applied.

Images from Water Installation by Gilles Revell

Maybe this thermodynamic understanding of our cities may help us to transform our transition through Earth’s cycles in a seed for new systems that we can’t begin to imagine. These emergent systems would mutate and adapt, nurtured by the inorganic DNA that we leave in our cities.

It’s year 3ϕ at Andrómeda V galaxy, after zooming his microscope to 10 (5) m Professor Charles Eames try to register the final adaptation of the technical devices implanted to the organism located in the Milky Way zone. Professor Eames has to mark the conclusion of his observations on the evolution of the “blue” cyborg system placed at the outer limits of this zone...he has to choose into these two options:
  • The artificial systems implanted grew until collapse
  • They stop their growing, adapt and revert until final accomplishment with the natural basis where they where implanted.
Image from Snow Pictures

Ethel Baraona Pohl + César Reyes | dpr-barcelona

[1] Charles and Ray Eames web-site
[2] Francis Fukuyama at the wikipedia
[3] Censorship Today [Violence, or Ecology as a New Opium for the Masses], Slavoj Žižek


Connectivity and Sustainability in 21st Century Cities

A guest post by Duncan Smith, contributing to the second Ecological Urbanism discussion hosted byAnnick Labeca, Taneha Bacchin, DPR-Barcelona and urbanTick.

Connectivity and Sustainability in 21st Century Cities
Transportation is only one domain of urban sustainability, yet it is a critical aspect as connectivity is (arguably) the fundamental social and economic purpose of cities. Furthermore transportation has widespread consequences for urban quality of life, and of course for energy use and carbon emissions. This discussion is a reflection on a talk given by Prof Michael Wegener at CASA UCL.
The history of urbanism is one of massively increasing mobility, both within urban regions and between them in terms of travel, trade and globalisation. The graph below illustrates the dramatic change in vehicle miles over the last fifty years in the UK. This has been enabled by greatly reduced costs of motoring, through unprecedented fossil fuel exploitation and growth in the global car industry. Yet this change is fundamentally a result of social behaviour, that is the desire of people to maximise their opportunities and choice by using increased mobility to live, work, shop and socialise over greater and greater distances.

Figure taken from Department for Transport, 2009b / UK total travel distance by mode 1952-2008.

Duncan Smith is a researcher in GIS and urban geography at CASA UCL, completing a PhD on the topic of polycentric urban form and sustainable development. He also works as a research fellow at the Greater London Authority Economics Unit.


Can Ecological Urbanism be a planning tool for an ecologically sustainable and liveable world?

A guest post by Annick Labeca, contributing to the second Ecological Urbanism discussion hosted by Annick LabecaTaneha Bacchindpr-barcelona and UrbanTick.
Numerous studies have pointed out that massive urbanisations [urban agglomerations and density, industrial processes, urban systems for transport, waste dispersal, heating and cooling] have created global ecological conditions that cities are facing today, and will face in the future. As far as we are challenging critical issues such as global warming [water shortages, climate change, environmental disasters, ozone, sanitation issues, etc.], cities size will pursue their growth if we don’t call for new ways of building cities. If we don’t find any solutions to improve living conditions of population inside and outside cities, not only will it be more and more difficult to live in the cities but also migrations to cities will increase rapidly, with the risk of serving to worsen urbanity. A growing number of research, among others Ecological Urbanism or else OMA’s project Roadmap 2050, Europe,Urban Age/LSE, also younger architectural think tanks such as InfraNet Lab, argue that it is urgent to draw clear objectives which will be to transform the built environment into a more liveable, sustainable, climate-friendly environment with positive outcomes.
The core elements that are derived from these studies can be summarized in one important point: the need for a planning tool that will allow the reinvention of opportunities and mechanisms to build existing cities and future cities. To a large extent, the question, I would like to ask, is whether or not Ecological Urbanism can be this planning tool. My opinion will be that it can, but, if, and only if, it has the capacity to respond to a certain number of criteria that I will expose briefly in this paper. This text will attempt to explain the reason of this urgency. Precisely, it aims at explaining why Ecological Urbanism must be considered as a planning tool, that is to say, as a conduct, a transmitter and a receiver in order to transform cities into sustainable, liveable and accessible [to all] cities. In this context, Ecological Urbanism will not only function as a planning tool, but also as a political and social tool as well as it needs a frame to be operational, that is to say, a global governance.
Even though this paper will only laid down the first guidelines of a discussion on the need for the creation of a global governance for cities, needless to say that without a clear and global governance that will take in charge all the aspects we need for a best living condition, that is to say, an access to the city, an improvement of mobility [which supposes, we will see, an improvement of urban system of transport], and zero carbon emission environment, etc. More than local impacts, this global governance must take in charge cities from North to South, from advanced cities to developing cities with same objectives. Without the setup of this governance as a global scale, our efforts for an improvement of living conditions in cities as well as the transformation into ecologically sustainable cities will fail. What I want to say is that cities need, indeed, a frame that can make the transformation into ecologically sustainable cities easier and accessible to the whole population of the world. It supposes that we change our ways of using urban environment. This is probably [and the Kyoto and Copenhagen Protocols have proved it] the most difficult to do.


Book - Small Scale - from an Ecology of Space

A book review post for the second Ecological Urbanism discussion hosted by Annick Labeca, Taneha Bacchin, DPR-Barcelona and urbanTick.

The expectations on performance of urban spaces is rising. From a purely transitional space it currently is transforming into a multi functional object, serving and delivering on multiple levels. 
The city as it is, crowded, noisy, polluted, littered, congested, in repare or abandoned, is no longer just accepted. Citizens are demanding for their space to perform better and satisfy more divers arising needs. On one hand this is surely due to a rising awareness of these issue, but is on the other hand possibly also down to a very old and very urban laziness and egocentric city view.
The city is perceived as an independent entity and the desire to disconnect it from any place and context is gaining momentum again. The omnipresent news of the growth of cities and the migration of a majority of the population towards the cities of this world is fueling this very same understanding. A certain citizens pride swings in the discussions around the raising problems in urban areas, justifying and reasoning partially the struggle. 
The dependancies of the city on the supporting countryside and the wider context are actively denied, putting the focus on an intercity network. As for example visualised in the recent virgin ads for intercity train connections between London and Manchester. The best way to beat the zombies of the countryside.
Don't go Zombie… Go Virgin Trains, 2010

However there is a rising bottom up initiative to brake up this tendency from within the urban fabric. One could argue it is simply beautification of the available urban space, but for this it is going too deep, expressing a clear direction and a rootedness in the interconnected reading of spaces. 
The city is invaded by nature inspired actions, some simple statements, others as more permanent changes and installations. 
A such a performance was for examples the fox project by artist in the National Gallery in London, as discussed here. The artist let a fox roaming around in the rooms of the Gallery over night. The wild animal can be followed via the CCTV camera system and is seen wandering from room to room, in this rather symbolic performance. 

In a new book published this week by Princeton Architectural Press, this rising practice of small scale spatial interventions is documented with examples from across the globe, providing a good overview of state of the art. It covers a wide range of projects set in very divers contexts and on first sight they seem to be purely spatial performance enhancing interventions, but on further reading a overarching intention to reinterpret the urban space becomes visible. 
The subtitle in this sense is for such a reading of the intentions of the documented projects not very helpful 'Small Scale - Creative Solutions for Better City Living'. It is an understatement we hope. 
The most prestigious of these projects might be the 'High Line' in New York, by James Corner, Field Operations and Dillier Scofidio+Renfro, with an artificial nature very literally growing back through the city and made accessible for the public.
High Line, New York, James Corner/Operations Fields in collaboration with Diller & Scofidio + Renfro, 2009 (© Archland)

Beside these high profile projects the collection contains very beautiful gems perfoming in a very similar sense on smaller scale. Often the intervention is based on the integration of citizens as for example in the project 'Parasol and Light Rooms' in Boston, Massachusetts by DesignLab, or the 'White Limousine Yatai' by Atelier Bow-Wow.
The vision to bring people together and offer numerous possibilities to take over the produced spaces is one of the driving aspects of this 'new' breed of interventions. 
As also for example shown in the project 'Greeting Wall' by Bunch Design in Los Angeles, US. The intention is to highlight overlooked aspects of the urban environment employing short term changes to surprise and interact. 
White Limousine, Atelier Bow Wow, 2003 (© Atelier Bow Wow/Echigo Tsumaari Art Triennale)

Occasionally the interaction is pure motivation as for example in 'White Noise White Light' by Hoeweler + Yoon Architecture installed in Athens, Greece. Pedestrians could walk through a field of fiber-optic stalks with the stalks responding to the presence of people by glowing. 

A step further in spatial interaction and spatial history moves for examples the project 'Making Time Visible' by Schneider Studio as installed in Boston, or 'In Pursuit of Freedom' by Local Projects realised in Brooklyn. Both let the citizen get in touch with the distant past, bost spatially and as narratives. 
Making Time Visible, Schneider Studio, 2002 (© Schneider Studio. Illustration firstly published at Design Boston)

The publication 'Small Scale' is a great collection of urban interventions that propose a very different reading and interpreting of existing urban spaces. These interventions do camouflage themselves as playful offers, but actually are fundamentally revolting against the established performance oriented, established city planning routines. 

The beauty of the publication is that is covers mainly realised projects and not pure proposal dreams, this especially gives hope to it being read as an emerging but lasting trend, hopefully.


Moskow, K., (2010), Small Scale: Creative Solutions for Better City Living, Princeton Architectural Press


Dross and Stim in Hertfordshire

A guest post by Martin Gittins from Kosmograd newsfeed, contributing to the second Ecological Urbanism discussion hosted by Annick Labeca, Taneha Bacchin, DPR-Barcelona and urbanTick.

For a while, I was contemplating buying the Last House in London. It appealed to me, the idea of living at the very edge of the city, as far north as it is possible to go, on the outskirts of High Barnet. But on closer inspection it turns out that it isn't the edge of the city at all. Next to the house is a cemetery, then a paddock and stable, and a little further on 2 golf courses. Then there are a couple of fields before you get to a pub, then the estate of Dyrham Park Country Club (one of a string of large country estates encircling London), then a gypsy encampment, the M25 motorway, and the curious environs of South Mimms, a village consumed by a motorway service station.

Image taken from Google Maps / The area to the north of High Barnet appears to be lush, verdant, sward, but on closer inspection reveals a hidden urbanism.

Martin Gittins writes the Kosmograd newsfeed, a blog largely about architecture, disurbanism and urban identity, viewed primarily through the lens of Soviet Constructivism. Trained as an architect, but now working in the field of interactive design, Martin lives in north London with Ms Kosmograd, 3 children and a collection of bicycles. Martin spends most weekends cycling around Hertfordshire considering the 'problem' of London. Martin also writes occasionally atSuperSpatial.


Techno-friendly or Techno-lazy

A guest post by Luis Suárez, contributing to the second Ecological Urbanism discussion hosted by Annick Labeca, Taneha Bacchin, dpr-barcelona and UrbanTick.


Technology is the wise use and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts systems or methods for our own benefit. Technology is more than cool gadgets it is local ancient knowledge. Since and due to the industrial revolution society started relating technology with the machine and the comfort that this new found technology could bring us. So now we fill our lives with gadgets that will make our lives easier and more pleasant, and in a way they do. We are now more “connected” and “inform” than ever. The question is, if we are using these new technology for our advantage, or, are we becoming numb and lazy.

Our generation has been blessed with great changes. A couple of years ago I had my first encounter with the GPS, my first time driving on the other side of the road was guided by this feminine voice coming from a screen that would tell me were to turn, and what to do. This sensual mechanical voice made my driving experience much easier and safe in London. The best part was that I didn’t had to ask for directions ever again. It took me a couple of days to realize what was happening. Not only I was missing the whole London experience, I had become numb. Completely dependable of my new female friend. I wasn’t thinking anymore when I was behind the wheel, I lost my sense of direction and I was willing to wait for a machine to tell me what to do next.

Luis Suarez from Estudio ArQ was born, in Bogotá, Colombia and graduated from The
University of Florida in design, construction and planning in 2005. He received a master in science of urban design from The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Bioclimatic Architecture from The Isthmus School of Architecture for Latin America and the Caribbean. He is designing and building multiple projects in South and Central America with his established firm, 
Estudio ArQ.


Ecological Urbanism - design explorations through systems mapping

A guest post by Jonathan Kendall, contributing to the second Ecological Urbanism discussion hosted by Annick LabecaTaneha Bacchindpr-barcelona and UrbanTick.

With apologies for the slightly conversational tone, rather than sharing
a fully referenced academic argument I am using this online format as a
vehicle to introduce ideas that are a work in progress. The process of
writing can be a useful mechanism to test and start to structure
previously unfocused notions. I hope that periodic updates to this
narrative can track the process of exploration as the work develops.
I thought it would be useful to set out a series of thoughts in relation
to the issue of ecological urbanism that I hope to explore over the
coming twelve months through the work of MArch Urban Design students at
the Bartlett School of Architecture where I teach (this year in
partnership with Ilario di Carlo). The course, directed by Colin
Fournier, encourages plural definitions of the subject of urban design,
and seeks to develop innovative and exploratory approaches to the future
of the city. Past themes have included extreme urban density and have
been based in world cities including New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
This year's students will be visiting and basing their design proposals
in Istanbul.
The students will be exploring an overall issue of 'sustainability'. One
can debate whether 'ecological urbanism' is a subset of 'sustainability'
or a variant upon it. Our specific approach will be to establish a
conceptual framework of 'networks, loops and hierarchies'. Essentially,
we are seeking to use ideas of urban systems as a mechanism to
understand the complexity of the city, identify defined aspects of
sustainability at a range of scales, and to to establish design
interventions that are tangible and meaningful both experientially and
strategically. This approach is a development of a methodology started
in the previous year (with Yuri Gerrits) where we encouraged readings of
the city through notions of 'Speed' - responding to the dynamic and
kinetic qualities of the urban environment.

In setting our term of reference in relation to networks, loops and
hierarchies, we are challenging the notion of the city as a defined
entity, or indeed as the product of progressively more finite design in
a 'powers of ten' zoom. Instead, we are interested in the idea of the
city as the accumulation of multiple and overlapping systems at a range
of scales, speeds and levels of stability.
A 'systems' approach invites students to analyse the city methodically
and experientially. We are interested not only in dispassionate analysis
but an understanding of the manifestation of a range of forces and
relationships by which it is ordered and the tangible and emotional
reactions this produces.
Given that many of our students arrive with the disciplines of an
architectural training, which prioritises static, building-scale
interventions within a defined context, our initial investigations will
seek to develop a new vocabulary, establish techniques for analysis,
create notations for recording the chosen characteristics, and through
this process identify personal areas of interest for research and

Each student will initially be asked to take a defined issue to explore.
These should not be too burdensome a choice - we are not asking for a
commitment to a year's investigation, but instead we hope to establish a
set of conceptual tools that can be used by the group as a whole. Such
issues might include telecommunications networks, agriculture and food
chains, hydrology systems, ethnic/religious clustering or retail
distribution hierarchies. We are interested in the ecology of the city,
of course, but take a broad definition of 'ecology' to extend beyond the
literally biological to include the social and economic systems by which
urban settlements evolve.

It is critical that the work is propositional, and that such
propositions have a tangible and spatial quality. The danger of
exploring networked relationships that, by definition, are extensive and
complex, is that one is overwhelmed and rendered incapable of
intervention by such complexity. Instead, we hope that a networked
attitude to the city will lead to plural outputs that may be extensive
in scale or achieve constellation qualities through their collective
We will ask that each student defines a critical stance in relation to
sustainability or ecological urbanism. The breadth of the subject and
lack of orthodox definitions is such that diametrically contradictory
solutions may be proposed - extremes of development density being a good
potential example of this. We will not define a site or a quantum of
development; both should be a logical consequence of the students'
personal preoccupations.

It is hard to speculate where this work will lead. Last year's projects
took our theme of Speed and translated this into, to name only a few
examples, the flows of urban water management, the fantasy of
teleportation as a disruptive movement technology and the passages of
nomadic movement of LA's homeless community. Istanbul will be a
fascinating city to use as a base. It exemplifies the layering of
history, sitting as it does at a threshold between continents, a
threshold between the nominally 'developed' and 'undeveloped' world, and
at a threshold between Islamic and Judeo-Christian/secular world. Each
of these sweeping characterisations, part of the social 'ecologies' of
the city, have networked qualities that we look forward to mapping and
using as a basis for design investigations in the months ahead.

Steve Graham, Simon Marvin, Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition, Routledge, 2001
Martin Dodge, Rob Kitchin, Mapping Cyberspace, Routledge, 2000
Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society: Information Age: Economy, Society, and
Culture, Wiley-Blackwell, 2000
Mohsen Mostafavi, Gareth Doherty (coedited by), Ecological Urbanism, Lars Mueller Publishers, 2010
Jared M. Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, Allen Lane, 2005
Philip Brookman (edited by), Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change, Steidl, 2010
Clarrie Wallis, Richard Long: Heaven and Earth, Tate Publishing, 2009


Jonathan Kendall is Partner and Director of Urban Design at Fletcher Priest Architects where he has responsibility for the practice's masterplanning and urban design work. He is an architect by training, registered in the UK and Latvia. He has worked on a number of large scale urban projects including the Stratford City masterplan and the new urban centre of Riga. He was recently invited to act as international juror for Europan 10. For more than ten years, Jonathan has also taught on the MSc/MArch Urban Design programme at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. He has spoken at lectures and conferences around the world and has published articles in a wide range of professional journals.



David Bruce is our fourth contributor. The text below is an abstract of his contribution "Periplastic" which is available on urbanTick. Please click on the link to get access to urbanTick. David Bruce's biography follows this abstract.

A guest post by David Bruce from davidbrucestudios.com, contributing to the second Ecological Urbanism discussion hosted by Annick Labeca, Taneha Bacchin, DPR-Barcelona and urbanTick.
Space is the periplastic medium of the city; forming as necessary to meet the needs of an ever-changing society. Ideas developed by Lefebvre, Gottdiener, Deluze and Bachelard are among those that shape the foundation of contemporary architectural and urban practice. At the height of the urban experiment lie far reaching goals articulated through computational geometries applied to the architectural form. Yet in the wake of these new and engaging visions for the future we remain deeply rooted in existing physical infrastructures and traditional means of engagement. So what does it mean to reconfigure the space of the city in relation to ecological urbanism? And how do everyday citizens, including artists, designers and other professionals, work together to explore new ideas and affect change as we develop the ecological ethos necessary to generate the “new ethic and aesthetic of the urban”?

These are broad questions that require a multidisciplinary approach in order to address complex social, cultural, political and environmental aspects of space in the city. As an artist with an ear to the ground of this discourse I am drawn to spaces where people interact to creatively address these issues. Contemporary artists often work to alter existing infrastructures and create new sites where everyday people engage new ways to view the city. These spaces contribute to the diversification of the everyday experience and in doing so increase the richness of urban environment. 

David Bruce from davidbrucestudios.com is an artist living and working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania while perusing a Masters Degree of Fine Art at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. His current work revolves around changes in environmental perception and behavior in relation to urbanism, network culture and technology. He received his bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning with a minor in ecology from East Carolina University in 2003. Focusing curatorial interests on the intersection of art, architecture, and urbanism he plays an active role as gallery manager for Temple University’s Exhibition and Public Programs department.


Shepherds, Scouts and Experimentation

A guest post by Brett Milligan, contributing to the second Ecological Urbanism discussion hosted by Annick Labeca, Taneha Bacchin, dpr-barcelona and UrbanTick.
Today is Brett Milligan's contribution. To access to his text, please click to the link and you will access directly to DPR which hosts his text.
An abstract of his contribution:

Joseph Beuys’ I Like America and America Likes Me, Manhattan interior, 1974. Artist Joseph Beuys spent three days sequestered in a room with a wild coyote. Props included felt blankets, gloves, a walking stick and copies of the Wall Street Journal.

Brett Milligan is a practitioner, researcher, and educator and in the allied disciplines of landscape architecture and urbanism. He is the principal of the collaborative research practice of FAD free association design as well as a design instructor at The University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts, and formerly The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Brett’s research operates in the shared territories of urbanism, biotic infrastructure, applied ecology, and alternative modes of design practice.


ART & URBANISM (Guest post: Pieter Van der Dorpe (pytr75.Blogspot.com)

A guest post by Pieter van der Dorpe, contributing to the second Ecological Urbanism discussion hosted by Annick LabecaTaneha Bacchindpr-barcelona and UrbanTick.

As author of the PYTR75-blog, I want to focus on the concept of merging art with urbanism. Here are some examples of artists researching and interacting with urban areas, sometimes on an abstract level. They take urbanism and architecture as a starting point for experimentation. The outcome is a diverse ensemble of projects that reflect how artists incorporate the idea of (ecological) urbanism.
Some artists alter the condition of urban places with (temporary) installations. Urban interventions react with the users of public space and are clearly visible in our daily environment.
Other artists use the morphology of the built environment to create a stand-alone artwork, ready to travel the world in museums.

"Truth works within the urban space. He creates installations in places that he picks intuitively. First the idea for the work appears, then later comes the desire to implement and see it in reality. The physical space in which it appears is essential. The work without the place cannot exist. You can’t just simply cut it away and present it on a different background; it sinks deep into the city like a parasite." (Text by Ewa Laczynska-Widz)

Thruth - lodz poland (2007)

Thruth - sanok poland (2007)

Thruth - london england (2008)

"Capacity for (urban eden, human error): the system uses a computer controlled four-axis positioning table to ‘print’ intricate bio-architectural constructions out of live plant cells. Suspended in a clear gel growth medium, these cells continue to divide and flourish, gradually filling in the construction. The algorithmically-generated patterns drawn by the system are based on the Eden growth model and leverage mathematical representations of both urban growth and cellular growth, thereby connecting the concept of city with the concept of the organism." (Text by Allison Kudla)

Allison Kudla (born in 1980)  is interested in using digital media to preserve and discover environments that are in a continual state of flux.

Allison Kudla - capacity for (urban eden, human error)

“Krijn de Koning (born in 1963 in Amsterdam) has build some large works in public environment and deals with the idea of architecture and place. His site-specific interventions change the way that a visitor perceives the place. It turns around, breaks through, and sometimes only points out the elements that condition the visitor on the place that he is in.” (Text by Krijn De Koning)

                                       Krijn De Koning - Blandy Les Tours FR (2008)

Krijn De Koning - Hilversum (1999)

Xing Danwen (°1967 Xi'an, China)  is interested in cultural narratives and the friction created by globalization and the proliferation of new urban constructions. For the project ‘Urban Fiction’ she has photographed actual architectural maquettes of buildings that are being created in China, and has then inserted herself within them, as different "characters". (Text by Rachel Hulin)

Xing Danwen - Urban Fiction, image 0 (2004)

Xing Danwen - Urban Fiction, image 0 (detail) (2004)

Xing Danwen - Urban Fiction, image 17 (2004)

Xing Danwen - Urban Fiction, image 17 (detail) (2004)

Euroland (2000) - 34 photographs of peri-urban landscapes in Europe taken with a 4x5 view camera.
"Crossing the barrier that held it back over the centuries, the city is now spilling outwards, incontinent, beyond walls and ditches. It has reached the countryside, which it now occupies and transforms. The city is spreading out in every direction, with a preference for well-travelled axes and grids. The rounded perimeter of the city limits has been stirred up, and punctured. It now spreads out star-like, its edges uncertain." (Text by Gilles Clément)

Edith Roux - Euroland 26 (2000)

Edith Roux - Euroland 3 (2000)

Edith Roux - Euroland 25 (2000)

"My work is inspired by images of archaeological sites, architectural history, aerial photos and my own explorations through various cities. My strongest influence at the moment is the city where I currently live, Philadelphia, where buildings are in a constant state of construction and destruction. I enjoy seeing the bones of these structures, on top of which strong skin is hung, yet which is so easily torn down again. I see these buildings as surrogates for ourselves, revealing our attempts at order and stability despite, or because of, our very human frailties." (Text by Stephanie Beck)

Stephanie Beck - Harbour (2008)

Stephanie Beck - Pattern Of Place (2007)

Stephanie Beck - Township (2008)

"These images are a response to natural processes and the noticeably unnatural human habitat. They depict the effects of construction and destruction – each image functioning as a visual pause; a contrast in this persistent turbulence." (Text by Nathan Abels)

Nathan Abels - House Train

Nathan Abels - Layout

Nathan Abels - Untitled

(*) For the biography of artists, please click on each name to access to their website

Pieter Van der Dorpe from PYTR75  has (°1975, Belgium) graduated at Sint-Lucas school of Architecture in Ghent in 1999 and participated a postgraduate studie “architectural research”. He was a trainee architect at Sauerbruch-Hutton architekten (Berlin) after which he started his career as a project-architect at Christian Kieckens Architects and In&Out Architecture (Belgium). Currently he is project coördinator for the “Open Tender” architectural competition for the city of Ghent. His distinct interest in art, architecture & photography forms the foundation of his internationally known blog “pytr75.blogspot.com” since 2007. Ruimteruis.blogspot.com is a creative outlet to exhibit his experimental design ideas. The focus lies on form & space, architectural surfaces, light & shadow.

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