Wk 4- Cities and Bio-centric design.

Today was presentation day. From the observations we made last week of the natural and human processes and interactions between the city and the Moreton Bay Figs, we developed an ecological map to explore the relationships between the species and its physical environment. By visually representing these interactions, we were able to project all the interacting elements as actors in a system. The ecological mapping we conducted in our groups gave a voice to the Moreton Figs overtime, inspired by Van Dooren’s poetic exposure of the pain of the vultures. From observing the changing forces of urban development, we were able to represent the Figs with an unyielding personality, able to withstand and remain resilient. This activity helped me see that nature is doing its part. Now it is our responsibility to change the way we interact with them, and listen to others, beyond our own needs.

 

From Sheppard and Lynn’s reading on ‘Cities,’ the lack of understanding of cosmopolis in designing cities has created a distinction and rift between the urban and the natural. But in practice and in theory, this dichotomous relationship has an inherent notion of continuity and coexistence between ‘wilderness’ and ‘civilisation.’ However, in our Anthropocentric age, Cosmopolitanism is largely understood as a modern appreciation for diversity and the ‘other’. It was challenging to understand that this celebration suggests an inherent and “unavoidable relationship between humans and responsibility towards animals, and the rest of nature.” Hence why, current strategies for sustainability of cities strive to rearrange cities so the natural and urban “interpenetrate via corridors that promote the health of native plants and wildlife, domestic pets and people” alike. There are research groups, often interdisciplinary in practice that demonstrate how this coexistence can be achieved.

 

There are ways that we can do so through design practice and framework that already exist. ‘Mapping Edges’ as a trandisciplinary research group rely heavily on permaculture to achieve their intentions. I have always perceived permaculture as a method to achieve sustainable and holistic possibilities for the future of small scale communities where individuals wish to be self-reliant and self-sustainable. Though I never realised how real and possible this concept is until I conducted further research. It is almost hard to visualise it as it is so close to the ‘Heaven’ vision of futuring. A seamless co-existence of natural and human in a mutually benefitting system of sustenance and resilience! Stemming off the title given to the project ‘Mapping Edges,’ I connected that to principle 11 of the Permaculture Principles, ‘Use edges and value the marginal.’ This principle aim to extend the notion that “don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path.” There are ways to transform the ‘urban edge’ by playing on the boundaries that hold the potential for transformation and innovation. Inter-disciplinary thinking is a concept that crosses over boundaries and edges. Similarly, by going beyond the well-defined boundaries of current frameworks and disciplines, designers can build upon frameworks such as Permaculture to develop unique solutions centered on bio-centric design grounded on ecological concepts that demonstrate sustained resilience and innovation.

 


 

Sheppard, E. & Lynn, W.S, 2004, ‘Cities’, in N. Thrift (ed.), Patterned ground: Entanglements of nature and culture, Reaktion Books, London.

 

Vanni Accarigi, I & Crosby, A. 2018, UTS, ‘Mapping Edges <http://www.mappingedges.org > accessed 10 April 2018

 

Permafund, 2017, ‘Permaculture Principples’ <https://permacultureprinciples.com/principles/_11/> accessed 11 April 2018

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