2012 - 2013: The Imaginarium of Urban Ecologies
CJ Lim, Bernd Felsinger
‘Cities are vulnerable in that they are immobile. As
such, the historic sense of place, and rootedness of residents are critical
attributes of cites. These strengths of place can, however, become liabilities
if the local ecosystems are unable to adapt to the climate-induced changes.
Climate change poses serious threats to life, and entire urban systems.’
—The World Bank, ‘Cities and Climate Change’, 2010
The British Beekeepers Association has warned that the honeybee could disappear from Britain by 2018. Monoculture agriculture, the heavy use of pesticides, and plant growth regulators, alongside climate change has increased the mortality rate of bee colonies at an alarming speed. The disappearance of bees threatens global agriculture and our food supply. The city and the hive, two complex systems, are under risk. Some believe that for humans to survive, we need a re-equilibrated ecosystem where we commit to coexisting with nature.
The pigeon towers of Isfahan represent one of the most remarkable examples of eccentricity in Persian architecture and an unusual exemplar of mutual interest between humans and nature. The useful but unromantic purpose of the towers was to collect pigeon manure, a substance that had organically sustained the orchards and gardens in the surrounding plains during the 16th century. Agriculture in the fertile but nitrogen-lacking Isfahan plains was largely supported in this manner, fuelling large melon crop production in the region.
The floating, walking and flying propositions of Buckminster Fuller, Archigram, the Metabolists et al have all but floated, walked or flown away in recent times. Despite the marked shift, we encourage visionary propositions of architecture and the city, and the realization of fictional speculations for a re-equilibrated real world ecosystem. Speculative propositions question the way we experience and engage with our urban environment. It is vital to fundamentally re-think how cities work in a symbiotic relationship between man and nature. Project 1 ‘What if…’ speculates on alternative realities to re-evaluate the city from nature’s point of view and investigate the possibilities of how nature can be a sustainable resource for the city. Project 2 ‘The City’ is informed by earlier individual studies to establish core interests and should form the basis of the final complex narrative and program.