Novel ecologies are indicative of the Anthropocene. The city as a site of ongoing fragmentation, construction and maintenance of infrastructure becomes increasingly hostile to preexisting ecologies in a notion of disturbance, or trauma. In a process of urban regeneration, ecological succession gives way to the emergence of disturbance-adapted, early-successional species, part and parcel of novel ecologies.
As a last resistance against the smooth city, novel ecologies occur within sites of most and least convenience. In the context of urban planning, nature (or a perversion of) is reintroduced to the city in the form of control: the tree is rendered as an element and object, their highly-regulated infrastructures delineating clearly the extent of its space. In the same motion of the hand, nature in the residual form of novel ecologies is neutralized on-site.
The problem is not one of lack of knowledge, but of the conditions of existence. Breaking down the infrastructures of intolerance, notions of dominance and control fall away to make space for urban coexistence. Through practices of mapping and speculation, sites of novel ecologies are given a platform to negotiate between human and non-human entities in a co-creation of urban space.
From beyond the human, novel ecologies call into crisis the right to the city in its anthropocentric agenda. The city as site of constant negotiation and interspecific co-production of space redefines the role of the political, especially as relevant to urban theory. Public space takes on the quality of constant change, negating notions of hierarchy and control. From this urban space, the process of regeneration inherent to novel ecologies becomes a mode of speculative and spatial production: a design for the post-Anthropocene.
Workshops given at the International Event "Archipelago: Architectures for the Multiverse" from 5 to 7 May 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.
To understand the city as a fabric of ecologies, we turn to what is out of sight, hard to conceive and hidden underneath the pavement. In a transect from the HEAD to the HEPIA, we walk through the urban landscape, interacting with sites where human and non-human infrastructures intersect; this might be at the scale of moss between stones, or a tree uprooting the pavement. We work intimately with these sites to develop an understanding (an ecological literacy, perhaps) of the complex interdependencies between human and non-human entities. The transect will be encountered with analog media as means of visual representation, for you to add on layers of your experiences and understanding. Here, the Anthropocene is no longer to be handled as an abstract concept, or a series of effects exclusive to landscapes of extraction and exploitation, but as present in the very fabric of the city.
Talk given at the Eco-Social Design Conference "Care Beyond Crisis" on 17 December 2020 at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy.
In the format of a short talk, the idea of speculative urban ecologies as relational expands towards a notion of care. Tolerance is proposed as an alternative practice of urbanism, where the interspecific co-production of space manifests its relevance for a planet in crisis.
Exhibition and walks held from 27 September to 4 October 2020 at the Vienna Design Week in association with the AA nanotourism Visting School.
The team worked with locals – urbanists, arborists, politicians, biologists – to manifest the discourse on spontaneous vegetation into an interdisciplinary fabric. As a prototype of interaction, walks were held to trace the site-specific narratives on found growth.
Workshop attended from 11 to 27 September 2020 in the context of the AA nanotourism Visiting School in Vienna, Austria.
The design question of nature in the city opens up to a theoretical discourse on the abundance of growth not found in the registry. Findings in the initial area of research in Meidling redefine the terms of “nature” and “city”.
The Botanical City
Matthew Gandy, Sandra Jasper
Atmosphere Anatomies Silvia Benedito
Anna L. Tsing et al.
Are We Human?
Beatriz Colomina, Mark Wigley
Writings: Rethinking Man-made Environments
“This Is Not My Beautiful Biosphere”
Designs for the Pluriverse
Architectural Ecologies Lab
Mohsen Mostafavi, Gareth Doherty
Chris Reed, Nina-Marie Lister
Bending the River Back Into the City
Angelika Fitz, Elke Krasny
Paola Antonelli, Ala Tannir
Bruno Latour, Peter Weibel
The Things Around Us
Canadian Centre for Architecture
“Toward an Urban Landscape”
Landscape as Urbanism
Down to Earth
The Mushroom at the End of the World
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
The Word for World is Forest
Ursula K. Le Guin
INFORMATIONCurrently looking at urban ecologies:
Emma Kaufmann LaDuc (US)
Lauro Nächt (AT)
Aurora Zordan (IT)