Urban Resilience § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM
This article illustrates why an Intro to Ecology class should be a requirement for all Landscape Architecture students. We are positioning ourselves to be the purveyors of sustainable communities, yet from my experience most of us have little understanding of the ‘complex adaptive systems’ in which we tinker. Like rain gardens – stormwater is a problem and our solution is to slow it down by mimicking nature with pits of flood tolerant plants. Thats absurd, you cant copy a forest with condos and a vegetated swale. Or what about the consequences of urban densification? It sounds like a great solution to the suburban problem – everybody walks to work, gets healthy, and uses less energy. But what are the unpredictable consequences. What happens to the suburban void left behind? Do bunnies and bluebirds move in to the super-center parking lot? Unlikely. If we understand ecology we know that when a void appears in the wake of sudden change, like a forest fire, a frenzy of colonization ensues. What do you expect will colonize cheap land at the urban edge? My guess would be cheap housing, disposable office buildings, etc. So while were designing downtown utopias, what do we design for suburbia? I’m glad to see these people are rising to the challenge, its just unfortunate that their method still qualifies as novel. Its up to our generation of designers to make it common.
MERGING COMPLEX SYSTEMS SCIENCE AND ECOLOGY, RESILIENCE SCIENTISTS HAVE BROKEN NEW GROUND ON UNDERSTANDING—AND PRESERVING—NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS. NOW, AS MORE AND MORE PEOPLE MOVE INTO URBAN HUBS, THEY ARE BRINGING THIS NOVEL SCIENCE TO THE CITY.