What is Urban Ecology?

Sometimes as architects/designers we need to relinquish control. Design processes are much more enriched or complex when the process is evolutionary. The path taken is more in-deterministic but playful and exploratory.1 It is the co-existence of the instinctive natural schemes with the more regulated human design works that constitute Urban Ecology.

For a machine to provide the best output, all of its cogs however small in terms of hierarchy need to function well. What we as human beings/designers/urbanists probably overlook are the inherent systems/logic that exist in our environments. With times passing the built framework is becoming more and more inadaptable with nature. Probably what one needs to do is to look back and learn from examples of Vernacular architecture (which actually still exists in some parts of the world.) It scores every time as it is simple and indigenous. Presently there is a need to be less stressful on natural resources and that can happen when our designs coordinate with ecology. The key word to remember is to connect and still retain distinct identities.

How does one engage in a more ecological way with the environment? Maybe this is how one starts with the solutions. At an individual level it does not hurt to be aware of eco-friendly methods in daily life. At a community level, I think the more we think in terms of reclaiming our green and water resources, the nearer we are towards reaching our goals. To add on Peter Berg’s ideas of ‘re inhabiting’ landscapes talks about using spaces in an indigenous way.

Maybe going back to the vernacular is one of the solutions. The traditional old spaces were more vibrant and compelling places and broke the monotonous order of the city.

  1. Dawkins,Richard. The Blind Watchmaker. New York: Norton, 1986. Print.
  2. Paul F. Downton, 2009. Ecopolis: Architecture and Cities for a changing climate (Springer Science & Business Media) – Chapter 4.2 Process People-Understanding the Nature of Cities (pg. 121)

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