Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Green Engines

I stumbled upon the site for Green Engines, a project of StudioMEB, which is a "... research platform that explores the potentialities of productive landscapes to generate a self-sustainable territory." I was immediately struck by their notion of productive landscapes and the focus of the research on landscape urbanism principles.

The interest in defining productive landscapes has grown (pun emphasized) and focused on agriculture - a reframing of the notion of 'productivity' in this context is of vital importance to a discussion of sustainability and ecological urbanism. The integration of a wider ideology of productivity (beyond mere economics) is at the root of these explorations. In the philosophy on the site, the concept involves a number of key features, which are summarized below:

:: belongs to a cultural construction, which adapts to the cultural landscape and the local environment
must be multifunctional within an integrated system of different actors involved in the same space
:: takes into account social participation
values the phenomenological qualities of the space
:: considers new models of mobility

:: image via Green Engines

The above fits a methodology that focuses on the central tenets of landscape urbanism, eschewing the static object oriented approach and involving a multi-disciplinary approach that looks at flexibility vs. determinacy in resulting form:

"The environment is not an object that can be designed, but a complex system of elements that create a network of interactions between them. The aim of the research of each case study is not to reach a predictable urban form or planning prototype. A new alternative future for the territory is based on planning strategies that take into account flexible dynamics, scenario thinking and processes over time, which relate with changes and re-adaptation. The selection of a specific scenario reflects choices and processes, among the possible options (policies, planning decisions, hypothetical events and plots) which generate the complexity of a new landscape for the future."
As a mode of operation, the team uses case studies with a specific approach that includes analysis, strategy, tactics, and actions. By incorporating a wide view of investigations, incorporating time as a critical factor, and interactions between elements as critical factors, providing a good methodology for landscape urbanism theory in practice by reinforcing their notion that. "landscape urbanism anticipates strategic scenarios and operational logics through a wide range of scale."

:: image via Green Engines

As a follow-up to their 2009 Workshop in Barcelona in the city of there is an upcoming workshop in Covilhã studying the rural-urban interface within the lens of productive landscape. Look forward to seeing more work from this group.

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