Generation after generation, us as human beings progress into a world which is more populated, more urbanized and with lesser green and untouched spaces. This urbanized context creates many problems and disadvantages including an impact where the environment and the quality of life is effected because in cities the pollution is greater due to traffic and congestion of vehicles. Also it exceeds the natural capacity to absorb wastes which harms health, and also have a huge impact on the infrastructure since there is overpopulation.
It creates a hot and humid environment because everyone would be centralized in a specific region which would let less movable air pass through the city.
In addition, there would be less arable land because people will be reducing the amount of open land for buildings and urbanization thus keeping small lands for agriculture which in return would be using a lot of fertilizers thus decreasing the quality of agricultural land. Ecological Urbanism has been found as a solution in these cases where many cities and designers have been using it as a refugee for sustaining their cities and providing many solutions which would help humanity escape this chaos.
What is Ecological Urbanism? What is the role of landscape infrastructure in ecological urbanism and what have been there methods of implementation recently? Are there new methods in landscape architecture which would help ecological urbanism reach its goals?
The idea of an ecological urbanization emerged more than 2000 years ago when the Greek physician and philosopher Hippocrates stated the importance and effects of the natural elements like water and air in relation with human health in their own communities.
Proceeding this Roman architect Vitruvius stated that a city should be planned on scales based on seasonal changes which have a direct relation to the sun and wind. Moving forward to Leon Battista alberty who was a famous architect in the mid-15th century evolved these recommendations and stated that cities should design their streets, building patterns, and urban context given in relation to its biological environment so that it would be a more efficient, safer and sustainable area. Moving on from that Anne Whiston Spirn stated that our future and livelihood is based on how us as human beings advance in changing and adapting ourselves in new life-sustaining ways which take into considerations the factor of air water and earth in order to help the environment around us.
Written and discussed by in stated the importance of landscape ecology in order to improve and advance in ecological urbanization. It is stated that it was once not taken into consideration, however with many research and progression with time, nowadays landscape ecology and infrastructure is regarded by many as a core and of high importance in urban planning in order to reach an ecological urbanization in which it is self-sufficient, sustainable, effective, safe to the environment, and cares about the human health and the biodiversity in this given city or context or urban area. Nowadays people are starting to take into consideration the effectiveness of ecological urbanization and how landscape infrastructure and landscape ecology have a great role and importance in reaching ecological urbanization in terms of sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency.
Ecological Urbanism is a method which derives from ecology which inspires architects and designers to design in a way which is more sensitive and more socially inclusive to its given context and environment. Ecological urbanism is more in a way an evolution of landscape urbanism. Landscape Urbanism is usually a method or design pattern in urban planning which considers that the best way to organize a city is through the city’s landscapes. However Ecological Urbanism has a more holistic approach to its design and urban planning. It is essential that us as human beings start adapting ourselves and also our settlements and design them in a way which is more life sustaining and also acknowledge more connections to earth, water, air and the surrounding environment. Our environment must be more functional, more sustainable, and also more meaningful.
Ecological Urbanism has a large role in reaching this specific role. For it basically transforms and promotes the design of cities and planning in a way of adaptation and having a link to its ecology. It also studies the relationship in a given environment between the living organisms present and how they interact and live with the surrounding environment. Also ecological urbanism has a huge study and gives a large importance to a cities climate, its hydrology, its history which is also very important and provides a description of the culture present in this environment. Ecological Urbanism is not a design or concept which is recently new, it has been grounded by a series of tradition based in history. It is a very crucial concept and is critical in a city’s design and later on development. Ecological Urbanism provides a series of solution for challenges which threatens humanity future like global warming, rising energy demands, decreasing oil in the world and also rising sea levels.
Ecological Urbanism functions and proceeds on five given urban principles the first being “Cities are ecosystems”. In this sense an ecosystem is simply the interaction in a given area between a biotic complex and also a physical complex. Basically a city is considered an ecosystem by virtue because of its interacting physical and biological complexes. These organisms include people, as well as light, temperature, soil, water and many more. People and individuals are considered to be organized in the ecosystem in terms of households, markets, businesses, neighborhood and communities and as well as different kinds of associations. In addition, the physical complex of a city not only includes the natural elements of animal populations and unmaintained vegetation, it also includes streets, roads and buildings, covered soils, and many other paved surfaces.
Secondly,” cities are heterogeneous” where viewed from far are depicted as a rough terrain with a green background. It has been adopted that heterogeneity in contemporary ecology is very important and its main pillar in research. Basically cities are heterogeneous due to the dimensions and distribution of specific building parcels and streets and neighborhood on a given heterogeneous scale. Thirdly, “Cities are Dynamic”. Within the city there is a constant change within built structures, roads, open spaces, as well as surfaces. These changes are due to many factors one of them being vegetation succession, where there is a tendency of plants to grow and become dominant in these specific areas changes and shapes the texture of the city with time. Another change is due to the cities maintenance and how it deals with the vegetation within each neighborhood. All these changes are also bound to change with time, where the users of the land could change due to migration and also due to aging of individuals and citizens.
Fourthly, “Human and natural processes interact”. It is necessary to know that within cities there are interactions between humans and natural processes whether being seasonal changes from summer to winter or whether being disastrous natural processes like earthquakes and floods. Lastly, “Ecological Processes Remain Important in Cities”. It has been found the many ecologists and architects tend to forget the importance of ecology in their cities, however nowadays there is a large awareness of the importance of ecology and agriculture, biodiversity, and also storm water management in services related to ecological urbanism. In addition, Urban landscapes are considered very important in providing ecological services in which their concepts and approaches help us understand how the city works and functions