Our point of departure for our talk, Biotopia: towards a biological ideal, yesterday... H. G. Wells making a poignant link given the Utopia theme of the London Design Biennale 2016 celebrates the 500th anniversary of Thomas Moore's work of the same name, which in turn inspired H. G. Wells to write A Modern Utopia, which inspired by Darwin's On the Origin of Species, related to the various biodesign research and practice projects of the all-woman panel [Claudia Pasquero of ecoLogicStudio, Emma Flynn of AStudio, and myself] being explored during the discussion.
Please join Bionic City in declaring your support for Greater London National City Park!
What's the big idea? In the campaign's own words:
"Let’s make London the world’s first National Park City. A city where people and nature are better connected. A city that is rich with wildlife and every child benefits from exploring, playing and learning outdoors. A city where we all enjoy high-quality green spaces, the air is clean to breathe, it’s a pleasure to swim in its rivers and green homes are affordable. Together we can make London a greener, healthier and fairer place to live. Together we can make London a National Park City... More than 80% of the UK’s population live in towns and cities. These urban areas now cover 7% of the UK and 10% of England. Think of urban landscapes and what comes to mind are industrial sites, houses, roads and rail lines. But in reality it is a richly woven tapestry of greens and blues made up of gardens, rivers, parks, woodland, nature reserves, canals, meadows, woodland, allotments, streams and lakes."
Today sees the initiative launch a crowdfunding campaign with The New Civic on Indiegogo. Funds raised will create a "huge, beautiful fold-out map of London's amazing outdoors, produced affordably for everyone." Your help would be much appreciated in making the joint, non-profit campaign a success!
Make your declaration of support here: http://www.nationalparkcity.london/organisation_support
Support the Indiegogo campaign here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mapping-the-london-national-park-city-nature-education#/
Join ecoLogic Studio's Claudia Pasquero [The Bartlett], bioartist Heather Barnett [Central Saint Martins], AStudio's Emma Flynn [UCL], design history researcher Dr. Paddy O' Shea [Kingston University] and I, as we explore 'Biotopia: towards a biological ideal' at Somerset House on September 24th 2016, 18:00 - 19:00, as part of the official programme of the London Design Biennale.
Read more at: http://www.londondesignbiennale.com/node/150
Many thanks to the inspirational Darran Anderson, author of the 'Financial Times Best Books of 2015' listed Imaginary Cities, for his thought-provoking questions in this interview with Human Spaces.
"Darran: We tend to focus on the macrocosm of the city but you’ve shown there’s much to learn from the microcosm: crystals, cells, flora and fauna, metabolic processes and so on. Have we been dwelling too much on the shell of architecture at the expense of the biology, chemistry and physics of the city?
Melissa: My experience of most late 20th and early 21st century built city architectures has been that of a crescendo of materialism, and of all that it constitutes; ego, inequality, division, ostentatiousness, and superficiality. However, that which has manifested is by no means for want of original architectural ideas, inventiveness, and ambition. There are plenty of wonderfully inspired and experimental projects at the intersection of science, arts and humanities, and slowly, but surely we’re seeing a progression towards more interdisciplinary design thinking and practice.
Darran: Part of the problem, your work suggests, is that we tend to resort to limiting binaries – the man-made and the organic, the city and the country etc – and miss the interconnected and inter-dependent processes between all these things. Do we forget that the city is an environment or even a series of environments?
Melissa: Are humans really so different from animals? For example, our closest living relatives – chimps – are highly territorial, so much so as to have been observed beating their neighbours to death in turf wars. Arguably, our behaviour is akin to that of chimps, for what are cities, if not demarcations of boundaries? But, like those of chimps, the boundaries we draw are not just culturally specific, but they are species specific. I think it imperative that all they as are stakeholders in our cities remember this, and no less so than architects, planners, policymakers, and financiers."
Read more at:
Join me and the team from Interface at their Manchester showroom on October 11th 2016, where we'll be exploring 'Bioaesthetics: Biology's Visual Narrative', as part of the Green Week programme.
Find our more about Interface's collaborations with biothinkers at :
Renewing cities: Building environments for new generations is the main theme of the 4th edition of Architecture Conference & Expo. The event, which takes place on October 6th 2016 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, will explore the impact of technology in architecture, public transportation, green buildings, security by design, and cultural/residential/urban spaces.
I'm delighted to be joining speakers from across Europe, including David Cash, Chairman of BDP and Professor Irena Bauman of Sheffield University.
In addition to the conference and expo, the event sees the culmination of a national architecture competition, of which the winners will be selected by jury members including myself, during an evening gala ceremony.
I expand upon the above, and discuss a few of themes that l will present in the keynote, including bioarchitectural futures and Bionic City, in an interview with Ordinul Arhitecților din România [Order of Architects of Romania].
Read the interview at:
Read more at: http://architectureconf.ro/
Melissa Sterry, design scientist, systems theorist, futurologist, cross disciplinary designer developing Bionic City® & PhD Researcher.
Asking the question "how would nature design a city" since 2010.
© Melissa Sterry 2016 All Rights Reserved