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Re: [arcology] Frugality ERRATUM

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  • Franz Nahrada
    ... Biotopes are, in ecological terms, finite systems of landscape, climate, and societies of animals, plants etc. which can be described in relation to the
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 26, 2003
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      Randall Hunt writes:
      >>Humans finally can aply the laws of nature by building augmented
      >Perhaps I've been out of the loop. I guess "biotope" means "life-place"?
      >Augmented how?

      "Biotopes" are, in ecological terms, finite systems of landscape, climate,
      and societies of animals, plants etc. which can be described in relation
      to the "natural" properties of a species. It is close to the term
      "ecosystem", but applied to places where a species lives.

      Thus, (traditional, not deep) ecology often ends up in the ideological
      construction of a natural state of things from which human activities
      should possibly refrain to protect natures diversity. Humans with their
      potential of adapting environments to their owns needs are regarded a
      disturbing factor vis a vis biotopes.

      This ideological construction has not much practical value. Humans by
      their very "nature" are anticipating beings who change environments
      actively. As well as most likely nature is a process which is progressing
      dynamically, evolutionary. Traditional Ecology has therefore more the
      character of a political justification than of rational foundation of
      human activity. Nevertheless it has made us aware of the incredible
      interrelatedness of processes in natural systems - especially when we
      think we can change a part and are confronted with reactions of the whole.

      By talking of "Augmented Biotopes" I refer to the enormous balance-seeking
      qualities of natural systems; I am advocating that human activity should
      be increasingly considered "managing a system" than "fighting and
      overcoming nature".

      Permaculture for me is a fine, but very limited way of making this
      transition. We are using very little effort by letting hundreds of
      processes work together. The Permaculturalist farmer needs not a large
      machine - parc to seed, prepare the soil, protect the plants, fertilize,
      harvest etc. Most of these tasks are done by nature itself - in a way
      humans can make enormous use of, but cannot directly control. Yet this
      process works without technology and has intrinsic limits.

      By embedding "teleological" qualities into our technology (creating
      organisms), we are, like Kevin Kelly argues, making the transition to a
      "neo-biological civilisation". We might end up with finding ourselves the
      initiators of a balance-seeking process which is too complex to be
      directly controled.
      "The aggregate capacity of millions of "biological machines" may someday
      match our own skill of innovation. Ours may always be a flashy type of
      creativity, but there is something to be said for a slow, wide creativity
      of many dim parts working ceaselessly."

      The result could be disaster, the result could be "augmented biotopes".
      In any case, the interaction of our own creations with the creative
      potential of biological processes leads to a whole new arena of
      possibilities in the construction of living environments.
      >>They are not mere species, but the engineers of the planet. But with
      >>capabilities growing, their mindset has to change.
      >Of course you mean WE, not they.

      Of course.
      >>The idea of self-contained frugality is outdated. Frugality in the sense
      >>of turning cities and villages into meta-plants and building augmented
      >>bioshperes with open communication to each other is the requirement of
      >>the moment.
      >You're starting to lose me, Franz. Meta-plants? And are you suggesting
      >open communication doesn't currently exist between what we have in place
      >"augmented biospheres" (namely, cities)?


      "Meta Plants" was my thought at my first excursion to Arcosanti when I was
      reminded by a speech how the city as an Arcology would react as a living
      organism, harvests the sun, opens on warmth, closes on heat, to all the
      wonderful things I learned about plant behaviour in biology. And by
      studying plant behaviour in its seemless integration with the outside
      world, I was impressed about the long way we have to go in construction
      and technolöogy to rech similar perfection in our Habitat.

      I think, sometimes the big is really the repetition of the small in
      another dimension. And biology is full of the most elegant examples how we
      can solve physical problems and constraints in baeuty and with the lowest
      possible effort.

      The communication between cities as well as the communication between
      cities and their environment is far from that effortlessness.
      >>In this , and only in this sense, Bioshere2 was a dialectical answer to
      >Arcology (if not Arcosanti itself) proposes to demonstrate a more
      >ecologically coherent urban form; Biosphere intended to demonstrate an
      >ability to recreate a whole ecosystem. Where is the dialectic?

      The most ecologically coherent form is an ecosystem.
      Biosphere tried to create a closed ecosystem. This is, as theoretical
      biology (Prigosine) argues, equal to gradual death. This is why I am
      talking of arcology (in coherence with the greenhouses, the fishtanks, the
      hydrocultures, the reactors and all that beautiful stuff that maybe John
      Todd would build into an arcology) as a model of a relatively closed
      (complexity - miniaturisation -. duration) ecosystem which nevertheless is
      open to use the wind, the sun and the earth like a plant.

      Arcology is not yet fully conceptualised as an ecosystem, although there
      are elements within. But the last 30 years have seen so much progress in
      the gradual beginning of system thoughts that I would like to see arcology
      as a movement react on this.

    • Randall Hunt
      ... You can say that again. Yet, I d rather hear you describe your physical conceptualization of arcology.
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 1, 2004
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        >The result could be disaster, the result could be "augmented biotopes".

        You can say that again.

        Yet, I'd rather hear you describe your physical conceptualization of arcology.
      • Franz Nahrada
        Randall Hunt ... Thank you, Randall, for that question. I am not an architect, so I have no drawings, but for me there is some very
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 4, 2004
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          Randall Hunt <randhunt@...>
          >>The result could be disaster, the result could be "augmented biotopes".
          >You can say that again.
          >Yet, I'd rather hear you describe your physical conceptualization of
          Thank you, Randall, for that question.

          I am not an architect, so I have no drawings, but for me there is some
          very clear points of description:

          let me put in a quick mental image for you and anybody who is interested:

          1. Small Arcologies of <2000 are not exceptions, but a widespread
          phenomenon. They are nested in the natural which they are part of. There
          is, in a deeper sense, not a pure natural sphere. Human activities and
          nature are intertwined. There is historical examples for that, mainly in
          Europe: cultural landscape, with varying degrees of intensity of land use.

          2. Shape of Arcology is always in dialogue with the shape and character of
          landscape. But also in intense cohesion with the natural qualities of
          climate, snow, ice, rain, floods. Mini-Arcology or Village Arcology is a
          landship, protecting against forces of nature, at the same time giving
          access and allowing dialogue with nature.

          3. Flow of man and material: Also Village Arcologies are mostly situated
          alongside mass transportation lines.

          4. The hilltown as ideal form: As Justus Dahinden and Richard Lewine have
          conceptualised, the urban hill is the most humane form of living.
          Everybody is entitled to a view, a breathe, a small garden ten by ten
          yards ten steps from the bed. The surface of Vilage Arcology is the
          natural extension of the surface of the planet. The stomach of Village
          Arcology holds the rest. Italian hilltowns and greek mountain villages are
          great examples of surface management. Everything, including public -
          private schemes, rain treatment, climatisation in micro - atria etc. The
          human habitat is the skin, the skin is the center, but the skin is also
          able to close and protect itself.

          5. concentric circles: The village Arcology might be surrounded by a
          suburban and farm-garden-hydroculture-ring, but this is limited in size
          due to accessibility. Local choice of lifestyles is possible. It is
          mandatory also that a short walk leads the individual to encounter with
          nature beyond deep social influence.

          6. Dissipation and osmosis: the size of Village Arcology is determined by
          the optimum relation between production and reproduction, breathing in and
          breathing out, fulfilling a partial role in a larger ecosystem. Village
          Arcology is bioregional. Purification of water, food production, leisure,
          sports, growing of raw material: lots of things happen outside village
          arcologies. Forests are essential for the planatary climate balance.
          Village Arcologies are guarding forests. Maybe the Pawlonia trees around
          Arcosanti are a harbinger of that future.

          7. Global spere: The "inner sun" of the arcology is not only provided by
          local residents and travelling artists. Cyberspace means the constant
          presence of the global virtual human metropolis in the "stomach" of the
          Village Arcologies. Caves, virtual reality theatres, holographic study
          rooms, supported by lightwells. They serve purposes of education,
          entertainment, research, production, design, develoipment.

          8. Cultural diversity. There is not one musical instrument for all human
          cultures. There are many cultural ways incompatioble with each other. A
          village Arcology might be a matter of choice of core values, which also
          want to be acted out physically. The swiss writer P.M. has conceptualised
          that as a multitude of "bolos", according to various "nimas". If we look
          at Las Vegas, we see a perverted form of this "theme" aspect of building
          in its gigantic hotels. So Village Arcologies can be unlike each other
          simply by "theme". One theme might be "classic", another might be
          "modern". One might be "natural, down to earth", another might be
          "decadent and laissez faire". I personally like to share my Village
          Arcology with bookmaniacs, and we want to share the largest library room
          after the library of congress as the centerpiece of our arcology. Is there
          anybody out there who wants to share that dream?

          These are some essentials. I have not touched automation, circular
          material fows within the Village Arcology, the structure of production and
          many others. Nevertheless I find the eight points a pretty comprehensive

          Thank you Randall, for giving me the incentive to write them down for the
          first time. I would be very glad if this could be continued in some work
          space and if some people interested would join. I have had a tremendous
          good conversation with Jeff Buderer on these issues and I would like a
          Wiki to hold an expanding and intensifying collective imagination
          alongside these lines.

          Franz nahrada

        • Franz Nahrada
          ... well that might be still too much to ask. but...spacious ;-) Franz
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 5, 2004
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            arcology@yahoogroups.com writes:
            >we want to share the largest library room
            >after the library of congress as the centerpiece of our arcology.

            well that might be still too much to ask. but...spacious ;-)
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