So, good news, imaginary readers, the Working Class Hippie is now officially part of the work-force: an Architect/Urban Designer. Na’ ain’ ‘at somefin’! That’s all for the update, here’s something I wrote while reading urban articles at work until I got a task. Might seem a bit redundant, I’m pretty sure I mentioned the idea of humans being just as evolutionary as other species, but with more complexity, so this piece takes on that idea from another perspective.
“The goal should be to use social/ecological dynamics that are flexible for futures we can’t imagine”
– Chris Reed
The past two decades consisted of Urbanism merely trying to integrate new technologies into its “normal/common” form. With these attempts, and the awareness of needing to be more “green” and environmentally friendly, our “growth” has been hindered due to having more to incorporate. We now know that the future of Urbanism is as complex as any living organism, and not as simple as we once believed as we threw concepts from the sky and forced people to follow them; therefore we need a lot of time until all the forces (of the many schools of thought – each with its own set of pros and cons) balance out, to evolve the city into an organism with its own logic and balanced existence within the ecosystem. This will have to be localized for every region in order to be truly balanced in its existence within nature, rather than a set mold of materials and borrowed standards; it would have to start as an adaptation, and must continue to adapt with the rising technologies to perfect itself. The rush to catch up with the other powers is forcing us into pushing through time while leaving many behind who do, in time, pull us back, as they are left in the dark, not knowing where nor why we are going in a certain direction (I would say the increasing cost of gasoline is a good example, despite the lack of follow-up on the public transportation side).
Colonization has failed to understand locality and mutated the existing architecture and urban habits into imported and misunderstood logic; however, with new technological advances, the adaptation is able to continue, since they can be utilized to more intricately adapt, and the technologies to survive with less environmental impact is available for almost every location on earth.
So based on that quote, I would say that nothing is more flexible than evolution/adaptation.
This adaptation would not only be based on natural forces, but ecological forces, including the forces of society and humanity. The organisms (people) that use the space are just as important as the organism (plants,nature, urban fabric) being affected by it. Natural selection would even be the elimination of that which does not allow our survival, such as bad architecture, poor planning, and technologies that hurt the environment; this already happens naturally within society, with those who threaten the well-being of mankind being shunned away in prisons to preserve the survivability of the species. In a way, all of mankind’s history has been a natural adaptation (leading to an evolution), as every change in the past was in one way or another brought forth via new technologies and discoveries about ourselves and our relationship with the world around us. In other words, adapting to new-found technologies and discoveries are a natural step forward.
Arguments about what is good/bad for our world; what looks nice and what does not; people’s obsession with Kim Kardashian’s bum and those calling bum-groupies silly; are all part of the natural evolution of mankind and our growth in tiny proportions, forming a larger image. While many believe a larger image removes our individuality, truth is, change begins with single units and changes slowly, cascading along the facade of humanity, shifting, breaking, changing color, and the waves created by all the changes are what propel us forward, all due to the tiny inner-workings that make it all happen.
When people discovered that they can cultivate land, they did, and it changed the way we think of shelters. It led to many of the early settlements being near a body of water in order to better sustain themselves. Now that we see green technologies that would help us better sustain ourselves, we should logically adapt and “go green”, since it allows our use of resources to be more efficient, thus allowing us to “last longer” [no innuendo here, move along…]. Greed, I guess, would play a part in preventing this adaptation, in order to maintain income for those with the most capital and benefits from the current systems that should naturally be left out, since they do not help the betterment of mankind anymore. There are discoveries being made about the surroundings we live in (cities, natural resources) that were cut off from Nature in order to maintain the “balanced” system that we are all living in, but these systems (physical and political) are slowly becoming more obsolete and are in desperate need of change, especially since they are proving to be hurtful to nature.
I believe that is how we should be viewing Urbanism right now, and probably for a long time: without the constraints of groups, schools of thought, and conceptual prose, but with logic, and a mind open to understanding the many hands that shape our world. It is an ecosystem and should be treated as one, from the smallest detail to the entire surface of the Earth.