A year ago, the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) held a three-day international conference on the future of cities. “Ecological Urbanism” drew on disciplines as seemingly diverse as design, cultural history, medicine, economics, and literature.
This month, the book version of the conference appeared, also called “Ecological Urbanism” (Lars Müller Publishers, 2010), edited by GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi with doctor of design candidate Gareth Doherty. It’s big (656 pages) and gorgeous (full of color photographs, maps, charts, and other graphics).
But don’t let it rest on your shelf. “Ecological Urbanism,” a collection of 134 provocative essays, many of them by Harvard faculty, is the first attempt in the design world to consider the fate of cities, the first places on the globe to feel the pinch of dwindling resources and rising populations.
Designers and architects are slowly acknowledging the place of sustainability in what they do, Mostafavi argues. But this has to be massively scaled up to affect the complex economic, social, political, and cultural infrastructure of modern cities. The new book, he said, conjoins ecology and urbanism in order to “provide the knowledge, methods, and clues of what the urban can be in the years to come.”
— Corydon Ireland
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