Response to presentations: “Patch Dynamics and Productive Urban Landscapes” M. L. Cadenasso, 15 June 2005
Watershed 263 water filtration design, Flora Hsiang-I Chen, 2003.
- Patch dynamics incorporates space and time
- Patches defined by a city block – infrastructural definition
- Patches considered at multiple scales in Danish project. Rearrangements of residents slated to occur at the block scale but the entire WS 263 area segmented into three patches with distinct functions: development, standby and empowerment.
- Two presentations presented opposite approaches, one separated humans from nature allowing nature to “take over” or reclaim land while the other integrated nature into the fabric of the city, increasing opportunities for residents to see and interact with nature.
- Both projects used time as a resource but this is explicit in the Danish presentation. Segregate humans from nature by rearranging the residential neighborhoods, concentrating residents in a single zone. Central to the design of the stand by zone is time because it allows succession of plant and animal communities while providing temporal space for the system to potentially shift into a place where the zone can be converted back into habitation.
- The projects are distinct from one another in that one reinforces boundaries and the other makes the boundaries fuzzy. The contrasts in the system – Route 40 (highway to nowhere) and the railroad tracks – serve as boundaries that are treated as barriers to the flow of people and amenities. Conversely, the Columbia project attempts to diminish the boundaries, or lessen the influence of the contrasts, by integrating the physical and social system of watershed 263.
- The Danish project, in particular, ignores the social component of the system. The project appears to be something imposed from outside. The rearrangement of people, to leave their neighborhoods behind so that the density of residents can be increased in another portion of the watershed. This approach ignores the social networks and dynamics of neighborhoods. Even if residents claim that they would move given the chance, they would want the option to make that decision. This approach is reminiscent of the urban renewal programs of the 60’s and 70’s.
- The Danish project, builds on a metaphor of shrinking cities. The assumption is that Baltimore, and watershed 263 in particular, has lots of what they see as unused space. The assumption they make is that cities must maintain a certain density to function so the response is to rearrange residents to achieve that density in one third of the land area. Perhaps the base assumption should be assessed. Can a less dense city be functional?
- Be mindful of the materials used in projects. The use of bamboo may have economic benefits but the ecological costs of introducing such a noxious invader into the system must be rigorously analyzed.
Watershed 263 inner block water retention pond design, Oliver Valle 2003.