Chapter 2: Multispecies Urbanism

As there are increasing signs that the Earth is depleting and the climate is changing, the relationship between humans and environment is being challenged. Unprecedented forms of care and management are necessary now that it is clear that unexpected threats can arise in a short period of time, and climate-adaptive concepts for urban planning and management are therefore under development.

Debra Solomon introduces Multispecies Urbanism as a philosophy in which a city prioritises care for its nature and ecology, and where humans do not stand alone, but as part of a multispecies reciprocal relationship with the urban landscape. As one example, Amsterdam Zuidoost Food Forest is described as a diverse local community that designed an ecological zone of 55 hectares of increased climate-proof biodiversity. Data, Annemarie van Wezel argues, will offer new possibilities for monitoring these urban ecologies. Studio Wild follows by focusing on plants that are legally banned, arguing that geopolitical relationships have a profound influence on this phenomenon. Arjan van Timmeren observes that in addition to incompetence, unwillingness is also a reason that the combination of technological, networked and environmental thinking has not yet led to sus- tainable cities. He argues for ‘hormesis’, generating a small, controlled and continuous dosage of stress, to increase a city’s resilience. Maria Kaika then explores how the way we respond to failure determines the future we create. She argues this offers better definitions of a ‘smart city’. Finally, artist Lada Hršak describes the research project Fish Eye, a micro- to macro-level study of the waters around Venice, and calls for greater reflection and humility.

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Image credits

Header image: Banner Cahier 1

Icon image: Soil Portraits