Unit B: Synergetic Landscapes
The collaborative unit aims to investigate the synergy of ‘non-anthropocentric architecture’ (Hensel, 2013), co-design across human and non-human communities and its linkage to emerging technologies. It will test how the emerging technologies (blockchain, reading
and prototyping devices) and innovative approaches to life and business (circular economy, platform, and token economies) help us rethink established forms of exchange and value with regards to sustainability and cultural landscape eco-systems. By doing that, the unit will investigate the possibilities of integration of decision-making on landscapes from the ‘bottom-up’ on a community level.
The collaborative unit proposes hands-on experience-sharing, built on synergising multiple research interests across of the unit team members in close codesign with the local community. The overall holistic team-built project will explore the possibilities of cites’ transition towards post-Anthropocene for cross-species co-living. This will be approached through codesign and full-scale
prototyping in the complexity of real-life and real-time in so-called ‘real-life co-design laboratory’ (Davidová 2019; Davidová, Pánek & Pánková, 2018). The ‘laboratory’ will be central to the unit's collective project and is located in Grangetown community in Cardiff. It will investigate the prototyping of materialised eco-systemic interventions for cross-species habitable and edible cultural landscape eco-top. The ‘prototypical urban interventions’ (Doherty, 2005) will be developed in the form of non-human dwellings and agriculture. They will test a generative agenda across the eco-system and its potential to interact with more extensive food chains and bio-corridors across the city. The project will test its linking through QR codes to their online recipes for DIY. Subsequently, such prototypes and recipes will investigate how they can be networked to a blockchain system of values investigating its use for socially and environmentally sustainable circular economy.
Or generally, it will investigate on how to develop new structures for social/economic exchange 21st century models.
The methodology will be grounded in Research by Design (Morrison & Sevaldson, 2010; Sevaldson, 2010). This means that the unit will generate theory through the experimental practice of designing and its outputs implementation into-, observation of- and reflection on- the real-life codesign laboratory. The designing will be approached through combining codesign (Sanders & Stappers, 2008) as well as individual design in Systems Oriented Design (SOD) (Sevaldson, 2013) and full-scale
prototyping (Hensel & Menges, 2006). The students will develop collaborative teamworking skills while holding their specific roles within the team. This will be approached through collaborative visual complexity mapping tool of SOD, so-called gigamapping (Sevaldson, 2018). The individual roles will be based on their research interest within the unit's team project. Therefore, each student will deeply develop her/his research interest in expertise. They will learn how to relate such to other team members' expertise within a framework of one complex collaborative, holistic project. After the initial collective project that will be prototyped in real life, each individual student will develop her/his expertise and its relations to others into a design thesis. Real-life observations and improvements will inform this.
The world today faces an Anthropocene Extinction, or 6th Mass Extinction, defined as a current ongoing event in which a large number of living species are threatened with extinction or are becoming extinct because of environmentally destructive human activities (Wagler, 2017). 80% of insects by biomass have disappeared since the end of 1980s (Vogel, 2017). Agricultural birds have likewise been disappearing (Czech Ornithologists Association, 2016 ). More generally, the Living Planet Report suggests that the decline in wildlife populations in the past 40 years has reached 60% (Grooten & Almond, 2018). Various environmental ecologists show that many species are adapting for life within the cities (Nemeth & Brumm, 2009). Therefore, the previously anthropocentrically developed cites need to adapt to co-living (Davidová & Raková 2018). As humans have equal – neither privileged nor pejorative – roles within the overall eco-system and biosphere (Boehnert, 2015; Davidová & Zimová, 2018), human world citizens must understand and pursue their equal active role within the co-creation of the biosphere. The World Economic Forum has recognised that blockchain, crypto-currency and the 'token economy' provide a means for 21st-century communities and distributed organisation to reclaim power and enact their values in a way not possible through 20th century centralised banking, industrial and commerce models (World Economic Forum, 2018).
This research extends existing research (rethinking the blockchain) and explores how these technologies and concepts might empower communities, reconfigure eco-systems of people/plants/animals/things to create sustainable ecosystems of commerce and exchange. These ecosystems of exchange are based around things people value (water quality, sustainability) rather than the (monetary) value or things.