Design II: Ecological Urban Design is focused on creating new design experiments and system logics for ecologically sensitive settlements with urban tissues in extreme climates and ecological contexts. It is founded on the logic that the patterns of human inhabitation are determined by the needs of the infrastructure of the ecology – designed, grown and developed as integrated natural and cultural systems, with the ambition to be resilient to change. Designs will be developed for a land/water entity that is both a place of mariculture production and a place of inhabitation for people. Situated in the intertidal zone and marshes, the design will integrate wetlands and their intricate hydrological reservoirs and hydrological networks with patterns and clusters of dense and/or distributed urban blocks and associated productive landscapes that have their own intricate networks.
Each team will design a fragment of an innovative ecological urban tissue of capacity for 50,000 people, situated and fully integrated with a landscape that is organised and divided by a repertoire of ‘hard’ defences of dykes and dams, seawalls, polders, sluices, culverts and levees to keep the water out and/or make it go elsewhere, and by soft defences of wetlands, marshes and bayous et al to absorb, hold water and slow the inevitable rise. The distribution and variation of superblocks and associated productive territories require their own spatial and programmatic patterns and effects and articulate the infrastructure of the landscape.
Each Team will develop their Design Strategy in response to an initial research of the dynamic parameters that act on the site – for example variations in river flow, tide levels, storm surge water height, wind and temperature gradients –saline to fresh, wet to dry, surface to depth, solid to liquid, with their temporal parameters – daily, seasonal, monthly and longer term. Strategies for operating on those gradients will be proposed.
Initial Design Experiments will be conducted to test generative algorithms in the context of the ecological gradients and parameters, and to explore variations and combinations with quantification of their capacities and performance. The developed Design Proposal will demonstrate the dynamics of adaptive changes over time of the proposed integrated productive landscape, the qualities and quantities of its urban morphologies and its ecological context.