Summary of the important characteristics of integrated design principles

The design examples described here show a new readiness to experiment with the dynamics of vegetation. The designers look for strategies for inte­grating, working with and manipulating the development processes of plants. Their goal is not only to protect nature, but to enrich it through eco­logical understanding. At the same time, they create space for self­organized processes and they respect the inherent dynamics of the vegeta­tion.

The relationship between humans and plants is understood as an interac­tive process. To some extent, the specific methods of design and manage­ment resemble the work of directors. They don’t assume a static picture, but rather a never-ending series of changing images.

The designers break away from conventional ideas about "beautiful na­ture" and experiment with the aesthetics of the everyday or the ugly. The states of growth, evolution and decay, i. e. that which is "unfinished", are valued as ecologically relevant. This philosophy is illustrated in the exam­ple of Oerliker Park in the integration of development stages of young plants and in the Sudgelande nature park where dead trees are allowed to accumulate in the ruderal wild woodlandss. A positive vision of uncer­tainty is characteristic of the design principles illustrated here. Uncertainty is seen as a challenge, as an adventure and as room to maneuver. Changes aren’t considered problems, but rather as enrichment and as the mark of successful life.

The examples above illustrate clearly that an incisive design vocabulary can be combined with design philosophy oriented toward natural proc­esses. Planning that keeps natural processes sensitively in mind must not only serve a "semi-natural" or "imitation nature" aesthetic. An adaptable understanding of nature that starts by giving up the idea that man-made and natural are opposites and accepting that humans bear the responsibility for nature allows us to look forward to a new and unbiased future in our work with plants.

References

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Desvigne M and Dalnoky C (1994) A new landscape for the Thomsen plant in Guyancourt. Topos 7:20-24

Franzen B (2000) Die vierte Natur. Kunstwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Band 11. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig, Koln.

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