Complexity and Ecosystem Design

As a landscape with its ecologic functions has the characteristics of a complex system, a linear approach to it can only fail. The infinite number of processes in landscapes have an infinity of dependencies, relations and interactions, where a classic top-down regulation fails. So how to interact, guide and design a system that’s far too big and complex to be fully understood, let alone be controlled? The orchestration of complex systems can only be approximated by holistic, systemic approaches. This brings us to an upcoming new role for landscape architects: If we really want to be the ones guiding through the becoming of our landscapes, we have to deal with complex, interdisciplinary and public processes.

Do we even want to claim responsibility for the ecological functions of our planet? Do we want to step into this social responsibility or do we rather want to keep being the ones doing ornamental green? And if so: How can we draw public awareness towards the deficits in landscape and ecologic function? How can we initiate a public discourses towards a common vision? How can we allow everyone to contribute to the whole? How can we avoid to produce designerly mediocrity by group decisions? How can we consciously create an identification of people with a project?

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