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Entries in Resilience (9)


On Remaking Cities

Downtown Pittsburgh was host to the 2013 Remaking Cities Congress this week.Cities are never finished. They continue to evolve and adapt to change. The urban design of a city is the sum of organic and planned public spaces that have formed over time in its streets, riverfronts, plazas, and neighborhood parks. These spaces are formed and activated by the the uses housed in both public and private buildings that frame them. They serve as the enabler of the city’s economy and the backdrop for the city’s vitality, character, and livability.


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Creating Super-Organisms Out Of Our Communities

The global population surpassed 7 billion people in August 2012.If you think that is a big number, consider 10 trillion. That is the number of microbes every human being carries within its body at any given time! As Michael Pollan put it eloquently in a recent article, we are all "Superorganisms". And it turns out that our health is not just dependent on our own physiology, but is greatly affected by the health of these countless organisms that call our body home. 

This recent discovery highlights a broader trend in science and problem solving. We are quickly moving away from an isolationist approach to broadening our lens as much as possible. Take any Big Data project, social media campaign or ecological restoration study conducted in the past 5 years.

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The modern paradigm of planning emphasizes, even mandates predictability. Ironic, given the increasing complexity of our undertakings as planners and urban designers. Most of us in the field today are working on multi faceted, complex, public-private joint ventures. And planners are increasingly looked towards as non-biased captains to guide these titanics through the stormy seas of community consensus, approval, financing and implementation.

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Resilience depends upon strength in numbers and it thrives on connections. Any resilient system can only be achieved through a highly connected network of equally resilient parts, alllowing it to adapt to, and benefit from change. In fact, in a resilient ecosystem, each resilient part is a contributing member to multiple resilient systems, creating much needed redundancy. 

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Resilient objects exhibit longevity against all odds. Today, we humans have firmly established ourselves as the species in-charge of spaceship earth (Buckminster Fuller). As a result, the lifespan of most living beings and inanimate objects is directly affected by human decisions. Whether we like it or not, we exert influence on all systems: natural and man made. Due to this new reality, the importance of beauty, as we humans COLLECTIVELY perceive it has become a major factor guiding the fate of the physical world.

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