Final thoughts

First part of the day I spent trying to grasp the living systems theory form Miller. How each particle is part of a larger whole, which is in turn part of something even greater, and so on. In trying to read an article about his theory, I ran into some problems. I didn’t seem to have access to the article I chose, so I looked for another article I would be interested in. I ended up reading about ecosystems. About the change in ecosystems, and the adaptation of species to these changes. How we can foresee changes in the ecosystem, and are able to predict them. How we can predict the extinction of species, because of loss of habitat. Some changes evolve slower, but might reach a certain point at which all collapses, like in the diagram of Holling. How come we make critical decisions over and over again, that do not look far enough ahead to see the negative side effects, or after effects? Creating a consumer need for computers and cellphones, then creating the need for an ever newer one, but having no idea what to do with the old ones. So we ship them to Africa, because… they know what to do with them. Those highly developed countries have all the experience in the world to deal with the waste. They don’t need their land to grow crops, they like to have computer screens and cables lying around there. Sounds logical, right? How is it possible that we do not look ahead. How can we not think about the consequences of our actions, before doing things. It’s been a while, but I think it was in a sex education class, where the teacher told us; if you can’t deal with the consequences, then don’t do it at all. As weird a comparison as this might seem, I think he was strikingly right.

After the start-up, I got together with my project group, and we finalized the presentation. After getting together the day before the lecture, we were well on our way. In our presentation we discussed the question whether to develop greenfield, or to remediate brownfield. We quickly go over what each of them is, to then promote our point of view of using brownfield. In the presentation we used Brand’s diagram on ‘How buildings learn’. I explained that in developing greenfield, all you have that is set, is the site. You have all the options in the world to construct the most amazing piece of architecture anyone has ever seen. Whilst with redeveloping a brownfield, there is the site, but on that site a building has been built already. Because of the previous use of the building it is not very likely you can use the services, the space plan and the stuff (if there is any), but the structure, and the covering skin can be reused. By reusing these key elements of the building, you can maintain the character and the atmosphere of the former industrial site. You can keep memories alive. There are often many people in a urban area around a brownfield who would like to see it be redeveloped. The current state of the buildings is generally quite poor, and the empty halls are very attractive to rowdy youth and vandalism. When upgrading a neglected space, the whole area around can benefit from it. The society will be happy to see this old building be reused, opposed to being wrecked down. Choosing for a remediation brings some challenges along. There are of course restrictions to what you can design within the given structure, but you can almost certainly count on the society to support you all the way.
Soil pollution is something that should also be considered. And not in an off putting way. You should look at the benefits. When redesigning the site, and cleaning up the soil, you will not only have an aesthetically pleasing building, but also a more healthy environment surrounding the building, and the neighboring houses. You invest in the future.

What do you think?

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