Towards a social-ecological urbanism: Co-producing knowledge through design in the Albano Resilient Campus project in Stockholm
Journal article, 2018
If we are to promote urban sustainability and resilience, social-ecological knowledge must be better integrated in urban planning and design projects. Due to gaps in the two cultures of thinking that are associated with the disciplines of ecology and design, such integration has, however, proven to be challenging. In mainstream practice, ecologists often act as sub-consultants; they are seldom engaged in the creative and conceptual phases of the process. Conversely, research aiming to bridge the gap between design and ecology has tended to be dominated by a relatively static and linear outlook on what the design process is, and what it could be. Further, few concrete examples of the co-production of ecological and design knowledge exist. In this paper, we give an account of a transdisciplinary design proposal for Albano Resilient Campus in Stockholm, discussing how design-seen as a process and an assemblage of artifacts-can act as a framework for co-producing knowledge and operationalizing concepts of resilience and ecosystem services. Through a design-based and action-oriented approach, we discuss how such a collaborative design process may integrate ecological knowledge into urban design through three concrete practices: (a) iterative prototyping; (b) generative matrix models; and, (c) legible, open-ended, comprehensive narratives. In the conclusion, we sketch the contours of a social-ecological urbanism, speculating on possible broader and changed roles for ecologists, designers, and the associated actors within this framework.
Prototyping and co-design