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Ruralism: The Future of Villages and Small Towns in an Urbanizing World | Book and Interview

Category: ⚐ EN+publications+sustainability+urbanism

Ruralism: The Future of Villages and Small Towns in an Urbanizing World book

Last year we were contacted by Vanessa Miriam Carlow from the Institute for Sustainable Urbanism to make an interview for the book Ruralism: The Future of Villages and Small Towns in an Urbanizing World. This book is dedicated to the significance of rural spaces ‘as a starting point for transformation’. Different international experts were asked to reflect on rural spaces from an architectural, cultural, gender-oriented, ecological, and political perspective and ask how a (new) vision of the rural can be formulated. As the introduction states:

In an urbanizing world, the city is considered the ultimate model and the measure of all things. The attention of architects and planners has been almost entirely focused on the city for many years, while rural spaces are all too often associated with visions of economic decline, stagnation and resignation. However, rural spaces are transforming almost as radically as cities. Furthermore, rural spaces play a decisive role in the sustainable development of our living environment—inextricably interlinked with the city as a resource or reservoir. The formerly segregated countryside is now traversed by global and regional flows of people, goods, waste, energy, and information, linking it to urban systems and enabling them to function in the first place.

Today we are publishing the interview, answered by Belinda Tato. If you find it interesting, there is much more in the book! We recommend you to get a printed copy here. Here is the full transcript of the interview:

Q: Your office name, ecosistema urbano, brings with it a certain tension that somehow combines unexpected contrasts. How did you come to this name and what do you want to express with it?

A: It took us a while to choose a name or concept that communicated our interests and the complex reality of urban issues we face. We found the idea of ‘ecosystem’ an appealing one, its definition implies a group of interconnected elements formed by the interaction of a community with their environment. This relationship between the natural and the artificial aims for a balance between these two worlds, and reflects the issues we care about when designing architecture and practicing territorial and urban planning.

Q: In your presentation, you said that during your studies the planning approach mainly focused on infrastructure and the physical environment. How would you describe the situation today?

A: I believe there is a clear shift between the object-focused educational approach from the nineties towards a more polyhedral approach and understanding of cities and design that is happening today. There is a growing interest in considering processes and interactions and taking the social, cultural, or economic aspects into account leading to more comprehensive and ambitious proposals to transform reality.

Q: Which approach does your office have today? How would you describe the current role of the architect and planner?

A: That is not an easy question to answer briefly! We recently made an effort to try to summarize our approach and the result is a kind of manifesto in ten points.

Urban. Social. Design. Three words that describe our dedication: the urban context, the social approach, and the design understood as an action, an interaction, and a tool for transformation. Understanding types of behaviour and processes at different levels is crucial.

Creativity is a network. In a globalized world, creativity is the capacity to connect things innovatively and thus we understand that the protagonist of the creative process is not just a team but an open and multi-layered design network.

Community first. Cities are created and maintained by people for people, and urban development only makes sense when the community cares about it. We work to empower the communities to drive the projects that affect them, so social relevance is guaranteed.

Going glocal. Just as cities have residents and visitors, and planning is made at different scales, every urban project is born in a constant movement between the direct experience and specificity of the local context, and the global, shared flow of information and knowledge.

Accepting –and managing– conflict. Participation, like conversation, means letting all the points of view be raised and listened to. Public debate only makes sense if all the stakeholders are involved. Every project affecting the city has to deal with both opposition and support, consensus and contradiction.

Assuming complexity. Encompassing the complexity of the urban environment requires simplifying it. Instead, we prefer to admit its vast character and understand our work as a thin layer –with limited and, at times, unpredictable effects– carefully inserted into that complexity.

Learning by doing. Our experience grows through practice. We know what we can do, and we challenge ourselves to do what we think we should be doing. We solve the unexpected issues as we move, and then we take our lesson from the process and the results.

Planning… and being flexible. Urban development is what happens in the city while others try to plan it. We think ahead, make our dispositions, but we are always ready for reality to change our plans… mostly for the better. Rigidity kills opportunity, participation and urban life.

Embracing transdisciplinarity: We assume that our role as professionals is evolving, disciplinary bonds are loosening, urban projects are complex, and circumstances are continuously changing. This requires open-minded professionals, flexible enough to adapt their roles and skills and to use unusual tools.

Technology as a social tool: Today’s technology enables us to better relate and interact with each other and with the surrounding environment. As the digital-physical divide narrows and the possibilities multiply, it becomes an increasingly significant element in urban social life.

Keeping it open: Open means transparent, accessible, inclusive, collaborative, modifiable, reproducible. Open means more people can be part of it and benefit from it. These are the attributes that define a project made for the common good.

Ruralism: The Future of Villages and Small Towns in an Urbanizing World book

Q: From your presentation, it emerged that the integration of the local conditions—as a climatic and social issue—represent an important focus of your work. How do you rate the relationship between global-local influence in relation to the architectural or urban design?

A: This is a very interesting question, and one we have asked ourselves several times. We have worked mostly abroad during the last years, and over and over we find the same situation where we have to balance the local and the global dimensions of design and planning. Local conditions are always the main terms of reference for our work. They give accuracy and pertinence to our proposals. They not only determine the boundaries we have to respect, the resources we have available, or the particularities we have to take into account, but also the potential for improvement that each particular place has. Local context is a source of invaluable site-specific knowledge, even if that knowledge is not always conscious or apparent, especially to locals. Opening a project to participation is a great way to make local values stand out and locals become self-aware… if you are able to ask the right questions and then read between the lines, of course. But relying solely on local conditions rarely provides the best solutions. You usually find situations that have become stagnant precisely by the lack of confrontation and external feedback. Then you need to confront the local ‘ways,’ often loaded with prejudices or relative narrowness, or with something else. And that is where global influence comes into play: the contrast, the opposition that clears concepts, breaks groupthink and gives a relative measure to local values. Global is the mirror that local can use to become self-conscious. We could speak of bringing knowledge from the global to the local, or even generating local knowledge by confronting it with the global. But it is also creativity that is being created or transferred. The ability to connect, articulate, and interpret different contexts is crucial whenever a new approach is needed and local conditions have proven insufficient to deliver it.

Q: You showed us some practical examples of your current work, which pursues sustainable approaches in terms of water recycling systems for the kindergarten in Madrid or climatic adaptations for the Expo pavilion in Shanghai. What opportunities do you see for the implementation of sustainable planning tools or strategies in larger, urban scale projects?

A: Urban planning and urban design have a great impact on people’s lives, shaping the way we live, move, relate, consume, etc… In addition to this, its impact will be of a long term as it is less ephemeral than architecture. For these reasons, it is important to design integrating with nature, its cycles and processes, taking advantage of the environment and optimizing interventions.

Q: Let us take a closer look at the countryside: in the current city-centered discourse, rural spaces are often dismissed as declining or stagnating. However, rural spaces also play a critical role in sustainable development, as an inextricably linked counterpart, but also as a complement to the growing city, as extraction sites, natural reservoirs for food, fresh water and air, or as leisure spaces. Do we need to formulate a (new) vision of ‘ruralism’? What would be your definition of the future rural? What new concepts for the rural exist in Spain?

A: When talking about ecosystems, it is crucial to understand the interwoven connections between the urban and the rural, and how they relate and affect each other in a critical balance. Although the urban expansion has some environmental consequences, there are also some interesting phenomena happening. As today’s IT keeps us connected and allows us to work remotely, this neoruralism enables us to have a renewed vision of the territory and its possibilities, offering development opportunities in towns that have been abandoned for decades, for instance in Spain. This new trend is transforming these abandoned towns into new activity hubs, creating a new migration flux from cities. It will be possible to measure the socioeconomic impact of this activity in a few years.

Ruralism: The Future of Villages and Small Towns in an Urbanizing World book

Q: The once remote and quiet countryside is now traversed by global and regional flows of people, goods, waste, energy, and information, interrelating it with the larger urban system. Is a new set of criteria for understanding and appreciating the rural required? How would you measure what is rural and what is urban?

A: In a globalized world with an unprecedented ongoing process of urbanization, and under the impact of climate change and global warming, it is becoming more and more difficult to precisely define the limits between the rural and the urban as the urban footprint is somehow atomizing and gobbling the rural. Cities are the combination and result of the simultaneous interaction between nature and artificial technology, and their ecological footprint expansion forces the extraction of natural resources from even further sources, with obvious environmental consequences. At the local scale, it is necessary to point out the close relationship between the way a city relates to its environment, the way it manages its natural resources, and the quality of life it can provide to its inhabitants. This could be summarized as: the more sustainable a city/territory is, the better its inhabitants will live.

Q: What role do villages and smaller towns have in a world in which the majority live in cities? Could you comment on and describe a bit about the situation in Spain or the other countries you have been working in?

A: In cities, innovation and creativity concentrate and emerge naturally. The rural environment also requires people willing to create, to innovate, to connect, etc…. This creative ruralism could lead to the creation of eco-techno-rural environments, which would provide some of the features of the rural combined with specific services of the urban…the perfect setting for innovation to take place!

Q: Which role could the rural play at the frontlines of regional transformation and sustainability? What are the existing and potential connections between urban and rural spaces?

A: The rural could provide a complementary lifestyle for people fleeing from the city to re-connect or re-localize. At the same time, we would need to explore and expand technology’s possibilities, pushing its actual limits, and foreseeing potential new services that could enhance life in the rural by making it more diverse, fulfilling, and even… more global.

Q: And what role can urban design play in preparing rural life and space for the future? Is the rural an arena for ‘urban’ design at all?

A: I think the challenge would be to create the conditions for social life and interaction. We do have the conditions for that activity to happen digitally, but how can we foster social activity in low-density environments? Would it be necessary to create small urban nodes in the rural? These issues are interesting challenges we have to face conceptually and design-wise.

Are you interested in this topic? You can get the book here…

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Convocatoria: Patrimonio cultural y crecimiento sostenible | Horizon 2020

Category: ciudad+convocatorias+urbact+urbanismo

Zaanse Schans, living history museum in Zaanstad, Netherlands - Foto: Bogdan Migulski

Zaanse Schans, museo vivo de la historia en Zaanstad, Países Bajos – Foto: Bogdan Migulski

Las ciudades y las zonas rurales europeas conforman paisajes culturales enormemente diversos, únicos y llenos de carácter. Es parte de la identidad de Europa. Todas ellas son ejemplos de patrimonio vivo sobre el que construye y evoluciona la sociedad, pero muchas están afrontando problemas sociales, económicos y medioambientales como el desempleo, la despoblación, falta de implicación, la marginalización o la pérdida de diversidad cultural y biológica.

Es precisamente en esa relación viva con el patrimonio donde pueden estar muchas de las oportunidades de regeneración, y sobre eso trata la convocatoria que reseñamos a continuación.

El plan de trabajo del Programa Marco Horizon 2020 para los años 2016-17 incluye una sección dedicada a la acción por el clima, el medio ambiente, la eficiencia en los recursos y las materias primas, y en esta sección se encuadra una línea de trabajo centrada en la regeneración urbana basada en el patrimonio.

Dentro de esa línea de trabajo se ha lanzado recientemente una convocatoria sobre patrimonio cultural como motor del crecimiento sostenible en áreas rurales o urbanas (SC5-21-2016-2017), dotada con 10 millones de euros, que estará abierta a la presentación de propuestas hasta el 8 de marzo de 2016.

La convocatoria se dirige a propuestas de regeneración urbana o rural que desarrollen acciones a través de proyectos demostrativos de gran escala, de nuevos enfoques sistémicos basados en el patrimonio y en soluciones para un crecimiento sostenible.  Cada propuesta puede estar centrada en ciudades o en zonas rurales consideradas como “living labs”.

Pueden participar aquellas ciudades y regiones europeas que hayan tenido éxito en la regeneración de sus ámbitos rurales y urbanos a través del patrimonio, y también aquellas que estén dispuestas a incorporar esa experiencia en sus propias realidades. El objetivo es compartir pruebas y ejemplos de que merece la pena invertir en el uso innovador del patrimonio cultural.

Las propuestas deberán incluir la formación de una red de “modelos a seguir” y “replicadores”, buscando la transferencia de conocimiento de los primeros a los segundos. Los participantes como “modelos” se encargarán de asistir a otras ciudades “replicadoras” en la traducción de buenas prácticas y soluciones, y en la adaptación de éstas a otros contextos y condiciones. En estos proyectos de innovación e investigación se involucrarán los principales agentes clave para el co-diseño, el desarrollo cooperativo y la implementación conjunta de soluciones.

Podéis leer más sobre la convocatoria a partir de la página 61 del siguiente documento (en inglés):

Horizon 2020 – Work Programme 2016 – 2017

Os recordamos que la fecha límite para esta convocatoria es el 8 de marzo de 2016. La convocatoria está estructurada en dos etapas, de modo que la primera entrega es relativamente simple de cumplimentar.

Para cualquier duda, podéis dirigiros a Emanuela de Menna  ([arroba], DG de Investigación e Innovación de la Comisión Europea.

Y os animamos a compartir esta convocatoria con quien pudiera interesarle. Desde Horizon 2020 tienen los recursos para ayudar al desarrollo y están intentando llegar a las ciudades o regiones que realmente los necesiten y los puedan aprovechar.


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Cascina Cuccagna en Milán | Implicación de la comunidad, regeneración y ahorro de energía

Category: ⚐ ES+arquitectura+sostenibilidad+urbact+urbanismo

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: URBACT

Una casa de campo histórica en el centro de Milán se convierte en un nuevo espacio público energéticamente eficiente

Durante la última reunión del sexto grupo de trabajo “Eficiencia Energética en la Edificación” en Milán los pasados 5 y 6 de noviembre de 2012, el grupo central y otros asistentes tuvieron la oportunidad de visitar uno de los proyectos de renovación más interesantes que están actualmente en marcha en esa ciudad.
La intervención está definida desde un enfoque holístico que une la regeneración urbana, la arquitectura, la rehabilitación energética y la participación social.

Uno de los proyectos paralelos que prepararían el territorio de Milán para la Expo 2015 iba a ser “100 cascine”: una red de granjas históricas dispersas en Lombardía, semi o totalmente abandonadas, que serían recuperadas para proporcionar alojamiento durante la exposición y, en un futuro, proporcionar oportunidades para revitalizar el paisaje agrícola y afrontar el consumo del territorio.

Ese plan, como muchos otros relacionados con la expo 2015, fue anulado por los organismos públicos, dejando sus posibilidades de renacimiento en las manos de los voluntarios o de jóvenes empresarios. Afortunadamente, una de las granjas ha despertado el interés de varias asociaciones que cuentan con cierta experiencia en la recuperación de zonas urbanas degradadas.

Esta es una historia acerca de esas personas románticas y elegantes que quieren demostrar que el trabajo para la comunidad es rentable.

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: URBACT

La antigua granja declarada inservible se recupera gracias a la acción de grupos ciudadanos

Cascina Cuccagna es una antigua edificación construida en 1695. Cascina es la expresión italiana para una granja agrícola, y Cuccagna (Cucaña en español) se refiere tradicionalmente a un mítico país de las delicias culinarias, un significado que encaja con el renovado carácter del edificio.

En 1881 el edificio fue vendido a una familia de tenderos y la parte norte de la casa se transformó en “casa di ringhiera”, una vivienda tradicional en Milán con un porche común abierto. En los años 40 y 50, cada habitación servía de alojamiento a una familia entera. El mismo espacio se utilizaba como sala de estar, comedor y dormitorio al mismo tiempo. A través del porche se compartía el acceso al agua corriente y el baño.

En los años 60 Cascina Cuccagna fue muy conocida en Milán como una taberna que quedaba abierta toda la noche, llamada “Osteria dei Naviganti e Sognatori” (La taberna de los navegantes y soñadores).

En 1980 la propiedad fue vendida al municipio de Milán, que la declaró no apta para el uso. Hubo que emplear más de 20 años y el trabajo de varias organizaciones y grupos de ciudadanos para conseguir un nuevo proyecto de restauración.

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: URBACT

Un proyecto de rehabilitación dirigido por 10 asociaciones unidas en un consorcio

En 2004 diez asociaciones que operan en Milán se unieron para formar la “Associazione Consorzio Cantiere Cuccagna” y desarrollaron un programa para incorporar la rehabilitación de la antigua granja en un espacio multifuncional y colectivo para la comunidad.

En el mismo año el Consorcio participó en un concurso público para la gestión del edificio, y en 2005 obtuvo una concesión formal por 20 años para su uso y gestión, bajo las restricciones propias de una renovación conservadora.

La transformación de la granja Cuccagna en un centro multifuncional requirió una inversión de 3,5 millones de euros. Gracias al apoyo financiero de fundaciones y bancos el Consorzio pudo comenzar las obras en noviembre de 2008. Desde entonces se ha estado llevando a cabo una actividad permanente de recaudación de fondos, en la que los ciudadanos de Milán han jugado un papel muy importante. Gracias a su generosidad casi 100.000 euros han sido recogidos a través de donaciones y contribuciones individuales.

De hecho, la recaudación de fondos es más activa que nunca, ya que hay todavía muchas obras por pagar y por llevar a cabo. En los próximos años, uno de los mayores desafíos para la Cuccagna Cascina será lograr su sostenibilidad y el equilibrio económico entre los ingresos provenientes de las actividades comerciales que se llevan a cabo en sus espacios (bar, restaurante, tienda de alimentos, albergue y servicios para los niños), y una recaudación permanente de empresas, instituciones y otros socios.

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: URBACT

Una restauración respetuosa con el edificio

La restauración se está llevando a cabo en el marco del Consejo Regional del Ministerio de Patrimonio Cultural y Conservación del Medio Ambiente, que eligió una restauración conservadora para respetar la historia del edificio.

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: URBACT

Los trabajos de restauración se han dedicado a la conservación del edificio (suelos de terracota lombarda, vigas de madera originales…), pero al mismo tiempo se han añadido nuevas instalaciones, entrando a formar parte de la estratificación simbólica de los elementos arquitectónicos. También incluye el uso de nuevas tecnologías sostenibles, como el sistema hidro-geotérmic de calefacción o y el aislamiento ecológico. Todas las decisiones han sido tomadas de acuerdo con el European GreenBuilding Programme.

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: Facebook

Cascina Cuccagna es hoy un espacio de usos múltiples y un punto de encuentro entre generaciones y culturas

Cascina Cuccagna, situada a sólo 4 paradas de metro de la Piazza Duomo, es la más céntrica de las 60 granjas en propiedad de la municipalidad de Milán. Consiste en más de 2000 metros cuadrados de área techada y 1500 metros cuadrados de jardines y otras zonas verdes. Se trata de un espacio polivalente para el barrio y la ciudad, y un punto de encuentro entre generaciones y culturas.

Hoy en día Cascina Cuccagna aloja muchas actividades: La “Ciclofficina”, un taller permanente en el que todo el mundo puede aprender a reparar su bicicleta; un mercado de agricultores (que tiene lugar todos los martes por la tarde desde 2009) y una tienda de comestibles que vende sólo productos locales; un restaurante que sirve recetas únicas hechas con los mejores productos de temporada locales; un grupo de consumo ético (gruppo di acquisto solidale, GAS) para facilitar la compra de los alimentos y otros bienes de uso común directamente de los productores; un banco del tiempo, como sistema local de intercambio y comercio. Cascina Cuccagna funciona también como espacio para eventos, y en breve abrirá un albergue de 12 camas junto con un servicio permanente para niños y familias.

Se trata de un espacio único porque trae los aspectos más tangibles del campo a la ciudad. Y es el espacio perfecto para desarrollar la participación activa de los ciudadanos y un nuevo concepto de vida “verde” metropolitana.

Como prueba de ello se ha convertido en un referente cultural durante la Semana del Diseño de Milán, que en abril de cada año atrae la atención de todo el mundo.

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: Facebook

Página oficial de Cascina Cuccagna:
Cascina Cuccagna en las redes sociales: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Foursquare

Sobre este artículo: Comentarios de Marco Pozzo sobre una visita realizada en el marco del Grupo de Trabajo URBACT “Eficiencia Energética en la Edificación”, que revisa y consolida los resultados de los proyectos URBACT relacionados con la eficiencia energética.
Artículo original: Once upon a time in Milan – Renovation and energy saving
Sobre el grupo de trabajo “Eficiencia Energética en la Edificación”, ver el artículo de Antonio Borghi publicado en el URBACT Tribune.

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Urban land teleconnections and sustainability

Category: ⚐ EN+research+sustainability+urbanism

Review of the paper “Urban land teleconnections” by Karen C. Seto, Anette Reenberg, Christopher G. Boone, Michail Fragkias, Dagmar Haase, Tobias Langanke, Peter Marcotullio, Darla K. Munroe, Branislav Olah and David Simon.

Recently a research paper was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) concerning the conceptual development of global sustainability, in relation to both urbanization (urban sustainability) and land change. The paper argues that land change and urbanization dynamics are explicitly connected, and suggests “urban land teleconnections” as a new framework for dealing with global sustainability.

Urban Land Teleconnections

“We propose urban land teleconnections as a process-based framework for integrating urbanization and land change, for revealing their linkages and pathways across space and time, and for identifying potential intervention points for sustainability. Through the lens of urban land teleconnections, new and surprising diverse urban forms and processes, such as periurbanization, can be better understood and foreseen. The urban land teleconnections concept could also be useful to the wider research community to anticipate implications for global land resource use.”

More and more people live in the cities. The increasing urbanization is raising many discussions about sustainable planning, and this recently published paper feeds the debate with new inputs. Encouraging a reconsideration of the terms on which we base sustainable policies, the research is widening again our perception of the relationship between the urban field and land. The term “teleconnections” refers to climate science, where it is understood that events have impact over large geographic areas – when the waters of the North Atlantic go through a warm phase, fire incidents increase in the western United States. Just such urban land teleconnections explain the interrelation and invisible bond between urban processes and land use processes, which we must consider when planning our sustainable future. The key to develop strong sustainable planning, is to stop thinking of urban sustainability and land use sustainability as limited to local scale and place, and instead start to take into account the processes and global connections merging urbanization and land use.

“The virtual shrinking of distances between places, strengthening connectivity between distant locations, and growing separation between places of consumption and production are emerging topics in “telecoupled” human–natural systems and tropical teleconnections of deforestation […] In an increasingly urban world, characterized by global flows of commodities, capital, and people, where land that provides goods and ecosystems services for people is becoming more segregated from the space of habitation, teleconnections captures links between distant processes and places, and can be used to explore consequences of urbanization and land changes at great distances from points of origin that would otherwise go unrecognized.”

Urban Land Teleconnections

Urbanization and land change have so far been treated as parallel processes. Apparently this has limited the progress of the concept of sustainability. The paper states that a simultaneously treating of urban sustainability and land change as interwoven, non-separable processes is the keystone to advance in developing sustainability:

“The magnitude and accelerating rate of contemporary urbanization are reshaping land use locally and globally in ways that require a reexamination of land change and urban sustainability. Worldwide, urban populations are projected to increase by almost 3 billion by 2050 and the total global urban land area by more than 1.5 million square kilometers—an area three times the size of Spain—by 2030. Urban economies currently generate more than 90% of global gross value added, meaning few rural systems are unaffected by urbanization (3). Given such trends, we must reconsider how we conceptualize the many connections and feedbacks between urbanization and land change processes.”

The paper is confronting three understandings of the urban – land relationship that so far have been key themes in sustainability policies.

One is the Land Classification Systems, on which the paper states:

“By definition, because urban is human-dominated, urban areas “appropriate” natural ecosystems, ecosystem services, and natural capital. By this logic, urban cannot be natural capital. However, such a conceptualization contradicts underlying principles of urban ecology as well as sustainability.”

The second theme is Place-Based Definitions:

“The place-based conceptualization enforces the idea that urban sustainability requires urban self-sufficiency. […] However, decisions and behaviors that are local or even regional in scope do not account for critical consequences of teleconnections, which may undermine sustainability efforts at great distances or influence the overall sustainability for the entire system. Eating locally might undermine livelihoods of distant farmers who may be using less energy-intensive methods to produce food than local growers. Put another way, sustainability initiatives often focus on the importance of place while ignoring the processes of urbanization that may have farreaching effects on distant places and people. These processes can generate uneven and undesirable outcomes that may be undetected when focusing solely on place.”

On the third theme, Land Transitions, the paper argues:

“[…] Although not always explicit, a common assumption is that land transitions in Europe and North America can help understand future trends in Asia, South America, and Africa. Such assumptions disregard the realities that cultural differences influence conceptions, codifications, and uses of space and land, and that use of distant land to meet demand for local populations can significantly alter the pathways of change. As a result, there is no universal or linear transition process; phases identified in one context can be shortened, prolonged, overlapped, or even omitted or transgressed elsewhere.

Urban Land Teleconnections

Urban Land Teleconnections is suggested as a new key theme, a framework to address sustainability. In an immediate invisible network, urbanization and land change are constantly in a process of affecting one another. The term itself indicates that the concept of sustainable urbanization and sustainable land use has merged. Conceptualization of sustainability should contain both processes at once.

“By using an urban land teleconnections framework, we move away from conceptualizing urban sustainability and land as attributes specific only to a place, to begin to link dynamic global processes to their spatial “imprint”.”

This means that changes in nonurban places affects urban places and that change in urban space affects nonurban space. In this way, urban and land relations are interwoven in a global network wherein neither the themes Land Classification Systems, Place-Based Definitions nor Land Transitions can stand alone to define the framework for developing sustainable concepts.

“ […] we can study multiple urban regions jointly, rather than trying to aggregate and generalize across many disconnected sets of case studies, and consequently provide a more organized way to integrate knowledge globally. A more holistic analysis of the underlying and spatial effects of production, consumption, and disposal will enable development of policies that promote viable and fair solutions, and ultimately global sustainability.”

Further reading: Urban Land Teleconnections paper – PDF