• Everything is connected- Ecology and Design



    This tuesday I went to IDC's Dynamic Nature class. I was invited by the teacher of the class, Victoria Marshall, as she had a speaker come in; Ecologist Steward Pickett.

    We were talking about the idea of 'disturbance', a word, that in our culture has negative connotations. In ecology, however, it is something that 'disrupts the physical structure of a system', and can have a positive impact. This depends on the space and time boundary you assign for it. For example, a fire in a specific forest can be seen as a disturbance when looking at a 5 year period. However when looking at a period of a thousand years, a fire is a very positive thing, in fact, it is the system and we are the disturbance.

    I learned that our water supply system (in the developed world) is built for an 'x' amount of water, which does not allow for any of the changes which are happening in the world. A constant supply of water is an illusion due to global warming. In different regions of the world, the reactions to global warming are different. For example, in Europe and the US seasons will be pronounced, meaning wet seasons will be wetter, leading to more mud and unclean water that needs more filtration. The tropics, it seems, will have less of a seasonal feel and the poles will be dyer.

    The world's east doesnt have enough groundwater to support its wells, and it seems some are actually fighting to stop well use and development. People are over-drilling, digging deeper and deeper into the ground and drying resources, as well as that, they are disturbing a natural balance and drying rivers in other places- everything is connected. (some cities are actually sinking..) BUT WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO TELL PEOPLE WHO ARE DYING OF THIRST AND WATER RELATED DISEASES?

    In terms of design, it seems that the future asks for MODULAR systems that can ADAPT to CHANGE. because there will be changes. Instead of jumping to crisis as a motivator to action- lets prevent it.

    This was not directly related to my thesis but a very interesting topic that I learned about. and as I said- everything is connected.

  • Hi Lee, I enjoyed reading about this presentation. I don't agree that this is not directly related to your thesis. The realization that you need to develop for a range of settings is a crucial, and if this speaker added to your understanding that supplying clean water means very different things in different places, then you learned something very important, which will make your design more responsive and practical. I haven't had a chance to speak with you for a while, so let's try to do that tomorrow. steven

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