doxiadis+ Talking Green: Pre and Post-apocalyptic scenaria for the Mediterranean City

Thomas Doxiadis speaking at The request for green and the prospects of landscape urbanism Speakers: Julia Czerniak: Architect, Landscape Architect, Professor at the Syracuse University School of Architecture Thomas Doxiadis: Architect, Landscape Architect, Principal of doxiadis+ Zissis Kotionis: Architect, Professor at the University of Thessaly Chris Reed: Landscape Architect, Principal of Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Associate Professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design Alex Wall: Architect, Partner at UMnet (Stuttgart), Professor of Urban Design at the Washington University of St. Louis Chair:  Gina Moscholiou: Journalist Event Curator: Panos Dragonas: Architect, Associate Professor at the University of Patras  
Watch the conversation on video, in English or Greek.

  "Green" is a strange idea.  So is "landscape".  As landscape practitioners of the Mediterranean world we must not take these terms for granted.  Rather we must understand their meaning in our context, if we are to push them forward in any meaningful way. The world we live in is often perceived as made of two parts, humanity and nature.  Even Wikipedia (2014), in its definition of the biophysical environment, reproduces this view. dox+SGT_FINAL Yet when we look around us we do not see this division.  Natural and human systems are wound onto each other constantly.  Often we ask ourselves, "is this human or is this natural". The answer is "both".

doxiadis+ 2007

  Current ideas of "nature" and the "landscape" stem from Northwest Europe.  They are especially tied to the industrial revolution, and the romantic counter-current that developed out of it. In the northern tradition, nature is divinity.  It is supreme in its own right.   dox+SGT_FINAL3 In the Mediterranean tradition however, for thousands of years nature has been part of God's beautiful creation.  Part of creation just as humans are, not divine in itself.   dox+SGT_FINAL4   dox+SGT_FINAL5   Thus we see the old world divided into two distinctive ideological regions.

doxiadis+ 2014

  Which, it is becoming evident, are also two cultural and economic regions.

doxiadis+ 2014

  In the Mediterranean, the human relationship to nature has been one of stewardship, as limited land has had to support great populations.  Globalization and industrialization of food production has let that relationship slip in the past half-century.  Climate change will now force a new relationship.  The ecosystems which support city and food production are changing.  As climate and vegetation zones shift, we see two possible scenaria for the future.  

Vegetation zone shift in the Mediterranean. doxiadis+ 2014



Post-asphalt. doxiadis+

  In this scenario, the capacity of the Mediterranean people to deal with change is greater than the rate of that change.  In this scenario, cities and societies change willfully.  Natural systems are integrated into cities, which become planned biotopias.  
003_dox_AthensUpdate_Possible Future_01

Visionary and ironic, a future for Athens. doxiadis+ 2007

topio twn 5

Salaminos street redesign, 5-15-50, doxiadis+ 2007



  In this scenario, change comes faster than societies' capacity to adapt.  The Mediterranean city breaks down, just as it did between 500-700 AD.  Drawing on ever-limited water reserves, the cities become oases in an ever-desiccated landscape.  
Desert Athens

Athens 2050. doxiadis+ 2014

  Food production re-emerges as the center of the economy in a world of scarcity.

The priority of food. doxiadis+ 2014

  Flooded neighborhoods are inhabited by boat-people.  
Flooded Moschato

Moschato, coastal Athens, 2050. doxiadis+ 2014

  Eventually the large Mediterranean city, unable to support its scale, dissolves into competing villages, fighting for limited resources.  

The dissolution of the Mediterranean city, 2050. doxiadis+ 2014

  Its happened before.  It can happen again.