Marie Davidová and Kateřina Zímová
The old garden of log-house Zvonařka with adjacent Nusle Stairs is Prague’s nature like bio-tope with remarkable diversity (see Figure 1) and together with the adjacent railway, parks and gardens generates rare bio-corridor within the city centre. As it is located in one of the most expensive residential areas, the pressure on its building development is high. In 2011 a large apartment-complex design was submitted for permit, arguing for keeping the greenery character due to its green roofs (RH-Arch, 2011). Neither previous, nor recently proposed metropolitan plan lists the area for protection (Institute of Planning and Development Prague, 2016). From the personal conversation with its creators, the Institute of Planning and Development Prague has its interest in increasing the city’s density, not extending its bio-corridors and bio-diversity. The plan is neither co-designed with ecologists nor with local communities or NGOs. It is created purely by urbanists, marking the areas in the plan from the table. As also confirmed by the Concept of Metropolitan Plan Justification, the plan does not consider “details“ (Kubeš et al., 2014). It also states that for the reason of being behind the range of land planning, the design is not done in respect of European Commission’s strategy of Green Infrastructure (European Commission, 2010), but instead, the term Landscape Infrastructure is used (Kubeš et al., 2014). This term is not respecting the complexity of the strategy. First author’s architectural NGO Collaborative Collective (Collaborative Collective, 2012, 2016) fixed through cooperation with second author’s ecology support and evaluation focused NGO CooLAND (CooLAND, 2016a, 2016b) first ecological pre-study (Zímová, 2016) for reasoning its relevance, building on and submitting detailed investigation for funding.
Within spring semester 2017 a fully transdisciplinary systems oriented co-design studio course will be led by Collaborative Collective and CooLAND among the Faculty of Art and Architecture at TU of Liberec (architectural and environmental design students), the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences (forestry and wood engineering students) and Faculty of Living Environment (ecology students), both at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, the Faculty of Humanities Studies at the Charles University (students of social and cultural ecology), local community and the local environment (see Figure 2). This ‘GIGA-mapping’ (Sevaldson, 2011, 2015) and ‘full scale realisation prototyping studio’ (Davidová & Sevaldson, 2016) will focus on supporting the local bio-tope by building shelters for habitat of i.e. bats, insects or homeless people. The design process, prototyping and further local development will fully engage local specific environment together with the local community. In this sense it is not only participation but co-design . Here the co-design method involves both, biotic and abiotic agents within so-called ‘Time Based Design’ investigated by Sevaldson (Sevaldson, 2004, 2005, 2017) where the project does not end by the building finalisation. This project is to motivate humans to co-live with other species and among each other across the social differences. The common events such as honey harvest from planned bee-hives should support the eco-system through ‘urban prototypical interventions’ (Davidová, 2004; Doherty, 2005). This ‘non-anthropocentric architecture’ (Hensel, 2013, 2015) was concluded by first author’s previous study on performance to be at the end also most beneficial for humans (Davidová, 2016). It is therefore alarming that though the UN agenda for 2030 sustainable development is calling for collaborative partnership of all stakeholders and fight of poverty while being determined to ensure that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature to reach prosperity (United Nations, 2015), its goals are so anthropocentric, that ‘Cities and Communities’ are discussed in separate goal (United Nations, 2015, 2016a) from bio-diversity, discussed in ‘Life on Land’ goal (United Nations, 2015, 2016b). These goals are not in any sense cross-referenced. As opposed to this human-centred approach, this project is to demonstrate the relevance of consideration of human settlements as being part of the overall eco-system. Through generating public awareness and pride for the local specificity and community, we believe the bio-corridor will be marked into Metropolitan Plan and no future building development in the precious garden will be enabled. Through this ‘Ecological Urbanism’ that involves ‘anticipation, sensing, curation, collaboration, production, interaction, mobilisation, measures, adaptation and incubation’(Mostafavi & Doherty, 2016), our politics is going from the bottom up!