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Did you know that the term Sustainability first appeared in a German forestry manual in the 1700s?
Did you know that some people feel paranoid about an alleged conspiracy plan of world domination behind global warming?
What did French philosophers in the Seventies think about ecology?

Discover all the different attitudes of humans towards Nature throughout history. Learn more on the architect’s approach to environmental design and get inspiration from a wide utopian fiction bibliography!  Impress your friends with a full set of fresh notions!

The Complex History of Sustainability is a timeline of trends, authors, projects and fiction made by Amir Djalali, with Piet Vollaard. originally published in Volume #18 –  After Zero, the timeline has been converted to an interactive website using mashing-up Google maps, using it as a way to navigate this extensive timeline. The technology to do this, Google Maps Image Cutter, has been developed by CASA Go to: The Complex History of Sustainability

Volume 18 is out

Originally a wacko, hippy-esque ideology, ‘sustainability’ – aka ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘green’ – has now become globally accepted. But as what – an environmental urgency, a political issue, a technical problem, a historic destiny, a new world order? And what are the consequences of this acceptance? The sustainability consensus is dangerous since the concept has no political content and can be used for any cause. Carbon neutrality and zero emissions are like magic formulas, cover-ups for complicated ethical questions about the inequalities in our societies.Yet striving for zeros or hiding in neutrality does not lead to a better life in a more desirable house in a superior city for everyone.After Zero is not about design inspired by the fear of tsunamis or Katrinas. Volume proposes an understanding of our society beyond zero. To kick off we discuss two perspectives: sustainability in a post-capitalist city and the potential of urban agriculture.

Editorial by Arjen Oosterman

Counter-Histories of Sustainability by Panayota Pyla

The research on the ‘Post Capitalist City‘ goes on, with a series of lectures at the Dutch Art Institute. Friday 12th Mireille Roddier (University of Michigan) will address DAI students with a lecture on Three forms of contemporary practices: Puppets, Vanguardistas & Guerillas – on various modes of creative operations in the city, and the various forms of occupation they attempt to resist.

Next workshops will include public lectures by Marjetica Potrc, and Design 99.

Further Reading
Urban Resistance 101 – By Mireille Roddier

[via: Detroit Unreal Estates Agency]

As announced, here are some notes on the Food and The City expert meeting held at the Amsterdam’s Academy of Architecture.

Our purpose was to collect ideas and data on the impact of food production on the environment and society, and to provide possible strategies to overcome the ongoing food crisis for VOLUME’s issue on Sustainability.

Three different models and ways of thinking the present and the future of agriculture were confronted, but some initial points were shared among our guests:

  • The era of the Green Revolution has come to an end: our agricultural model – as it is based on massive use of fossil fuel, – is today economically inefficient, and noxious for the environment
  • For this reason, the Green Revolution food system is no longer able to feed a growing world population and to deal with poverty and social inequalities
  • New models of food production, processing, retail and consumption are needed to overcome the present crisis
  • All the possible new models must get food production back to the urban environment

Peter Smeets from Wageningen University presented data and future projection on agricultural markets and techniques, showing advanced technologies able to reduce energy and chemical inputs, improving yields and profitability of agriculture enterprises. Food production, especially high added value crops, should be integrated in the metropolitan areas, taking advantage from transporation, cognitive and technological networks. Forms of international horizontal and vertical labour division are welcome in this model, taking advantage of comparative production costs.

On the contrary, artist and designer Debra Solomon criticized this position, claiming that hi-tech developments require a further centralization of the food industry in few, big corporations, threatening the delicate balance of local food systems and expropriating communities from their right to food sovreignity.
For this reason, she advocates the development of light technologies designed around communities, seeking integration with other urban activities.

Architect Jago van Bergen, presented a totally different approach.
A future crisis scenario – the rising sea level and the salinization of agricultural land in the Randstad area – is taken as an opportunity to re-think agricultural production, giving the possibility to design for the first time a true, genuine “Dutch cuisine”, generated by the specificities of the Randstad territory.

Contributions from Debra Solomon, Jago van Bergen and from the Alterra department of Wageningen Universities will be featured in VOLUME 18.

A statement*

VOLUME has decided not to bring a positive contribution to the Sustainability debate.

VOLUME believes that too many matters, and essential ones, are not voiced in this debate, as regards the social and political status of Design, as regards the ideological functions and the mythology of environment.

In these circumstances, any participation could not but reinforce the ambiguity and the complicity of silence which hangs over this debate. So we prefer to present a text expressing our positions.

The burning question of Sustainability has neither suddenly fallen from the heavens nor spontaneously risen from the collective consciousness: It has its own history. In the Seventies, Reyner Banham has clearly shown the moral and technical limits and the illusions of sustainability practice. He didn’t approach the social and political definition of this practice. It is not by accident that all the Western governments have now launched this new crusade, and try to mobilize people’s conscience by shouting apocalypse.

The environment issue in many European countries is a fall-out of May, 1968, more precisely a fall-out of the failure of the May revolution. Ideology, which the political power tries to divert onto rivers and national parks, could happen in the street. In the United States, it is not a coincidence that this new mystique, this new frontier has been developed during and parallel to the Vietnam war. There was in France and in the States a potential crisis situation. Both here and there the governments restructured their fundamental ideology in order to face this crisis and surmount it. We see that ultimately the real issue is not the survival of the human species but the survival of political power. In this sense, environment, design, fight against pollution, and so on, pick up the torch in the history of ideology from the great crusade of human relations which followed the great 1929 crisis. At that time, the capitalist system succeeded in reviving production and in restructuring itself by means of an immense injection of publicity, of services, of public relations into consumerism, enterprises, and social life.

Today, when new and larger contradictions affect the internal structures of the overdeveloped countries and force them, all together, on a world scale, into opposition with the underdeveloped countries, the system comes up with a worldwide ideology that could remake the holy union of mankind, beyond class discrimination, beyond wars, beyond neo imperialistic conflicts. Once again, this holy union created in the name of environment is nothing but the holy union of the ruling classes of the rich nations.

In the mystique of human relations, it was a question of recycling, readapting, and reconciling both individuals and groups to the social context given as norm and as ideal. In the mystique of environment, it is a matter of recycling, readapting, and reintegrating the individual in the context of nature given as an ideal. Compared with the preceding ideology, this one is even more regressive, more simplistic, but for that reason even more efficient. Social relations with their conflicts and history are completely rejected in favor of nature, with a diversion of all energies to a boy scout idealism, with a naive euphoria in a hygienic nature.

The theory of environment pretends to be based on actual and evident problems. But pollution, nuisances, dysfunctions are technical problems related to a social type of production. Environment is quite another problem, crystallizing the conscience on a Utopian model, on a collective enemy and, moreover, giving a guilty feeling to the collective consciousness. (We have met the enemy and he is us.) The crusade of environment goes from technical problems and technical solutions to simple and pure social manipulation. War and natural catastrophes have always been used to unify a disintegrating society. Today, it is ‘la mise-en scène’ of a natural catastrophe or of a permanent apocalypse which plays the same role.

In the mystique of environment, this blackmail toward apocalypse and toward a mythic enemy who is in us and all around tends to create a false interdependence among individuals. Nothing better than a touch of ecology and catastrophe to unite the social classes, except perhaps a witch hunt (the mystique of antipollution being nothing but a variation of it).

Problems of sustainability only look like objective ones. In fact, they are ideological problems.

This crusade, which puts again, but on another level, the themes of Kennedy’s New Frontier, as well as the fighting against poverty as the theme of the Great Society, constitutes a complete ideological structure, a social drug, a new ‘opium of the people’. In one sense, it would be too easy to compare bombing in Afghanistan or Iraq as strategies of the ‘war against terrorism’ with the loving care with which people here protect flora and fauna – one could make a fabulous list of all the evident contradictions in which this new idealism is sinking. But there is here a misunderstanding, and the opposition between chlorophyll and bombs exists only in appearance. In fact, it is the same thing. In Afghanistan or Iraq, the fight is against ‘terrorist’ pollution. Here the fight is against water pollution. To lock Indians and black people in reservations and ghettos, that is also a fight against pollution. It is the same logic that organizes all these aspects, the ideological process consisting in disguising in humanistic values some practices (such as the fight against pollution) to oppose them formally to other practices (such as the war on terrorism), which are then considered only as a deplorable reality and an accident. We must clearly see that there is a same policy, a same system of values fundamentally operating here, and that everywhere the established power has always fought against pollution, evidently against the pollution of the establishment itself. This enemy that each of us is invited to hunt and destroy is all that pollutes social order and production order.

It is not true that society is ill, that nature is ill. the therapeutic mythology which tries to convince us that, if things are going wrong, it is due to microbes, to virus, or to some biological dysfunctions, this therapeutic mythology hides the political fact, the historical fact that it is a question of social structures and social contradictions, not a question of illness or deficient metabolism, which could easily be cured.

All the designers, the architects, the sociologists who are acting like medicine men toward this ill society are accomplices in this interpretation of the question in terms of illness, which is another form of hoax.

In conclusion, we say that this new environmental and naturistic ideology is the most sophisticated and pseudoscientific form of a naturistic mythology, which has always consisted in transferring the ugly reality of social relations to an idealized model of marvelous nature, to an idealized relationship between man and nature.

The debate over Sustainability is the Disneyland of environment and design. We are speaking here about universal therapy, about apocalypse in a magic ambiance. But the real problem is far beyond sustainability – it is the entire theory of design and environment itself, which constitutes a generalized Utopia, a Utopia produced by a capitalist system that assumes the appearance of a second nature in order to survive and perpetuate itself under the pretext of nature.

Freely adapted from: The French Group (Jean Aubert and Jean Baudrillard), The Environmental Witch-Hunt. Statement by the French Group. 1970’ in The Aspen Papers: Twenty Years of Design Theory from the International Design Conference in Aspen, edited by Reyner Banham (New York: Praeger 1974), p.208–210.

On Pipeline, more articles on the IDCA 1970

VOLUME’s research on sustainability for VOLUME 18, perspectives beyond issues of CO2 emission and carbon fossil fuel consumption, inspired collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum. On October 4 its ‘Heartland’ exhibition opened. Ideologically there are clear links between these projects. The institutes share an interdisciplinary research approach and both teams attempt to understand social, cultural and environmental sustainability in a manner, which is disconnected from development discourse and market driven practice.
To exchange and discuss positions and findings an expert meeting was staged at the Van Abbemuseum. Two positions initiated the debate. These will be presented more extensively in VOLUME 18, here we present some core ideas.

Marjetica Potrč linked the disillusionment with state structures to disillusionment with modernist architecture. She illustrated this with imagery of decaying social housing and school buildings in New Orleans. Post-capitalism, she argued, can be understood as entering a stage of survival. According to Potrc in Albania’s capital Tirana one can see how a societal agreement by citizens who go against modernism works out. She referred to the city painting project of Mayor Edi Rama. Potrč also mentioned that societies which came into being in a situation of post-capitalism do sustainable design in a local way: more autonomous, with vernacular methods and focused on self-sustainability. As an example she presented the Shot Gun house. As such, post-capitalism implied for her also a sort of post-nationalism, which could be seen in the arising of city-networks in former Yugoslavia. A theme she researched in her Lost Highway project.

Andrew Herscher, who discussed a project entitled Detroit Unreal Estate Agency, argued that Detroit in the normal economic, political and cultural narrative is characterized as a city of the urban sublime, the shrinking city (empty spaces), ruins, a forgotten city or a city of loss (in terms of population, economy and urbanity). The city transforms because of these narratives into something invisible, disconnected from the realm of economy. Yet, Herscher pleas that we might as well consider this a transformation: the city gains other values in terms of the dream or the desire; the non-existent according to capitalism. As such, the city becomes the site of creativity instead of the site of inefficiency, danger and inflation. Herscher claims that focusing unreal estate is not an attempt to discard the suffering and violence in Detroit, which capitalism normalizes, but that challenges our concept of sustainability and our view on the urban condition.

Some questions and propositions that arose from the discussion:
– Sustainability is in many ways to be considered the next stage in a class war.
– To really understand what is happening in a city in terms of sustainable development over time, we need not only to zoom out spatially but also temporally.
– A practice of the post-capitalist city which might enhance a different kind of sustainability could be brought about by the practice of play, in other words the practice of the homo ludens. A practice of play would most likely challenge boundaries of the private and the public.

Contributions by Marjetica Potrč, Andrew Herscher, Mireille Roddier and Stephanie Smith will be included in VOLUME 18.

Volume interviews Alberto Iacovoni from Ma0

At the occasion of Ma0’s presentation in Venice in the Italian pavilion, Volume had an interview on what proved to be the hidden theme of this year’s Biennale: sustainability. The Italian office Ma0 (emmeazero, acronym for Media Architecture Office) has for more than 11 years been engaged in research and design with special focus on architecture as medium and the interaction with media.

Usually we don’t regard Ma0 as a ‘sustainable’ architecture office in a strict sense. But you are always looking for new kinds of lifestyles and sociality in liberated public spaces. Perhaps sustainability can be achieved in other ways, maybe not thinking only in terms of carbon emissions and energy savings…

Nowadays architects are dealing with sustainability focusing only on how technology can reduce the emissions, how we can reach a kind of self-sufficient climate balance etc. This is very important of course but this is not the main question about architecture. We can make very efficient buildings without dealing with the idea of the form of the building itself, or how the ‘sustainable city’ could be imagined. In other words, we can find sustainable solutions, from the energy point of view, to be applied to any kind of architectural form and language.
We should on the contrary focus more on how the form itself can contribute to a sustainable environment, not only because – as the studies by Newman and Kenworthy on the compact city were pointing out – a specific form is more or less dissipative, but also because from a true ecological approach, sustainability cannot be reduced to an energy issue, but should concern the social one too.
The word ‘ecology‘ refers to a kind of totality, a holistic vision of the environment.
In our work sustainability is seen from this point of view. I like to say that our research is a research for an ecology of form. Let me explain this.

The contemporary city seems the most unsustainable environment that mankind has ever built, not just as regards the large-scale consumption of energy and environmental resources (generally known as the urban footprint), but also and above all for the forms of occupation and organization of land at every level. Mechanisms increasing the value of areas continually fuel phenomena of expansion, in which the land on which the new city grows is an unspecialized, intensely subdivided space. The expansion of surface car parks, the proliferation of boundaries and barriers between different properties, and diverse areas that are interconnected only by a capillary street network, produce a sprawling, fragmented and dissipative urban structure.
If ecology is according to the Ernst Haeckel definition, the science of relations, to be really ecological we have to rebuild the relations in this fragmented reality. Relations between spaces, people, and environments. Therefore architecture should concentrate more on connections, than on the objects themselves.
That’s why one of the keywords of our research is continuity, that is to say, something that has the capacity to connect things. Of course this thing is public space. For example, our proposal for this Biennale, Footprints, is a further step in this research on continuity that has been ongoing since the founding of ma0. Recently we did an urban study for the city of Almere in the Netherlands, focusing specifically on this theme.

Footprints is simply made of images, visions on how this concept of continuity could work in the city. With Footprints we propose to reverse, to overturn the common point of view on the city. Not to focus on architecture, buildings, but to talk about what is in between buildings, what is connecting buildings, that is to say, public space – traditional public spaces as parks, streets and piazzas, but also more green, natural spaces, woods and spaces for leisure activities. I short: we have to work with voids, with spaces more than buildings.

Another main issue of sustainability is how a built environment can change and adapt to changing conditions. One of the main theoretical assumption of architecture in the 20th century was the power of the project to manage in itself the complexity of the future development of the city. The failure of many of those projects that have been realized shows us that we cannot tell in advance what will really happen…
So, one of the important questions of sustainability today is trying to produce systems that are in some ways weaker than the ones of the 20th century, able to adapt to the changing conditions as living systems, more than as dead concrete bodies.
That’s why another keyword in our architectures is play, which means the research for a performative quality of form, for an architecture that can meet the ever changing needs and desires of people who live in those spaces. An architecture which opens its inertial boundaries to interaction and intervention of the inhabitants.

From this point of view the continuity concept is something necessary to define the playground, the platform for interactions, a loosening of borders in the city to multiply the opportunities of a social play.

Maurizio Giufré in an editorial in the Italian newspaper il manifesto of September 12 pointed out that architects today cannot present real critiques of contemporary society…

That was really hard about the Biennale…

Indeed. You mentioned this idea of playscapes. How do you see this idea in relation to our consumption society? Is it a kind of liberation from the money economy, or are new ideas destined to become valuable marketable goods?

I don’t remember who said this, that every weapon that we use can be turned against ourselves. We operate in a capitalist society. So, if we really want to escape this kind of society we should maybe not start from architecture, but from different things, such as direct political action. I think architecture is a really compromissory activity in itself. It’s in the middle of dynamics which are much stronger than the architect and his/her ideas. But at the same time there still is a little freedom of action, for producing visions, for interfering with these dynamics.

It’s always very dangerous to say ‘ok, I’m really liberating things’. For example, these images that we have produced about this idea of continuous network of empty spaces going through the city at the same time can appear as a system of borders between isolated communities. So, I know that every image we produce can at he same time be looked at as its reversal. If you look at the history of the 20th century, you see that all utopian visions have been realized with the opposite value. The utopia of mass-society with everything mass-produced was an idea of liberation but in the end it became a tool for caging people. So in some ways I think that, as Guy Debord said, theories are made to die during time, so you always have to change your position.

The idea of play in some respects meets the capitalistic needs. For example, new media are now used to make people play in their little bedrooms, sometimes getting them less conscious about their own material conditions, separating people from each other. So, play is a really powerful tool to make people forget what the real problems are.
What is interesting in architecture is that this idea of play can on the contrary be politically very provocative.

Just to make another example: we won a competition in 2003, in one of the Europan sessions in Drancy, in the outskirts of Paris. The motto was ‘Playscape‘. The program asked to make a proposal for the renewal of a low-income housing project in Drancy, and playscape was the idea of a neighborhood that could be really open to the direct intervention of the inhabitants. We got the first prize, just because we had Herman Hertzberger in the jury who was really enthusiastic about our project. But then when we met the representatives of the city, they told us something very simple: ‘the space is not public, it belongs to the Republic. It’s the Republic that really decides what to do and what not to. At this moment, we don’t want people to decide about that space, and we would make any project on it, but not yours…’

If you bring play out of the private space and you put in the public one, you are liberating some real interconnections between people, and also liberating some conflicts, of course. So this becomes a provocative theme which can address some central questions in the present political debate.

Architecture is something related to really material stuff. This because it is strongly linked on how the market goes. Once you try to put this kind of thinking, you are discussing about some really fundamental things of our society. I don’t think we can really overturn this, but I think it’s our duty to try to put – as we say in Italian – some grains in the gears, something which can produce some frictions, to make some slight perturbations in the system that could lead to some unpredictable consequences.

On the other hand, in a moment in which the debate on public space is more and more about safety, about controlling people, the idea of play can be seen as something really inactual. But I think that if we don’t talk about this, then what shall we do? We could also accept more and more gated communities and controlled space, but if we have some kind of free thought, we have in some ways to try to produce some visions that are against this destiny of this gated and controlled contemporary city.

Interview with Pablo Georgieff from Coloco @ Venice Biennale

We live in an epoque in which the end of the resources and the rise of global population force us to choose between war or conviviality.
As declared partisans of the latter option, we need to learn how to economize all that it is not renewable, and to recycle everything as much as we can.
Time will be an essential component of our work, as we have to deal with life. Today, we are called to think at the reversibility of our manufacts, without capturing resources and creating constrains which will narrow the future choices.

Coloco is a Paris-based collective of “explorers of urban diversity”. Rather than a conventional architects, people at Coloco think themselves more as

Active gardeners, we don’t recognize ourselves into the corporative borders of our discipline. On the contrary, we became a symbiotic structure aggregating knowledge and skills we need for every different project. A living structure evolving in response to the environment.

We had the chance to meet Pablo Georgieff at the Venice Biennale. Here’s a report of our talk.

Would you like to explain to us the theme of your installation here at the Biennale?

Our presentation here at the Biennale is just a mosaic of some projects that we have been working on in the last eight or nine years. It’s kind of a genealogic tree connecting projects with one another, sort of families of projects: our works on abandoned buildings, on spontaneous gardens in the cities, landscape works from very small individual gardens to the green belt we are now working on in Tripoli, Libia. It’s a cross-scale project with some topics that we are interested in, that we think important for our practice and that we call Urbanodiversity.

Can you explain the idea behind this term?

Urbanodiversity is the idea that the city’s richness depends on variety of activities, situations, living beings that can be hosted in it, and it is the opposite of the generic, monotonous, functionalist city.
We believe that very different interesting situations can occur in accidents, in small places, in what we call ‘turbulences’ of the flux of people, materials and information of the city, where creative behavior, new experiences, new solutions can be born.

You use the metaphor of fluid dynamics in the city…

We see urbanism as an ‘aerodynamic’ discipline, based on movement, fluxes and energy, and no more based on dead matter and materials, as it was in the past.
We think that it is necessary now to work seriously on the living, human material of the city. The city is not just a collection of bricks, or more or less sophisticated materials in more or less fancy shapes, but it’s also a set for relationships, for stories, for love and hate. This is something we would like to use as material for our projects. We don’t mean to quantify human parameters in the way social disciplines do, but to engage individuals into action.

You also present a different insight on nature, different from the idea we are used to

We always want to remind that there’s nothing ‘behind’ nature. Nature is not opposite to anything, because everything is part of nature. There are just different environments, different equilibriums. We have been consulted last year by the municipality of Paris asking us where the new nature spaces in Paris would be. We answered that there would be no new nature spaces, for nature is already everywhere. We proposed to call this project ‘Welcoming Diversity’. It’s about creating the living conditions for life forms and the relationships between them.

That’s not really a common task for architects. For example, in the Arsenale you can’t even touch objects that are supposed to be furniture. Weird situation. Our job is supposed to be about hosting life… Of course there are also positive examples: now this interview is taking place at the Biennale in a semi-underground space with lots of cushions on the floor, outside it is raining very heavy and this has become a very interesting place: everybody is talking with one another, meeting. In this Biennale places to exchange ideas are very rare, and this space is a real success just because we can use it and it is welcoming.

What are the tools you developed to achieve, or to deal with, this Urbanodiversity?

We are trying to work on tools that help us to integrate time in our projects. It is not a thing completely out of the blue, or completely new, or never seen, but we are trying to introduce chronograms as information-exchange and project-driving tools with the clients. We were thinking about how to improve participation, working together, operational sequences to give also the possibility to have spontaneous collaborations, to have optimizations, to have inventions. To do that, you always have to know what is going on, in what sequences, what is necessary to do first, what you have to prepare in order to make things happen, etc.
For example, next year we will have this project in Brazil for the French cultural season. After some proposals and negotiations we have been given a 20-storey building from the Sixties in the center of the city which is now empty. We have suggested activating it as a cultural laboratory during the eight months of the season. Also, it will serve as a negotiation platform to decide what to do with this building, to see if an entity emerges out of this experience that can make this building function with a mix of dwellings, cultural workshops, communication, etc.
In this experience we really don’t know what is going to happen: our aim is to set up the tools by which all people involved can share ideas, and finally act together. This is what we call ‘process architecture’, which is not about the final form, but how we can work with one another, how you can find places where you can discuss, making the project evolve and in the end to create the possibility to really invent something together.

Environmental regulations are generally based on compensation principles: you’re allowed to pollute the air or the water, but not beyond a certain level set by the regulation. If you want to pollute more, you can always buy extra pollution quotas. Environmental protection came always after ‘human development’ priorities.

But in places like Ecuador, as in the rest of Latin America, human development has always shown its dark sides

The country, which contains every South American ecosystem within its borders, which include the Galapagos Islands, has had disastrous collisions with multi-national companies. Many, from banana companies to natural gas extractors, have exploited its natural resources and left little but pollution and poverty in their wake.

Now it is in the grip of a bitter lawsuit against US oil giant Chevron, formerly Texaco, over its alleged dumping of billions of gallons of crude oil and toxic waste waters into the Amazonian jungle over two decades.

It is described as the Amazonian Chernobyl, and 30,000 local people claim that up to 18m tonnes of oil was dumped into unlined pits over two decades, in defiance of international guidelines, and contaminating groundwater over an area of some 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) and leading to a plethora of serious health problems for anyone living in the area. Chevron has denied the allegations. In April, a court-appointed expert announced in a report that, should Chevron lose, it would have to pay up to $16bn (£8.9bn) in damages.

The new constitution of Ecuador, ratified last week by a large popular majority, goes beyond the traditional ‘sustainable developmentalist’ paradigm, recognizing inalienable rights to nature (Title II, Chapter VII, Art. 1):

Nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.

Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognitions of rights for nature before the public organisms. The application and interpretation of these rights will follow the related principles established in the Constitution.

This can be seen as the first attempt to codify an ecocentric point of view in giuridical tools. The consequences of this shift are still to be observed. For sure, it will be more difficult in future for foreign multinational companies to exploit Ecuador’s national resources and human labor, as the consitution set strict principles against the commodification of water resources, on food sovreignity and for the protection of indigenous people.

[Via: Culture Monkey]

The Dutch Pavilion site has published tons of data on the results of the working sessions held during the Biennale’s opening days.

Check the videos of the Round Table Discussions and the Speed Date Marathon. Also pdf versions of The Book are available (alas, only printer friendly versions)