Process Urbanism - The City as Artificial Ecosystem    

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4 | UNITY

Process urbanism implies super-optimization rather than sub-optimization. Rather than optimizing each individual component, we must strive to create and optimize the unexpected synergy between components. Bring the system towards unity.

In the proposal for a new town at Store Rørbæk in Frederiksssund, the components are glued together in a mega-conglomerate that never sets. Each component that can be identified and added, affects the total impression of the town. An image which is never clearly comprehendible, but which in a sense forms an organism, a living organism that adapts and regulates itself every time something new happens. One might compare it to how the expression of clouds changes as the result of wind, humidity, airplane traffic, heat. An unclear and vague image. An expression that continuously adapts whilst we are able to identify the image of clouds at any time.

Urban design should be operational in relation to the unforeseen. No one can predict what will go wrong in the future. This is why we work with design principles and models for the organization of space, buildings and infrastructure – principles and models that are robust and flexible. That can handle small collapses along the way and at all times.

Urban structures lacking adaptability such as the many harbour and railway areas that have lost their function are present in many cities and suburban areas close to stations. It leaves behind cities full of empty and contaminated areas, preventing adaptation and equivalence between urban elements. When their functions change, these areas break down, as they themselves are the results of mono-functional planning logics. We have to start from scratch in order to include these areas as an active part of the city.

At Fredericia Harbour, a part of the former industrial area has been cleared. Before the planning of a new town district is commenced, the area is transformed into a blend of temporary nature, town and health-related features. Everything is temporary, can be moved around and re-programmed according to the situation. The physical expression is determined by the temporary, the ability to quickly replace, degrade or simply adjust to new situations. An uneven terrain is sealed off with asphalt and collects rainwater. The rainwater evaporates, but before it does that, it becomes a playground for schoolchildren on a botanic excursion. Biotope-mats are rolled out on a plastic underlay, with a completely natural expression such as flowering meadow but with information boards attached. Using mats is partly in order not to come into contact with contaminated soil, partly in order to make the new elements removable. A couple of larks settle down. Fishermen meet at the quay, whilst Shell Oil is tanking petrol from enormous orange tankers, shutting off the great view towards the horizon.


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4 | HELHED

Procesurbanismen forudsætter, at man superoptimerer frem for at suboptimere. Det vil sige, at frem for at optimere hver enkelt komponent hver for sig, skal vi arbejde på at skabe og optimere den uventede synergieffekt mellem komponenterne. Bringe systemet mod helhed.

I forslaget til en ny by ved Store Rørbæk i Frederikssund, kittes komponenterne sammen til et mega-konglomerat, der aldrig størkner. Hver enkelt komponent, der kan identificeres eller sættes ind, påvirker det samlede billede af byen. Et billede, der aldrig bliver klart opfatteligt. Men begribeligt som en organisme, en levende organismer, der tilpasser sig, der regulerer sig, hver gang, noget sker. Man kan sammenligne det med skyer, der hele tiden skifter udtryk, som følge af vind, luftfugtighed, flytrafik, varme, … et uklart og vagt udtryk. Et udtryk,  der løbende tilpasser sig samtidig med at vi til enhver tid og entydigt kan identificere billedet som skyer.

Byplanlægningen skal være operationel i forhold til det uforudsete. Ingen kan forudsige, hvad der vil gå galt i fremtiden. Derfor må vi arbejde med formgivningsprincipper og modeller for organisering af rum, byggeri og infrastruktur, som er robuste og fleksible, så de kan klare små ”nedbrud” hen ad vejen og hele tiden.

Eksempler på bystrukturer med manglende tilpasningsevne er de mange funktionsafviklede havne- og banearealer i byerne og de stationsnære forstadsarealer. Det efterlader mange byer med tomme og forurenede arealer, der ligger som barrierer for tilpasning og ligevægt. Fordi disse arealer er resultatet af en monofunktionel planlægningstankegang, bryder de sammen, når disse funktioner ændres, og man er nødt til at begynde helt forfra for at kunne inddrage dem som en aktiv del af byen.

I Fredericia Havn er en del af det tidligere industriareal ryddet. Inden planlægningen af en ny bydel sættes i gang, bliver området transformeret til en blanding af midlertidig natur, by og sundhed. Alt er midlertidigt, kan flyttes rundt og omprogrammeres efter situationen. Udtrykket er bestemt af denne midlertidighed, evnen til hurtigt at skiftes ud, nedbrydes eller reguleres til nye situationer. En større ujævnhed i terrænet er forseglet med asfalt og opsamler regnvand. Det fordamper, og indtil da er det legeplads for skoleelever på botanikekskursion. Biotop-måtter med færdig naturudtryk som bla blomstereng med informationsskilt, er rullet ud på et plastunderlag. Dels for ikke at komme i berøring med den potentielt forurenet undergrund og dels for at kunne fjernes igen. Nogle lærker slår sig ned. Fiskerne holder til ude ved kajen, mens Shell tanker benzin fra enorme orange tankere, der lukker af for det store blik mod horisonten.