Alex Felson participated as a presenter and panelist in the event Urban Planet: Emerging Ecologies at the Cooper Union on April 10th.
Two questions raised were: “Ecological understanding of urban constructed ecosystems is seminal. Scientists are seeking new ways to develop that knowledge towards understanding urban environments and defining sustainable ecosystems. At the same time, designers are incorporating ecological understanding and attempting to define sustainable urban ecosystems of the future.
1. Design practitioners often filter ecological concepts and understanding into design even though those concepts are not easily translated from one field to the next and the ecological data as well as theoretical frameworks are incomplete. What then are the professional boundaries designers should acknowledge and how can those boundaries be overcome particularly when working with incomplete information from scientists and the uncertainty embedded in scientific results?
2. Environmental consultants often form part of design teams. Their input however into the design process is constrained and largely aims to satisfy developers’ interests and regulations which may not be based on the best available science. How can we enhance transdisciplinary approach across the design and ecology disciplines to ensure a more meaningful integration of ecology and design for the built environment?”