Bio-Cities and Regions
Social and natural systems in interaction
In May, the world-renowned lecturer and design theoretician, and the founder of Doors of Perception, John Thackara, spoke about the growth of bio-cities and regions at the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. The lecture, which was organized by the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (ALUO), the Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region (RDA LUR) and the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, addressed the development of contemporary cities and regions, which was based on the availability of natural, energy and financial resources, with fast, but not always well considered planning. Since the affordability of energy and easily accessible capital are no longer the automatic presumptions of development, the question arises as to how cities and regions will adapt to the new circumstances. This is partly answered by the concept of The Growth of Bio-Cities and Regions.
After the introductory speech by Lilijana Madjar (Director of RDA LUR), Vladimir Pezdirc (Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Department of Industrial Design) and Jelka Žekar (Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Ljubljana), John Thackara began his lecture, which was split into three parts that dealt with the question of “Why a bio-city?”, the definition of socio-ecological systems, and designing an agenda for a bio-region.
Bio-cities and regions are predominantly required because of the increasing destruction of the natural (eco) system, which is abused through the acquisition of increasing amounts of resources and raw materials that are necessary for the life of people. The mentioned cities and regions operate on the basis of close cooperation and collaboration between the natural system in which the flora and fauna needs no external support for their survival, and a social system in which people use new methods in order to satisfy the demands of life. In his cases from practice, Thackara presented numerous examples of cities that take care of the sustainable development and conservation of the intact environment in harmony with the natural environment through various activities such as vegetable gardens in cities, production of goods, and sustainable collection of rainwater, by which individual households can be maintained long-term.
There is also a great need for a system of forming meetings, where the innovative ideas of individuals are combined and upgraded, thereby creating opportunities for networking and global ecological operations. On the same lines, one of the key steps is also the change in the way of thinking whereby regions should think about themselves as bio-regions and should begin to operate in this way. John Thackara has thus shown through examples of good practice that the human and natural systems often yield innovative ecological solutions in their interaction, while at the same time providing for an incessant urban-rural integration and consequent development and growth of bio-regions.