- Community Ecology   click here to open paper content1332 kb
by    Stephens, Ric | ricstephens@verizon.net   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
How do we plan for environmental, economic and social integration? The essential elements are: 1) flexible, adaptive systems, 2) diverse, programmable spaces, and 3) strong, unique sense of place resulting in a regenerative community ecology.
Traditional planning reflects a static, 2-dimensional, mechanical model focusing on standardized, isolated functions. This approach has led to numerous environmental, economic and social problems that are typically resolved (or attempted to be resolved) by continuous “layers” of similar planning techniques. Euclidean zoning—a cornerstone of traditional planning—exhibits this cycle in the constant refinement and creation of new zones and overlays. Many cities have 100 or more zones with additional overlays to continuously address evolving spatial design. Why, despite a century of continuous manipulation and refinement, has no extraordinary place ever been created by zoning? Because zoning is static, 2-dimensional, mechanical and focuses on standardization. The introduction of mixed-use development, planned unit development, specific plans, performance zoning and even form-based code are efforts to address some of these limitations. The traditional planning approach encompasses more than just zoning; it permeates most of the spatial planning process from inception to development. This paper will examine numerous trends to provide flexible and adaptive systems design for diverse, programmable spaces that create a strong, unique sense of place. Brief examples include eco-industrial development, ecotourism, urban agriculture, and experiential design. These “ecological communities” may exceed traditional sustainability goals and become extraordinary places of regenerative design.
community ecology, systems planning, programmable space, sense of place, regenerative design
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