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Celebrating the Botanical Diversity of Cities

The word “ecology” has been co-opted so widely that it has lost real meaning, yet ecological thinking remains a powerful lens for understanding complex adaptive systems. A new book aims for a more rigorous engagement of ecology and design.

Places Journal is featuring two chapters from Projective Ecologies, edited by Chris Reed and Nina-Marie Lister and co-published by Actar and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

In "The Flora of the Future," botanist Peter Del Tredici argues that the native plants movement has got it all wrong: “Landscape architects — and anyone else who works directly with vegetation — need to acknowledge that a wide variety of novel or emergent ecosystems are developing before our eyes.” In an engaging photo survey of ecological niches in the city, Del Tredici makes the case for spontaneous urban plants as flora of the future.

In "Ecology and Design: Parallel Genealogies," the book's editors trace the origins and evolution of the over-extended term "ecology" and explain how contemporary ecological models of “open-endedness, flexibility, resilience and adaptation” can inform design thinking.

Full Story: The Flora of the Future

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