ECOLOPES TALKS

ECOLOPES TALKS are taking place every first Tuesday each month at 17:00 CET.
Speakers will be renowned representatives of the disciplines relevant for the ECOLOPES approach, spanning from architecture to ecology, computer sciences and beyond.

Click here to register for upcoming TALKS.

# UPCOMING TALK 15: 4th of June, 14:00

Prof. Christiane M. Herr – High-Rise Buildings as Ecosystems
 

Prof. Christiane M. Herr is a PhD supervisor as well as the person responsible for education and the director of the BEng Industrial Design program at the School of Design, Southern University of Science and Technology. With a background in architecture and engineering, Christiane focuses on the areas of cross-disciplinary ecological design, advanced façade technologies and digitally supported design. Christiane obtained a Dipl.-Ing. degree from the University of Kassel, an MArch and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Hong Kong and a second Dr.-Ing. degree from the University of Kassel. Before joining SUSTech, she held positions as an Associate Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and Shenzhen University and as a Visiting Assistant Professor at National Cheng Kung University. Christiane was President of the Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia (CAADRIA) for four years and is currently vice-chair of the Board of the CAADFutures Foundation. She is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Architectural Computing, the journal Architectural Intelligence and the journal Sustainable Horizons. Herr has authored over 100 peer-reviewed academic publications and has co-edited the book “Design Cybernetics: Navigating the New”, published in the Springer Design Research Foundations Series.

Across Asia, urban populations are concentrating in dense megacities where high-rise buildings dominate urban form and most urban residents have little exposure to nature throughout their lives. This has negative implications for the health and well-being of both human and non-human life. From a design perspective, new forms of living together are needed that require re-conceptualization of urban ecosystems and the role buildings can play in them. Led by Prof. Christiane M. Herr, the Future Ecologies Group at SUSTech engages in cross-disciplinary research that integrates empirical science, technology and design to support the development of future high-density cities in subtropical climates. The talk discusses the question of how high-rise buildings can host both humans and functioning ecosystems.

TALK 14:
Prof. Dr. Christoph Rupprecht – Multispecies Sustainability: Concepts and future directions
 
TALK 13:
Prof. Dr. Leonie K Fischer –
Planning future cities for people and nature
 
TALK 12:
Dr. Fahim Amir – Cohabitation:
Philosophies of co-existence in more-than-human contexts
 
TALK 11:
Prof. Dr. Monika Egerer –
Growing Gardens into Neighbourhoods
 
TALK 10:
Dr. Mike Wells – Regenerative
Ecolopes on the Meridian Line 
 
TALK 9:
Dr. Svenja Keune – Designing
and Living with Organisms
 
TALK 8:
Prof. Sarah Bekessy –
Nature positive Cities: 
Biodiversity sensitive Planning
 
TALK 7:
Andrea Balestrini
(LAND RESEARCH LAB)
Productive cities for the green transition
 
TALK 6:
Leo Stuckardt
(MVRDV NEXT) – Digital Tooling,
Datascapes and Design Speculation
 
TALK 5:
Chiara Catalano –
DESIGNED HABITATS
TALK 4:
William Myers –
BIODESIGN
TALK 3:
ChartierDalix –
ARCHITECTURE AS ECOSYSTEM
TALK 2:
John Marzluff –
WELCOME TO SUBIRDIA
TALK 1:
Helga Fassbinder –
BIOTOPE CITY
All Videos of the ECOLOPES TALKS
series are available on our Youtube Channel:
www.youtube.com/@ecolope

# TALK 14: 2nd of April, 17:00

Prof. Dr. Christoph Rupprecht – Multispecies Sustainability: Concepts and future directions
 

Professor Christoph Rupprecht researches sustainability and cities from the perspectives of multispecies studies, degrowth, green space, food and agriculture. He’s particularly interested in the role of stories, games and the imagination in rethinking social structures and institutions through a more-than-human lens. Recent work includes the science fiction anthologies “Multispecies Cities” and “Solarpunk Creatures”, a proposal for “Sustainable agrifood systems for a post-growth world” in Nature Sustainability, and efforts to create a living-lab multispecies campus. Since 2021, Christoph leads the Multispecies Sustainability Laboratory at the Department of Environmental Design as an Associate Professor at Ehime University, Japan. He’s also a founding director at the FEAST NPO.

Sustainability as a concept is focused on human wellbeing. This utilitarian view of nature as a resource for humanity limits sustainability’s conceptual power and hampers real-world transformation efforts. Multispecies sustainability proposes a broader definition that acknowledges the interdependent needs of multiple species’ current and future generations. Following a closer look at the emergence of relational thinking across disciplines, the talk will discuss what principles underpin this redefinition of sustainability. It will conclude by exploring promising avenues for future research and potential applications, from urban design to art and fiction.

#TALK 13: 5th of March, 17:00

Prof. Dr. Leonie K Fischer – Planning future cities for people and nature
 

Professor Leonie Fischer leads the Institute of Landscape Planning and Ecology at the University of Stuttgart. Her scientific focus is especially on the ecology of human-influenced habitats in both tropical and moderate regions, including urban ecology and urban restoration. She also works on a deeper understanding of how people value urban nature, and what influences their attitudes. The basic part of her research work is its practical orientation and application.

In the talk, she will describe current approaches in urban planning, spanning from ecological restoration to urban design. Thus, different spatial levels of greening approaches and various types of green spaces and green elements will be assessed for their potential to create safe and healthy environments for everyone. The main argument will be to untangle how people use and value urban nature, and how a mosaic of green structures helps mitigate climate change and biodiversity loss in cities.

Click here to access a summary of the TALK.

#TALK 12: 6th of February, 17:00

Dr. Fahim Amir – Cohabitation: Philosophies of co-existence in more-than-human contexts
 

Dr. Fahim Amir is a philosopher and lives in Vienna. Amir’s research focuses on cultures of nature and urbanism, perspectives of cohabitation and transculturality, and questions of architecture and space. Amir was co-editor of Transcultural Modernisms in 2013 and wrote the afterword to the German translation of Donna Haraway’s Companion Species Manifesto. His study Schwein und Zeit (Being and Swine) has been listed on the Sachbuchbestenliste of Deutschlandfunk Kultur, ZDF and Die Zeit and was chosen as one of the best books of 2019 by the Goethe-Institut and the Frankfurt Book Fair. It has been translated amongst others into English (2020), Persian (2021) and French (2022). Recent publications include the manifesto of the arch+ exhibition Cohabitation in Berlin (2021) and contributions for the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, 2022), the 58th Carnegie International Exhibition (Pittsburgh, 2022), Mumok – Museum moderner Kunst (Vienna, 2022) and Venice Biennale Architettura (2023).

In his lecture, Fahim Amir introduces the philosophies of cohabitation by analyzing the prevailing architectural discourse and the dispositives of contemporary urban planning with regard to their anthropocentric constitution and develops possible perspectives of solidaristic design. These inevitably also intervene in the orders of the aesthetic and political. Thus, making the claims of non-human others part of the equation means, not least, relativizing our sovereignty. After all, participation (Teilhabe) also means sharing (Teilgabe), so we will have to give up something, e.g. the idea of a completely controllable and “manageable” environment. Stray animals, urban pigeons and their entanglements may today be as valid as models as the seemingly eternal squares and circles of Vitruvian Man.

#TALK 11: 7th of November, 17:00

Prof. Dr. Monika Egerer – “Growing Gardens into Neighbourhoods” 
 

Monika Egerer researches the ecology and management of ecosystems in and around cities. She takes an interdisciplinary research approach, analyzing the relationships among biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human wellbeing. A particular focus is on the role of insects and plant biodiversity in urban agricultural systems, especially in the context of habitat management, urbanization and climate change. She holds a PhD in environmental studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, USA. In 2020, she was appointed to the professorship of Urban Productive Ecosystems at the TUM School of Life Sciences.

Increasing urban densification can negatively impact urban biodiversity, but the diversity of urban green spaces also offers new opportunities to promote biodiversity conservation. Urban community gardens are social-ecological systems that support biodiversity, ecosystem services, and interactions between people and nature. Community gardens, in turn, can be an ideal living laboratory to work with gardener to develop, test, and implement biodiversity conservation strategies that can be transferred and disseminated to other urban ecosystems. However, the impact of biodiversity-friendly garden strategies has not yet been systematically researched, nor how this knowledge can be transferred to other urban ecosystems. Monika Egerer will talk about the research they are developing, to implement and test insect conservation measures with community gardeners in Munich and Berlin as well as with city residents.  They work at the interface between civil society (gardeners, residents, ecologically oriented organizations) and relevant urban stakeholders (city council, district committees, city administration, business, academia) to anchor civil society participation in the ecological transformation of the city. She will present their transdisciplinary research concept and participatory methods and will report on their experience to date in translating research into practice and supporting the role of urban gardeners and residents in implementing biodiversity measures beyond the garden.

#TALK 10: 5th of September, 17:00

Dr. Mike Wells – “Regenerative Ecolopes on the Meridian Line” 
 
Mike Wells is both a professional ecologist and an ecourbanist, with over 30 years of consultancy experience and over 40 years in ecological science. He co-founded Biodiversity by Design Ltd in 2006 with the express aim of focusing on creative multifunctional and restorative ecology.
 
He will talk about two large-scale regeneration projects in London which have been the focus on cutting edge thinking on ecourbanism since the mid-1990s. He describes some of the key successes and lessons learned and highlights the importance of these projects as exemplars on the global meridian line and what relevance that might have to the development of true ecourbanism in developing countries.
 

#TALK 9: 6th of June, 17:00

Dr. Svenja Keune – Designing and Living with Organisms

Svenja Keune is a postdoctoral researcher at the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås, in Sweden and at the Centre for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA) at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen. She will talk about her approach towards multispecies co-habitation which is based on autoethnography, creating artefacts as event spaces for e.g. insects, and the work with textiles as framework for thinking, making, and relating.

#TALK 8: 2nd of May, 17:00

Prof. Sarah Bekessy – Nature positive cities: Biodiversity sensitive Planning

Professor Sarah Bekessy leads the ICON Science research group at RMIT University which uses interdisciplinary approaches to solve complex biodiversity conservation problems. She co-developed the Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design (BSUD) protocol that has now been used by numerous developers, governments and non-government organisations. Sarah will present several case studies of BSUD and discuss its potential for achieving nature-positive cities.

We’re more than happy to welcome here also in person at our Landscape Faculty in Freising next Tuesday, 2nd of May, 17:00.

#TALK 7:

Andrea Balestrini presenting LAND Research LAB® – Productive cities for the green transition

Andrea Balestrini is a landscape planner with experience in nature-based solutions, public space design and landscape governance within international R&I projects and consultancies. Since 2014 he works at LAND, where he leads the LAND Research Lab®, thinktank for applied research and innovation in landscape and territorial transformation processes. Since 2023 he is Ecological Consultant for the City of Meran within JustNature project.

He talks about the role of ecosystem services within the process of sustainability certifications and decision-making. Ecosystem services can be quantified and contribute to the process of sustainability certifications and decision-making. Several R&I projects have been financed by the European Commission – such as UNaLab – to define and assess how ecological and climate solutions are able to impact on societal challenges. Combining this knowledge with data-driven planning procedures, LAND developed its own methodology to quantify and communicate performances of ecosystems services from soil and vegetation, thus contributing to natural capital accounting procedures.

#TALK 6:

Leo Stuckardt presenting MVRDV Next – Digital Tooling, Datascapes and Design Speculation

Leo Stuckardt, Senior Project Leader at MVRDV and co-founder of MVRDV NEXT, talks about the role of NEXT within MVRDV’s global practice and illustrate on-going research on data-driven design through applied, speculative and academic case studies.

What’s MVRDV NEXT?
The increasing role of standardized, digital tools has placed data-driven design exploration and performance quantification at the core of architectural decision-making processes. Recognizing the need for design tools that are specific to MVRDV’s methodology and building on the practice’s heritage of visionary tools, the computational Research & Development unit MVRDV NEXT was established.

#TALK 5:

Chiara Catalano – DESIGNED HABITATS As postdoctoral research associate at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Chiara Catalano works on the Design and Modelling of Urban Ecosystems, aiming at developing a semi-automatic spatial-based approach to integrate habitats in constructed ecosystems and buildings.

In the fifth ECOLOPES TALK, Chiara Catalano spoke about the habitat template approach which considers nature as a model for the designing of Urban Green Infrastructure.  The ecological understanding of natural habitats is essential to mimic them in cities and to design niches providing refugia and alternative habitats to certain plant and animal species. The monitoring of urban habitats gives insights on their adaptive dynamics over time and provide for guidelines for new projects and retrofitting of existing greened areas. The design for nature, having a net-positive impact on biodiversity, requires multidisciplinary teams and thinking driven by the analysis of spatially explicit ecological data and supported by integrative and modelling tools.

Click here to view and download the presentation

#TALK 4:

William Myers – BIODESIGN
We are pleased to present William Myers at the 4th ECOLOPES TALK on September 6th, 5PM CET.

William Myers is a curator, author, and teacher based in Amsterdam. His book Biodesign (2012 and 2018 editions) identifies the emerging practice of integrating biological processes into design and architecture. It is published by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and Thames & Hudson worldwide. Biodesign is the next step beyond biology-inspired approaches to design and fabrication. It refers to the incorporation of living organisms as essential components in design, enhancing the function of the finished work. The depicted structure is made by David Benjamin and consists out of Mycelium bricks grown from agricultural waste and fungi, reflective plastic molds, repurposed scaffolding boards.

#TALK 3:

ChartierDalix – ARCHITECTURE AS ECOSYSTEM
The french architects ChartierDalix aim to bring architecture and ecosystems to harmonious coexistence. They presented their visionary research and designs in the ECOLOPES July Talk.

#TALK 2:

John Marzluff – WELCOME TO SUBIRDIA
Watch our Livestream from our Talk with John Marzluff – Professor of Wildlife Science at University of Washington.He spoke about his book “Welcome to Subirdia” in which he reveals findings from his long-term research on birds along urban gradients and gives insights how species are adapting in the face of urban development. We also got some surprising perspectives about the role of semi-urban environments in keeping common birds common.

#TALK 1:

Helga Fassbinder – Biotope City
We are pleased to present Helga Fassbinder as our first speaker. Helga is the founder of the journal and the concept “Biotope City”. The Biotope City concept is based on the realization that we and our cities do not form an antagonism to nature, but that our cities are nothing else but one other of the many forms that constitute nature. Helga presented and discussed the concept as well its implementation in the “Biotope City Wienerberg” in Vienna.

Find out more about the Biotope City Wienerberg here:

egological building envelopes: a game-changing design approach for regenerative urban ecosystems