Making Landscapes Legible: An Ecology of Feedback Loops

Full essay published in Inflection: Journal of the Melbourne School of Design - Vol 05 Feedback

Resilience has taken on palpable urgency in the Anthropocene. How to address extreme and unexpected climate events – in other words, how to manage risk – guides the ongoing transformation of our environments. From wearable gadgets, smart fabrics, and automated sensors embedded in dwellings, to the reconstruction of entire landscapes into critical infrastructures that mitigate wildfire risk and sea level rise, we actively alter the environments around us through eco- engineered design.

Addressing climate change using solely technological solutions effectively turns citizens into self-regulating nodes. Driven by the sense of emergency surrounding climate change, cities are integrating natural processes into urban environments using smart technologies. Eco-engineered landscapes are conceived of as networks, with the ability for information to flow through them. Smart technologies embedded in these environments sense changes in weather patterns and respond by making adjustments that will mitigate climate risks. This sort of ordering project in design represents a paradigm shift from creating isolated architectural objects to modulating flows and feedback loops.