Becoming the city

Bjørn Inge melås, NTNU, Faculty of architecture and design

We are now starting to understand the impact of human activity on the natural environment and beginning to grasp the enormous challenges ahead of us. Climate
change, loss of biodiversity and deforestation are just some of the symptoms of our lifestyles. We have entered the anthropocene – age of humans, and it is clear that we have the responsibility to respond to these challenges.

The project becoming the city departs from an understanding of humans as part of an immensely complex whole – a system that we can never fully comprehend or control. According to Félix  Guattaris Three Ecologies we need to develop an ecosophy in the form of three ecological registers – a mental, social and environmental ecology – in order to understand the role humans play in our ecological system. It is crucial that we are able to tear down the artificial division between nature and culture – a division historically also manifested in the separation of city and countryside. The project will contribute to tearing down  this division. Not only is this a strategy for survival, it can also be a basis for a new form of human existence and creativity.

The project will explore the potential urban farming has for such a change in the mindset, our mentality and social practice. It’s about taking control of our immediate surroundings and everyday life. Through this activity we co-produce spaces we care about. This opens up for experiences that stimulates reflection of our role in the ecosystem. The project tries to understand a small part of the world through changing it and continously reflecting – using participatory action research as a working method.

Becoming the city is about transforming spaces and at the same time transforming the people that produce and use these spaces. The project will explore the potential that lies in physical interventions ability to provoke change. Cities are physical manifestations of a culture, a way of thinking and a way of doing. Becoming the city wants to contribute and produce glimpses which show that another city is possible.