Natural Cities

'van niets tot een kleurrijk iets' Nagele, The Netherlands


An over emphasis on technological innovation and zeitgeist has redirected and distracted our attention away from some of the more deeply embedded problems surrounding the current architectural paradigm of how to reverse the planets ensuing decline. Moving away from this over emphasis i wish to highlight the fundamental problem of mans, or as I will describe it, cultures relationship with nature. By assessing this relationship and establishing its flaws and resultants, relevant theories and projects can then be consulted as a mechanism for inspiration and progress. This research will then form the basis of a design for a new way of living and development within MVRDV's masterplan for Almere IJlands.

Natural Cities

Louis Le Roy working at the Ecocathedral

As research progresses, evidence of climate change and man’s adverse impact upon the planet becomes ever more plausible and indeed factual. Despite the fact this is common knowledge in the western world, society’s unwillingness for change is a frightening evolution. We live in a technologically advanced age where anything is possible but where we are obsessed with what we want rather than what we need. Our culture of consumerism has left us in-active to our surroundings resulting in us living a passive lifestyle where everything is at our immediate fingertips without us ever having to consider where it came from, how it got there or what are the consequences of us receiving it. This passive and consumerist lifestyle is choking the planets ecosystems and resources to the point of asphyxiation. Our ‘great’ cities continue to engulf the planet’s surface supporting only our own survival, continuously devouring natural resources without any return.

One location within the city where this passive and consumerist lifestyle is most prominent, and is of major importance in relation to this design studio, is suburbia. Often at the forefront of debate on city expansion, this sub-urban landscape has compounded greatly to the afflictions upon the planet. Living in suburbia ties together much of contemporary societies dream of living close to the city and nature. Along with this, suburbia has been the front-runner in support for the car especially since much of suburbia is designed around infrastructural platforms to support this method of movement. This car dependency and consumerist lifestyle has inevitably resulted not in the suburban dream but instead in a suburban nightmare, but through the passivity of this lifestyle almost all still believe they are ‘dreaming’.

In order to erect possible architectural solutions to the problem of our planets encroaching decline and potential end, and to construct a personal architectural discourse on the subject, my first step was a survey of somewhat generic ‘sustainable’ studies, some of which I had become aware of before the beginning of the studio. The first project I focused upon was the Irish Architecture Foundation’s exhibition ‘SubUrban to SuperRural’, a collection of studies that search for solutions to the future of Irelands continual expansion especially with regards to the suburban environment. ‘The challenge facing Ireland is how to evolve new living conditions that are not a sub-genre of the urban but rather a hybrid of the best aspects of both rural and urban...a super-rural condition’¹. Alongside studying this exhibition I also found much resource in Achis’s, AMO’s and C-Lab’s publication Volume 18, entitled ‘After Zero’. The publication aims to address the deep ethical issues embedded in ‘sustainability’ beyond the concepts of carbon neutrality and zero emissions. In the introductory essay entitled ‘Beyond Zero’ by John E. Fernández, he offers three approaches to global reform. The ‘techno-optimist’ approach, the ‘end-of-the-world-pessimists’ approach, , or the third approach, ‘the prosperous way down’ taken from the title of Eugene Odum’s 2006 book that describes ‘what is essentially a roadmap for a long, slow process of societal acceptance and adaption to reducing consumption’². As the publication continues it presents a long list of essays, theories, projects and discussions on the topic of ‘After Zero’ with two particular projects catching my attention. This first was a concept developed by Bohn & Viljoen Architects entitled ‘Continuous Productive Urban Landscape or CPUL’³. The design ‘proposes the creation of city-traversing networks of productive open space, integrating urban agriculture fields and gardens’⁴. The second and perhaps most profound, was Stefano Boeri’s sustainable dystopia that aims to transform our anthropocentric orientation towards cities and illustrates ‘a desire to protect and help other species and the natural world of plants. A vision of this type allows energies to be pushed towards re-forestation and the re-naturalization of parts of anthopised territory’⁵.
Diagram No.7, The Garden City, Ebenezer Howard

Beyond these initial studies and publications I decided to consult utopian visions of the past that in many ways still play important roles in contemporary urban development. This first utopian vision that I consulted that has had a profound effect for many new developments within Europe in the last century, including Letchworth Garden City, London’s green belt and even Copenhagen’s green wedges and corridors, was Ebenezer Howard’s ‘Garden Cities of To-morrow’. The book was a ‘reaction against the form the industrial city had taken in the nineteenth century: its filth and disease, its crowding, and its concentration of poverty and inequality’⁶ and aimed to create a new vision of how cities could emerge. While the book ‘devoted most of its pages to social and administrative schemes and only a minor part to the physical design of the garden city’⁷, it is most famous for the diagrams that were presented such as the ‘Three Magnets’ and ‘The Social City’. The next piece of utopian visioning that I consulted, that has actually had very little impact on contemporary planning in a European context, was Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Broadacre City’ and his development for ‘Usonia’ in New York State. While it may not have had an enormous impact upon planning theory as other visions had, it did address the ‘suburban’ dream with a utopian vision. ‘Wright believed that the ideal American settlement was not the city, which he regarded as overcrowded and unhealthy, but rather the country or suburbs. "You cannot take the country to the city," he admonished in his description of Broadacre City. "The city has to go into the country."’⁸

In this initial survey of ‘sustainable’ studies or projects I decided to conclude by consulting several contemporary built or planned projects. This led to uncovering projects such as Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm that ties together many sustainable cycles and process but most importantly acts as a process of regeneration for ecology in a former industrial wasteland, GWL Terrein in Amsterdam that almost completely excludes the car from its design, and Piekenhoef in Oss that puts water at the base of its function. Other projects also included Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Highline project in New York that creates a continuous green park throughout the city along an unused over ground metro line, and LAND srl’s ‘Green Plan’ for Milan that aims to draw natural and green spaces back into the centre of the city.

Initially there may not appear to be a direct correlation between all of these projects but one aspect that echoes profoundly to me is how each of them refers to nature with words such as green, blue, gardens, countryside, rural, landscape and parks. Each project knowingly or unknowingly contains aspects that relate us to the fact that we are indeed natural beings, and that being in touch with nature is a fundamental aspect to our mental health. It is this relationship between us as a ‘cultured’ collective of natural beings and our relationship to nature in its truest form that becomes of profound interest to me. In Lisa Benton-Short’s & John Rennie Short’s book ‘Cities and Nature’, they shed a great deal of light upon this subject. One of the most important statements within the book regarding this subject is their discussion on the relationship between culture and nature in regards to when the relationship was critically fractured. Referring to the plan of Versailles from the end of the 19th century, in an age of technological and intellectual shifts, where ‘"the death of nature" is characterized by accelerated exploitation of human and natural resources
Mobile Wilderness Unit, Radical Nature, Mark Dion
in the name of culture and progress’⁹ and the fact that there ‘was a dramatic shift in a broader world view of nature-society relationships’¹⁰. By considering this period in history as the end of positive relations between nature and culture, I do believe that this is ultimately the point in time where us as a ‘cultured’ society began the process of pushing the earth’s capacity as a living organism to breaking point through the depletion of natural resources and the expulsion of excessive amounts of chemical emissions into the atmosphere. As a way of illustrating part of their solution to the problems that have arisen from this shift in intelligence and technology, Short & Short first establish that we must understand and the fact that ‘the city is part of the ecosystem’¹¹ and that ‘urban theory has traditionally ignored the ecology of the city’ and ‘while ecology tends to focus on the less urbanized areas’¹². Another more creative approach to how nature can influence our cities can be found in the exhibition and book ‘Radical Nature’ by the Barbican Art Gallery. The project aims to illuminate ‘the segregation of nature into a separate space, remote from mankind’s everyday life and culture, totally disconnected from our responsibilities and actions’¹³ while at the same time also stimulating creative approaches for solutions to this inherent problem.

By establishing that it is a mental shift away from nature that acts as a catalyst for our decline rather than our apparent ‘progress’, focus upon this culture-nature relationship becomes the new paradigm for research and design. In order to stimulate this new state of mind consultation of work by Dutch artist Louis Le Roy becomes essential. In his books ‘Natuur uitschakelen natuur inschakelen’ (switch nature off or on) and ‘Nature Culture Fusion’, Le Roy speaks of nature in its most pure forms. He intricately describes the ‘creative’ processes that stimulate its growth concurrently illustrating his distain towards manicured and cultivated ‘nature’ and towards the location of nature in regards to the city. ‘For city dwellers, nature is absolutely essential. A nature reserve that is miles outside of the city and only accessible by car has little meaning for everyday life’¹⁴. For over thirty years Le Roy has constructed successful and unsuccessful projects, but none are more important than ‘De Ecokathedraal’ in Mildam. ‘The ecocatherdral is a process in which the contributions of both man and nature are kept in balance. Or, to put it differently, it is one where the distinction between culture and nature has disappeared’¹⁵. In the ‘Ecokathedraal’ Le Roy began this process of change by acting as a catalyst for natural growth through the investment of ‘creative’ and ‘free’ energy. Through these processes he aims to establish and ‘understand how properly functioning ecosystems can grow from initially simple forms’¹⁶ and ‘the central theme of his theses is the development of complexity and creativity in nature, society and economy, within the context of time’¹⁷.

Now that a mode of thinking and research has been established it becomes important to frame everything within the context of the studio in order to devise a concept for development. This begins with two key aspects, the first being Nagele as a point of reference for a utopian way of life within the suburban vision and the Dutch polder landscape, and the second being the context of Almere and the Almere Principles. As mentioned already, Nagele is indeed a utopian settlement but unfortunately it is now a utopian vision lost in space and time. The village is now failing to maintain is social structure and the excessive amounts of public amenities located within it. Through its inherent inflexibility it has failed to progress into the 21st century and this inherent inflexibility is embedded in its design. On its conception, Gerrit Rietveld wrote ‘here’s a sketch for Nagele an attempt to make a village all in one piece, no so-called centre with sort of outlaying areas, this is a village that doesn’t grow but is defined in one go and yet shouldn’t have the character of a developed village, the random is not present here’¹⁸.

When looking at this nature-culture relationship within the context of Almere and the Almere principals, it become apparent that in many ways Almere highlights this disconnection and segregation of nature in the most profound way. This is not to say that Almere is an abomination upon the planet, but as a diagram and symbol, it speaks loudly of the mindset that I have set throughout this essay. Firstly, it is situated in an area formerly known as the ‘Zuider Zee’ that is now one of many polders within the Dutch landscape, one of the most un-natural terrains that exist on our planet. Secondly, its vision as a polynuclear city surrounded by green belts speaks loudly of Ebenezer Howard’s ‘Garden city’ ideal. Lastly, in the third principle for development within Almere, ‘combine city and nature’, the goal of ‘bringing about unique and lasting combinations of the urban and natural fabric, and raise awareness of the human interconnectedness with nature’¹⁹ is set. Where this may seem to be the underlying principle to answer the questions I have asked in this essay, it should be noted that in the Almere principals document, it is clearly mentioned that today’s Almere principals are built upon an original set of principles for the city, the most noteworthy of which states to ‘combine city and nature’²⁰. Given it is clear that there was a mental and physical disconnection with nature during the conception of the ‘old principals’, it makes you wonder has the mindset really changed in the new principles, or will nature continue to be kept in our glass box of recreational ruralism?

The Ecocathedral, Louis Le Roy

Almere’s masterplan for Almere IJland’s as a location for our new settlement provides the perfect location for beginning a new process and paradigm of design that can create a new ‘fusion’ between nature and culture. Starting from tabula rasa permits us to explore these methods without being confronted by highly restrictive contextual issues. A process of growth of both nature and culture can begin in a harmonious way where each informs and acts as a catalyst for the other. Through this process of growth new spatial qualities for living can evolve from the inherent complexity and diversity of natural growth.

The question is what the processes that can evolve such a design are and how nature and culture can begin to inform each other giving balance back to the planets natural ecosystem? ‘If niches are opportunities in space, cycles are opportunities in time and both together give harbour to many events and species’²¹. If they can indeed evolve side by side and inform each other’s evolution, then is it possible to create spatial relationships between the two that satisfy to the upmost point ‘man’s desire to be at one with nature, equal and wedded to nature’²²?

‘...make something which experiences, reacts to
its environment, changes, is non-stable...
...make something indeterminate, which
always looks different, the shape of which
cannot be predicted precisely...
...make something which cannot “perform”
without the assistance of its environment...
...make something which reacts to light and
temperature changes, is subject to air
currents and depends, in its functioning,
on the forces of gravity...
...make something which the “spectator”
handles, with which he plays, and thus
...make something which lives in time and
makes the ‘spectator’ experience time...

...articulate something Natural...’²³


1. FKL Architects, ‘SubUrban to SuperRural’, in: Shane O’Toole (ed.), SubUrban to SuperRural, Cork, 2006, pp.13.
2. John E. Fernández, ‘Beyond Zero’, Volume, 18 After Zero (2009), pp.7.
3. Debra Solomon, ‘Cultured and Landscaped Urban Agriculture’, Volume, 18 After Zero (2009), pp.132.
4. Kathrin Bohn and Andre Voljoen, ‘Continuous Productive Urban Landscape’, Volume, 18 (2009), pp.140.
5. Stefano Boeri, ‘Down from the Stand’, Volume, 18 (2009), pp.56
6. Pierre Clavel, ‘Ebenezer Howard and Patrick Geddes’, in: Frederick R. Steiner (ed.), From Garden City to Green City, Baltimore, 2002, pp.40.
7. Pierre Clavel, ‘Ebenezer Howard and Patrick Geddes’, in: Frederick R. Steiner (ed.), From Garden City to Green City, Baltimore, 2002, pp.42
8. Roland Reisley, Usonia New York. Building a Community with Frank Lloyd Wright, New York, 2001, p.5.
9. Lisa Benton-Short & John Rennie Short, Cities and Nature, New York, 2008, p.27.
10. Lisa Benton-Short & John Rennie Short, Cities and Nature, New York, 2008, p.26.
11. Lisa Benton-Short & John Rennie Short, Cities and Nature, New York, 2008, p.3.
12. Lisa Benton-Short & John Rennie Short, Cities and Nature, New York, 2008, p.141.
13. Francesco Manacorda, ‘There is No Such Thing as Nature’, in: Francesco Manacorda (ed.), Radical Nature. Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet. 1969-2009, London, 2009, pp.9.
14. Vincent van Rossem, ‘Change your thinking, change your gardening’, in: Carine van den Broek (ed.), Nature Culture Fusion, Rotterdam, 2002, pp.81.
15. Piet Vollard, ‘Time-based Architecture in Mildam’, in: Carine van den Broek (ed.), Nature Culture Fusion, Rotterdam, 2002, pp.81.
16. Hagen Rosenheinrich, ‘Louis Le Roy. Evolution and society. Order or chaos?’, in: Carine van den Broek (ed.), Nature Culture Fusion, Rotterdam, 2002, pp.47.
17. Hagen Rosenheinrich, ‘Louis Le Roy. Evolution and society. Order or chaos?’, in: Carine van den Broek (ed.), Nature Culture Fusion, Rotterdam, 2002, pp.47-48.
18. Anneke van Veen, Nagele. NOP, Amsterdam, 1988, p.19.
19. William McDonough, ‘The Almere Principals’, in: Fred Feddes (ed.), The Almere Principals. For an ecologically, sociably and economically sustainable future of Almere 2030, Bussum, 2008, pp.30.
20. Fred Feddes, ‘The Almere Principals’, in: Fred Feddes (ed.), The Almere Principals. For an ecologically, sociably and economically sustainable future of Almere 2030, Bussum, 2008, pp.62.
21. Bill Mollison, Permaculture. A Designers’ Manual, Tyalgum, 1996, p.23.
22. Lynda S. Waggoner, Fallingwater, New York, 1996, p.9.
23. Hans Haacke, ‘Radical Statments’, in: Francesco Manacorda (ed.), Radical Nature. Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet. 1969-2009, London, 2009, pp.242.

Key Projects and Theories

These projects not only form the basis of understanding for the relationship between culture and nature but they also form the basis for progress for a new way of living. Each set of projects and theories provides a strong philosophical approach to the culture nature relationship and in the case of The Ecocathedral and Permaculture they also provide mechanisms and processes that can begin to evoke solutions to this disjointed relationship.

The Ecocathedral

Louis Le Roy
Timeless, Mildam, The Netherlands

Louis Le Roy (1924) began in the sixties to become the longest building in the Netherlands, the eco-cathedral in the Frisian Mildam. With his bare hands, without a grain of cement, he built a ‘first layer’ out curbs, sewers and other excess material from the nearby Heerenveen. This is a place where plants, animals and human time and space, with a capital letter. His philosophy is developing, to New York state.

‘First go to New York’, Le Roy decides. Then he takes a short lecture. ‘New York is one thousand square kilometres. According to my philosophy, every city, large or small, one percent of the urban area must devote Eco-cathedral processes, because in the cities is not a blade of grass to find and take hectic and issues of the day is increasing. Everything is focused on economic growth and short-term thinking, which many people come to stand offside. An Eco-cathedral is providing relief. The plan is a free zone projects emerge that can continue indefinitely, where people who have been expelled from the system with residual material from the city to work can, of course, in collaboration with nature. Well, one percent of New York. Then you are you talking about ten square kilometres and it really does not have a signed piece. That can at best a dozen scattered about the Eco-cathedral city. Why I call New York? Well, the influential foundation Slow Lab in New York City is interested in my idea, like some New York landscape architects. Yes, what is happening in Mildam in the Big Apple.’¹

The Ecocathedral, Louis Le Roy
The Ecocathedral, Louis Le Roy

Relevance to natural cities
Ecodathedral process of evolution

Louis Le Roy’s theses on nature and culture will form the basis of my thinking moving into the design phase. His ideas and theories put forward a way of thinking that address our understanding of how culture and society is constructed in direct correlation to nature. Where Le Roy has stated that his own project ‘De Ecokathedraal’ will not reach its peak point until the year 3000, i wish to translate his ideals into a more practical scenario. The ecokathedraal acts as a metaphor for development where nature and culture grow in a harmonious process. Through his processes and thinking, can nature and culture be fused in Almere in 2030?





- Carine van den Broek (ed.), Nature Culture Fusion, Rotterdam, 2002.

Radical Nature

Barbican Art Gallery
1969-2009, London

‘And how crucial that is now, all over again, in a world struggling to re-interpret its relationship with the natural world in light of what we now know about climate change and disappearing ecosystems. For every environmentalist taking heart from the manic optimism of the creators of Masdar City, there are many, many more launching into irretrievable despair. The environment movement has always had its fair share of apocalyptic prophets of doom and gloom, but today’s school of “too late” fatalism is growing by the day. Inspired (if that’s the right word) by the grimly dispassionate warnings of James Lovelock and others - that we’ve already injected enough warming into the atmosphere to all but guarantee an accelerated descent into irreversible climate change - inertia can be legitimately explained away as the only intelligent response.

For many, this mean they have moved from denial to despair in one easy bound, completely missing out on the wealth of responsible behaviours and anger-driven activism in between. If I was a young person today, these “to-laters” would be particular target of my fury!

At the heart of these dilemmas lies just one overwhelming philosophical folly - described by the US psychologist Willis Harman as “the ontological assumption of separateness”. The idea of human beings apart from their surrounding environment is so deeply rooted, culturally and politically, that no amount of enforced instruction about today’s interdependencies and even physical indivisibility has yet dislodged it from our dominant worldviews. In that respect, Francesco Manacorda’s eloquent words about co-evolution and interconnectivity point to a very different chapter in the future history of humankind - a chapter prefigured more easily by artists, perhaps, that by politicians.

If this exhibition can illuminate aspects of those dilemmas, and even “advance creative proposals for alternative forms of life based on environmental justice and a global framework” then it will have to be done.’ ¹

Wheatfield-A Confrontation, Radical Nature, Agnes Denes
Mobile Wilderness Unit, Radical Nature, Mark Dion

Relevance to natural cities
Ending of segregation between nature and culture

Along with the introductory essays and ‘radical’ statements in the books closing, the exhibitions and projects in ‘Radical Nature’ provides a deeper and more thorough understanding of or relationship to nature and the current attitude towards its position on the planet. More importantly, it creates a creative platform with how to address the problems associated with the current nature culture relations.


1. Jonathon Porritt, ‘Foreword’, in: Francesco Manacorda (ed.), Radical Nature. Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet. 1969-2009, London, 2009, pp. 6.


- Francesco Manacorda (ed.), Radical Nature. Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet. 1969-2009. London, 2009


Bill Mollison
1988-Present, Global
Design Manual

‘Permanculture (permanent agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without permanent agriculture there is no possibility of a stable social order.

Permacuclture design is a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern whcih functions to benifit life in all its forms.
The philosophy behind permaculture is one of working with, rather than against, nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless action;of looking at systems in all their functions, rather than asking only one yield of them; and of allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions.

The word “permaculture” can be used by anybody adhering to the ethics and principles expressed herein. The only restriction on use is that of teaching; only graduates of a Permacutlure Institute can teach “permaculture”, and they adhere to agreed-on curriculae developed by the College of Graduates of the Institutes of Permaculture.’ ¹

Evolution of a designed system, Bill Mollison
Ecosystem, Bill Mollison

Relevance to natural cities
Permaculture layering of elements

By providing an extensive manual on the idea of permaculture, Bill Molison gives an invaluable insight into its theories and also into the technical aspects that are involved. Rather than cultivating land in the traditional agricultural sense, he aims to produce cultivated land through natural process, allowing nature, culture and production to exist in equilibrium.


1. Bill Mollison, Permaculture. A Designers’ Manual, Tyalgum, 1996, p. ix - x.


- Bill Mollison, Permaculture. A designers’ Manual, Tyalgum, 1996

Precedents and Design Tools

In this set of projects and theories, historical and current utopian (and dystopian) ideals provide background knowledge of how the current city has been influenced and how it can be continued to be influenced in the future. Proceeding these initial studies a set of completed projects are presented that each contain elements of design that make a direct or indirect approach to the culture nature relationship.

Garden Cities of To-Morow

Ebenezer Howard
1902, England
City Utopia

‘An estate of 6,000 acres was to be bought and held in trust for the people of Garden City. A town was to be built near the centre of the estate to occupy about 1,000 acres. In the centre was to be a park in which were placed the public buildings, and around the park a great arcade containing shops, etc. The population of the town was to be 30,000. The building plots were to be of an average size of 10 by 130 feet. There were to be common gardens and cooperative kitchens. On the outer ring of the town there were to be factories, warehouses, etc., fronting on a circular railway. The agricultural estate of 5,000 acres was to be properly developed for agricultural purposes as part of the scheme, and the population of this belt was taken at 2,000.’ ¹

‘Running all around the Central Park is a wide glass Arcade or Crystal Palace. This building is in wet weather one of the favourite resorts of the people; for the knowledge that its bright shelter is close at hand will tempt people into the park even in the most doubtful of weathers. Here manufactured goods are exposed for sale, and here most of the shopping which requires the job of deliberation and selection is done. The space is however a good deal larger than is required for these purposes, and a considerable part of it is used as a winter garden, and the whole forms a permanent exhibition of a most attractive character - the furthest inhabitant being within 600 yards.’²

Three Magnets, The Garden City, Ebenezer Howard
Diagram No.7, The Garden City, Ebenezer Howard

Relevance to natural cities
Countryside-City relationship

Ebenezer Howard’s book ‘Garden Cities of To-Morow’ has been one of the most important and influential treatise on the city to be produced since the industrial era and to this day continues to have a profound effect on a great many cities. The most memorable part of his book is the ‘Three Magnets’ diagram which aims to untie the best aspects of ‘Town’ and ‘Country’ to create an ideal ‘Town-Country’. In particular relevance to the studio, we can make a direct correlation between the structure of the Garden City ideal and to the structure of Almere. Understanding this relationship helps to give a much greater understanding of how Almere was conceived and how it will continue to be conceived towards 2030.


1. 2.


- Ebenezer Howard, Garden Cities of To-Morow, London, 1965
- Frederick R. Steiner (ed.), From Garden City to Green City, Baltimore, 2002.

Letchworth Garden City

Barry Parker & Raymond Unwin
1903, Hertfordshire, England
Utopian Translation

‘In 1898, the social reformer Ebenezer Howard wrote a book entitled To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform (later republished as Garden Cities of To-morrow), in which he advocated the construction of a new kind of town, summed up in his Three Magnets diagram as combining the advantages of cities and the countryside while eliminating their disadvantages. Industry would be kept separate from residential areas—such zoning was a new idea at the time—and trees and open spaces would prevail everywhere.

A competition was held to find a town design which could translate Howard’s ideas into reality, and September 1903 the company “First Garden City Ltd.” was formed, Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin were appointed architects, and 16 km² of land outside Hitchin were purchased for building. In keeping with the ideals only one tree was felled during the entire initial construction phase of the town, and an area devoted to agriculture surrounding the town was included in the plan - the first “Green Belt”.’ ¹

Letchworth Broadway, Parker & Unwin
Letchworth aerial, Parker & Unwin

Relevance to natural cities

Countryside-City relationship

Letchworth Garden City is of importance as a reference as it is the purest translation of Ebenzer Howard’ s ideal presented in he book ‘Garden Cities of To-Morow’. Its conception was begun almost immediately after the books re-release and to this day it has still managed to maintain most of the ideals contained within its original form. The most striking statistic is that the population has continued at around 32,000 people right until this day, this figure being the amount described by Howard in his famous diagrams.




- Frederick R. Steiner (ed.), From Garden City to Green City, Baltimore, 2002.

Broadacre City

Frank Lloyd Wright
1932, USA
City Utopia

‘Broadacre City was an urban development concept proposed by Frank Lloyd Wright late in his life. He presented the idea originally in his book The Disappearing City in 1932. A few years later he unveiled a very detailed twelve by twelve foot (3.7 by 3.7 m) scale model representing an hypothetical four square mile (10 km²) community. The model was crafted by the student interns who worked for him at Taliesin. Wright would go on refining the concept in later books and in articles until his death in 1959.

Many of the building models in the concept were completely new designs by Wright, while others were refinements of old ones, some of which had been rarely seen.

Broadacre City was the antithesis of a city and the apotheosis of the newly born suburbia, shaped through Wright’s particular vision. It was both a planning statement and a socio-political scheme by which each U.S. family would be given a one acre (4,000 m²) plot of land from the federal lands reserves, and a Wright-conceived community would be built anew from this. In a sense it was the exact opposite of transit-oriented development. There is a train station and a few offices and apartment buildings in Broadacre City, but the apartment dwellers are expected to be a small minority. All important transport is done by automobile and the pedestrian can exist safely only within the confines of the one acre (4,000 m²) plots where most of the population dwells.’ ¹

Find the Citizen, New York
Broadacre City, Plan, Frank Lloyd Wright

Relevance to natural cities
Area per dwelling for closer relationship to the land

With Broadacre City Frank Lloyd Wright presented his vision for American cities in direct response to the existing state of cities and suburbs. The most important ideal contained within the project is his desire, like Howard, to unite city and country(side). One main mechanism that Wright used to do this was to allocate 1 acre of land to each dwelling. This provided enough spaces for the organic nature of the architecture to keep in touch with the land. One of the most startling aspects of the design is the fact that it is largely based around the use of the car and super highways. Even though Wright saw the evolution of a new type of car, perhaps this emphasis was in large why the ideal has not had as much influence as other architecture treatise.




- Frank Lloyd Wright, The Living City, New York, 1958


Frank Lloyd Wright
1948-1956, Wetchester County, New York
Utopian Translation

Usonia is a community near Pleasantville, New York that was founded by a young professional named David Henken. The ambition of the community was to create a way of living that was to be the ideal for how post WWII Americans should live. The community consisted of young professionals seeking to escape the chaotic New York city life-style for a way of living that was more in touch with nature. The community would function as a cooperative and the decision was made to employ Frank Lloyd Wright as the architect and designer.

The decision to choose Wright as the designer was based on his Broadacre city scheme which Henken and his wife saw during a visit to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. During the building process a total of forty seven new homes were eventually built, only three of which were actually designed by Wright.

In the original program the plan was designed to contain more public functions such as a community centre but as time continued and money became scare, such additions were never included.

‘To be different; to live in harmony with ones surroundings; to be part of a community of caring neighbours - many Americans share that dream. Usonia is the story of people who had an idea and did something to realize it.’ ¹

Riesly House, Usonia, Frank Lloyd Wright
Usonia zoning plan, Frank Lloyd Wright

Relevance to natural cities

Low denisty allow connection to land

Such as Letchworth is to the Garden City, Usonia is to Broadacre City, although not in such a literal translation. In the end much of the program, in particular the public amenities, were never constructed. Despite this Wright still managed to embed much of his ideals in the planning process and through his supervision of all of the constructed dwelling. Like Letchworth, it still maintains its idealic structure to this day showing that when a strong ideal is embedded in a project its chances of advancing are much stronger than in other schemes. By drawing the site plan for Usonia using circles to represent the plots Wright ensured that enough space was created around each dwelling and that there would be enough space for pathways to wind throughout the site.


1. Roland Reisley, Usonia, New York. Building a Community with Frank Lloyd Wright, New York, 2001, p. xi


- Roland Reisley, Usonia New York. Building a Community with Frank Lloyd Wright, New York, 2001

SubUrban to SuperRural

Irish Architecture Foundation
2006, Ireland
Development Concepts

Sprawl, FKL Architects

‘Our twin obsessions with the car and owning a house on its own plot of land beyond the city’s hold have reshaped the face of the Celtic Tiger. But the reality forged by our desires is increasingly under pressure, not least from the social and environmental toll of commuting. SubUrban to SuperRural highlights Ireland as a global case study in extreme suburbanisation, yet the curators’ well-chosen motto and the provocative speculations of a talented generation of architects offer hope that within the span of a single generation, the modern regeneration of nature might replace the fragmentary degeneration of the city. But be advised: dreams only become reality when society - meaning you, me, the neighbours and our politicians - decide to act in its own best interest’. ¹

Boyd Cody Architects

Storehouse and generated landscape, Boyd Cody Architects

This project aims to take advantage of the dying peat industry that covers much of the bog lands in central Ireland. In the next thirty years a total of 80,000 hectares of cutaway bog will remain leaving the opportunity for new sustainable productive landscapes. With the new productive landscape new self-sufficient communities can be created taking advantage of the most prized commodities of energy and food.

These communities would be housed in a storehouse typology consisting of three levels containing dwellings and all associated production facilities.

If these communities were laid out across Ireland removing all existing settlements, Ireland could easily sustain a population of 5.6million which is its current level, resulting in a total of 69,702 holdings across the land.


From radial to linear City, Heneghan.peng

Ireland is the largest country in the EU that is not directly connected to mainland Europe. The idea is to connect Ireland to the mainland via a highspeed train network from Dublin to Paris through London. This new network link will help create a catalyst for the reconfiguration of urban sprawl changing the formation of settlements into a linear configuration and hence preserving more of the declining Irish landscape.

Relevance to natural cities

Linear city and storehouse diagrams

Throughout ‘SubUrban to SuperRural’ many designs are presented that aim to solve the problem of urban sprawl that has become so prominent in Ireland over the last 15-20 years. By assessing each of these projects and highlighting their key ideals, a strong toolbox of design elements can be constructed providing an important precedent for the design phase. The two most interesting projects that i have highlighted, 26+1 and ElastiCity, seemed extremely important due to their approach to nature and the land. ElastiCity creates a direction of development that allows everyone to stay in close proximity to the land. 26+1 describes a largely self-sustaining development that could be used across the county without occupying unnecessary land.


1. FKL Architects, ‘SubUrban to SuperRural’, in: Shane O’Toole (ed.), SubUrban to SuperRural, Cork, 2006, pp. 13.


- Shane O’Toole (ed.), SubUrban to SuperRural, Cork, 2006


Stefano Boeri
2009, Italy
City Dystopia

‘Anthropocentrism is either the belief that humans are the central and most significant entities in the universe, or the assessment of reality through an exclusively human perspective.’¹ While keeping mankind and its needs at its center, this kind of world view begins with a desire to protect and help other species and the natural world of plants. A vision of this type allows energies to be pushed towards re-forestation and the re-naturalization of parts of anthopised territory: the urban re-colonization by animal species which had been expelled from these areas, the regeneration of the flora and fauna in the oceans and in the other great liquid continents present in our planet.

A non-anthropized ethical approach is still interested in the survival of mankind, but places this desire within a wider scenario of limits and possibilites. It is only possible to plan the future of our planet from within a wider worldview. Thus non-anthropized ethics does not abandon mankind to its fate, but simply places it at the center of a new kind of discourse, one in where humanity is no longer alone on the pedestal of life.

In terms of dealing with the modern urban condition there are three directions of action. The first relates to the re-naturalization of urban spaces. A non-anthropocentric outlook overturns the way we understand the world. The second is establishing a set of anti-anthopocentric actions that relate to bio-diversity of the animal worl and the possibility of various species co-habitation. It is also important that the reclamation of ex-anthropocentric spaces by animals and mammals is supported in order to promote new forms of exchange and new relationships or the movement and mobility of species across landscapes which are anthropocentric can be encouraged.

Sustainable Dystopia 3, Stefano Boeri
Sustainable Dystopia model, Stefano Boeri

Relevance to natural cities

Flora, Fauna, Culture interaction

Stefano Boeri’s ‘sustainable dystopia’ is of important relevance due to its fundamental rethinking of the cities construct. His discussion on anthopomorphism is of particular importance as he aims to highlight the disjointed relation between man and nature. In his proposal for a ‘dystopia’ that were presented in Copenhagen in 2009, he searches for ways where nature can re-enter the city allowing the most lush and free flora and fauna to flourish. By putting people back in touch with nature, a greater understanding and appreciation can be created changing not only the mindset of designers but of society as a whole.


1. Stefano Boeri, ‘Down from the Stand’, Volume, 18 (2009), pp 56.


- Arjen Oosterman (ed.), Volume 18 After Zero, Amsterdam, 2009

The Green Plan

LAND slr
2007-Present, Milano, Italy
City Redevelopment

Existing green areas together with new public spaces form a great challenge that the city is ready to take up. The strategy for a new green system in Milan starts from the Green Rays project, which promotes a network of pedestrian and cycle paths and injects a bit of green into the urban tissue of the city. The eight rays, one per zone, start from the centre and spread outwards, flowing into an external ring – an authentic urban green belt- which will house a pedestrian/cycle path of about 72km in length.

The whole project, which has already been incorporated into the urban planning in act, promotes the connection of a series of existing spaces, some hidden others unknown, often rundown or simple excluded from urban life: a garden, a boulevard, a neighbourhood park, the great urban parks and those countless tiny spaces capable of offering a brief break from the stress of metropolitan life.

The Green Plan, Milan, LAND slr
Future street view, Milan, LAND slr

Relevance to natural cities
Green belt and routes to centre

A common issue within contemporary cities is the lack of nature and biodiversity. This issue results in problems such as poor air quality and heat island effects. One city that aims to address this problem is Milan through its plans by LAND srl. This plan illustrates how, though the connection of existing green spaces and the creation of new ones, cities can become much healthier. This adds to the toolbox of design tools that can be translated later in the design studio.


- Andreas Kipar, ‘Making Milan A Permeable City’, Topos, 64 (2008), pp. 44 - 48


Bohn & Viljoen Architects
2005-Present, UK
City Redevelopment

‘London-based Bohn & Viljoen Architects are proponents of bringing urban agriculture into European cities and have sketched scenarios regarding how it could be implemented into a European context. In their book CPLUs: Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes: designing urban agriculture for sustainable cities, Bohn & Viljoen propose a positively radical notion of grooming productive urban landscapes into continuous spaces.

Their new urban design strategy would alter the appearance of contemporary cities towards an “unprecedented naturalism”. Think intermittent small scale and professional urban agriculture, allotment gardens, increased biodiversity, informal micro-economies and micro-farmers markets, decreased carbon emissions, abundant car-free corridors and strategically connected urban space, CPULs would be formally and programmatically similar to urban parks.

Weaving agriculture zoning with extant urban green and brown, farmers market and leisure spaces, in CPUL city-planning well-being is a central and distinguishing factor, if not completely seductive.’ ¹

Urban agriculture in Cuba
CPUL for Middlesborough, Bohn & Viljoen Architects

How to make a CPUL

1- Bring your own city
2 - Map all your existing open spaces, and connect them through green infrastructures
3- Insert agriculturally productive land

4 - Feed your city!

Urban Farming for Middlesborough

Urban design concept - Connect the city with the rural with CPUL’s increasing quality and production
Movement - Improve non vehicular movement and re-route traffic
Energy(economics) - Use the ground more efficiently through new farming types and employment incentives
School - Use large open space to offset densities and create more useful space for children
Health - Plant urban agriculture in the centre creating a sense of place and culture

An Urban lifestyle - Preserve the greenbelt and improve the relationship with nature

Relevance to natural cities

3 step to making a CPUL

Another project that aims to bring green back into the city, ‘CPUL’s’ add an important extra dimension though the functionality of its spaces. Unlike other ‘green’ city projects, ‘CPUL’s’ use green space within the city as a productive agricultural landscape. This is of great importance as over the course of history, farming has been traditionally located outside of the cities boundary. Through the process of developing and connecting existing green spaces for agriculture and the creation of new ones, Bohn & Viljoen provide a most interesting design tool for existing cities.


1. Debra Solomon, Cultured and Landscaped Urban Agriculture, Volume, 18 (2009), Amsterdam, pp. 132


- Arjen Oosterman (ed.), Volume 18 After Zero, Amsterdam, 2009

Hammarby Sjöstad

City of Stockholm
1990-Present, Stockholm, Sweden
City Extension

The project’s geographical context provided the basis for the development of the masterplan. The district’s borders are naturally defined by a hilly nature reserve to the south and Hammarby Lake, which is the district’s central focus, its “blue eye” and its most attractive public open space. Pedestrian boardwalks, quays and linear parks provide a varied perimeter to the waterfront and residents have access to boat moorings in the summer.

Although Hammarby Sjöstad is located outside what is traditionally considered to be the perimeter of inner city Stockholm, the design is intentionally urban rather than suburban, and follows standards for Stockholm’s inner city in terms of street width (18m), block sizes (70x100m), density, and land use. This traditional city structure has then been combined with a new architectural style that responds to its specific waterside context, promotes the best of contemporary sustainability technology and follows modern architectural principles, maximising light and views of the water and green spaces and using glass as a core material. The scale of development varies from four to five storeys along Sickla canal and 6 to 8 storeys along the main corridors.

The residential districts adjacent to the main spine follow a grid structure with a semi-open block form, which allows for maximum light and views as well as providing open access to the courtyards of residential blocks. Most apartments have balconies, which provide overlooking onto the streets, waterfront walkways and open spaces.

A network of varied parks, green spaces and walkways runs through the district. Where possible, the natural landscape has been preserved and has provided inspiration for the development. The original reeds and rushes remain along the waterfront, in between which secluded walkways out into the water have been built. Birch trees create the landscape for a beautiful waterfront park and rocky oak-woodland defines the edge of the district.

Riverside view, Hammarby
The Hammarby Model

Relevance to natural cities

Regeneration of brownfield site

Hammarby sjöstad has been largely accepted within my circles as a model for sustainable design in the 21st century. Its planning encompasses all aspects of human living while at the same time aiding in regenerating the land on which it is located. This aspect of the project is of most relevance to the studio as like Hammarby which is located on a former industrial wasteland that was left highly polluted, the Almere IJlands will be located in the Markermeer and IJmeer that a slowly dying due to manmade processes. One most interesting way that the development acts as a catalyst for the land is by turning waste water in biosolids that can be used as a natural fertiliser for nature.


- Lars Frönne, Hammarby sjöstad, Stockholm, 2007


GWL Terrein

1993-1998, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
City Redevelopment

‘An environmentally friendly and car-free residential area has been realized on the former site of the municipal drinking-water company (GWL) in Amsterdam. Owing to its strong cohesion and high density, the GWL site presents itself as a single, large-scale urban element in its surroundings. At the same time it is an open zone with residential blocks in the midst of greenery, an oasis of calm in the metropolitan chaos. The GWL site marks the boundary between the traditional housing blocks of the Staatslieden neighbourhood and the businesses and industry to the west. A few historic buildings and a water tower were retained, and these now form the eye-catching heart of the neighbourhood.’ ¹

Cafe view, GWL Terrein, KCAP

Sustainable urban design =
Urban & social sustainability

Urban & social sustainability, definition;
- efficient land use
- mixed use
- mobility concept
- social cohesion
- public/private
- traces and identity
- proactive landscape
- climate orientation
- water surface management

Sustainable features

Resource use
- revitalisation of previously developed site
- low energy building standard
- Passive solar design
- solar supported heating or photovoltaic’s
- rainwater collection and indoor use
Aerial, GWL Terrein, KCAP

- on site recycling facilities (paper/glass)
- on site composting facilities

- purpose built community centre
- resident participation during planning
- resident involvement in running facilities
- institutionalised representation of residents

- integration with public transit facility
- on site car sharing vehicles
- integration with pedestrain and cycle networks
- integration of basic retail facilities
- exclusion of motorised traffic
- allocation of open space for food production
- reduced parking provision
- integration of workshops

General information
- 6 hectares
- 600 dwellings
- 70-140m²
- 100 dwelling per hectare
- as many front doors on grade level as possible
- restaurants, studios, offices, ateliers in old buildings
- shops and workspaces in ground floor along street
- community centre and senior complex
- 80% of ground given out as allotments

Relevance to natural cities

Each dwelling connected to green space

Through the removal of the car from this area and the ability to begin design from tabula rasa, KCAP have most importantly created an urban design that enables all inhabitants to be in close contact to green and slow spaces despite the projects high density. Along with these elements it also promotes a high level of social sustainability through the increased number of contact points throughout the plan.


1. site


- Kees Christiaanse, Sustainable Urban Design Lecture, Rotterdam, 2008


The Highline

Diller Scofidio + Renfro
2009, New York, USA
City Redevelopment

‘The High Line, in collaboration with Field Operations, is a new 1.5-mile long public park built on an abandoned elevated railroad stretching from the Meatpacking District to the Hudson Rail Yards in Manhattan. Inspired by the melancholic, unruly beauty of this post-industrial ruin, where nature has reclaimed a once vital piece of urban infrastructure, the new park interprets its inheritance. It translates the biodiversity that took root after it fell into ruin in a string of site-specific urban microclimates along the stretch of railway that include sunny, shady, wet, dry, windy, and sheltered spaces. Through a strategy of agri-tecture—part agriculture, part architecture—the High Line surface is digitized into discrete units of paving and planting which are assembled along the 1.5 miles into a variety of gradients from 100% paving to 100% soft, richly vegetated biotopes. The paving system consists of individual pre-cast concrete planks with open joints to encourage emergent growth like wild grass through cracks in the sidewalk. The long paving units have tapered ends that comb into planting beds creating a textured, “pathless” landscape where the public can meander in unscripted ways. The park accommodates the wild, the cultivated, the intimate, and the social. Access points are durational experiences designed to prolong the transition from the frenetic pace of city streets to the slow otherworldly landscape above.’ ¹

Plan, The Highline, Diller Scofidio + Renfro
The Highline, Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Relevance to natural cities

The Highline transformation

By turning an existing over ground metro line into a linear park, Diller Scofidio + Renfro make a physical relationship between flora and fauna and the most famous metropolis in the world New York. This revitalises the city setting an important precedent on how to utilise existing city structures to allow flora and fauna to grow. Most importantly the project acts as a post-industrial instrument of leisure reflection between nature and culture during our time.







2004-2007, Oss, The Netherlands
New Housing District

‘The Piekenhoef housing estate, to the south of Berghem, lies at the boundary between the low-lying Maas river valley and the higher-lying aeolian sand ridges of Brabant. It is important to infiltrate water directly into the subsoil in order to keep the housing estate green and to maintain the water table. The rainwater runoff and detention system therefore forms the principle starting point for the urban design and landscaping of Piekenhoef.

Piekenhoef also forms a hydrological link between Berghem and the extended nature reserve. This motivated the construction of five ‘wadis’, wide, grassy infiltration trenches that run through the residential area. The wadis allow runoff rainwater to percolate into the subsoil. They also establish a clear relation between the residential contexts and the surrounding landscape, and between the village and the forest.

The main public spaces consist of the principal access routes for cars and bicycles, the ribbons of the wadis and the Bospark (woodland park). They make up the spatial framework of the district. This framework makes it possible to modify sections of the plan without degrading the main structure. The traffic pattern has an east-west alignment, and the wadis run north-south. The woodland park, approximately 5 hectares in area, has a layout based on the structure of the surrounding landscape. It is the main public space linking Berghem to the nature reserve to its south.

The neighbourhoods consist of east-west aligned ‘woonerf’ zones, grouped around pedestrian-priority streets with zigzags and width variations which foster an intensely residential atmosphere. The informally zigzagging linear pattern is echoed in the drainage direction and the boardwalks of the wadis. Giving the each urban design unit (public space plus adjoining architecture) a specific profile and a distinct architecture results in characteristic image clusters. The land use is defined and distributed over these image clusters, on the basis of a maximal spreading of financing categories. The ‘private build’ category forms an exception to this approach. Special housing typologies have been devised for plots alongside the wadis and the woodland park. These developments parallel and accentuate the open design in a north-south direction.’¹

Dry weather, Piekenhoef, VHP
Wet weather, Piekenhoef, VHP

Relevance to natural cities

Space flexibility

While Piekenhoef may only be a small residential district in Oss, it exhibits a strong quality in its approach to nature. Through the creation of ‘woonerf’ zones nature is aloud to a certain degree to take its course through a process of flooding within the wadi system. This results in a series of key spaces within the project that can adjust and take on different spatial qualities depending on recent weather conditions. This process allows nature to influence actively in the development of space, constantly changing its atmosphere creating diversity within the scheme.




1. Shane O’Toole (ed.), SubUrban to SuperRural, Cork, 2006.
SubUrban to SuperRural is a publication and exhibition instigated by The Irish Architecture Foundation for the 2006 Venice Bienalle. The Irish exhibition is led by FKL Architects and also contains a series of works by eight other Irish architectural firms. The aim of the project is to address the issue of urban sprawl within the context of a country where the rural landscape plays such a vital role.

2. Arjen Oosterman (ed.), Volume 18 After Zero, Amsterdam, 2009.

Through the collaboration of ARCHIS, AMO and C-Lab, Volume publishes a magazine for architecture, City and Visual Culture as an experimental think tank devoted to the real-time spatial and cultural reflexivity. The After Zero edition looks at ‘sustainability’ issues but with a deeper ethical perspective.

3. Frederick R. Steiner (ed.), From Garden City to Green City, Baltimore, 2002.

By quatifying the influence of Ebenzer Howard’s legacy, From Garden City to Green City maps the projects and events that help the publication ‘Garden Cities of To-Morow’ reshape the face of city and regional planning.

4. Ebenezer Howard, Garden Cities of To-Morow, London, 1965.

A reprint of the famous architectural treatise, this book has proved to last the test of time by still playing a stong influential role in city planning to this day. The publication set out the aim to unite ‘Town and County’ into a singular entity ‘Town-Country’. This was created by combining the best elements of the two and excluding the negative elements of each. This can be seen in the famous ‘Three Magnets’ diagram that is contained with the publication.

5. Frank Lloyd Wright, The Living City, New York, 1958.

While Wright is most famous for his houses and work on ‘organic’ architecture, this publication that he produced documents his large interest upon the ideal American city model. Largely developed at his school Taliesen alongside his students, the project entitled ‘Broadacre City’ gives a fascinating insight into how he perceived the idea way of living.

6. Roland Reisley, Usonia New York. Building a Community with Frank Lloyd Wright, New York, 2001.

After Wright finished his work on ‘The Living City’, its publication and exhibition in places such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York created interest amongst the project. This led to Wright designing a new co-operative community in New York State. While it was not on the scale of Broadacre City the project contained much of his ideals right through the detailing of each individual house.

7. Lisa Benton-Short & John Rennie Short, Cities and Nature, New York, 2008.

Cities and Nature provides an important insight into the role of nature within our cities. The book documents important historical events that have changed the position of nature and gives an in-depth evaluation of its current position. This book has is vital in order to understand what the relationship is and what the relationship needs to be between the city and nature.

8. Francesco Manacorda (ed.), Radical Nature. Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet. 1969-2009, London, 2009.

For a creative approach to the issues of nature in our contemporary society, ‘Radical Nature’ give a fascinating variety of statements. The book and exhibition documents forty years of the subject and contains works some of the most important people regarding the subject during this period such as Joseph Beuys and Buckminster Fuller.

9. Carine van den Broek (ed.), Nature Culture Fusion, Rotterdam, 2002.

This book has been the most important in my research and the development of my studio project. The book documents a series of Le Roy quotes on the issues he address in the ecocatherdral and also contains three important essays that give a conclusive insight into his theories and method of development. The book illustrates nature for what it is in its truest form and describes the process that can be evolved to reunite it with culture.

10. Anneke van Veen, Nagele. NOP, Amsterdam, 1988.

The process of how Nagele was conceived and the context in which it was conceived is of great importance in order to understand the nature of the project. Nagele, NOP documents these aspects in a concise manner highlight not only the great success of the project but also highlighting the ultimate demise of the community.
11. Fred Feddes (ed.), The Almere Principals. For an ecologically, sociably and economically sustainable future of Almere 2030, Bussum, 2008.

By reading the Almere Principles and understanding that they are a progression of an earlier established set of ideas on the city gives an important insight into how and why the city was concieved in the way it is and how it will continue to progress over the next 30 years and more.

12. Bill Mollison, Permaculture. A Designers’ Manual, Tyalgum, 1996.

While most will associate permaculture with productive and agricultural landscapes there is another important factor to the book that is focused around the natural development and process involved in natural ecosytems. A ‘Designers’ Manual’ the book not only provides technical aspects on the topic but also discusses the deep embedded philosophical issues also attached to it.

13. Lynda S. Waggoner, Fallingwater, New York, 1996.

Fallingwater is largely acknowledged as being one of the most important houses of the 20th century and is the most important pieces of work built by Frank Lloyd Wright during his career. The house as an entity signifies Wrights beliefs on how humans can be in touch with nature through the power of building.

14. Lars Frönne, Hammarby sjöstad, Stockholm, 2007.

Produced by the city of Stockholm this document illustrates the many methods used in the development of Hammarby that make it so important.

15. Robert Schäfer, Topos 64 Growing Cities, Munich, 2008

Topos is a landscape and urban design journal that is issued bi-monthly under various headings. ‘Growing Cities’ looks specifically at how the growth of cities can occur in a more sustainable way citing various examples and ideas.


A collection of photographs by various photographers showing the development and existing image presented by the ecocathedral.


Stichtingtijd or the ‘Time Foundation’ is a society formed as a result of the work by Louis Le Roy. The foundation aims to promote understanding and awareness of the concept of "time" as a condition for the creative development of cooperation between natural and human creative processes in space and time.


VHP is a Dutch urban design, architecture and landscape design office that have worked on a wide range of projects throughout the Netherlands


KCAP are well known throughout Europe and have design and realised a series of seminal projects such as Haven City and GWL Terrein. They provide an approach to design that aims to provide innovative lasting solutions to current social, economic and spatial problems.


The High Line website covers all aspects of the project from its design to special events surrounding the project.


CABE is the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment in the British Isle’s. On this section of their website they exhibit the most exemplar projects regarding this field of work such as Hammarby sjöstad.


The following link is a pdf booklet which is a culmination of all the information illustrated above and more. Enjoy.