While limits of natural resources and climate change are forcing communities all over the world to redefine relationships with their own living environments, this challenge can be interpreted in several ways, depending on a broad variety of different values and beliefs. Not all communities worldwide share the same understanding of values such as love for humankind, sensitivity for other forms of life on earth, care for the breathable air and drinkable water, and appreciation for the soil we plough and build upon. As a matter of fact, too often these values are threatened by other social values, such as monetary efficiency and economic growth, which push societies in a quite different direction. For instance, the ecosystem service concept, with its emphasis on how humans can better take advantage of natural ecosystems, is an attempt to address the environmental crisis while maintaining a utilitarian and human-centric perspective. This paper argues for the need and shows the possibility for planning researchers to address environmental issues while framing the concept of ecosystem services within a broader value-centered framework. Drawing from Complexity Theory, Deep Ecology and a relational approach to Ecology, this paper proposes the use in planning practice of the concept of Ecological Device that is inclusive of the Ecosystem Service one. An Ecological Device is intended as a project for eco-systemic improvements whose emphasis is not on the maximization of benefits for humans but is on the creation of multispecies and multi-actors functional and emotional relationships (entanglements). In particular, this paper presents one effort to shape Ecological Devices by a long-term, community-university partnership in the Simeto River Valley (Sicily, Italy) in the context of an annual, action-research summer school called CoPED (Community Planning and Ecological Design). The authors, who are also the founders and instructors of the summer school, show the possibilities for ecological devices generated through a highly pragmatic and engaged approach to research to address environmental technical issues as deeply interconnected with social and political dynamics.

From ecosystem services to Ecological Devices: The CoPED Summer School experience in the Simeto River Valley, Italy

Saija, Laura
2018

Abstract

While limits of natural resources and climate change are forcing communities all over the world to redefine relationships with their own living environments, this challenge can be interpreted in several ways, depending on a broad variety of different values and beliefs. Not all communities worldwide share the same understanding of values such as love for humankind, sensitivity for other forms of life on earth, care for the breathable air and drinkable water, and appreciation for the soil we plough and build upon. As a matter of fact, too often these values are threatened by other social values, such as monetary efficiency and economic growth, which push societies in a quite different direction. For instance, the ecosystem service concept, with its emphasis on how humans can better take advantage of natural ecosystems, is an attempt to address the environmental crisis while maintaining a utilitarian and human-centric perspective. This paper argues for the need and shows the possibility for planning researchers to address environmental issues while framing the concept of ecosystem services within a broader value-centered framework. Drawing from Complexity Theory, Deep Ecology and a relational approach to Ecology, this paper proposes the use in planning practice of the concept of Ecological Device that is inclusive of the Ecosystem Service one. An Ecological Device is intended as a project for eco-systemic improvements whose emphasis is not on the maximization of benefits for humans but is on the creation of multispecies and multi-actors functional and emotional relationships (entanglements). In particular, this paper presents one effort to shape Ecological Devices by a long-term, community-university partnership in the Simeto River Valley (Sicily, Italy) in the context of an annual, action-research summer school called CoPED (Community Planning and Ecological Design). The authors, who are also the founders and instructors of the summer school, show the possibilities for ecological devices generated through a highly pragmatic and engaged approach to research to address environmental technical issues as deeply interconnected with social and political dynamics.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/381279
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