Critical Ecologies Colloquium

April 2nd and 3rd, 2010 // Harvard University GSD

We know it’s a ways away but we should all start making plans to attend the Critical Ecologies Colloquium at Harvard this coming spring. The event is coordinated by Chris Reed of Stoss Landscape Urbanism and Charles Waldheim, Chair of the department of Landscape Architecture at the GSD. It goes without saying that both individuals are at the top of the Landscape Architecture world and, those of us who are lucky enough to know them personally, know that this colloquium will NOT disappoint. We can pretty much guarantee a line-up of similarly influential speakers throughout the two-day colloquium but, we’ll keep you posted as the names become more finalized. For now, we can share the event description:

Critical Ecologies

a colloquium on the biological, horticultural, and anthropological antecedents to design


Over the past quarter century, the field of ecology has moved from a classical concern with stability and order in favor of more contemporary understandings of cataclysmic change, adaptability, resilience, and flexibility. Increasingly these concepts of ecological thought are found useful as models or metaphors for cultural production generally, and the design arts in particular. This places landscape architecture in a particular disciplinary and practical space, equally informed by ecological knowledge as an applied science on the one hand, and as a conceptual model of cultural production or design on the other.

Critical Ecologies is a one-and-a-half-day event that will focus on a review of recent scientific shifts that have occurred in the fields of ecology, biology, and horticulture. It will also address advances in parallel fields that have integrated and advanced research on complex adaptive systems.  Together, the colloquium will present a range of contemporary thought in ecology and related disciplines across the English language and its potential impact on design practice internationally.

Animal Architecture has been asked to cover the content of the Colloquium and we’re actively seeking on-site reporters, bloggers, and commentators. Send us a quick email if you think you’d be interested and we’ll try our best to coordinate.

Stay tuned for more updates and information.

More events at Harvard GSD can be seen on this blog (we’re not sure why we can’t see it on the Harvard site.)

Image: The Hortus Gramineus, or grass garden, at Woburn Abbey in 1817 which was the site of the first ecological experiment that was mentioned by Charles Darwin in the Origin of Species. See: Hector, A. & Hooper, R. (2002). Darwin and the First Ecological Experiment. Science, 295, 639-640. reproduced from Wikipedia.

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