February 7th, 2013 – Seminar 1
Tom, Livya, Kathleen, Stella, Kelvin, May, Zaenab, Larissa, Irene
Kowarik, Ingo, Andreas Langer. “Natur-Park Südgelände: Linking Conservation and Recreation in an Abandoned Railyard in Berlin.” 2005.
The first reading entitled “Natur-Park Südgelände: Linking Conservation and Recreation in an Abandoned Railyard in Berlin” discusses landscapes of the post-war and the potentials that have arisen as a result.
The article isolates on Südgelände, an old freight railyard that essentially was left alone for four decades after the war, in which it arose naturally into a combination between woodland and rare herbaceous species. In just ten years (from 1881-1891) studies reveal that the area of woodlands had doubled from 37% to 70%. The issue with this from an ecological standpoint is that the woodlands essentially are consuming the herbaceous species, as the herbaceous vegetation provide habitats for a multitude of threatened, rare plant and animal species where as the woodlands do not.
The railyard has been transformed into a public park, as the original intention was to clear the vegetation and erect a new train station. In its time since, the Natur Park Südgelände has gained tremendous amount of public response and feedback.
Should humans intervene with the natural processes at work in the park or should they let nature take its course?
Should the park be open to the public and turned into a place for people to explore and spend time?
Could this/ is this area a good example of successful integration of park in an urban area?
Personal Reflection Generated from Group Discussion:
I believe the first question can be answered in two ways. The first of which regards intervention as destruction, the other defining it as integration. The park’s woodlands proportions are growing at an exponential rate that see the herbaceous vegetation eventually becoming entirely consumed. As mentioned before, these herbaceous species provide habitats for rare and threatened animal and plant species. With this taken into consideration, I think human intervention is necessary not just through integration nor destruction, but a medium between the two, being isolation. As the article discusses but in a different sense, a degree of zoning has been established. The park already has areas sectioned off from the public to insure health and growth of particular species. As studies have revealed an imbalance of vegetative growth key to succession of particular species, I believe the same principle must be applied not to isolate human from vegetation, but vegetation from vegetation. As hard as it may be, and perhaps as impractical, I believe that areas must be sanctioned and dedicated to particular types of vegetative growth (woodlands and herbaceous) while the public area can develop naturally as it has. This way vegetative species can still co-exist amongst each other without threatening a complete dominance of one over the other and sacrificing particular species at the same time.
With regards to the second question, I do think that the park should be open to the public and turned into a place for people to explore and spend time, but with given parameters. The site has cultural value, as it exists because of the war. This kind of poetry can’t be designed and establishes a historical connection back to the public. As far as I’m concerned the public has every right to explore and appreciate the site, but not destroy it. Nature has taken back and created a beautiful paradigm between human development and natural restoration. It has created a landscape that has written its own poetry and has done so on its own without human improvement nor care. As it has managed to become what it has without human presence, they have no right to dictate it but instead, appreciate it.
I believe this park is a successful integration of park in an urban area but there are particular aspects I don’t agree with. As the park has essentially formed itself naturally, I believe that incorporating design within the park should be done so with the same notion. For example, the article talks about and shows how the train tracks are used as the walk-ways to navigate throughout the site. To me this is a brilliant design integration as vegetation will not grow as strong between the track and it serves as a continuous reminder of the railway that used to completely consume the land before it restored itself after the war.
In contrast, I don’t agree with the art installations nor the renovations of the trains that exist within the park. I believe that this takes away from its identity and quality as a result.
The park is a perfect example of Mother Nature taking back and co-existing with human development and for that reason it is a rare and beautiful example of integrating park in an urban context.
Pereira, Henrique,Paul W. Leadley, Vania Proenca, Rob Alkemade, Jorn P. W. Scharlemann, Juan F. Fernandez-Manjarres, Miguel B. Araujo, Patricia Balvanera, Reinette Biggs, William W. L. Cheung, Louise Chini, H. David Cooper, Eric L. Gilman, Sylvie Guenette, George C. Hurtt, Henry P. Huntington, Georgina M. Mace, Thierry Oberdorff, Carmen Ravenga, Patricia Rodrigues, Robert J. Scholes, Ussif Rashid Sumaila, and Matt Walpole. “Scenarios for Global Biodiversity in the 21st Century.” 2010.
The second reading entitled “Scenarios for Global Biodiversity in the 21st Century” refers to the measures taken when analyzing future trajectories of biodiversity. The article suggests that there are three main steps/ processes that establish these models being: (1) scenarios of socioeconomic development pathways, (2) projection of direct drivers, and (3) projections of impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. As the article suggests, all three of which are directly correlated.
These models are constructed and used to analyze global terrestrial, freshwater, and marine biodiversity scenarios that are accompanied by a list of factors and catalysts. However, there is a degree of uncertainty with the findings of these models based on how they are done and the lack of models where they are needed to further the findings of others.
Personal Reflection Generated from Group Discussion:
I believe that even with the technology that we have at our footsteps, it will only proceed in being harder to dictate catalysts and accumulate results. As some of these models rely on data projected from ‘less developed’ ones, that is clearly one of the first issues. However, even if that was not a problem, I think that to calculate solid quantitative data in our present age is next to impossible. These models analyze ecosystems and gradually work there way down to dissect and analyze more specific components. The problem with this is the first stepping-stone. All ecosystems are directly affected by climate change, and as climate change is changing in unpredictable rates and ways, these models are flawed to begin with or continuously need to be re-issued to achieve more accurate information.
p hoto 1:
Only in RAW. Natur-Park. Photograph. Flickr. October 3rd, 2012.
Only in RAW. Natur-Park. Photograph. FLickr. October 3rd, 2012.