Manufactured Landscapes

Remaking the world for our needs

Humans hack the landscape to be more productive and predictable. Though we have intentionally transformed the landscape since the first farmer put a seed in the ground, in the last century our efforts have become planet-scale. While we manipulate old nature through dams, planned forests and irrigation, we create a next natural landscape of highways, vast cities, and garbage dumps. How do we control these? And is control even possible?

Next Nature Services

ESSAY BY Bas Haring
September 4th 2011

Intentionality separates culture from nature. A dog is intentional, a fox is not; a park is intentional, a forest is not. Since trash, ruined buildings, and automated computer programs are unintentional, they are also a type of nature. Nature provides human society with valuable ‘ecosystem services’ such as water purification or erosion control. Next nature provides ecosystem services of its own, although they might not be what we expect.

2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity. The United Nations introduced the concept as a way to draw attention to the decline of nature. Advocating on nature’s behalf, a relatively new argument emerged, ‘ecosystem services’: useful things nature does, unbeknownst to us.…

Pimp My Planet

We live in a time where everything or everyone can be upgraded or ‘pimped’. After the worldwide acceptance of plastic surgery and pimped homes, will eventually everything be pimp-able? Even our own planet.

In Ethiopia, the Bible Grows a Forest

Allison Guy
April 5th 2011

What are those two green dots in the dusty landscape?  Ethiopian Orthodox Christians believe in preserving forests around their churches as living symbols of Eden.…

21st Century Dutch Landscapes

Van Mensvoort
June 4th 2012

For centuries the Dutch landscape has been known for its highly cultivated formal structure, however with the introduction of Google Maps a whole new layer of formalization has been added.…

Sand Engine Reinforces Dutch Coastline

Van Mensvoort
February 22nd 2012

Now here is an hands-on example of 'guided growth' as a way to steer complex systems.

Part of the Dutch coastline is currently being reinforced by creating a 'sand engine'.…