The following is an introduction to the term ‘nature value’ and it is based on several working documents. These documents are a part of the firm’s continuous work to develop our thoughts on how nature can become a positive addition to society, people and our the physical world. This introduction represents our ongoing efforts to specify our work methods and philosophy.
”The fuel for the soul’s fire is is all things’ sensory corporeality. This is such an inevitability that what the mind in the most elementary sense lives off is what we think least about.”
– K.E. Løgstrup
Nature value is simply, how nature creates value for people, society and the built environment. Though simple in its definition, the concept is endlessly complicated. Since onset of industrialization, nature value has been cast aside and ignored in our endless efforts to control the world around us.
Nature value is a reason to reintroduce the basic principles of architecture and landscape- not to romanticize the past, but to recognize our current situation that humans are both dependent and inextricably connected to nature. This connection is both physical and existential. Nature can add value to economic, health, residential, and climatic conditions. Nature value can also be discussed in relation to existential problems such as, what is a good life, aesthetics, mental stability, creativity, and social interaction.
A hybrid perspective
We would like to demonstrate the value of nature’s multitude of qualities and will therefore start by qualifying the terms by which we traditionally understand our physical surroundings. In a world dominated the forces of urbanization and climate change, traditional dichotomies are no longer relevant. City and nature, regulated and unregulated, aesthetic and pragmatic, nature and culture have not only lost their meaning. These dichotomies prevent us from maximizing the power of nature and meet climate change challenges. We must remove ourselves from this categorical approach and instead work toward a hybrid understanding of the world and our physical surroundings.
TREDJE NATUR offers nature value as a new, hybrid perspective. Our ambition is therefore to create cities with a revitalizing, tactile complexity that gives people courage and energy to live their lives in many ways and that contributes to society.
Nature as a performative aesthetic
Nature is often represented in one of two ways, either scientifically- reducing it to processes, connections, ecosystems and balance in nature, or romantically- aesthetically beautiful and mysterious. These two representations divide nature’s aesthetic qualities and tactility from its functionality. This division does not make sense in practical settings. A chestnut tree’s transformative and ritual aesthetic cannot be extracted from its ability to intake carbon dioxide, infiltrate rainwater and provide protection from the sun and wind.
TREDJE NATUR would like to remove the rift between function and aesthetics and therefore base our work on a holistic, nuanced perspective of nature. Nature value represents a concept of nature that is performatively aesthetic, while working with architecture and planning.
Economic and pragmatic added value
The economic value that can be added by working with a hybrid nature perspective can be categorized into many types of values such as:
Health. Research has shown that there is a close connection between access to nature and physical activity, and general health level in society. By creating hybrid, recreation possibilities in a city we can not only increase its residents quality of life, but also save money on treating of lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and stress.
Export. Denmark is currently a frontrunner in the development of new, green technologies. By developing harbors and industrial areas in Denmark into inviting recreation areas, a city can be transformed into a display case and an urban laboratory for these technologies and thereby brand Danmark’s abilities in the field of sustainable development and technology, to the global community.
Residential. Access to green and blue spaces plays a large part in the relationship between liveability and real estate value of an area. Proximity to green and blue areas are often prioritized higher than access to public transportation or cultural venues when a buyer is in the market for a new home.
Climate. Nature’s green and blue elements can create cleaner and more oxygenated air in a city, reverse ‘urban heat-island effects, reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling buildings and thereby reduce CO2 production.
Adaptation. Trees and plants are able to store large amounts of rainwater. Green roofs, trees and planting can thereby reduce runoff and increase infiltration so water does not destroy buildings and infrastructure in a city.
Social- Nature’s recreational qualities can create the physical framework for new social networks and interactions, which increases the sense of community within a city. People who use public green spaces most often are the those who have a garden at home, these people can spread their knowledge to other residents and thereby add to a culture of sustainability and closeness to nature’s processes.
Connectivity. Nature’s blue and green elements can create connections in the modernistic planning structure found in many danish towns. With its unique combination of recreational qualities and functional abilities, nature can offer hybrid experiences throughout a town, neighborhood and residents.
Nature value is based on the understanding that the world is rational, that humans are dependent on the vitality of nature, and that we all are connected in the physical world. We cannot sit on the sidelines as observers. We are emotional, opinionated individuals in a constant dialog with our surroundings. Space affects us. Space affects our mood, behavior, thoughts and feelings. Space influences the way we interact with each other and they play a crucial role in our health and well-being. Therefore we must be wary when forming the physical framework for daily life.
TREDJE NATUR strives to make human needs and our connection to nature the basis for our work with architecture and planning. Questions of spatiality, scale, community, connection, meaning, use, interaction and well-being, are the foundation of Tredje Natur’s work.
Commons and community
“Global climate change paralyzes us and you do not get anywhere with apocalyptic, nightmarish scenarios. People cannot comprehend the variety of actions and solutions…. We are therefore obligated to show the possibilities. They must be concrete, tangible – and then I am sure there will be popular support to solve the problem. “- Martin Lidegaard, former Minister of Climate and Energy.
Two hundred years ago the commons was a piece of land farmers managed together. Everyone was allowed to grow food or allow their livestock to graze on this piece of land. The town commons was thereby understood as a common resource everyone in the town had equal access to.
Tor Nørretranders and Søren Hermansen reintroduce the town commons as an important tool for strengthening community and creating awareness of local resources in contemporary society in their book Commonity. According to Nørretranders and Hermansen, communities need something to bind them together – a town commons. They use a windpower guild as the main example of the town common concept. The windpower guild was established by local citizens and have made the island of Samsø 100% energy self- sufficient with renewable energy sources. Other examples of contemporary town commons are food cooperatives, urban gardens and the collection and reuse of rainwater.
The main element of these commons are their ability to create new communities, take advantage of existing resources and highlight their importance. Windmills, urban gardens and water towers are examples of visible technologies we see in daily life. By adopting the concept of the town commons into planning processes, we can gain a better understanding of how people and cities can be a part of nature’s metabolism and thereby initiate more resource-conscious behavior. This is we can do preferable to scolding people for doing the wrong thing.
Modern interpretations of the town commons concept challenges us to find new ways to create resource awareness without threatening with apocalyptic scenarios. They present a motivational, positive, tangible solution that is woven into to daily life and can strengthen the local community.
Nature Value – a holistic proximity concept
Nature value is a holistic perspective, that is based on the idea that the problems of the world cannot be solved by only thinking about the parts of the system and that a framework for a high quality of life is not achieved by solely looking at sustainability, aesthetics, solutions, cities, or nature separately. Nature value is built on the idea that everything in the world is interconnected and we must see the big picture for change to be possible. Nature value also builds upon the acceptance of local areas as the starting points for long-lasting change. Nature value represents what we call a concept of holistic proximity.
– Agnete Schimmell Raakjær, Ole Schrøder og Flemming Rafn Thomsen