To address the scale of the ecological crisis that we face, we need an ecological worldview that will fundamentally alter the way we design. The argument for a new worldview runs something like this: human beings are a part of Nature, active participants in the web of life, but have become so impactful by virtue of their number and appetite that they threaten the very fabric of their existence.

 

The combined trajectories of population growth and high-consumption lifestyles indicate where we are heading, and warn of a point of no return. We must therefore recast our role. We cannot continue to exploit and ‘control’ Nature. Nor can we sit on the fence. Rather, we must become partners and collaborators. This means seeing ourselves as internal agents — not external to Nature — acting to transform from within.

Our buildings, neighbourhoods, and cities, must become emissaries of Nature, doing good for all species. Good in the face of damage done, particularly in Asia, is more than the pursuit of efficiency or livability; it is to heal and restore, repair and regenerate, increase capacity and beget surplus. We must learn to design with, for, and be guided by Nature.

Ecopuncture is acupuncture for the built environment. Every designed object affects the wider condition within which it is nested. Each insertion enhances the connectedness of social and ecological systems, seeking positive reciprocity, and strengthening the whole. There is a compelling case for ecopuncture in Asia; one that serves resource needs and performance targets, and offers a pathway to purpose and beauty.

Imagine a thousand pinpricks of ecopuncture in hundreds of cities across Asia. Imagine ripples of good emanating from each, creating a surplus of natural, social, human, and financial capitals, for neighbourhoods and ecosystems. Just as we now suffer the consequences of a thousand bad decisions made without foresight, imagine a world with a thousand good ones made with a little systemic insight.

Copyright © 2019 Nirmal Kishnani

A FuturArc Publication