T&H: What are ‘micro-cities’ and how do you see us tackling the global problem of exponentially growing cities and towns?
SP: ‘Micro-cities’ are hugely important. In urban terms, there are called ‘intermediary cities’ or ‘secondary cities’ and they mitigate urban-rural migration, enabling communities to stay in smaller cities, and by doing so reducing the influx of the population to megacities. There are a few co-dependencies for the mico-cities to be successful and one of them is an efficient roads and transportation system, as well as a digital infrastructure. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw an increase in the debate on small to medium size cities, enhancing them with localised food supply chains, and generally local supply chains could co-create a winning model.
T&H: Why is vernacular architecture, and using local natural resources to create buildings more important than ever?
SP: According to ‘The Encyclopedia Britannica’, the term ‘vernacular’ means native or indigenous, belonging to the country where a person is born. In other words, vernacular architecture is local, often built by indigenous peoples.
The fundamental conclusion of Habitat is the connection between the planet’s five major ecosystems and climate zones with the built environment. This can be also applied to food systems, agriculture, and the general development of material culture. The availability of natural resources in different climate zones shaped cities and villages but also enabled the development of the first climate technologies for the built environment. Today I could say ‘Zero–carbon’ climate technologies. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) of 1992 defines an ecosystem as (…) a dynamic complex of plant, animal, and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit (…). Habitat offers evidence that for 12,000 years we could live in harmony with nature as a ‘functional unit’, today we need to find new ways to re-establish this ‘functional unit’ for habitats of the future.