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29.10.2018
Geographies of Ecological Surplus

© Nikos Katsikis

Nikos Katsikis discusses the relationship between urbanization and the organization of social and ecological value. Cities and the positive externalities of agglomeration, have been widely recognized as generators of value. The latest UN Habitat stresses that agglomeration zones, although covering no more than 3% of the earth’s surface, contribute more than 70% of global GDP. But the concentration of population and economic activities in a minor percentage of the planetary terrain, is directly interconnected, through a wide set of metabolic interdependencies, with the bio-geographical organization of the “other” 70% of the total land surface utilized. These extensive and often specialized “operational landscapes” of primary production (agriculture, mining, forestry), circulation and waste disposal, constitute the material basis of planetary urbanization. This contribution aims to unpack the spatial configurations of human and extra-human (natural, or technical) work, through which operational landscapes become active agents in urbanization processes, revealing urbanization as condition of constant geographical re-organization of social and ecological value.

Presented at:
Sessions on Territory, a series of public debates on the political economy of architecture and territory. Focusing on how the epoch of the Anthropocene reframes our conceptions of the urban and shapes new ecologies, the seminar’s objective is to unravel contemporary forces at work in the formation of the built and natural environment, and, as importantly, to spur debates that challenge the status quo. Every intervention by a guest speaker is followed by a panel discussion with invited respondents.

Oganized by:
Milica Topalovic and Marc Angelil
ETH Zurich
ONA Focushalle E7
Neunbrunnenstr. 50
8050 Zürich
16.00-18.00

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