文献来源：Kongjian Yu，Landscape as Ecological Infrastructure for an Alternative Urbanity, In: Mohsen Mostafavi (ed.), Implicate & Explicate, Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Lars Müller Publishers, 2010: 282-283
I am glad that the jury has selected the Wadi Hanifa Wetlands for the Aga Khan Award because this project embodies a powerful practice: the recovery of land-scape as ecological infrastructure,as an alternative way to build our cities.
Civilisation, over the course of centuries, has been defined in part as the control of natural processes and patterns: those who were successful in exploiting natural resources and transforming natural patterns through technological advancements were considered highly civilised,while those who adapted to natural forces were seen as primitive. Cities are by far the largest and most complicated artificial devices that human beings have constructed, and they are considered by many to be the very testament of human civilisation.From the origin of the city to its“modernised”form today, natural forces and patterns have become increasingly controlled and dependent on artificial processes. The quality of urbanity becomes measured by how quickly rain-water drains off our streets, how stable temperature and humidity are maintained in our rooms(or even in open spaces), how garden trees and shrubs are grown for ornamental purposes rather than for their productivity.
Over time, we have drifted away from nature and become disconnected from our roots as farmers and herders. This standard of civilisation is built on heavily engineered gray infrastructure:complicat-ed transportation systems designed for vehicles to deliver goods and services;huge pipe networks laid underground to drain excess storm water; rivers reinforced with concrete walls to control floods;large sewage plants built to treat waste-water; power lines to convey the energy necessary to run all of the machines and devices. Built upon this gray infrastructure are showy buildings with deformed heads and twisted bodies that deviate from what natural forces would allow. Such a model of urbanity, created by Western cities during the early stages of their development,has unfortunately been adopted today by developing countries in general and the lslamic world in particular. Here,landscape is largely limited to tamed gardens and parks,where lawns and flow-ers are irrigated with tap water and storm water is drained by underground pipes. Here, landscape is just like other compo-nents of an artificial city—a sink of energy and services, rather than a source. Landscape as a natural ecosystem in and around cities is largely neglected, its natural processes disintegrated and contaminat-ed, and its natural patterns fragmented. The landscape completely loses its capaci-ty to provide what would have been free goods and services for urban communties.
What would an alternative city look like if its natural forces were respectfully used and not controlled? Vegetables and food would be produced along streets or in parks, floods would come and go to the benefit of the city,waste would be absorbed and cleansed by natural processes, birds and other native species would cohabit the city with human beings, and the beauty of nature would be appre-ciated in its authenticity, not tamed or tightly maintained. This alternative practice has many names:agricultural urbanism, landscape urbanism,water urbanism,new urbanism, sustainable urbanism, green urbanism, and certainly ecological urban-ism. The key here is that these alternative solutions do not rely on gray infrastructure but instead utilise green or ecological infrastructure to deliver the goods and services that the city and its urban residents need.
Looking at the history of city planning and building, we find that traditional designs treat landscape as one physical and organisational entity, rather than as isolat-ed ornamental pieces. Most cultures, and Islamic culture in particular,have a pre-scientific tradition of using geomancy to organise settlements based on the idea that a sacred landscape includes both spiritual and physical infrastructure. Since the late 19th century, the United States has used parks and green spaces as fundamental infrastructures to address urban problems such as congestion and sanitation. More recently, this concept of greenways was further developed into a more comprehensive and interconnected framework called green infrastructure, which is considered the basis for "urban form"within urbanising and metropolitan regions. In early 20th-century Europe, greenbelt,green heart and green wedge were used by urban designers in growing cities as stoppers, separators and con-necters of urban development and to create a good urban form. Today, similar ecological networks are planned for metropolitan areas across Europe.
It is extremely important to caution urban decision makers in the developing world about mistakes made in the past by West-ern development. It is essential to under-stand that although the developed Western cities are now cleaning up by restoring green urbanism traditions, they are having to address the damage done to the urban environment during the 20th century. Their current adaptive solutions are mindful of global climate change and environmental sustainability. If we disregard the lessons learned, then the later developing and urbanising world will simply repeat the same mistakes that Western countries made,but at a much larger scale.Our decision makers need to understand that being later urbanised and developed provides opportunities to build better cities that enable better lives; but this is only possible if the alternative urbanism approach is chosen over the 20th-century North American urbanism model. The key here is that the planning and design of ecological infrastructure needs to happen before urban development, or as soon as possible.
Ecological infrastructure can be under-stood as the necessary structure of a sustainable landscape(or ecosystem) in which the output of goods and services is maintained and the capacity of systems to deliver those same goods and services to future generations is not undermined. What makes the concept of ecological infrastructure a powerful tool for advanc-ing ecological urbanism is its marriage with the understanding of ecosystem services. Four categories of services are commonly identitied:provisioning,related to the production of food and clean water;regulating, related to the control of climate and disease,and the mediation of flood and drought;supporting,related to nutri-ent cycles and providing habitat for wild plant and animal species;and cultural, related to spiritual and recreational benefits.
It is important to recognise that the con-ventional approach to urban development planning,based on population projections, built infrastructure and architectural objects, is unable to meet the challenges and needs of an ecological and sustainable urban form. Conventionally, landscape and green elements are usually negatively defined by architectural and built infra-structure.By positively defining ecological infrastructure for the sake of ecosystem services and the cultural integrity of the land, the urban growth pattern and urban form are negatively defined.Ecological infrastructure builds a bridge between ecological urbanism, the disciplines of ecology (and especially landscape eco-logy), the notion of ecosystem services and sustainable development. It is the bridge between smart development and smart conservation.
The Wadi Hanifa Wetlands project stands as an example, albeit not a perfect one, of how a neglected landscape can be recovered as an ecological infrastructure. It offers an alternative method to gray infrastructure in restoring and enhancing natural systems' capacity to provide multi-ple ecosystem services, including cleaning contaminated water,mediating flood and drought,providing habitats for native biodiversity, as well as creating spiritual and recreational benefits. It is a step in the right direction for an alternative ecological urbanism.