Mosaic cities

"Understanding the essential nature of sustainability"

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Mariana Boldu & Gustavo Dallmann,

MLA Department of Landscape Architecture.

SUNY ESF College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY.

Major Professor Emanuel Carter, Jr.

We believe that there are several issues related to sustainability that need to continually be addressed. The first one relates to the specialization and fragmentation of knowledge. We believe that everything in our world is organized in terms of fundamental biological laws which need to be identified and revaluated. The second issue relates to the fact that we need a better understanding of what sustainability is, and we need to find a model of sustainability that connects with the fundamental biological laws. The third issue is about scale . We already have considered that the laws of nature are fundamental in defining the essential laws of sustainability. Ecosystems are the basic units of nature, and cities are the basic units of culture. Therefore, in striving to achieve a more sustainable future we should look at cities as our study units, remembering that cities are also part of the whole system called nature. The fourth issue related to sustainability is that designers and planners need to understand the principles of ecological design. We should use a design language of integration more than a design language of mitigation as a way of creating a more sustainable vision of the future.

To explore the issues mentioned above we used the following methodology: - Sustainability Criteria Definition, - Sustainability Model and Indicators development, - Evaluating & Measuring Sustainability (Syracuse U.S.A.and Vitoria Gasteiz Spain, comparative analysis), - Charrette Experiences (Design exercise in Vitoria-Gasteiz and in Urban Design Studio, Syracuse), - Conclusions & Publication.

We found that the sustainability criteria definition outlined in this project is a useful tool to measure sustainability as well as to approach design explorations that could be either of different scales or different type of design issues. We also found that sustainability criteria are not tied to the global economy trend, and there will be little hope for sustainability until we agree on an improved redefinition of global economics. The use of indicators to do a comparative analysis is a very difficult enterprise and does not always invite a fair comparison. Eventhough there is a need to continue to explore the feasibility of international consensus on common indicators that would set both a global and local frameworks for sustainability. Agenda 21, the general global sustainability framework developed at the 1992 Earth Summit Strategy in Rio de Janeiro, needs to be based in collective will rather that an emphasis on individual national or personal rights if global sustainability is to be achieved. Urban design must be about designing what nature would select for, is a matter of ensuring our survival, is what sustainability is all about.

Mosaic City Concept

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Academic Support

This project was undertaken under a new academic contract between State University of New York , College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) and Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingenieros de Montes, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain.

The faculties that assist this project are:

State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), Department of Landscape Architecture (LA)

- Emanuel Carter, Associate Professor

- Cherryl Doble, Associate Professor

- Anthony Miller, Associate Professor

Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingenieros de Montes, Unidad Docente Planificacion y Proyectos Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain.

- Rafael Escribano, Associate Professor

- Maria Paz Aramburu, Associate Professor

Center of Environmental Studies (CEA), Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain.

- Luis Andres Orive, Director

- Anne Itziar Velasco Lafuente, Director of International Research

Program Leadership
Emanuel Carter: SUNY ESF, Department of Landscape Architecture

Participant Graduate Students / Mosaic Cities Project - 1999/2000

Mariana Boldu, MLA

Gustavo Dallmann, MLA

To find out more about the Sustainable Cities project, contact:


Emanuel Carter, Associate Professor
SUNY - College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Department of Landscape Architecture
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, New York 13210
Phone: (315) 470-6665
Fax: (315) 470-6540

or by E-mail to:

Mariana Boldu, MLA Graduate (Mosaic Cities Project - 1999/2000)


Gustavo Dallmann, MLA Graduate (Mosaic Cities Project - 1999/2000)



- Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingeniero de Montes, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid

Rafael Escribano, Profesor Titular

Office: 34 91- 3367102 Fax: 34 91- 3367087

Maria Paz Aramburu, Profesor Titular

Office: 34 91 3367102 Fax: 34 91 3367087


- Center of Environmental Studies (CEA)

Ane Itziar Velasco Lafuente

Phone: +34 945 145845


Luis Andres Orive

Phone: +34 945 145845


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