… Such … codependency and interaction is … merely a provisional state of matter on its way to becoming something else.
This is from the essay ‘Landscape Urbanism’ found in The Landscape Imagination: Collected Essays of James Corner 1990– 2010 (2014):
… Many social and cultural theorists have described the perceived shift of social structures from vertical to horizontal during the latter part of the twentieth century. Global economies, television, communication, mass-mobility, and the increased autonomy of the individual are some of the factors undergirding a general transition from hierarchical, centric, authoritative organizations to polycentric, interconnected, expansive ones.
[line break added] A view across a city like Los Angeles makes this horizontal spread more palpable, animated by endless circuitries of movement and flow. From a landscape urbanist perspective, the emphasis now shifts from the one to the many, from objects to fields, from singularities to open-ended networks.
… Landscape urbanism deploys geometry, materials, and codes less to control composition or determine social program than to liberate future sets of possibility — cultural as well as logistical. It is an art of staging. And as such, it is an art that is concerned with spatial form and geometry less for stylistic or semiotic modes of expression and more for the effects that those forms and materials produce.
[ … ]
… Ecology teaches us that all life is bound into dynamic and interrelated processes of codependency. Changes in the effects produced by an individual or ecosystem in one part of the planet can have significant effects elsewhere. Moreover, the complexity of these interactions escapes linear, mechanistic models or projections as layers of interrelationship create hidden cascades of effects to continually evolve forms in time.
[line break added] Such a dynamic, ongoing process of codependency and interaction is highlighted in ecology, accounting for a particular spatial form as merely a provisional state of matter on its way to becoming something else. In this sense, cities and infrastructures are just as “ecological” as forests and rivers.