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In a beautiful place

»A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ›Universe ‹, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to a ection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. re in its beauty.« Albert Einstein

In a corner of the uni­verse, a star is spin­ning. A star that means eve­ry­thing to us because it is our home. It is a place of excep­ti­o­nal beauty, diver­sity and exu­be­rant nature, of which we are a part. It must be a tem­po­rary mistake for us to go against nature in the pur­s­uit of short­term inte­rests, for how much more rewar­ding, how much more beau­ti­ful it is to do as nature does and strive for per­fec­tion. Nothing in nature is out of place, no stone in the wrong posi­tion: nature itself, howe­ver it appe­ars, is neces­sa­rily beau­ti­ful. This beauty draws us in and is where we relax and feel at home. Places that have grown over cen­tu­ries, old cul­tu­ral lands­ca­pes or Ita­lian hill­side vil­la­ges fill us with joy. We feel at home where eve­ry­thing has its place: in the park, by the lake, in the open coun­try­side. Yet we have desig­ned cities accor­ding to the needs of cars and shop­ping cen­tres accor­ding to the scale of maxi­mum profit. We have con­cre­ted over entire lands­ca­pes igno­ring man and his nature. It is time to cor­rect this. Back to nature does not mean sacri­fice but profit because the beauty of nature is pur­po­se­ful, sustai­na­ble and the­re­fore eco­no­mic.

We live in a time where com­ple­tely dif­fe­rent places start to look the same. It’s the same logic which is indis­cri­mi­na­tely at work there: the logic of the quick and cheap, of the arbi­trary. The result is sepa­ra­tion, nature is locked out, the short­term goal is the mea­sure for eve­ry­thing. As a con­se­quence, beauty expi­res because it is more than the sum of its parts. If you replace one of them care­les­sly, then the cal­cu­la­tion no longer works and we lose our home. We only feel good if eve­ry­thing is right, if the indi­vi­dual ele­ments of our sur­roun­dings har­mo­niously intertwine. We feel good because we are allo­wed to be human, because our envi­ron­ment com­p­lies with us.

Nature and urba­nity are only oppo­si­tes where we have gene­ra­ted them with glass, con­crete and asp­halt. »The world is a pro­cess of our thin­king,« wrote Ein­stein, who added: »It cannot be chan­ged wit­hout chan­ging our thin­king.« The fact that it can be done dif­fe­rently by thin­king dif­fe­rently is shown for example with the Bosco Ver­ti­cale in Milan, a ver­ti­cal forest with 900 trees rooted in the faca­des of two highrise buil­dings. It was cre­a­ted by the archi­tect Ste­fano Boeri with eco­lo­gi­cal and aes­the­tic den­sity – deca­des after Hun­der­twas­ser had plan­ted a »tree tenant« on the first floor of a rented flat in Alser­bach­strasse in Vienna. The tree grew along the window and amazed pas­sersby. The visi­o­nary later out­lined his pro­gramme with the phrase: »Roofs must become forests and streets must become green val­leys.« Hun­der­twas­ser tac­kled the urban lands­cape with bright colours and round shapes like excla­ma­tion marks. But you need whole sen­ten­ces to do the same thing with nature because the design voca­bu­lary of nature is extre­mely com­plex but not stri­king. Its beauty unfolds in its struc­ture, rhythm and repe­ti­tion.

Beauty always invol­ves func­ti­o­na­lity: nature doesn’t know super­fluous­ness. Even the splen­dour of a flower serves a pur­pose and appe­ars subli­mely beau­ti­ful because of this: nothing can be left out or added. Besi­des form, mate­rial and appe­a­rance, it needs ano­ther qua­lity for us to feel some­thing is beau­ti­ful: time. Beauty must prove itself. Only some­thing that stands the test of time and lasts deca­des later is truly beau­ti­ful. In order to pre­serve it, it is neces­sary to think in cycles and not in short­term trends. Good is what remains, what sur­vi­ves. Beauty is not a short­term effect but only flou­ris­hes with sustai­na­bi­lity. Some­thing that is sustai­na­ble, that holds together, is auto­ma­ti­cally beau­ti­ful. It inte­gra­tes itself natu­rally into the res­pec­tive envi­ron­ment and merges into it. This is why grown struc­tu­res create wel­l­being and why the per­ma­nent brings com­fort.

Flora and fauna are the result of an ongo­ing pro­cess of adapta­tion. Nature is above all prac­ti­cal: any­thing that doesn’t work or is super­fluous is devou­red by the wea­ther or evo­lu­tion. What remains is cla­rity, end­urance and rene­wal. For thou­sands of years, man has shaped his world: we have cul­ti­va­ted deserts, cre­a­ted cul­tu­ral lands­ca­pes and pre­ser­ved habi­tats worth protecting.It’s up to us: what we do, under­take or pro­duce must be per­ma­nent and still make sense deca­des from now. This is how the world will remain a beau­ti­ful place for us. We have the tech­ni­cal oppor­tu­ni­ties, resour­ces and know­ledge for this.

Let’s get star­ted, let’s get on with it!

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