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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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