„When I behold the lake through the closed windows of my office, it is the subject of my contemplatory eye. When I open the window, hearing and smell have the opportunity to perceptually accompany the view. If I close my eyes, my attention can be guided only by them. If I leave my room and take myself down to the lake, the landscape is open to the uninvolved recording by the sum of my senses. My sentient body becomes the subject of contemplative experience caused by lake, light, air, noise, pebbles, island, settlement, shipping, labeling, waste, bathers, riverside path and the horizon strip. The restrictable perception of things caused by the isolated senses (of the eye, the hand) expands to a synaesthetic perception of a Momentaneität of a space. the sense of the phenomenal beauty of things is transformed into the supreme consciousness of a world without sense.“

Martin Seel, Eine Ästhetik der Natur. Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft 1996

Since the dawn of men the contemplation of nature is a popular motif of the arts such as music, painting and poetry. The aesthetics of nature has not been used up and it has always been a matter of consensus as well as a matter of dispute. Design, the recently grown-up sister of the arts, is no exception. But with the new challenges that we humans rise to ourselves and our planet, contemplation of nature receives a novel, self-assured tenor. Between constructivism and rationalism this aesthetic contemplation grows to be the subject of urban design and the guideline for a new form of urban life.

Ad nauseam we all read, hear and know of the words globalization and fragmentation, risk and prevention as well as crisis in general. They all are indicators of social debates in the fore of a changing nature. Thus I see myself, as a designer, in a role of aesthetic diplomacy within those conflicting problems. Unfortunately, most contemporary planning is the result of conventional thinking in the
designs of past days. In the face of a currently growing world population (7 000 000 000, as of 2011) and of a changing climate, the main focus in my work will be put on the Maghreb and the area of Arab culture.

Casablanca, as one of the epicenters of the recent political upheavals in North Africa, is affected by these global changes all the more. For North Africa proves once again its outstanding position in the discourse between the orient and the occident. Within my work for the research project “Urban Agriculture as an Integrative Factor of Climate-Optimised Urban Development, Casablanca / Morocco” I came to see that western influences increasingly find their way into the Moroccan way of life and into Moroccan objectives. For this reason I raise the question of how the initiated social change will turn out to be in relation to urbanization and landscape? I am particularly interested in what way the local handling and exposure of nature is constituted and whether this can be a starting point for a sound settlement concept.

The focus of my explorations lies on the north-western outskirts of Casablanca. An area characterized by the steady expansion of the city in form of massive housing projects, precarious, informal settlements, encapsulated luxury villas and mushrooming of industrial sites. The city is growing suburban. Former landscapes are labeled construction land to implement new projects and will be therefore degraded. In the informal settlements of the urban periphery private sites are divided into narrow stripes beyond recognition, so that the inherited right of succession is obeyed. Within the confines of the small holdings of land the fragmentation of the landscape is unconsciously being pushed forward, with the fundamental purpose of feeding the family and making a living. But the soils are tired, especially from the incredibly hot and dry summers. The families go hungry.

The typical topography of the scene is tempting many glances to wander off into the distance. It arouses the interest in nature. The hectic city life seems far away, but soon enough one can admire the wild dances of cranes and concrete mixers on the horizon. Faster and faster they appear on the stage of country life.

Only limited by the Atlantic Ocean, the city can grow like this infinitely, without ever changing its shape. Landscape and rural life will be buried under it.

This raises a fundamental, an entirely new question: Can one think the city from the landscape? In other words, can the city dig down into the landscape; becoming subordinate? The subordination may as an alternative to climate-capsules enable a life in our planet. The below is the starting point for a conception of growth, which no longer grows high above on a shaky foundation or as a bubble consisting of speculation. The retreat of men promises a respite to the planet and to the ecosystem, a symbol of the relationship between man and nature. It also gives proof of the biological instinct of men to subordinate themselves to the realities of nature.

I would like to explore the possibilities to shape the rural urban perimeter around Casablanca in a way that urban lifestyle and nature-oriented living do not exclude themselves principally.

So my prediction for the future is: in the age of the urbanization the tipping point will be reached where life outside the cities is regarded as more livable, emancipated and generally sustainable.

Because life outside the city or  in the countryside can complement or even subsidize the agglomeration of people and goods through new approaches in technology, new media and ecology with more effective but decelerated systems.

The future begins now. It is to some extent a modern construction. A product of negotiation between opportunities. Our chance is to create a variety of hybrid-strategies to create the ability to decide between threatening and dynamic development patterns.

!! diplom !! diploma thesis
sub-rural communities
die ästhetik von natur und landschaft im maghreb. ein konzept für zukünftige siedlungen in der metropolregion casablanca.
the aesthetics of nature and landscape in the maghreb. a concept towards new settlements in the metropolitan area of casablanca.

!! diplom !! diploma thesis
sub-rural communities
der versuch einer metropole im maghreb. ein neues siedlungskonzept für den großraum casablanca. mit einem beitrag zur theorie der natur und daraus entwickelten basalen standards der planung und gestaltung.
thinking the maghrebian metropolis. a concept towards new settlements in the metropolitan area of casablanca. with writings on the theory of nature and conceptual basal standards in planning and design.