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15/01/23 Call for papers For AGATHÓN International Journal of Architecture, Art and Design
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15/01/23 Call for papers For AGATHÓN International Journal of Architecture, Art and Design

CALL FOR PAPERS N. 13 | 2023 INNOVABILITY®© (part II): Ecological Transition
abstract submission deadline | 15 January 2023

For details and editorial guidelines for authors, please refer to AGATHON

The International Scientific Committee, for its issue n. 13 | 2023, which will be published in June, promotes the topic Innovability®© (part II): Ecological Transition.

The term ‘innovability©®’ is used in the economic and social sciences field. It is considered a renewed driving force for a new development paradigm that expresses one of the most crucial current challenges and the need for a ‘supportive’ convergence between the two imperative demands of ‘innovation’ and ‘sustainability’ as if they were two opposing and conflicting entities. Apart from the term used, especially during a pandemic and its economic and social impact, mankind promotes its prerogative, using ‘things’ available in nature to make other things with a primary function different from its original one (innovation), aware that those resources are not inexhaustible (sustainability). In this context, always looking to the future, we need to plan our best political and system activities to promote the need to innovate using the resources of our planet well and consciously.

‘Green and digital transitions are twin challenges’, stated Ursula von der Leyen, in her inaugural speech as President of the European Commission in 2019. In this sense, the European Green Deal, the Next Generation EU and the New European Bauhaus, together with other national Plans (for example the PNRR in Italy) have strategic importance both in establishing, clearly and univocally, the paths of future development for an ecological, digital, cohesive and resilient Europe and in correcting the main imbalances of Europe, converging – despite the heterogeneity of the conditions of the Member States – expectations and requests, of a general nature, common and shared, of citizens and businesses. The ‘transition’ is a common thread that joins subjects and debates concerning science, technology and, at the same, time philosophy, anthropology, ecology and economy. They are described with many technical adjectives that define increasingly limited scopes, yet more open to cross-disciplinary logic, in a sort of speciation of disciplines and language recalling names such as Bateson, Commoner, Catton and Dunlap, Carpo, Kelly, Solis, Negroponte, and Jonas, Morin, Floridi, Caffo.

In this context, where digital anthropology is identified in the term ‘anticipation’, in the ability to interact with the uninterrupted flux of innovation to build a new digital ecosystem (Solis, 2016), the anthropocentric innovation finds its ideal collocation, expands and evolves, gaining the ability to put humans and their needs at the heart of new important proposals. The priority of this new form of ‘sustainable innovation’ is the social and environmental wellbeing, joint and contemporary, to facilitate an ethical and sustainable transition for the whole community’s benefit (WEF, 2022). The anthropic transformation of space is an energy-intensive practice that increases the entropy level, still really far from systematic and popular ‘cradle-to-cradle approaches or from being respectful of non-renewable resources. The subject does not concern disciplinary statutes but cross-disciplinary and cross-sectional aspects to orient and support a resilient, sustainable and inclusive ‘recovery’.

The complexity of the subject is one of the challenges of our century. On the one hand, the Global and Sustainability Initiative (GESI, 2021) shows how the ‘ecological transition’ can ethically direct the opportunities of the digital area, and The European Double Up (Accenture, 2021) affirms that the ‘digital transition’ is a useful tool to start shared projects whose implementation would otherwise be slower, less pervasive and probably less performing. On the other hand, the union between ‘green’ and ‘blue’ shows many problems and contradictions (Floridi, 2020) up to the point of thinking about the impossibility of implementing the ‘ecological transition’ together with the ‘digital transition’ (Caffo, 2021). Therefore, to make the new ‘innovability©®’ paradigm – with its double key of interpretation and explanation of the possible scientific research and operational approaches – reach its peak and be implemented, new (material and immaterial) tools should be presented. They should be adequate, new, transversal, interscalar and cross-disciplinary but, at the same time, it appears essential working to build and feed a bond of strategic complementarity between ecology and digital, a two-way osmosis of approaches, progresses, experiments and results within a vision of shared progress and common goals.

The ecological transition has been discussed for some time now, but today it is a priority and a mandatory subject, expressing the need to ‘shift’ from production and consumption systems specific to the paradigm of infinite growth to systems capable of making the economic capital grow without destroying the natural, social and human capitals. The concept of sustainability, starting from the global changes and the biodiversity loss, reminds the ecology of mind by Bateson (1972), the three ecologies by Guattari (1999), the evolutionary physics by Prigogine (1977) but also the planetary thought by Morin (1973), the concept of exaptation by Gould and Vrba (1982) – drawn on by Melis and Pievani as a strategy for resilient communities (2020) – ecological economy, the concepts of ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ sustainabilities, up to the most pragmatic markers of sustainability (environmental, social and economic). An inevitable shift, if we simply consider the objectives of the Paris Agreement 2015, harbingers of a radical change not only concerning the use of non-renewable resources but our entire economy and our way of life. In all the building fields, an ‘enlightened direction’ will be needed, with a systemic and holistic vision based on a multi- and cross-disciplinary, ascalar and intersectoral methodological practice capable of simultaneously integrating knowledge, professionalism, disciplines and different production sectors (sometimes apparently not very similar) to rationalize and optimize, by combining traditional and innovative technologies. On the one hand, all the aspects that come into play in the transformative intervention and its process, project and product dimensions, and on the other, the material flows incoming and outgoing so that they are equivalent, or so that the waste and by-products of one sector can be fully reused in others.

In the light of these considerations, AGATHÓN 13, turning to disciplinary areas of the Project and in particular Landscape, Urbanism, Architecture, Engineering, Architectural Technology, Design, Restoration, Recovery, and Representation, presents the topic Innovability©® (part II) | Ecological Transition to fuel an open dialogue, by collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments, projects and actions (preferably cross-disciplinary and inter-scalar), innovative and sustainable, which address different issues, including but not limited to:
• tools and methods to map, catalogue, know and handle landscapes, territories and their resources, even non-renewable ones;
• tools, methods and languages of the biophilic and ecological design between performativity and aesthetics of the natural environment, overcoming ‘green washing’ (formal, perceptive, symbolic aspects);
• tools and metrics for ecological sustainability capable, with a holistic approach, of including its effects and benefits at different scales, from territorial to environmental units;
• production and management of sustainable forests, silviculture, forest ecology, natural reserves and parks, ecosystems and biodiversity: tools, policies and actions for the protection, management and enhancement of the natural capital in terms of quality, beauty and enjoyment of the natural landscape in urban and suburban areas;
• urbanature, ecological infrastructures, green corridors, urban forestation, parks, gardens, ‘green’ courtyards, removal projects in urban contexts for the reduction of land use and the increase of the permeability of surfaces, regeneration of urban voids with public green areas;
• community, horizontal and vertical urban farming, and relations between the built environment, food production, energy, water, scraps, biodiversity, sales and consumption, environment, ecosystem and technologies as a circular urban metabolism;
• nature-based solutions for the resilience and risk reduction of vulnerable contexts, for the enhancement and enjoyment of cultural heritage, for the control of microclimate, air and water quality, for the thermal, acoustic, and lighting comfort, for the increase of biodiversity and ecological footprint, for the enhancement of urban (vertical and horizontal) and suburban green areas, for the compensation of soil consumption, for health and psychological well-being;
• ecological interventions of urban regeneration, for suburbs, ancient contexts and historic architecture;
• green cities, green buildings, green materials, green objects;
• ecological solutions to remove and store carbon in urban districts;
• passive bioclimatic systems and intelligent home automation-telematic management and control;
• green tools and technologies to organize and manage the cybernetic relationships between natural and artificial (sensors, activators, artificial intelligence, photobiotic reactors, photosynthesis, etc.);
• ‘biological ecosystems’ where industrial waste becomes raw materials for other processes;
• circular systemic approaches such as Open Building, Life-Cycle Thinking, Design for Longevity, Design for Disassembly, Reversible Building Design, Zero Waste, Urban Mining, Upcycling, Recycling, Reuse;
• for the optimization and advanced management of the process (design, production, product, service, end of life, reuse/recycling), for non-renewable resources and scraps/waste, for implementing life cycles of sustainable and traceable products, for the energy efficiency of the built environment;
• for producing energy from renewable sources, energy communities;
• new ‘green’ bio-based materials, plant raw materials, secondary materials and waste from agriculture and pruning to produce energy, building elements/components, and artefacts;
• …….
Note: INNOVABILITY®© is a registered trademark of ENEL S.p.A. – All rights reserved to Enel S.p.A.