//
archives

nature

This tag is associated with 34 posts

Smarter surfaces

Living human and animal skin is palpably different from a touch screen video display. Digital technologies lie at the far end of a spectrum that begins with completely unadorned, raw, nature as you find it (e.g. unadorned human skin, or a leaf), and stretches to the maximally manufactured, contrived, and artificial (e.g. a touch screen, or a microchip). What could be more synthetic and unnatural … Continue reading

Nature games

Can you learn about nature from computer games? According to one commentator, video games “remind us of how we create, and have always created, ‘nature.’ They signpost the virtuality of the real. They show our seemingly endemic proclivities to make over the natural” (411). That’s from cultural theorist John Wills writing about video gaming in 2002: … Continue reading

Goodbye Holocene

News of disasters and tragedies amplify collective loss and grief. Mass media and their online surrogates render tangible human tragedies due to error, injustice and war. Nature also delivers disaster. But we modern humans also grieve over nature. Those critics who identify the influence of human habitation on Planet Earth focus on the latter kind of grief. Officially, we homo sapiens and … Continue reading

What’s wrong with the force

It’s nearly Christmas, so it’s time for stars, and movie releases timed for the Christmas season. But I’ve always had trouble with Star Wars and religion. Apparently the ubiquitous and omnipotent force has a good side and a dark side. Yoda: Remember, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are … Continue reading

Bear in the park

The publicity for our Mobility, Mood and Place study includes a photograph of people walking across a park (The Meadows). In the foreground there’s someone wearing the unusual head mounted EEG apparatus. Everyone notices that. But neither I as the photographer nor many of the people who have seen the picture noticed a further unusual presence. … Continue reading

A sudden prospect

People pay a lot of money for a restaurant table, hotel room or apartment with a good view, but prospect has it’s most dramatic effect as part of a sequence. The geographer Jay Appleton (1919-2015) famously advocated that people prefer views, scenes, paintings, and by implication, landscapes, in which there’s an element of both prospect and of refuge. We are programmed biologically … Continue reading

Natural enemies

It’s tempting to think of the natural world as a casualty of sophisticated communications technologies. Everywhere, always-on networked phones and computers diminish spatial demarcation, and threaten the uniqueness and placeness of natural environments. In their 1998 book Contested Natures, sociologists Phil Macnaghten and John Urry draw on various sources to argue the converse. “As spatial barriers diminish, so we become … Continue reading

Poiēsis

Planet Earth is a giant spherical communications machine with a diameter of about 84,000 kilometres. Well over 1,000 satellites orbit between the earth’s surface and this outer (geosynchronous) layer. Nature and artefact seem to merge due to the scale, ubiquity, sophistication, and conceits of contemporary techno-science, especially if we add to the global communications infrastructure the prospects of geo-engineering intended … Continue reading

Nature into the city

Parks, gardens, tree-lined streets, balconies, atria, glasshouses, allotments, bird feeders, green walls, nature reserves, aviaries, zoos: these are amongst the most obvious ways that planners, designers and citizens bring nature into the city. But something similar happens via certain marginal urban practices, that by their very nature construct and re-construct the city as wilderness, bringing the values … Continue reading

Making nature

Biophilic design is design that is sympathetic to nature. Designers who want their buildings and landscapes to exhibit biophilic qualities have at least 70 attributes to draw on, e.g. use natural colours, water, plant motifs, natural shapes and forms (like shells), allude to growth and other natural processes, introduce natural and filtered light, connect with history, the … Continue reading

University of Edinburgh logo

Richard on Facebook

Latest FB image
Or "like" my Facebook page for blog updates.

Try a one year research degree

AHRC/EPSRC/ESRC/MRC project

book cover
book cover

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 370 other followers