Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2010 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

This is not a Corridor
Guida, Irene

Abstract: My topic is a critical description of the ecological corridor through the eyes of an architect and urban designer. Therefor, I refer to the architectural concept of corridor: it has a pavement, borders, windows, doors, eventually a ceiling. It organizes space in a linear way separating functions and public from private. (Evans) Corridors are built at every scale: the house, the shopping mall and the American north eastern corridor (The Megalopolis along Interstate 95). Megalopolis (Gottman) is a term which describes the North Eastern Conurbation from Washington, DC to Boston. Baltimore has a special position in Megalopolis, BES has identified Gwynns Falls as watershed framework along a stream corridor to structure integrated research between biophysical and social science. The watershed framework reveals the inadequacy of linking ecology to the architectural metaphor of the corridor. Patch Dynamics provides an alternate meaning, model and metaphor to structure our image of the city. In order to switch this image of Gwynns Falls from a corridor to a patch dynamic system, and to experience the meaning of ecosystem as model, I created a blog, using the Internet as a cybernetic Ecosystem, a feedback communication system. This work will show: - the corridor idea through drawings at various scales, how it structures and limits human existence and perception. - the patch dynamic idea through videos of scientific monitoring and experiments made during the summer. The aim is reimagine and redraw Gwynns Falls as a watershed ecosystem combining video with section cuts through the riparian valley and its interaction with other systems. Gwynns Falls is not a corridor. It functions in a much more complex way. We need new images for our urban ecosystems. Thanks to BES and its close reading, we see that this analogy doesn't describe the reality of Megalopolis.