Lianne Burton – past editor of Elle Decoration.
OMG – she has the most soothing tone of voice – what a pleasure she was to listen to. Clearly she is a methodical story telling person, who is able to paint a picture with her words. She supported her content (words) with the most compelling and appropriate images. Not getting the picture of her topic, Urban Millennium, was out of the question. She made it so easy to follow.
In short, in her presentation she identified that the major shift we are facing is a move from the idea of “human nature” towards the concept of “urban nature” now that the majority of the human population lives & grows up in cities versus rural areas. The stats apparently support this by revealing that the numbers for city living is overtaking that of rural country areas. Oh dear me! But thinking about it, it makes perfect sense. People have been flocking to the cities for decades now. At least we know that the country towns will still be there for us to do our getaway thing!
Interestingly, she suggests that trends start on the streets and spread virally, coming largely from cities. This is because cities offer diversity, proximity, possibility, and pace of change, identity and creativity. Social media is naturally the perfect platform to encourage and accelerate the spread of trends – and again Pinterest has been acknowledged as being a prime avenue. Yet, the way I see it going, these urban culture trendsetters are the very people who are taking what rural / country life has to offer to mix into their trendy designs.
But I definitely think she has a strong point here. You just have to look at Japan as a good example of Urban Nature –such a huge number of people living and growing up in a dense urban environment. I did not know this, but in an effort to retain a sense of individual identity we ‘urbanites’ often run the maverick route. Enter Japan – this is seemingly where the trend to pop streaks of pink, purple or whatever colour into your hair originated… well, I’ll be damned.
Therefore, by default as we adapt to this way of life, we will seek creative ways of expressing ourselves and making our urban environment a happy space to inhabit. Particularly in a concrete jungle that a city can be. I am tempted to think that the transformation that Woodstock is undergoing could be a product of the Urban Nature culture. A run-down suburb in the City of Cape Town that is slowly regaining its faded sheen as designers begin to infiltrate its spaces – bringing with them a renewed, uplifting energy. There seems to be a new appreciation for street art, old buildings with vintage walls that enjoy a glorious patina of their own (the new wood so to speak) revival of buildings, creative hubs and market spaces. It is almost as if we have accepted our fate that we are urbanites now. That’s it – we have to make it work right here, right now.
Thinking about all of this Urban Culture shift stuff, brought to mind the presentation of Dan Pearson a Landscape Artist/Designer whom I heard speak at Design Indaba 2012. He conceptualised, designed and installed the most impressive Urban Garden Park in Japan. The idea was to make a creative green space available to the urbanites – a space full of natural surprises. A space where they could totally immerse themselves into nature, with the intention of re-engaging with the natural elements of life. This is an essential ingredient in the growing Urban Culture. Visiting this Garden is on my bucket list…
So, there you have it – Yes it seems Urban Nature is entrenching itself while we speak.