Coding the Third Condition

A product of the influence of ecological paradigms on American law and policy, zoning remains the most influential and pervasive regulatory tool ever deployed. A tool that has remained faithful to its original goal: the reductive separation of the uses of land. Newer ecological theories vary, but tend to see the environment in a process of constant change and flux, rather than one with a stable end-state. While design and planning turned notions of sustainability, resilience, and even ecological and landscape urbanism into staples of pedagogy and practice, our tools and agency haven’t evolved in response to contemporary pressures and ecological paradigms. The tools of the profession hinges on the notion of a perfect end-state that is reached through a successional equilibrium. This static end image continues to influence much of planning practice, when in fact we require a dynamic view of the environment, and therefore dynamic tools and policies. This research looks for techniques that incorporate dynamic elements of ecological indeterminacy with the precision and instrumentality of planning tools on the "Third Condition”. The “third condition”: a condition that is neither wet nor dry, but is constantly in flux for urban development. The privation of innovative tools. It searches for novel and unique land use standards that emerge from dynamic “process-driven” ecological paradigms that renders the traditional static “object-based codification” inadequate and in need of urgent innovation.

Further reading on the Third Condition featured in Scenario Journal, 2017: Coding Flux: Redesigning the Migrating Coast, by Fadi Masoud.

Fall 2015