An Integrated Whole


Another insightful book presented itself at the luminous bookstore, Logos, which at times is like the universe presenting gifts of learning and knowledge. This time the book is, City and Nature: An Integrated Whole, by Dr. Trausti Valsson. An architect and planner from Reykjavik, Iceland. He studied at UC Berkeley where he developed a theory on the integrated wholeness of cities.

He explains that dualism is a strong element of our Western philosophy. This dualism separates cities from nature, causing cities to be out of balance and not integrated with its surroundings. He counters that philosophy saying “dualism that does not recognize that all things are dependent on the reference for their environment has been the main reason why buildings today mostly are without reference to their surroundings.”

He explains there should be an “edge” or “interface” between cities and nature, and between buildings and their environment. He emphasizes the Eastern philosophy such as the T’ai Ch’i which is complementary pairs with cores of the “opposite”. He explains that “in Eastern philosophy the parts come in pairs that co-exist in a dynamic balance because the system that has formed them is caught in continuous change, as time is an active factor in this worldview.” He proposes the following method for connecting:

  • wholeness created by a circle
  • dynamic balance created by a curved line
  • creation of an interaction by placing complementary pairs side by side
  • an emotional balance provided in a uniform area by inserting a core of the opposite within it

This theory really speaks to me. It is about cities, nature, and design. The trifecta of urban planning in my mind.


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