2nd price – kim tzarowsky, maria josé landeta valencia – Transhumance : a model for growing villages

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The second prize is awarded to Kim Tzarowsky and Maria José Landeta Valencia, for their project Transhumance: a model for growing villages.

Kim Tzarowsky (Berlin) is a graduate of the École d’architecture de la ville & des territoires Paris-Est, and Maria José Landeta Valencia is a graduate from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador Quito. The “manifesto” concept focuses on the temporal and social aspects of a universal village. It gives a singular identity to the notion of village, drawing inspiration from the transhumance movement as a form of human mobility and solidarity integrated into its environment. Based on these elements, this village of the future advocates interconnection and sharing between different communities, as a solution to ecological, energy and social challenges.

Transhumance: a model for growing villages

Transhumance derives from the Latin words trans “across” and humus “ground”. Transhumance itineraries construct spacialities and maintain an ancestral link with the environment, nourished by accumulated knowledge, shared and bequeathed through generations. It’s an inspiring way of inhabiting territories, and the idea that can structure the answer to what the villages of the future should aspire to. An identity based on movement, a way of life that relates effectively and affectively with nature, that teaches us about seasonality, exchange and mobility in order to achieve autonomy and permanence in the face of change, and it contains strategies for adaptation and resistance. Learning from the past is acknowledging the fact that villages were interconnected, an agro-ecological, knowledge-sharing, and economic network. People moved from one village to another, or seasonally through them, like shepherds and their animals during transhumance, to learn new skills, exchange goods, create new bonds or connect in gathering places like markets or the church. This human path, and its ancestral knowledge, is a network much more complex than the simplification of the urban-rural binary that has led to the spread of monocultures and the zonification of the land.

The attractiveness of villages today comes from the need to reconnect with nature and traditions. The countryside offers more space, it is quieter, healthier and provide more affordable living conditions. Remote work allows the future diversification of the countryside. The challenge is to fight the isolation that can come with moving to rurality and the lack of public space and equipment. Adaptive reuse of abandoned buildings, taking advantage of the forgotten farms or factories that exist in the German and French. Renovation would be an opportunity for people to come together around a common project and build it cooperatively according to their needs. Places where new residents, old ones and passers-by can meet. A new typology of rural mixed-use buildings that host events and gatherings, such as markets, cinemas, theaters, workshops, coworking spaces or libraries. Most villages are non-far from one another, a couple kilometers that seem to be challenging when the transportion system is not thought rural yet just linking them to the next urban hub. These new-old landmarks need to be supported by a good network of connections between villages. An inter-village mobility based on buses, car-sharing and cycle paths. On the other hand, each village has something special to offer, and high-speed internet is fundamental to support this, by sharing events, offering services, collaborating or simply posting local news on an independent platform.

This comes together with a process where villages should seek for energy independence and local economy. Practice rotational and shifting cultivation, allowing the soil to rest periodically. Everything shifts in this extremely dynamic, fluid and diverse mosaic of ecologies: agro-ecological gardens, alternative energy sources, learning and managing sources for the use of local materials for construction. Environmental practices and a process of change that cannot be achieved without a sense of belonging and reciprocity, a spirit of place for immediate consequences and lasting implications.