Historically, the city has always relied on the countryside, on surrounding areas, for a supply of food, water and clean air, and for absorbing its effluents, residue and exhaust emissions. Those areas surrounding the city have been envisioned by modern infrastructure planners as a stable frame of reference that could be expanded infinitely. The limits were circumstantial, and could technically be surpassed. However, what happened was not what had been envisioned.
In many cities in Brazil and the world, we have been facing recurring problems of scarcity of water, clean air and food. These feel like moments of local failure, lack of planning and modernized infrastructure. However, these moments probably herald the climate change catastrophes to come. Will there be enough resources to solve the innumerous problems? Will crises become permanent?
On the other hand, there are countless experimental projects of urban agriculture, green roofs, rainwater harvesting, decentralized wastewater solutions and others. The focus seems to be on the better use of resources and flows that already exist, and on attempting to reduce the pollution released into the environment.
At what critical point will a structural change come from these experimentations? Could the forest become a new paradigm for cities? What can we learn from the forest, the trees, the fungi, its invisible and subterraneous portion, as much as we do from the green exuberance on its surface? What urban policies can we put to practice from the perspective of the forest?
The history and archaeology of indigenous life in the Amazon forest show that the forest has never been the jungle of the colonial imagination. It has always been a cultural landscape inhabited by various species, including humans. The city has also never ceased to be nature, a co-creation between species. Since nature has always been sympoetic, what future can we build and inhabit from this observation? Is it possible to retake the cities that already exist and organize them based on forest intelligence?
In that sense, FOREST CITY casts a critical eye on the emerging green economy that promises technical solutions for current challenges without questioning the relationships that support these solutions. Even an economy that makes the best use of its available resources, the so-called climax economy, would not be able to solve how the values it produces are appropriated and distributed. Poverty would remain a political matter, as well as security and respect for differences. It is necessary to go beyond the best management of resources, to support a political space occupied in the cities.