Kaitakitianga and Kassandra

In the West, we often fall foul, more or less unconsciously, of a Western-centric view of the world. This tends to happen in all aspects of our lives from our interpretation of history to our concept of space, from how we live our lives to our relationship with Nature. This way of seeing things in a deterministic and mechanistic fashion, brought about since the industrial revolution, has led us to see Nature as a product and to privilege economic values ​​as absolute values.
Already in what was the Western ‘Dark Ages’, the Maori, who settled in New Zealand around the year one thousand, developed a culture in which the relationship between man and Nature had to be based on respect for the latter, since it is from which we derive. In Maori mythology Ranginui and Papatūānuku are the primordial parents, heaven father and mother earth. The connection between these two is the god Tane-nui-a-rangi, personification of the forest.
The Maori developed the concept of nature protection and already created a thousand years ago, what we could consider the first ‘national parks’, the Tapu. In the Maori tradition, in fact, something that is Tapu is considered inviolable or sacrosanct. Things or places that are tapu must be respected and not interfered with. In addition, they developed the concept of Kaitakitianga, that is, to take care of Nature and people as custodians of the vital force of Nature.
This is a world view that implies a deep connection between man and the natural world, in which all life is connected. People are not superior to the natural order: they are part of a network which forms the fabric of life. To understand the world, it is therefore necessary to understand the relationships between the different parts of the network.
So, while we try to establish the principles for a new relationship between the urban environment and the natural environment it would be appropriate to learn from the past and from other points of view in the world. The city is an ecosystem which, as we recently saw with Covid, is part of Nature and should be in balance with it. There is an area of ​​equilibrium in which long-term resilience is possibly, but only if we start to consider ourselves as a node in Nature’s network and to use ways of measuring resilience that go beyond economic parameters.

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