“All forms and all systems change over time, and the forms of nature and the cultural forms of civilisation are inextricably entwined. Humans emerged and evolved within nature, and all the forms of human culture have evolved and developed as part of nature and in turn have extensively modified the natural forms of the surface of the earth, the ecological systems of living forms that exist upon it, and the climate ‘metasystem’. All the systems in the world, in nature and in civilisation have tended to evolve until they are poised close to the critical threshold of stability. The world is within the horizon of systemic change that will cascade through all the systems of nature and civilisation, and new forms will emerge.”
Michael Weinstock – The Emergence of Architecture
Under the current paradigm of constant economic growth and expansion, the modern city and the planetary ecology it inhabits simply cannot sustain a viable future. The growth of the city under this pretext and the increasing complexity of our society and culture correlates not only with the the growing inequalities of man but also the negative effects of climate change. As the population of mankind increases, so too does the size of the city and subsequently the portion of mankind forced to live in squatter communities. The modernised city survives at the expense of the slum, and the slum at the expense of the city from the need of basic services. Simply the unequal distribution of wealth and resources is responsible for the negatively parasitical relationship of the city and the slum, the haves and have nots, a relationship that embodies and exemplifies the unsustainable trajectory of mankind.
The natural reef is only made possible by the unique relationship between two organisms, the polyp and zooanthella algae. Their mutually beneficial relationship defines the basis for one of the most productive ecosystems ever created. This is primarily achieved by a feedback system between the two organisms whereby all the co2 waste created by the polyp is reused by the algae during photosynthesis to provide the polyp with 90% of its energy needs. The polyp uses this energy to create a calcium based exoskeleton to house and protect both organisms. Therefore the system can only work close to the surface of the water where the sunlight is strongest. Geologically submerging volcano’s and landmasses provide a platform where the corals can built up over time creating some of the largest natural structures on earth.
 Much like the reef system, through simple and energetically feasible chemical reactions it is possible to filter Co2 from the atmosphere in order to create completely carbon negative cements; effectively calcifying the atmosphere to form usable building material. The system, developed by David Keith at the University of Calgary, requires a large tower volume to enclose a sodium hydroxide mist, through which polluted air is blown. The large volume and mist greatly increases the surface area of the reaction.
The resulting sodium bicarbonate can then be reacted with calcium oxide to form limestone which is in turn heated and ground with clay, shale and sand to form OPC. Utilising a carbon neutral energetic system, such as a bio-fuel CHP to power and heat the system it is possible to create a process whereby huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere could be stored in usable concrete. Clearly the system can only create material at a certain speed, essentially defining the initial basis for an urban material and energetic metabolism; one that could be controlled and based on a biological paradigm of growth rather than one of constant growth and acceleration.

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