Medi­terranean Talks I:
Jala Makhzoumi

Salt Galata

April 15, 2015 19.00

Photo: Jala Makhzoumi Fotoğraf: Jala Makhzoumi
Photo: Jala Makhzoumi

SALT Galata, Workshop II-III

Fluid Narratives: Alternative Framing of Mediterranean Landscapes

This talk explores the natural and cultural landscape of the Mediterranean, past, present and future. As one of the oldest, continually inhabited regions of the world, the natural setting is for the most part humanized, as shaped by successive cultures. Nature and culture in the Mediterranean co-evolved, one shaping the other. In turn, the process has shaped the conception of nature, vernacular practices and traditional aesthetic preferences, some of which can be traced to ancient Mediterranean cosmologies. 20th century modernizing influences and, more recently, globalizing trends are increasingly homogenizing the Mediterranean landscape, especially in cities where generic designs are inadvertently or willingly imposed disregarding ecology and cultural specificity.

The talk advances the methodological framework of ecological landscape design, arguing that its holistic, integrative framing is expansive temporally, embracing historic and traditional Mediterranean cultural practices and conceptions, and dynamic spatially, scaling the local and regional, re-anchoring city in the region. Inspired by fluidity of the ideas of “landscape” and “ecology,” the framework enables an oscillation in time and in space. Drawing on case studies from Lebanon and Cyprus, the talk demonstrates that an expansive landscape framing helps to secure a rich and layered reading of Mediterranean rural and urban landscapes, just as it offers ecologically sensitive, environmentally sustainable, culturally and socially inclusive interventions.

The talk will be held in English.

Jala Makhzoumi studied architecture in Baghdad; received her Master in Environmental Design, Yale University; and PhD in landscape architecture, Sheffield University. She is affiliate faculty at the American University of Beirut, where she contributed to establishing the BS Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management. Makhzoumi advocates an expansive, developmental landscape approach to mediate community needs with ecosystem health, biodiversity protection and landscape heritage conservation. Her professional and academic expertise includes post-war recovery, energy efficient site planning and sustainable urban greening. She has served as ecological landscape consultant to master plan projects for Damascus, Baghdad, Erbil and landscape urban revitalization for the historic holy town of Kadhimia and Najaf. Makhzoumi is co-founder and senior fellow, the Cambridge Center for Landscape and People. Her publications include Ecological Landscape Design and Planning: the Mediterranean context, co-author Pungetti (Spon, 1999) and The Right to Landscape, contesting landscape and human rights, co-editors Egoz and Pungetti (Ashgate, 2012) and Horizon 101 (Dar Qonboz, 2010) a reflective collection of paintings and prose on landscape and identity. In 2013 Makhzoumi established UNIT44 with A Jabr, a Lebanon based practice offering a wide range of services in architecture, landscape architecture, ecological planning and urban design.

Mediterranean Talks is a lecture-discussion series organized by Burcu Kütükçüoğlu from Istanbul Bilgi University.