News 06/24/2024

Integrating aesthetic values in nature-based ecological designs

Herrmann-Pillath, C., Sarkki, S., Maran, T., Soini, K., & Hiedanpää, J. (2023) Nature-based solutions as more-than-human art: Co-evolutionary and co-creative design approaches. Nature-Based Solutions, 4, 100081. DOI:

The review was published in Science Feature

In today’s rapidly changing environmental landscape, traditional methods of ecological preservation and recovery often fall short in addressing the new challenges posed by global environmental change. This calls for innovative approaches that not only involve human ingenuity but also actively incorporate the inherent evolutionary capabilities of nature itself, since human knowledge is limited concerning future developments. One promising avenue explored in recent research is the conceptualization of nature-based solutions (NbS) as a form of co-creative art, which can unlock the evolutionary potential of ecosystems under the increasing pressures of human-induced changes. The new view on NBS would go beyond a mere restorative approach to conserve nature while using it, and also would not leave design power to human engineers alone, but harness the creative potential of nature, recognizing other species as co-creators of the NBS.

Professor Carsten Herrmann-Pillath from Erfurt University led a team comprising Associate Professor  Simo Sarkki from the University of Oulu, Professor Timo Maran from the University of Tartu, and Associate Professor Katriina Soini and Research professor Juha Hiedanpää from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). They proposed a novel framework that views NbS as dynamic and co-evolutionary artworks. Their study, published recently in the journal Nature-Based Solutions, delves into how NbS can be designed not only to solve practical environmental problems but also to foster an aesthetic and reciprocal relationship between humans and the more-than-human world.

Read the review here

Read the paper here