Debra Solomon – MultiSpecies Urbanity
Participant of Our Living Soil
Debra Solomon is a permaculture expert advocating for systemic change to rethink relationships between humans, soil, other organisms, city and food, etc. She invented the concept of MultiSpecies Urbanism in her project for the Venice Architecture Biennale. Debra previously developed her project Entropical in collaboration with Jaromil Rojo at Zone2Source. She participated in launching our School of MultiSpecies Knowledges last year with her workshop Radical Observation. A series of ‘rhizotrons’ she presented in Venice, together with video works, will be shown for the first time in the Netherlands during Our Living Soil.
Rhizotrons contain living soil and plants that allow people to experience the ‘rhizosphere’ – the root zone of an urban soil environment, especially that of the Amsterdam region Southeast and North, where Urbaniahoeve is developing a food forest and a demo garden, respectively. A rhizotron is at once a laboratory, an architectural design, and a technical tool used to observe the part of the earth that is most rich in life beneath our feet – the rhizosphere. In the back space of the Glass House, we show several videos made by Debra Solomon about the importance of our relationship with the earth.
The Voedselbos (Food Forest) Amsterdam Zuidoost (also known as VBAZO) is an ecological zone of 55 hectares in the southeast of Amsterdam. Since 2018, more than 70 people have become the VBAZO Community of Praxis. They are working with the municipality to transform the area. As a community of praxis, they design and add food forest layers to the earlier planted urban greenery. They maintain contacts and cooperate with different municipal departments. This video describes the network of relationships needed to replace Amsterdam’s standard green maintenance regime with one supporting the food forest’s more-than-human nature. Photographs of the changing landscape of Amsterdam Zuidoost and the mature food forest ecosystem of Solomon and Urbaniahoeve paint a picture of the city as an ever-evolving urban food forest.