Rural between local & global

Architectural public opinion was primarily concerned with ideas of sustainable development as an activity focused on a long-term planning that aimed to enable the same living conditions for the future generations. In the long-term planning of the future, the past was somehow forgotten – the principles that the architects used in the past in order to bring the architecture closer to the nature were put aside. It might seem like today we’ve just formed new names such as sustainable development, eco-villages, sustainable architecture, ecological architecture, passive solar house, bioclimatic design etc. and that we’re discussing the terms that once were common practice without contemporary semantics, scientific discourses and debates. But our generation has even bigger obligation – not to merely discuss those terms, but to see them in the present context of urban growth and globalisation. Can defining the todays meaning of local and rural help us in that process? F. L. Wright believed that the core of every serious architectural design research lies in those modest homes that are the same to the architecture as the folklore is to the literature. In other words – in the rural. The strongest connection with the past and tradition can be felt in the rural areas. 
It is common knowledge that through the history traditional architecture followed the requirements of the local environment and was created in accordance with them. Today, we can freely say that it had elements of environmental ecology. This primarily relates to the local materials and different responses to the climate conditions, but we should not forget the influence of culture, religion, society… Ranko Radović wrote: “traditional architecture is not a style; it is a philosophy of the world and life, nature and the spirit of the place; it is an attitude towards life processes and materials, towards locality and authenticity”. Context with its various factors have always played an important role in the architectural design and traditional architecture knew how to respond to its requests. Each region has its own unique features within which the local can be recognized and defined in the context of the specific cultural place. But, what is the local today in the era of globalisation? Why is the contextual positioning of local important? Is it then easier to feel and determine local in the rural?

Carmela Venti – Local vs. Global

Carmela Venti – Local vs. Global

The local – pertaining to or characterized by place or position in space. Defining the local actually means defining all of its important specificities. The local can only exist in relation to the general, common. Place is a process that requires a cultural interpretation and that brings people into certain specific interconnections. The purpose of each cultural place is to provide a safe and continuous life of its users. Culture uses the environment and its basic functions in order to meet the physiological and spiritual needs of the people. Schultz believes that the creation of habitats and places to live is preceded by the identification of an individual with his environment and surroundings. By identifying with the environment, we identify with the place and only then we can define the local in it.
In order to interpret culture and determine the place, as well as the local in it, one must examine and set general criteria for the definition of a place with its local identity. The same criteria affect the architecture. This implies that each region has its own unique features within which the local can be recognized and defined in the context of the specific cultural place. Is it then possible to define zones with the same local characteristics? Of course it is. But, what is the purpose of such an act? By thinking about local and acting locally, we are influencing the global. Is it that process then nothing more then a pure induction? Or can we, by deconstructing the rural and local to their basics, recognize potential solutions for problems in urban and global? Is the answer maybe in something in-between?

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