The high terrains of Garhwal (Uttarakhand) Himalaya are the niches of a number of rare and endemic plant species of great therapeutic importance. However, the wild flora of the area is still under a constant threat due to rapid upsurge in human interferences, especially through multifarious tourism growth and peri-urban encroachments. After getting the status of a ‘Special State’ of the country since its inception in the year 2000, this newly borne State led to very rapid infrastructural growth and development. Consequently, its townships started expanding in an unmanaged way grabbing nearby agricultural lands and forest areas into peri-urban landscapes. Simultaneously, a boom in tourism and pilgrimage in the state and the infrastructural facilities raised by the government for tourists/pilgrims are destroying its biodiversity. Field survey revealed 242 plant species of therapeutic significance naturally growing in the area and being utilized by local inhabitants as traditional medicines. On conservation scale, 6 species (2.2%) were identified as critically endangered, 19 species (7.1%) as the endangered ones, 8 species (3.0%) under rare category, 17 species (6.4%) as threatened and 14 species (5.2%) as vulnerable. The Government of India has brought mega-biodiversity hot spots of the state under Biosphere Reserve, National Parks, etc. restricting all kinds of human interferences; however, the two most sacred shrines of Hindus and Sikhs viz. Shri Badrinath and Shri Hemkunt Sahib, and two great touristic attractions viz. Valley of Flowers and Auli-Joshimath Skiing Track oblige the government to maintain equilibrium between entries of visitors vis-à-vis biodiversity conservation in high terrains of Uttarakhand Himalaya.
Coordinating and promoting urban and rural development has been a new round of institutional change in Zhejiang province since 2004. And this plan was fully implemented, which showed that the isolation between the urban and rural areas had gradually diminished. Little by little, an infiltration interface that is dynamic, flexible and interactive is formed, and this morphological structure starts to appear on the landscape form in the surrounding villages. In order to study the specific function and formation of the structure in the context of industrial revolution, Bimen village located on the interface between Anji Township, Huzhou and Yuhang District, Hangzhou is taken as the case. Anji township is in the cross area between Yangtze River delta economic circle and innovation center in Hangzhou. Awarded with ‘Chinese beautiful village’, Bimen has witnessed the growing process of infiltration in ecology, economy, technology and culture on the interface. Within the opportunity, Bimen village presents internal reformation to adapt to the energy exchange with urban areas. In the research, the reformation is to adjust the industrial structure, to upgrade the local special bamboo crafts, to release space for activities, and to establish infrastructures on the interface. The characteristic of an interface is elasticity achieved by introducing an Internet platform using ‘O2O’ agriculture method to connect cities and farmlands. There is a platform of this kind in Bimen named ‘Xiao Mei’. ‘Xiao’ in Chinese means small, ‘Mei’ means beautiful, which indicates the method to refine the landscape form. It turns out that the new agriculture mode will strengthen the interface by orienting the Third Party Platform upon the old dynamic basis and will bring new vitality for economy development in Bimen village. The research concludes opportunities and challenges generated by the evolution of the infiltration interface. It also proposes strategies for how to organically adapt to the urbanization process. Finally it demonstrates what will happen by increasing flexibility in the landscape forms of suburbs in the Bimen village.
The paper will focus on the hybrid living typologies which are brought about due to the Global Crisis. Mixing of the generations and the groups of people, mingling the functions of living with working and socializing, merging the act of living in synergy with the urban realm and its constituent elements will be the springboard of proposing an essential sustainable housing approach and the respective urban development. The thematic will be based on methodologies developed both on the academic, educational environment including participation of students’ research and on the practical aspect of architecture including case studies executed by the author in the island of Cyprus. Both paths of the research will deal with the explorative understanding of the hybrid ways of living, testing the limits of its autonomy. The evolution of the living typologies into substantial hybrid entities, will deal with the understanding of new ways of living which include among others: re-introduction of natural phenomena, accommodation of the activity of work and services in the living realm, interchange of public and private, injections of communal events into the individual living territories. The issues and the binary questions raised by what is natural and artificial, what is private and what public, what is ephemeral and what permanent and all the in-between conditions are eloquently traced in the everyday life in the island. Additionally, given the situation of Cyprus with the eminent scar of the dividing ‘Green line’ and the waiting of the ‘ghost city’ of Famagusta to be resurrected, the conventional way of understanding the limits and the definitions of the properties is irreversibly shaken. The situation is further aggravated by the unprecedented phenomenon of the crisis on the island. All these observations set the premises of reexamining the urban development and the respective sustainable housing in a synergy where their characteristics start exchanging positions, merge into each other, contemporarily emerge and vanish, changing from permanent to ephemeral. This fluidity of conditions will attempt to render a future of the built- and unbuilt realm where the main focusing point will be redirected to the human and the social. Weather and social ritual scenographies together with ‘spontaneous urban landscapes’ of ‘momentary relationships’ will suggest a recipe for emerging urban environments and sustainable living. Thus, the paper will aim at opening a discourse on the future of the sustainable living merged in a sustainable urban development in relation to the imminent solution of the division of island, where the issue of property became the main obstacle to be overcome. At the same time, it will attempt to link this approach to the global need for a sustainable evolution of the urban and living realms.