University of Oulu

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. In Nature-Based Solutions (Vol. 4, p. 100081). Elsevier BV.

Nature-based solutions as more-than-human art : co-evolutionary and co-creative design approaches

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Author: Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten1; Sarkki, Simo2; Maran, Timo3;
Organizations: 1Professor and Permanent Fellow, Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Erfurt University, Germany, Steinplatz 2, 99085 Erfurt, Germany
2Researcher, Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Erfurt University, Germany and University of Oulu, Finland
3Professor of Ecosemiotics and Environmental Humanities, Department of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Estonia
4Adjunct Professor and Principal Scientist, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Turku, Finland
5Research Professor, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Turku, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-11-06


Nature-based solutions (NbS) are mostly seen as engineering approaches to meeting challenges of human societies under ecological stress, while also nurturing biodiversity. We argue that given the accelerating speed of environmental change, NbS design for biodiversity recovery cannot be informed by past or current conditions but must create evolutionary potential for yet unknown future biodiversity. The objective of our paper is to reconceptualizing this creative role of NbS design as artwork, building on John Dewey’s pragmatist aesthetics. We suggest that in emphasizing the aesthetic dimension of NbS, triggers, mechanisms and affordances can be harnessed that activate the co-creative potential of both humans and non-humans for cooperation, resilience, and future biodiversity. We build on recent developments, both practical and experimental, in interspecies art and design and locate these in the two dimensions of co-creation and co-evolution. As a result, we distinguish three categories of NbS as artwork, transformative art, interspecies art and exaptive art, present their main features and give some illustrations of how they may regenerate the current ways to approach and design NbS.

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Series: Nature-based solutions
ISSN: 2772-4115
ISSN-E: 2772-4115
ISSN-L: 2772-4115
Volume: 4
Article number: 100081
DOI: 10.1016/j.nbsj.2023.100081
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 520 Other social sciences
616 Other humanities
Funding: This research was funded by the European Union (Horizon Europe project 101084220: “Coevolutionary approach to unlock the transformative potential of nature-based solutions for more inclusive and resilient communities”.
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (