Archives for category: temporary nest





















For instance, read the masters thesis by Norman Albert Anaru for a Māori perspective: “A Critical Analysis of the Impact of Colonisation on the Māori Language through an Examination of Political Theory”

To read Il Principe, go to:





It is quiet on the hill. Fog and drizzly rain means limited activity outside during the day. Still, the animals need attention and the neighbors return home return to their house early evening. Silence. Waiting for the soothing sound of the night owl that marks the end of the day.




Slide17 (old article, time to assess)














A book that also influenced my thinking on this topic:

Eric Wolf, Europe and the People without History, (1982)





I moved into the windmill, located within the Ruige Weide polder. From this perspective I hope to gain better understanding of the Dutch planning mind and the dynamic relationships between rural and urban areas that are played out in this process. Is it about food, landscape, recreation, and/or else?

To get your feet wet, you can read about the Delta metropolis: (report in Dutch)



Today I move into “the green heart” of the Netherlands







No this is not about some exotic way to unearth precious mushrooms in the Dutch polder land. It is a translation of the names of the two dogs I am currently looking after, Truffel & Bliksem. They are super sweet and funny, and each has a distinct but very different character, behaving together like an old, odd couple.

Animals (and plants) can teach us valuable lessons, at least that is the idea of the fable, in which anthropomorphized animals, plants, and inanimate objects take on human qualities to reflect something back to us. Living with Truffel and Bliksem has been very enjoyable, but also confronting. Like living in an animated fable, they have shown me, and taught me something about myself, especially regarding my recently ended long-time relationship.

When it is time to move on, I will remember Truffel and Bliksem, they will guide me on the road ahead.







Maybe I feel this way because I am putting of my long run in the polder for a few days, my calves felt a little tight, and since my goal is to keep running and not run myself into the ground, I thought it be wiser to stick to regular daily doses. This morning however everything was running smoothly, taking some soggy pasture paths for variation.


Stop every now and then to take your share of wild vegetables. I am also feasting on the sage in the garden. Great for making tea in support of the respiratory system!





To learn about mills in the Netherlands:

To read some heritage recipes from even before the time of the windmills visit:





Also, check out “de Keuken van het Ongewenst Dier”













In anthropology, we can use the term ‘built environment’ to indicate human intervention in the land, and this can range from ephemeral elements to large urban areas. As a concept it is useful to understand the range of landuse as an integrated whole. At the Biennale, the majority of projects are –still– focused on built environment as buildings. Only in a few cases was the larger landscape /rural region at the forefront.

Cultural heritage and preservation efforts (supported by UNESCO) have also long been dominated by large monuments and sites, but as mentioned in earlier posts, this is changing with the recognition of intangible heritage. Even the upcoming conference of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a professional association dedicated to the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places around the world, is centered on Heritage and Landscape as Human Values. Thinking about this is part of my upcoming writing task.


Leaving Venice today. The visit was short and… well, nice, since cities are not my ‘natural habitat’. Venice of course is an incredible city, founded in the 5th century it became one of the greatest capitals of the medieval world, now enlisted on the UNESCO world heritage list of sites and monuments. It is under threat, as it is well-known that Venice is sinking, the anthropogenic causes (ground water pumping) have been addressed but natural causes are still at play ,

Then there is something else. My host lives and works in the center, near Rialto bridge and has a long family history in the city, but these days he feels he is living in a Disney world, in a city frozen in time. Even the Biennale events to him feel more like amusement spectacles than serious art fairs they intended to be…



Today I have time for a moderate run (2hrs), and explore the labyrinth that is Venice, configured by the flow of its water. As usual, I don’t take any orienteering devices, but a paper map. Venice is nice city to get lost, eventually you will get to the edge, and while ‘running wild’, it is easy to see lesser-known parts of Venice. Running around, I’m contributing to the flow.


and the well-known, but different time..



The rest of the day, I get into the spirit of place (also literally: Genius Loci (Spirit of Place) exhibition at Palazzo Franchetti.)




Before I came to Venice I thought about Modernity and about the new museum I visited in Como recently dedicated to the works of Sant’Elia, who was the star architect of the Futurist Movement. I always loved his drawings, yet glad that the Futurists’ plans for new cities were not realized. I was therefore surprised that in Como there is an impressive – lakseside– war monument designed by Sant’Elia. He died in La Grande Guerra, as the first world war is referred to, especially in Northern Italy, and many war ruins near Trento remind of the fierce battles that took place over the Austrian- Italian border.


Yesterday, I visited the Arsenale, one of two main venues of the Biennale, which this year is dominated by monditalia, a scan. Taking Italy as a ‘fundamental’ country this exhibition shows 41 architectural case studies of young architects and researchers, spread over the Italian continent, organized geographically from south to north. The Alps are last. The study investigated the mapping of the border across the Alps, and especially its difficulties. These days satellite technologies make mapping easier, however, new challenges arise. The melting of the glaciers make that the surface of the earth across the Alps is changing at rapid rates. Borders have to be newly negotiated.




Today I travel to Venice, not to farm, but to visit the Architecture Biennale. My interest in architecture is easily explained, as it is the means by which humans organize and mediate space, influencing and/or determining ecological, socio-economic relationships, but I also ENJOY the creative tangible expression of spatial ideas.

More to come…


In this part of the Marche region (Montefeltro), wheat is the dominant grown crop and the clay soil is not particularly suited for growing anything else. But, as a friend of Silvia, who is an expert in medicinal plants, told me, parts of the region are excellent sources for wild flowers and medicinal plants. – page 5


During my travels I notice that many edible wild flowers and plants are widespread globally, but there are cultural differences in the selection of these, both for food and medicinal purposes, and this may also have to do with the variation in flavor in the diet (see post June 23). One man’s weed is another man’s vegetable…


Innovation in building material and design practice has transformed architecture. One of my favorites are the liminal spaces designed and initiated by Philip Beesley ( in which the human presence performs a participatory role in creating the space, building with a new kind of material and method. Farm houses on the other hand remain very traditional, but much of the old building material is very strong and can be recycled/re-used, which is in fact very NOW



The roof is replaced, and now I organize and order all the -centuries’ old- terra cotta roof tiles. They are beautiful, but will not be replaced on the roof, probably be sold. Then there is all the salvaged wood. An ancient building material that can be used in many different ways: light and heavy, traditional and avant-garde. I love the tree and the wood.



For some inspiration on the use of wood in architecture:



The connection between interior (architecture) and exterior (landscape) is something that is central in my own work, understanding differences in spatial experience and design in different cultures, and builds on the work of Tadahiko Higuchi, a researcher/spatial scientist –also- from Japan, He published a book on visual and spatial experience of the landscape in 1983, but more than that, his research also provides insight in the different role that architecture plays in Japan in this dynamic relationship, where the walls are not meant to exclude the outside.


I am on a hill. The hill is steep. At first I thought it was like any hill, but running around I noticed that this hill is a bit lower than, and protected by the surrounding hills, creating an interesting microclimate. The farmhouse is typical in the region, with thick stone walls and relatively small windows. From inside it is difficult to maintain the (visual) connection with the surrounding landscape. Luckily, I am outside large part of the day, and I am reminded of the stories of Shono and lessons of Higuchi.



Now a national monument, the Fortress, with its curvilinear walls, and almost round shape represents an ‘architecture of transition’, was created for a new form of warfare using bombards. The fort became also known through rescue operation during WWII, saving about 10.000 artworks from the Marche region, Rome, Venice, and Milan, from the hands of the enemy.

While walking around we noticed the –material– remnants of the procession related to the celebration of San Giovanni that had taken place earlier that day, catholic symbols on the street surface, created with thousands of flower petals, a tradition known as infiorate.


I was reminded of the beautiful Kolam designs in Southern India and was curious of any of these ephemeral paintings were enlisted on the UNESCO intangible heritage list. It appears that the Kolam tradition was proposed, but not selected in 2011.

This year, a UNESCO “proposal for the declaration of ephemeral art carpets as “Intangible Cultural Heritage” is presented at the V Congresso Internazionale delle Arti Effimere, on June 26-29, in Rome. Here, the events aim to revive the ancient tradition of floral decoration on the feast day of the patron saints of Rome.





MORRA (rural cultural heritage)


What I like about rural living is not only the natural sensory experiences but also the cultural aspects. The correlation between linguistic/cultural- and biodiversity has been recognized for a while, but most people seek cultural experiences in cities. Although metropolitan areas are culturally happening places, the urban is increasingly globalized and homogenized, where people flock to familiar feeling venues and star architects create buildings that often express more about their individual style than the uniqueness of the urban environment.

(see for instance: The Intersections of Biological Diversity and Cultural Diversity: Toward Integration, Pretty, 2009, open access article on

Now in case of the new science museum in Trento the architect can be considered a local (Genoa). Renzo Piano’s building is a wonderful space for the educational science exhibition focused in large on the Alpine region.

BUT, as you may remember during the same weekend I visited Trenro I also went to the Mocheni goat festival. This was not only a showcasing for the typical goats of the region, but also a social event. Two different languages spoken at least and local dialect, it is already a MULTICULTURAL event. Most interesting was the game of Morra, a kind of cognitive game that becomes more vocal with the increasing intake of alcoholic beverage. The game has four players, two on each side of the table. I don’t know the specific rules but it goes something like this: first the players diagonally play and then the players facing each other. The players slam their forearm on the table holding a specific number of fingers out. At the same time the two players shout the estimated total of the two. Whoever shouts the right total number scores a point, while they keep track of the score mentally.