Stone Cities, Green Cities



Is there a particular character to the forms of urbanism that arose in the humid tropics?“Yes” in the sense that there are conditions common to the humid tropics globally that are not characteristic of temperate Europe. How environmental factors structure urban form and function is another question, but the key relationship on which to focus in an environmental approach to urbanism is that between the individual and the environment, and not between a culture or society as a system and the environment. At another level, one could argue that there is no such thing as tropical urbanism. The relationships that constitute ecological processes are the same throughout the biosphere, and it is only the outcome of these processes that is different in the tropics. Likewise, the “rules” of the development of complexity, associated with urbanism everywhere, are about power relationships and hierarchy more than setting or conditions. In addition to these themes, I reconsider the conditions for Maya urbanism, and I suggest a range of alternative relationships that can inform urban processes and outcomes.