Aleksandra Nowysz, A Better Tomorrow
Curator: Joanna Rzepka-Dziedzic
There exists in urban-studies discourse a division between what constitutes urbanity and what represents rurality, with certain landscape features assigned exclusively to either the city or to the countryside. Agriculture, especially, is often assumed to be under the purview of rural, not urban, planners. And yet, according to a United Nations Development Programme report on urban agriculture, roughly 800 million city dwellers around the world engage in some form of cultivation.
The exclusion of agronomy from urban-planning considerations is a result of changes which occurred during the Industrial Revolution. As cities developed, technological advancements that allowed for the transport of goods to distant locales created a gulf between rural grower and urban consumer. However, issues related to supplying cities with food, as well as the social and spatial consequences of industrialisation, spurred a conceptual countermovement toward ‘utopian cities,’ in which natural elements would be woven back into the urban fabric. Examples of such urban-agrarian hybrids include Ebenezer Howard’s greenbelted garden cities, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City concept, and Ludwig Hilberseimer’s New Regional Pattern.
Allotments, one legacy of that period’s utopian vision, are a prime example of urban-agrarian spaces. Today, allotments endure as an alternative to the urban paradigm of profit maximisation. The fairy-tale aesthetic in A Better Tomorrow is meant to emphasise the Arcadian dimension of allotments. Searching for utopia in the real world, I sought to highlight alternative possibilities for developing the urban ecosystem, as well as issues related to environmental ethics. Farmers and gardeners, to achieve a bountiful harvest, must harmonise their endeavour with the dynamics of nature. Such an approach contrasts with that of industrial agriculture, an industry for which nature is a processable resource to be subjugated and exploited.
Aleksandra Nowysz (born 1987, Wrocław, Poland) is an architect, photographer, and researcher into the architecture of urban agriculture. Since 2016, she has been studying at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava (Czech Republic). In 2019, she obtained her doctorate in Architecture and Urban Planning from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology. She is a graduate of the Sputnik Photos collective’s Mentoring Programme, and a recipient of the city of Wrocław’s Jerzy Grotowski Scholarship for the field of art. The author of photographic projects devoted to vernacular architecture and landscapes, her works have been exhibited in venues including the BWA Wrocław Studio Gallery and Photon Galleries in Ljubljana and Vienna.