The sea as part of the metabolic systems of the cities.
Investigating Urban Marine Metabolic Systems to define a conceptual framework for post-anthropocentric hydraulic urbanism.

Elisa Fernández Ramos
Valencia (Spain)
Architect, educator, and researcher with extensive international experience focused on innovation, design, and sustainability.
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Urban planning, Ecology, Research
Project category
Food system
Project submitted

Elisa Fernández Ramos, is a Spanish architect (M.Arch. En. ETSAM) with 15 years of experience, including high-profile offices, such as Foster and Partners, working internationally in Madrid, London, Qatar, and Queensland. She has combined it with, researching, teaching, and lecturing for more than 7 years in several renowned universities, including Madrid Polytechnic University, European University of Madrid, and Queensland University.

Her office, Latraviesa.ME, has been awarded in numerous prestigious competitions of Architecture, Urban Design, and Industrial Design. The outcomes of all the innovations involved in her experimental projects have a strong design character, and most of it has been exhibited and published worldwide.

Currently, she is doing her PhD, researching Urban Marine Metabolic Systems with a Scholarship from the Sea Cities Lab at the Cities Research Institute of Queensland.

The coastline is fictitious; From the abyssal trenches to the atmosphere, the sea encompasses everything in between. Not even the sea levels are permanent and perhaps this erroneously preconceived boundary is the basis of many challenges we face. The line figuratively delimiting the end of cities, which usually coincides with this coastline, is also fictitious; Cities are not only part of the marine ecosystem but also sprawl over it; the urbanization of the oceans is creating an increasingly "viscous" productive marine urbanism. Productive systems have shaped our cities and societies since the origin of agriculture, so understanding these new marine relationships is important to respond to new eco-social interactions and challenges. Despite the sea's prominence in strategic territorial planning, urban frameworks often overlook it. This research reconstructs assemblages between cities and the sea, exploring Urban Marine Metabolic Systems from food production systems for sustainable design. If an agricultural system generates temporary and permanent landscapes in terrestrial, social, and marine ecosystems, leaving its imprint on aquatic organisms, on the seabed, on aquifer ecosystems, on human and non-human migrations, on climate, on social policies, on housing prices, and the metabolic system of the consumer; similarly, an aquaculture or a marine wind farm can influence terrestrial ecosystems; from the evolutionary development of some species to the emergence of new terrestrial habitats. Architecture and urban design must integrate aquatic ecosystems. Under this assumption, circular development models cannot be proposed without simultaneously considering both territories. Cities must embrace marine habitats, becoming permeable entities. Urban design now encompasses also marine landscapes and habitats. This research aims to define a conceptual framework for post-anthropocentric hydraulic urbanism. Is this Aquatic Architecture?