Grichting, A. (2013). "Cyprus. Greening the Dead Zone". Greening in the Red Zone: Disaster, Resilience, and Community Greening. Springer Edition. Edited by Keith G Tidball & Marianne Krasny, Cornell University, USA. DOI10.1007/978-90-481-9947-1_33
The Green Line Buffer Zone that has divided the island of Cyprus since 1974 is often referred to as the Dead Zone. It is not a line, but a swathe of land that acts as a buffer between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. Patrolled by the United Nations, it is a ‘thick border’ according to the categories of borders described by Michel Butor, ‘a corridor of death, desolation and barbed wire’ (which) holds the possibility of softening to ‘become the very image of the crossing of frontiers’ (Butor et al. 1989). Similar to other military enclaves, the Buffer Zone is trapped in a status quo that has frozen the development and exploitation of the land, allowing unexpected natures to flourish. This has resulted in the softening of the deadly rift through a rich landscape of biodiversity that hosts a number of endangered species in Cyprus. The preservation of this precious flora and fauna, as well as associated ecological and cultural initiatives, offer a building block for collaboration between the communities on both sides of the dividing line and an opportunity for new narratives and strategies of reconciliation based on a common, sustainable future. This chapter describes a project being developed by the author to make the ‘Green Line greener’, envisioning the transformation of the military fault line into an ecological seam through the web of environmental and cultural initiatives that are taking place across the Green Line.
Grichting, A. (2011). From the ground up: The Cyprus Green Line and Ecologies of Peace in Landscapes of Conflict in S. Egoz et al. (Eds.), The Right to Landscape: Contesting Landscape and Human Rights. Ashgate Publishing, UK, pp. 277-289
The Peace Prize awarded to Wangari Maathai in 2004 for her grassroots Green Belt Movement marked an awakening to the potency of community environmental projects in contributing to reconciliation and sustainable coexistence between humans and nature. In this chapter I explore the idea of grassroots involvement in linear landscapes in liminal conditions - this is, in border zones of conflict - and, more specifically, in the interstitial spaces that are confined in military buffer zones and extracted from the pressures of development. The premise is that a Right to Landscape can be asserted within, and inserted into a long, these landscape lines, which are envisaged as future backbones for reconciliation and healing.
My focus is a project proposal for the Green Line Buffer Zone of Cyprus, using the landscape approach that suggests an alternative and forward-looking vision for this dividing line. Envisioned from the ground up - it is proposing strategies of ecological planning that are built on the positive evolutions - that is, the resilience of nature and the preservation of biodiversity - within the front lines, as well as on the matrix of existing or possible environmental, social and cultural collaborations between the communities on either side to the dividing line. This territorial chasm represents both a physical and a psychological wound for the Cypriot communities, conferring to it the role of a unique and symbolic territory.
Grichting, A. (2010). Boundaries in Mouvement. The Cyprus Buffer Zone as a Thirds Landscape. In D. Sanchez-Bengoa & D. Powell (Eds.), TOP Biodiversity. Threats, Opportunities and Paces. Conference Proceedings. Cyprus, Sept 2010. pp. 83-101.
In contemporary questions of landscape planning and design, dynamic or unexpected natures have become increasingly recognized for their ecological value and for their contribution to the preservation of biodiversity. Gilles Clement, a French horticultural engineer and landscape architect, describes marginal sites abandoned to nature as Third Landscapes, and puts forward their qualities as prime areas for accumulating biodiversity. These "undecided pieces of the Global garden", the neglected areas where biodiversity thrives, can be considered as the earth's genetic resevior. Clement has also developed a landscaping strategy, the Garden in Movement which accommodates and orchestrates these spontaneous natures, extracting or enhancing certain species to create an evolving landscape that is guided by the historical, cultural and ecological conditions surrounding the site. This paper presents a reading of the Green Line of Cyprus as a Third Landscape and vision for its future based on Clement's dynamic landscaping strategy. This concept for the Boundary in Movement builds on the positive evolutions that have taken place in the Buffer Zone - including the proliferation of endangered species of flora and fauna - and makes reference to other similar boundary-scapes, such as the Korean Demilitarized Zone and the Iron Curtain Green Belt.
Grichting, A. (2010). Landscapes of the Green Line of Cyprus: Healing the rift. In E. Kuhlwein & E. Karatas (Eds.), Climate Change: A Challenge for Europe and Cyprus, Rotation Verlag, pp 36-47.
The UN controlled Green Line occupies approximately 3% of the land mass of the island of Cyprus. Frozen in a military status quo for the past 35 years, this strip of land swallows up abandoned rural villages, agricultural lands that lie fallow, and stone buildings that crumble in the historic city of Nicosia. On the up side, this landscape has escaped the construction boom on both sides of the Green Line, meadows have recovered from the contamination with pesticides and artificial fertilizers, hillside forests have been preserved, and wildlife has been allowed to flourish. Similar to other military buffer zones worldwide, the most salient example being the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the Green Line has, due to its isolation, become really "green", that is, it has become a haven for biodiversity. The year 2010 being the International Year of Biodiversity - as designated by the United Nations - as well as the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Cyprus, leads us to reflect on how this UN controlled Buffer Zone, could be transformed from a military dividing line into a new landscape of cultural and biological diversity, and this through a process that brings together the communities on both sides in a common project for an ecologically and socially sustainable future.
Grichting, A. (2009). Thirdscapes: Ecological planning and human reconciliation in borderlands. The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.239-256.
This research inquires into new ways of associating ecological planning and conflict resolution in the recycling of boundaries and presents the concept of Thirdscapes. Thirdscapes investigates existing constructs of thirding or trialectics as conceptual frameworks that can assist us in the resolution of conflict and in the construction of sustainable landscapes of reconciliation. The concept is proposed as an alternative to the polarized and dialogical entrenchments of our mental and physical scapes and includes: Third Landscapes as they relate to spontaneous natures containing greater biodiversity and leading to ecological planning; Third Spaces as they define our relationship to the Other; Third Time, the time that corresponds to the process of constructing memory and achieving sustainable reconciliation, amongst others. More specifically, the concept will be applied to the Liminal Landscapes located within boundaries and territories in conflict, as an instrument to address the rift between societies, territories and ecologies, and as a new lens that can lead to innovative ways of thinking and projecting these spaces of rupture. In doing so, it proposes a sustainable process that associates environmental remediation with psychological healing and addresses the questions of memory and reconstruction.
Grichting, A. (October 2012). Urban regeneration: Qatar Projects and Perspectives. Qatar Foundation Annual Research Forum, 21-23 Oct 2012. Qatar National Convention Center
Grichting, A. (2013). “What makes Doha today different from Dubai ten years ago?” in Middle East. Landscape, City, Architecture. .Josep Lluis Mateo, Krunoslav Ivanisin (ed): Park Books, ETH,Zurich, pp 92,93.
Grichting, A., Asadi, R., Al Amawi, R.(2013). Designing Productive Landscapes for Increased Consumption in an Emerging Desert Metropolis. The Case of Doha. Panel on “Gulf Cities as Interfaces”, Gulf Research Meeting, 2nd -– 5th July 2013, Cambridge University, UK.