Re-Thinking Tourism

for a Planet in Crisis

processing local information to form higher level systems

higher level systems
local information



 1. proceeding from the bottom or beginning of a hierarchy or process upwards


2. proceeding from the particular to the general


bottom-up approach:

A bottom-up approach is the piecing together of systems to give rise to more complex systems, thus making the original systems sub-systems of the emergent system.


grassroot, ground-up

backward, basic, foundational, principled from underneath

disordered, activist, haywire in chaos, mixed-up, reversed, upended




1. denoting a system of government or management in which actions and policies are initiated at the highest level; hierarchical


2. proceeding from the general to the particular


top-down approach:

A top-down approach is essentially the breaking down of a system to gain insight into its compositional sub-systems.


invasive, imposed, pre-defined, a-priori, destined

hierarchical, patriarchical, controlled, directed, stratified, vertical

Quinta_Monroy_Update_Image 02
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Jacobs, Jane, The Death and Life of Grea
Frei Otto - Networks Diagramme
WhatsApp Image 2020-05-07 at 11.30.24
Graham Harman - Object Oriented Ontology
Mariana Mazzucato - mission oriented inn
BO 3
Brand, Stewart, How Buildings Learn: Wha
BO 1
Library of Things
Boelen, Jan, Sacchetti, Vera, Designing
Ratti, Carlo, Claudel, Matthew, Open Sou
Rudofsky, Bernard, Architecture Without
bottom-up vs top-down networks
Lauwaert, Maaike, van Westrenen, Francie
BO 2
Fezer, Jesko, Lucius Burckhardt Writings
Mazzucato, Mariana, The Value of Everyth


how can a bottom-up approach lead to stronger networks?

Bottom-Up vs Top-Down Networks

This diagram depicts the bottom-up structure in comparison to the top-down structure. The bottom-up structure can be interpreted as a network made up of many contributors who together define and create the whole.

…as an organisational approach

bottom-up vs top-down networks.jpg
The Minimal Way Apparatus
Frei Otto

These diagrams denote the shortest connections between sets of nodes in these minimal path systems.

…as a method of self-optimization conditioned by physical constraints

Jacobs, Jane, The Death and Life of Grea
The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Jane Jacobs
Random House

This book is a critique of the urban planning policy responsible for the decline of many cities across the United States. From the position of an activist, Jacobs opposes large-scale urban renewal programs in their reductionism and oversimplification of the complexity of human lives in diverse communities, advocating instead for the individual's right to the city.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”


- Jane Jacobs

p. 238

Rudofsky, Bernard, Architecture Without
Architecture Without Architects: A Short Introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture
Bernard Rudofsky
The Museum of Modern Art

This book, based on the eponymous MoMA exhibition, demonstrates the artistic, functional and cultural values of vernacular architecture. Rudofsky steps outside the narrowly defined discipline of architecture to discuss the art of building as a universal phenomenon, circumnavigating the geographical and social prejudices that have obscured the "total" picture of architecture.

“There is much to learn from architecture before it became an expert's art. The untutored builders in space and time-the protagonists of this show-demonstrate an admirable talent for fitting their buildings into the natural surroundings. Instead of trying to "conquer" nature, as we do, they welcome the vagaries of climate and the challenge of topography.”
- Bernard Rudofsky
p. 15

what kind of structural framework can support a bottom-up movement?

Half of a good house • Alejandro Aravena • Quinta Monroy, Chile • 2004


This project tries to cope with the fact that most low-income families in Chile cannot afford the living space they need. Aravena finds a compromise between a ‘good small house’ and a big low quality house by providing the families with unfinished houses with an empty space on the side. This way the inhabitants can finish the houses fitting their needs over time.

…by offering a structural framework which enables user appropriation and further development

Brand, Stewart, How Buildings Learn: Wha
How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built
Stewart Brand
Viking Press

This book exposes the problematics in setting the goal of building to create something eternal, while the usages constantly alter. Brand reduces a building down into seven layers, each with a different duration time: stuff, space plan, services, skin, structure and site.

‘‘Almost no buildings adapt well. They’re designed not to adapt; also budgeted and financed not to, regulated and taxed not to, even remodeled not to. But all buildings (except monuments) adapt anyway, however poorly, because the usages in and around them are changing constantly.”
- Stewart Brand
p. 3
Ratti, Carlo, Claudel, Matthew, Open Sou
Open Source Architecture
Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel
Thames & Hudson

This book, in the form of a manifesto, calls for the radical redefinition of the relationship between producer and consumer in the context of the built environment. Between collaboration, technology, networks, labour, design and big architectural ideas, the necessity of an open-source culture arises.

“The architect will not be anonymous, but plural and compositional, her authorship will not be erased, but contextualized as it is woven into a relational fabric. She is situated between top-down and bottom-up, channeling the raw energy of the latter through the targeted framework of the former. The responsibility of the Choral Architect is less oriented towards object-building than orchestrating process. She is not a soloist, not a conductor, not an anonymous voice among many. The Choral Architect weaves together the creative and harmonic ensemble.”
- Carlo Ratti
p. 118

Autoprogettazione • Enzo Mari • Italy • 1974

This Project, “Autoprogettazione” is a self design book, in which individuals can understand the principles of structural design, while changing shapes and details as they carry out the projects.

…by offering an open-source educational manual for modular construction of furniture

Park Macht Platz • Vienna, Austria • 2017


This project was a temporary installation out of wood placed in the public space. It offered an open multifunctional space that could be spontaneously used or reserved for a particular event.


…by offering a physical platform for non-commercial forms of collectivity and exchange of knowledge

what are the roles of collaboration and communication in the bottom-up action?

Fezer, Jesko, Lucius Burckhardt Writings
Lucius Burckhardt Writings. Rethinking Man-made Environments: Politics, Landscapes & Design
Jesko Fezer
Springer Vienna Architecture

This book provides a selection of texts from Lucius Burckhardt, the inventor of strollology. Burckhardt focuses on the visible and invisible aspects of our cities, landscapes, political processes and social relations. He emphasizes on how our interventions shape the space around us, and the other way around.

"Many buildings come about, not because a building is required but because construction allegedly solves problems. And these problems floating around in space have the strange tendency to suggest to people at certain moments, they would be solved if something were built."
- Lucius Burckhardt
p. 103
Boelen, Jan, Sacchetti, Vera, Designing
Designing Everyday Life
Jan Boelen and Vera Sacchetti
Park Books

This book compiles written and visual material of the BIO50 Biennial of Industrial Design to exhibit the manifold dimensions of its collaborative work process. The design discipline in contemporary times is placed under scrutiny as new priorities and strategies of a fundamentally small-scale are formulated, challenging the mass-made products and solutions of today.

“All participants will contribute with time and engagement, embarking together on a trip that has no predefined destination.”
- Jan Boelen and Vera Sacchetti
Open structures • Thomas Lommée • Brussels, Belgium • since 2007

This project is an open modular construction system that allows an open source sharing of construction techniques. Thanks to modularity and collaboration it allows for continuous innovation from its community.

…by hosting a community of peer-to-peer production, operating within a shared grid


The concept of Fordism aimed to centralise sourcing, manufacturing and sales and distribution, while Post-Fordism is the theory that large scale mass production should change towards the use of small flexible manufacturing units.

…as a de-centralised, cross-disciplinary network of production


how can bottom-up action subvert the dominant systems?

Library of Things • Rebecca Trevalyan, Sophia Wyatt, Emma Shaw • Oxford, UK • since 2018

This project is a collection of items that are extremely useful, but only needed occasionally. These can then be borrowed on those occasions. This project aims to reduce waste and promote a sharing economy.

…by operating as a community-based network of shared goods and services without monetary exchange

Lauwaert, Maaike, van Westrenen, Francie
Facing Value: Radical Perspectives from the Arts
Maaike Lauwaert and Francien van Westrenen

This book is anthologizing the work of philosophers, scientists, historians, architects and economists to present alternative visions of value against the logic of capital. Lauwaert and van Westrenen reformulate value as a constitutive factor in an open and caring society, detached from the capitalist mechanism of (post-)Fordist practices.


‘‘Often immaterial, often expressed in the form of a system that changes as we write, value is one of those core concepts that shape society, influence hearts and minds but defy easy definition. [...] Value can be highly personal, it differs between eras, peoples, continents and time zones. [...] As a result we seem to be on the one hand fundamentally confused about value and on the other hand exceedingly interested in it.”
- Maaike Lauwaert
and Francien van Westrenen
p. 16
Mazzucato, Mariana, The Value of Everyth
The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Ecoomy
Mariana Mazzucato
Allen Lane


This book points out the dangers of a current economic system, where companies which exhaust the value are rewarded instead of such which create it. Mazzucato calls for rethinking capitalism and how value is determined and measured in society, in order to strive for long term growth.

"Creating a symbiotic (more mutualistic) public-private innovation ecosystem requires new methods, metrics and indicators to evaluate public investments and their results. Without the right tools for evaluating investments, governments have a hard time knowing when they are merely operating in existing spaces and when they are making things happen that would not have happened otherwise. The result: investments that are too narrow, constrained by the prevailing path-dependent, techno-economic paradigm. A better way of evaluating a given investment would be to consider the different types of ‘spillovers’, including the creation of new skills and capabilities, and whether it led to the creation of new technologies, sectors and markets."
- Mariana Mazzucato
p. 9
Mission Oriented Innovation
Mariana Mazzucato

This strategy involves approaching a task in such a way that the mission is always the focal point of all aspects of the project.

…as an organisational method for cross-industry collaboration in the pursuit of tackling shared global issues

Mariana Mazzucato - mission oriented inn
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Plan A, crowdfunding platform • Lubomila Jordanova • London, UK • since 2016


This project provides an online platform for companies to reduce their environmental impact.

…as an organisational method for cross-sector collaboration in the pursuit of tackling shared global issues

how does the perspective shift from the individual to the collective?

The invention of Nature.jpg
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World
Andrea Wulf

This book narrates the life and work of Alexander von Humboldt and his visionary understanding of nature as a complex system where simultaneous processes are interrelated. In the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century, Humboldt was ahead of his time, but his knowledge remains advanced and relevant to this day.

"Humboldt ‘read’ plants as others did books – and to him they revealed a global force behind nature, the movements of civilizations as well as of landmass. No one had ever approached botany in this way."
- Andrea Wulf
p. 128
Mapping Inter-species Relationships
Alexander Von Humboldt

This diagram shows the relationship between the climate, cultivation and vegetation. In this updated side by side a comparison can be made between 1802 and 2012.

…as depiction of actual interdependencies across species and ecosystems through on-site observation and experience

Alexander Von Humboldt 2.jpg
Graham Harman - Object Oriented Ontology
Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything
Graham Harman

This book rejects the idea that human existence should prevail over the existence of nonhuman objects, outlined in the concept of Object Oriented Ontology. OOO claims that things are not components of other things: they have their unique existence and value on their own.

‘‘Anything that cannot be fully reduced either downward to its components (‘undermining’) or upward to its effects (‘overmining’) counts as an object, whether it be human, immaterial, durable or fleeting. For this reason OOO is often viewed as a ‘flat ontology’ that treats all objects equally.”
-  Graham Harman
p. 401

case studies of nanotourism:


further aspects of bottom-up characteristics identified in the above case study:



Finding different ways of communicating and creating non hierarchical spaces for this to happen.

Participation in the performance​

People are involved and aware through their own perspective of the project

Creation common goals 


Creating common goals for a certain space- bringing locals closer with the building.


further aspects of bottom-up characteristics identified in the above case study:


Creating the medium or tool by using local materials and handcrafts to understand and encourage social interaction.

Identification of potential


Finding a location, otherwise commonly used for specific activities, and add new functions.

Setting up shared values


Through this intervention, new desires are created that provoke new conversation partners and initiate intervention to take place in other contexts.


further aspects of bottom-up characteristics identified in the above case study:

Engaging with sustainable institutions


Encountering traditions and hospitality in a way that is compatible with nature and to change deadlocked processes.

Spending a sustainable holiday 




Users experience nature and the possibilities of e-mobility.

Re-thinking the whole transportation system


Changing the habits surrounding transport and infrastructure systems in everyday life.

extracted patterns:


Identification of local information (immediate)


Through reflection and research of the local context, relevant information is extracted and organised.

Framework for co-creation:


Creating a cross-disciplinary framework for the processing of local information through forms of co-creation. and exchange of knowledge.

Formation of new values:


Continuous exchange and evolving conclusions generate new forms of knowledge, giving rise to new higher level systems and values.