The Eighth Approximation: Urban Soil Taxonomy in the Anthropocene
Completed in 1960, the Seventh Approximation created a system for mapping and classifying soils that has since been adopted around the world. The curious limitation of this system, is its inability to classify urban soils or soils that are produced as the result of human action. This hole in its taxonomy appears larger and larger as the part of the world that can be convincingly called ‘non-urban’ gets smaller and smaller. The Eighth Approximation is the unwritten update to one of the world’s largest taxonomic projects, which takes human intervention as a precondition for classification, rather than a disqualification. In the Eighth Approximation, soils are defined as the geological product of cities and the humans that build them.
This project was completed by Seth Denizen at the University of Virginia Department of Landscape Architecture, MLA 2012.