Of Kurdish House Gardens and Modernity

An article on the 6000-year history of Kurdish gardens cites my Habermas article for its alleged account of Habermas’s modernization theory.

Modernization Theory and House Garden Transformation; Erbil City as Case Study, is jointly authored by scholars from an Iranian engineering department and from the Housing, Building, and Planning department in Penang Malaysia University. The article appears in Aro which is an open-access “journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary” based at Koya University. Koya University’s very smart-looking web site describes the city of Koya as a “1.0 hr drive to the East of the Kurdistan Region capital Erbil (Arbil, Hewlér) in Kurdistan Region of F.R. Iraq.”

The article begins by defining a garden:

Gardens can be considered as the mirror of house’s architectural identity. It’s a plane outdoor space that arranges a part for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature as defined by Turner (2005) A garden is “a piece of ground fenced off from cattle, and appropriated to the use and pleasure of man: it is, or ought to be, cultivated”.

However, the article quickly takes a turn towards describing Modernization Theory before heading back to a more extended tour of house garden design in Erbil over the last 6000 years. We then get some quantitative info about how gardens have changed, especially since 1930. One notable finding:

The new functional requirements of modern life style (Social factors) and owning more than one vehicle by family members (Economical factors) affected the garden size (to be small or disappeared totally). Moreover, it reduced the ratio of garden area (open spaces) to house build area. These transformations have a direct impact on global warming and energy conservation.

This does seem significant, although I’m not sure we really need Habermas to understand it.

This isn’t the strangest citation to my work ever, but it’s up there.

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