"In this book, I suggest that to understand cities we must view them not simply as places in space but as systems of networks and flows. To understand space, we must understand flows, and to understand flows, we must understand networks—the relations between objects that comprise the system of the city. Drawing on the complexity sciences, social physics, urban economics, transportation theory, regional science, and urban geography, , I introduce theories and methods that reveal the deep structure of how cities function. (...)" Michael Batty
Los Angeles, larger than any other American city except New York, is a gargantuan urban complex living ‘on the edge’ and the city most urgently in need of a massive urban planning overhaul.
Los Angeles is considered by many planners as the city with the most to gain from an extensive overhauling. Starting at the top of the transit priorities, the city should find a way to fast-track its rail-based transit by creating lines using driverless, five-minute frequency trains (like Copenhagen), where density warrants, and building an extensive BRT-only lane network on 2nd priority routes. In Downtown and other special zones, Copenhagen-style bike infrastructure can contribute to traffic-thinning, as well as selective freeway removal, congestion pricing, and infill development. Finally, extensive urban farming, which can be partly accommodated by repurposing the medians of the many wide and light-traffic streets throughout the city, would reduce the emission footprint of the city by reducing the transportation of goods from hundreds of miles away.
With the rise of urban dwellers comes the rise of urban waste. And, although the hidden life of garbage is still ignored by many, there is no way of escaping one of modern societies most pressing issues: unsustainable waste management.
Kimberly Coburn, who founded The Homestead Atlanta, explains why 'old-school' is making a comeback with the modern homesteading movement.
Is there a difference in curriculum for a folk school in a city compared to one serving more rural regions?
To be honest, that's something we'll have to see moving forward. For the most part, no — sustainability and the ability to care for yourself with aesthetic integrity are of equal value whether you're living on 20 acres or in a high-rise. Of course, certain concessions have to be made and alternative approaches explored to compensate for the lack of time and space facing most urban dwellers, but what is lost in land availability is made up for by availability of resources and community. If, for instance, you took a beginning blacksmithing class with The Homestead Atlanta and really wanted to continue learning, there are a surprising number of forges scattered across the city. One significant difference I've noticed between urban and rural regions in terms of this kind of education is that many of the lost arts were never entirely lost in rural areas. Plenty of people — whether by choice or necessity — maintain a "fix it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" ethic while urban culture seems increasingly dependent on the temporary and the disposable. All the more reason, then, to offer education where it's needed most.
Work is about to start on a high-density, car-free "satellite city" for 80,000 people close to Chengdu in China.
Is it just us or do the renderings of a proposed prototypical car-free city designed by Chicago firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture for private developer Beijing Vantone Real Estate Co., Ltd bear an interesting resemblance to one of film's most famous locales?
According to Dezeen, "the 1.3 square kilometre Great City will feature a high-rise core surrounded by a 'buffer landscape' of open space comprising 60% of the total area. Residents will be able to walk from the city centre to its edge in just 10 minutes."
"The architects claims the city will use 48% less energy and 58% less water than conventional developments of this size, producing 89% less landfill waste and generating 60% less carbon dioxide. The city, which will be connected to Chengu and other population centres by a mass-transit system, is intended as a prototype for other parts of China."
A common thread found in Resilience theory is that of community strength. A community’s ability to survive and even thrive during tough times is largely decided both in the way that community builds itself around its physical places and also in the way people work and band together to create those spaces.
The art of place-making is arguably the best demonstration of community resilience at work. By definition placemaking involves the residents of a community – it’s not the product of an architect’s pen but rather the result of a community-designer-builder collaboration over time.
There is no turning back and the number of people that share the world’s limited resources continues to rise.
Dr. Steffen Lehmann, UNESCO chair in sustainable urban development for Asia and the Pacific
He explains, “We can’t go on when 20 percent of population uses up 80 percent of the resources. As planners we have to remember that consumption is a consequence of demand, and demand is a consequence of design.” He continues, “Much of green urbanism is common sense urbanism. It is easy to reduce the demand with good design and green urbanism has to become the norm for all urban developments.”
Lehmann’s model for green urbanism is based on three pillars: energy and materials; water and biodiversity; urban planning and transport. The premise is that an efficient interaction between the three will translate to a successful model. “Green urbanism is interdisciplinary,” Dr. Lehmann believes. “It requires the collaboration of landscape architects, engineers, urban planners, ecologists, transport planners, physicists, psychologists, economists and other specialists, in addition to architects and urban planners. Green urbanism makes every effort to minimize the use of energy, water and materials at each stage of the city’s life cycle.
Until now the global phenomenon that is widely referred to as ?land grabbing' has been generally assumed to be happening only in the Global South, and with many reports claiming that it is concentrated in Africa and that the main land grabbers are Chinese, Indian and South Korean companies as well as the Gulf States. Transnational social movement and NGO campaigns have likewise tended to accept unquestioningly this general assumption that land grabbing is a phenomenon focused on countries in the South, especially African countries. By bringing Europe's land issues into focus, the present study stands to change the way we think of contemporary land grabbing in at least three fundamental ways.
First, land grabbing is not the only important and pressing land issue in the world today; the ongoing trend of 'generic' land concentration is just as significant and problematic. Second, land concentration and land grabbing do not only occur in developing countries in the South, but are trends that are currently underway in Europe as well. Third, the study shows that people's struggles against land concentration and land grabbing are also unfolding in Europe, suggesting that a truly transnational perspective on political struggle against contemporary enclosures is certainly warranted, if not urgently needed.
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