But there’s a problem. We have fractured these urban networks, and rebuilt much more dispersed, “dendritic” systems, connected not by pedestrians, but by automobiles, dispersed suburban campuses and parks, and single-family monocultures, supplemented by telephones and now, computers. The majority of us lives in encapsulated houses, in encapsulated neighborhoods, and travel in encapsulated cars to encapsulated work places, stores and other destinations. - Michael Mehaffy
The Harvard Graduate School of Design released its Ecological Urbanism app last month. The interactive app adapts content from the GSD book of the same name, which explores how designers can unite urbanism with environmentalism.
Combining data from around the world, the app “reveals and locates current practices, emerging trends, and opportunities for new initiatives” in regard to the future of cities.
A collaboration between the school and Second Story Interactive Studios,the app stems from the GSD’s Ecological Urbanism conference and dovetails with the duo’s ongoing efforts to explore sustainability in our cities of the future.
More than 100 participating architects and designers have provided content for the project, including such heavyweights as OMA, Rem Koolhaas, Kara Oehler, and Stefano Boeri. And the ever-evolving app allows designers and academics to add research and project updates as they happen...
Farm Hack is a farmer-driven community to develop, document and build tools for resilient agriculture.
We accelerate this process by connecting farmers with other farmers, engineers, designers, architects and other allies through in-person events on farms, at institutions, or in grange halls, and through an online forum.
Edited by Harald Bauder and Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro, "Critical Geographies" introduces students, scholars and activists to wide-ranging approaches, topics and theories associated with critical geographical scholarship. A selection of thirty-six chapters of previously published work, spanning over 150 years, is organized into four thematic sections with editorial introductions, addressing the themes of critical reflection within academic geography, theorizing the relationship between space and society, outlining geographical approaches towards human-environment relations, and a critical view on representing Earth.
Organic crop systems can provide similar yields and much higher economic returns than a conventional corn-soybean rotation, according to thirteen years of data from a side-by-side comparison at Iowa State University’s Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm.
Yale Environment 360: From paying for the Catskill forests so they can filter water to building rain gardens to slow run-off, 'green infrastructure' is in demand from Seattle to Sweden...
In Puget Sound, one of America's great estuaries, killer whales, seals, and schools of salmon swim not far from more than 3 million people who live in the Seattle region. The presence of such impressive marine life, however, belies the fact that the sound is seriously polluted.
When it rains, storm water washes into the same system of underground pipes that carries the region's sewage, and 1 billion gallons a year overflow into the sound when area sewer systems contain more water than can be treated. In addition, motor oil, lawn chemicals, PCBs, heavy metals, pet waste, and many other substances run unabated into the sound, both through the storm water pipes and from roads and other shoreline structures. "The biggest threat to Puget Sound is non-point sources [of pollution]," says Nancy Ahern, Seattle Public Utilities deputy director. ...
importance of climatically supportive and stimulating outdoor spaces but also the need for new forms Keywords: climate, comfort, public spaces, urban life, outdoor environment PDF format /download/13_keyword-urban-outdoor-thermal-environment/climate-and-the-use-of-urban-public-spaces.pdf...
In an extract from his forthcoming book Food Wars, Walden Bello critiques the orthodox views of economist Paul Collier on the global food price crisis. Collier argues that not enough food was produced to meet increased demand from Asia, thanks to a failure to promote commercial farming in Africa, the European Union ban against GMOs and the diversion of American grain to biofuels production. Bello counters that a globalised system of production has 'created severe strains on the environment', 'marginalised large numbers of people from the market, and contributed to greater poverty and greater income disparities within countries and globally'. Defenders of peasant agriculture, says Bello, blame 'capitalist industrial agriculture, with its wrenching destabilisation and transformation of land, nature, and social relations' for today’s food crises, with 'rates of profit determining where investment will be allocated' rather than the desire to satisfy 'the real needs of the global majority'.
There are currently 1 billion people in the world today who are hungry. There's also another billion people who over eat unhealthy foods.
Food production around the world today is mostly done through industrial agriculture, and by judging current issues with obesity, worldwide food shortages, and the destruction of soil, it may not be the best process. We need to be able to feed our world without destroying it, and finding a more sustainable approach to accomplishing that is becoming more important.
The current system contributes to 1/3 of global emissions, is a polluter of our world’s water resources, and is a contributor to health problems. Industrial agriculture relies on mass produced, mechanized labor-saving policies that have pushed people out of rural areas and into cities, consolidating land and resources into fewer hands.
Agroecology looks to reduces agriculture’s impact on climate by working within natural systems. This is especially beneficial in rural areas, because the local community a major part of the growing process. The approach can conserve and protect soil and water — through terracing, contour farming, intercropping, and agroforestry — especially beneficial in areas where farmers lack modern irrigation infrastructure, or have farms situated on hillsides and other difficult farming sites...
"Edible Infrastructures is an investigation into an urbanism which considers food as an integral part of a city's metabolic infrastructure. Working with algorithms as design tools, we explore the generative potential of this system to create an urban ecology that: provides for its residents via local, multi-scalar, distributed food production, reconnects the traditional waste-nutrient cycle, and de-couples food costs from fossil fuels. Our research is conducted through the building of algorithms, beginning with a Settlement Simulation, which couples consumers to productive area, within a cellular automata computational model. Through analysis and interpretation of the output, we explore the hierarchical components for a new Productive City, including: structure & programming of the urban circulatory network, productive urban blocks, & new architectural typologies. The resulting prototypical Productive City questions the underlying mechanisms that shape modern urban space." DARRICK BOROWSKI, JEROEN JANSSEN & NICOLETTA POULIMENI
We need to find new ways of talking about our shared challenges and visions of what a ‘good’ result of ‘sustainable’ development are. Sustainability, like everything else in this modern age that has purchase, has been abstracted and productized to become data sets of carbon counts and LEED standards – as a kind of industrial conservation exercise – that will respond to some greenwash and re-branding. Cities themselves are not broken. The concrete and brick and steel are not accountable for our damaging environmental practices – yet we find a way to absolve ourselves of the consequences of our choices by blaming their material properties. In my view, the term ‘sustainability’ indicates the need for a systemic change in thinking and these dialogues need to be kept alive across generations.
A group of urban agriculturists hope to put Rotterdam on track as a healthy, green, and delicious city. Selected by the Stadsinitiatieven (City Initiatives), the group has proposed to build a giant greenhouse in the area next to the opening of a train tunnel, a space that has been difficult to maintain environmentally and financially.
The greenhouse would grow organic produce, herbs, and flowers for markets and the designers of the greenhouse are aiming to transform this building into a new icon for the city.