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Floating Ocean Greenhouses Bring Fresh Food Closer To Megacities

Floating Ocean Greenhouses Bring Fresh Food Closer To Megacities | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
A hydroponics farm that uses salty water from the ocean could help growing coastal cities feed themselves.
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How to beat libertarians on the economy

How to beat libertarians on the economy | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
While the right is united economically behind one main agenda, the left lacks such a consensus. Here's the solution
Judy Blackshear's insight:

It could be argued this essay does not really belong in this category.  But I think the goals, and possibly means, are intertwined.  At first I was thinking that I disagreed with the author on the issue of small producers.  Possibly the decline of small businesses and sole proprieters in developed worlds is part of our problem and we should get some of that back to get out of this slump.  But after finishing the essay, and thinking a bit more, I see that the goals of economic-rights progressivism, separating necessary benefits and security from the employer-employee relationship, will benefit small business and sole proprieters as well.  I would like to see us get to a time where people with skill can be proud, and succeed and live a good life, as skilled craftsmen, tradesmen, and small business owners.

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Iwan Baan: Ingenious homes in unexpected places | Video on TED.com

In the center of Caracas, Venezuela, stands the 45-story "Tower of David," an unfinished, abandoned skyscraper. But about eight years ago, people started moving in.
Judy Blackshear's insight:

There is a lot of food for thought here.  My initial thoughts are that people want to and will create homes for themselves, if allowed to.  I couldn't help thinking of the wonderful homes created in that abandoned high-rise in Caracas, and how in the US all those people would have been forcibly evicted, their belongings and hard work destroyed, and the tower would remain closed, the people homeless, or in shelters in which they are allowed no sense of ownership.  There is great dignity in creativity and ownership.  All people need are a place, autonomy, and access to resources and they will create homes and communities. 

 

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Urban Sustainability and Environmentalism | Sustainable Cities Collective

Urban Sustainability and Environmentalism | Sustainable Cities Collective | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
I teach a seminar in regional and community sustainability and, in each of the last two weeks, a student has wondered why I was including in our curriculum subjects such as home affordability and cultural preservation.
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Is the World Ready for a Radical, Low-Cost Housing Boom? | Endless Innovation | Big Think

Is the World Ready for a Radical, Low-Cost Housing Boom? | Endless Innovation | Big Think | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
The next housing boom will be far more radical than the last housing boom.
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New York's "micro-units" housing competition winners announced

New York's "micro-units" housing competition winners announced | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
nARCHITECTS wins the adAPT NYC competition to design micro-units to help solve the housing shortage in Manhattan, announced Mayor Bloomberg.
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Why Are Some States Trying to Ban LEED Green Building Standards?

Why Are Some States Trying to Ban LEED Green Building Standards? | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
As the certification grows more popular, industry opposition to it is ramping up.
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We Need to Rethink Our Definition of a 'Sustainable City'

We Need to Rethink Our Definition of a 'Sustainable City' | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
The smart growth agenda fails to account for lessons learned about green infrastructure, moderate density, and gentrification.
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Further Evidence That Road Diets Don’t Hurt Businesses | Streetsblog.net

Further Evidence That Road Diets Don’t Hurt Businesses | Streetsblog.net | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
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Rainwater-in-Context | Congress for the New Urbanism

Rainwater-in-Context | Congress for the New Urbanism | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
The Rainwater-in-Context Initiative works to institute rainwater management practices that strengthen and fully complement New Urbanism at all scales.
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Building homes that make more power than they take

Building homes that make more power than they take | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
Homes being built in this Hudson Valley cul-de-sac offer prospective buyers wooded lots, pretty views and — oh yes — the promise of thumbing your nose at the power utility.
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Towers with green walls at Gardens of Anfa by Maison Edouard François

Towers with green walls at Gardens of Anfa by Maison Edouard François | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
Vines will sprawl across four tower blocks in Casablanca by Maison Edouard François, creating a series of brightly coloured vertical gardens.
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Food Sovereignty: A Breviary | Raj Patel

I was very pleased to write this piece for The Financial Times and very pressed to condense the idea of 'food sovereignty' down to 600 words. If you'd like to
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The Really Big Fight Over Urban Farming Is Playing Out in Small Towns

The Really Big Fight Over Urban Farming Is Playing Out in Small Towns | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
San Francisco and Austin may have figured this out, but places like Muskegon, Michigan, are a better reflection of the obstacles ahead.
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'Microbial Batteries' May Soon Allow Us to Harvest Electricity From Wastewater

'Microbial Batteries' May Soon Allow Us to Harvest Electricity From Wastewater | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
Stanford scientists say they've figured out how, and now the challenge will be to make it cheaper to do on a large scale.
Judy Blackshear's insight:

Not yet ready for prime time.  But I'm looking forward to the progress in this area.

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Pasona Urban Farm by Kono Designs

Pasona Urban Farm by Kono Designs | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
Tomato vines, fruit trees and broccoli fields are part of everyday working life at the urban farm at Pasona HQ in Tokyo, Japan by Kono Designs
Judy Blackshear's insight:

This building seems guided by novel design issues more than actual sustainability, so it may or may not be a good guide.  The ideas are interesting though.  I am curious what sustainability effect it may have.  What is the air quality like in and around the building?  Are the employees in this building healthier?  Do they tend to eat healthier in the cafeteria because they helped grow the vegetables?  Are their stress levels lower than before, or when compared to comparable occupations and locations?  Does offering home-grown produce in the cafeteria reduce the total food costs to the employees or the company? How well does the amount produced in the building match up to the demands in the cafeteria?  Do they still have to buy more (either supplemental quantity - or non-local non-seasonal produce)? Is there a dedicated job or department to managing the farming inside the building? How much does that cost? If it's done by a volunteer committee instead, I wonder how long that will last. 

 

It is still nice to see something like this.  Even if it does nothing more than contribute to raising awareness of fresh food and urban farming - then it's good.

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Live Between Buildings by Mateusz Mastalski and Ole Robin Storjohann

Live Between Buildings by Mateusz Mastalski and Ole Robin Storjohann | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
Architects Mateusz Mastalski and Ole Robin Storjohann have designed a concept for narrow apartments that fill tiny gaps between existing buildings.
Judy Blackshear's insight:

These are adorable, and might be a good solution for some housing issues.  Only an affluent single person could live here - but that isn't a bad thing.  Whoever lives here would have to hire someone else to do the housekeeping - not enough room for storage of cleaning supplies, and he like.  Whoever lives here would have to socialize out often - restaurants and taverns.  Neither of those are bad things, necessarily.  I am becoming convinced that the path to sustainability involves reduced consumption of things, which would adversely effect employment (even more), but replacing it with consumption of services and entertainment.  People with incomes displaced by reduction in material consumption might manage to make a living writing, composing, housecleaning, landscape maintenance, repair services, restaurants and bars, small farming with enough to sell to neighbors.  My thoughts in this area are not complete, and their incomplete form may seem offensive.  I dont' mean it.  At the moment, I am underemployed, myself, so I do not lack understanding or compassion.  I am just trying to dive into the sustainability discussion, and employment vs. consumption is a very tough issue that has not been discussed enough (probably because it is very sensitive and difficult). 

In sum - reduced material (and fuel and water) consumption combined with increased economic inter-dependence - increased use of services provided by others.  Houses like this can play an important role in that process.

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Shigeru Ban: Emergency shelters made from paper | Video on TED.com

Long before sustainability became a buzzword, architect Shigeru Ban had begun his experiments with ecologically-sound building materials such as cardboard tubes and paper.
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Is being a smart city enough? What about being a truly intelligent community?

Is being a smart city enough? What about being a truly intelligent community? | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
Robert Bell lays out the case for intelligent communities--cities like Austin that go beyond the application of ICT for greater efficiency to using technology to improve education levels and train up their workforce for the knowledge-based digital...
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Streetmix

Design, remix, and share your neighborhood street – all in your browser! Add trees or bike paths, widen sidewalks or traffic lanes, learn how your decisions can impact your community.
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The High Cost of Free Curb and Gutter

The High Cost of Free Curb and Gutter | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
The U.S. is in need of new approaches to managing stormwater. Though the EPA has been slow to provide guidance, there's plenty that can be done now. Parking reform provides a handy model for solving seemingly intractable entitlement problems.
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How Better Urban Design Makes Us Healthier, Happier, and Sexier | Health on GOOD

How Better Urban Design Makes Us Healthier, Happier, and Sexier | Health on GOOD | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
What happens when we redesign the human habitat to take walking out of daily life? Over 35 percent of Americans are now clinically obese. That's partly because of diet, but also because we've designed our cities for cars.
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Equitable Development Toolkit - PolicyLink

Equitable Development Toolkit - PolicyLink | Sustainable Communities | Scoop.it
PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works.
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