city & bioregion

Off-grid water: the social dimension

Up to 1,500 litres of that water are needed to grow enough biofuels to move one car ten kilometres. 2,000 litres are needed a day to feed each one of us. It takes 140 litres of water to grow enough beans for a single cup of coffee. It sounds, and is, unsustainable. Over-exploitation impacts heavily […]

Posted in city & bioregion | Leave a comment

Unplugged, but not alone

I was snooty in suggesting, in my comment on Doug Rushkoff’s new book, that he should get out of the city more. But if I’m an armchair tree-hugger, Stephanie Smith is the real thing. Two months ago, this former architect abandoned her Los Angeles life for a new one in her shack in Joshua Tree, […]

Posted in city & bioregion | Leave a comment

My plan to save the city of Nice $250 million

This blog first proposed the replacement of trophy buildings with street art back in 2002. In a piece called “Trophy buildings are over” we argued that because they are conceived as spectacles, so-called signature architecture would be subject to the law of diminishing returns: the novelty would wear off, and buildings conceived as tourist destinations […]

Also posted in most read | Leave a comment

From mega, to micro: What You Can Do With the City

[Summer re-run; first published last year] The atmosphere at last week’s Megacities conference in Delft was subdued. I don’t suppose my own talk, which ploughed a similar path to the Debt, Diesel and Dämmerung narrative I mentioned yesterday, helped lighten the mood very much. Spirits were low because it is becoming clear that mega solutions […]

Also posted in most read | Leave a comment

Whole, whole on the range

My toughest work this year has been serving on the jury of this year’s Buckminster Fuller Challenge. Our work has been demanding because we’ve had to assess high quality entries that range from the use of social media to organize urban food systems, and transforming Chicago into a giant water treatment machine; to helping Indian […]

Also posted in food systems & design, most read | 3 Responses

Design, regions, and the two economies

The stated ambition of Cornwall, in the the far south west of England, is to become a “green peninsular”. It’s an evocative concept, but people there interpret the word “green” in different ways. For example, although Cornwall aspires to become a “knowledge economy” it is more of a tourism economy at the moment: Many of […]

Also posted in development & design | Leave a comment

Territorial development books

It has always been a point of pride at Doors of Perception events to curate the bookstore as carefully as we curate the speakers. We do this because when a conference theme cuts across disciplines – as ours do – no single bookseller is likely to know which are the best supporting titles on sustainability […]

Also posted in transition & design | Leave a comment

Spacing in

As you may have read in this month’s newsletter, I’m a new fan of Spacing. This excellent new-paradigm magazine and multi-city blog (Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Atlantic, including Halifax) features daily dispatches from the streets of these places on “just about anything that involves the public realm of our cities” Under that heading, they just posted […]

Posted in city & bioregion | Leave a comment

Cities of Design

At a conference in St Etienne next month ‘Cities of Design’ including Minneapolis, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Seoul, Portland, Eindhoven and Dortmund will all be represented. Personally I think either that all cities should be design cities – or perhaps that none should if the word denotes, as is too often the case, narcissistic urbanism. But […]

Posted in city & bioregion | Leave a comment