city & bioregion

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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New York: bat hunting

Conditions for my talk on Monday were sub-optimal: there was a typhoon *and* a high-energy dispute between students and The New School, parts of which were occupied recently. [Fond memories: I, too, was a revolting student once; during one sit-in I became a dab hand at coooking chicken and rice in a dustbin for 200 […]

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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 […]

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Dreaming of a Paris as a sponge

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, asked 10 architects to project 20 years into the future and dream up “the world’s most sustainable post-Kyoto metropolis”. [Project for a bigger and greener Paris by French architect Roland Castro] Architects are usually only too happy to “dream”. The problems start when you ask them to get their their […]

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