[I’m re-publishing this story to celebrate the fact that I just got to Sao Paulo, met Adelia Borges, and discovered that the first print-run of her book has sold out in just a couple of months. Adelia explained that one of the [continue …]
As the guest last week of Zurich University of the Arts I set the following task to a group of sixteen masters students: “Create the plan for a social harvest festival that will reconnect Zurich with its natural ecosystems and grassroots social innovators.”
The idea was to demonstrate, in practice, [continue …]
How best do you help a resilient economy emerge in a region that has one foot in ancient ways and traditions – its other in the world of global universities and nuclear power?
Left: “The Hill Farmer” by Bedwyr Williams. Right: a [continue …]
“Who needs oil when you have rain?” The ad for Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s national energy company, dominates this month’s Icelandair magazine. It sits alongside other ads that feature wild spaces, rugged outdoor clothing, and all-round natural purity. The message is not disguised: Iceland is blessed by massive amounts of clean energy.
The [continue …]
If you’re in Paris before 24 July a spectacular exhibition called The Fertile City: Towards An Urban Nature is well worth a visit.
The show’s OTT poster does not over-promise. The exhibition explores nature in the city from multiple perspectives: historical, social, cultural, botanical, ecological. Two [continue …]
The skyline of Pittsburgh, once America’s Steel City, is now dominated by towers belonging to two local giants of ‘Eds & Meds’ – education, and healthcare. Does this mean the city has successfully grown itself a resilient new economy?
If architectural [continue …]
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 [continue …]
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 [continue …]
Doors of Perception helped to organize Four Days Halifax – a time-compressed mini-festival whose aim was to help the city get its hands muddy in a green economy
Our starting point in Four Days was that many elements [continue …]
Fui So means “ability to rejuvenate” in Mandarin. I learned this from Wong Lai-yin, a Chinese participant in last week’s Transition Towns event in London.
This morning I received an interesting email from Transition Towns. “We recognise that out in transition land there’s a great diversity of web tools and processes currently in use and under development” the mail begins; “some of these will be resilient and adaptable enough to support the changing needs of [continue …]
“What is a sustainable lifestyle? What will our daily lives become if we agree to change some of our routines? How do we reduce our environmental impact without lowering our living standards?” A new book, edited by Francois Jegou and Ezio Manzini (with a chapter [continue …]
The criminal over-development of the Canary Islands – and the loss of biodiversity and social capital that followed – was financed by the same banks and speculators that our governments are now trying so desperately to save.
Given the desecration of these [continue …]
An interesting event for our London readers: “No understanding between the brain and the hands” is a collaboration between Pocko photographers and illustrators. Inspired by Metropolis, the 1927 silent science fiction film, created by the famed director Fritz Lang, five photographers have collaborated with nine [continue …]
The Sugoroku project, designed by Catherine Beaugrand for the Saint Etienne Biennial, took a fresh look at ways media games might connect people with neglected assets of a city – physical, social, biological.
In recent times, media artists have expored numerous [continue …]
City Eco Lab was a two-week festival of projects that took place in November in St Etienne, France. These 50-plus projects involved productive urban gardens; low energy food storage; communal composting solutions; re-discovery of hidden rivers; neighbourhood energy dashboards; de-motorised courier services; and a [continue …]
This is what it looked like when three of the best critics in the Netherlands set out to write an online book in five days at the Venice Architecture Biennial (which was two weeks ago),
Did I say concentrated?
Inspired by the recent burning-down of the Faculty [continue …]
This two-week-long market of sustainability projects opens in 70 days from now in St Etienne, France. We have set out to design a scalable, reproducable event, at the level of a city-region, that will materially accelerate its transition to sustainability. As with Dott07 in North East England, citizen [continue …]
This was the most interesting exhibit for me at the Milan Furniture Fair. Hidden away in a small courtyard, “Aqva Garden” functions as a distributed rain collector and water storage system. Unlike conventional recycling systems, which tend to be hidden away in clunky boxes, Aqva [continue …]
Ashoka Changemakers has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to stage a competition, “How to Provide Affordable Housing”. Judges from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and the International Housing Coalition, will review entries and select finalists. A public [continue …]
Too much media coverage of architecture focuses on the banal excesses of Shanghai and Dubai. The more interesting story these days concerns marginal, residual and abandoned spaces left behind when industry disappears. A new publication, Talking Cities is all about â€œGuerilla Architectureâ€, â€œAn-Aestheticsâ€, and â€œArchitecture on the Edgeâ€™. Later [continue …]
â€œSteel City awakens a longing for for authenticity in of a world where networks and technologies are no longer palpable. Steel City is a place of physical presence, the presence of body, of the haptic, of patina and aging. Steel City can be touched and feltâ€. Thus, poetically, Professor [continue …]
Cluster is running a series of pieces on the spontaneous cities, favelas, bidonvilles and squatter cities that grow independently “creating their own networks without the help of traditional planning or design”. In the new issue Frederica Verona describes her visits to numerous dormitories, day centres, and soup kitchens in [continue …]