ecotowns – small steps in the right direction and stop …

There may be one or two things as important for humanity’s future, but nothing is more important than ecocities.

a great, insight, article by Richard Register on Eco Cities, which here in the UK may give another view on eco towns, from both sides, ie both those planning and those opposing:

But what is most often missed is the design and layout of our built environment of cities, towns and villages. Could we build cities that actually enrich soils, promote biodiversity and stabilize climate while creating a more beautiful human environment than ever seen before and one harmonious with the natural world as well?

I’ve seen people move small steps in the right direction and stop, satisfied that they have arrived. They, for example, might recycle better and buy an energy saving automobile, but they still live a long way from work and their friends and drive anyway.

I’ve seen them freeze up the city, opposing any new “density” in already existing neighborhoods or resist adding diversity of services and jobs to a neighborhood, clinging to the segregating single uses of zoning that helped the car scatter the city of car dependent and cheap energy dependent distances.

and Richards conclusion:

We need to be thorough. We need to see all the parts connected and understand that to have a…

…. read the article at Eco Cities,

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an eco car for your eco home?

Dont you just love this.? The eco car to go with your eco home, if your allowed one that is.

Futurist, and Shaping Tomorrow colleague, CindyFW over in Kansas brought this to my attention through a recent twitter.

I muse: what if in 10 years or so this is the common persons car, the one we all drive, powered by human, solar and hybrid fuels, then does it really make sense to conceive, plan and create new developments, eco towns and villages that restrict even prevent car access or ownership.

Can we / do we want to restrict the use of such shiny eco friendly cars used on a community sharing basis?

I guess the question is are eco towns attempting reduce / restricting cars on an environmental, pollution, carbon issue, or on a traffic congestion issue, or both, or on an approach that hasn’t been quite thought through using possible future scenarios as yet?

UK’s first carbon neutral city

It was only a matter of time before the extension of eco homes, eco villages and eco towns was applied to eco cities in the UK, after all the rest of the world has eco-cities.

I should mention the great work being done at a community level over in Ashton Hayes – aiming to be England’s first carbon neutral village (which I believe is a great case study on Community based FM in practice)

But who would have thought Sterling would be the first city in the UK to be brave enough to go carbon neutral?

One to watch … Carbon Neutral Stirling

This raises a number of questions, mainly though, in my mind, what requirements will there be on sustainability and carbon management of construction and of facilities management of buildings in the citiy?

News from the SD research network

News from the SD research network

CABE ‘Climate Change Festival’
31st May – 8th June 2008; Birmingham
CABE is joining forces with Birmingham City Council to host the world’s first climate change festival to link climate change with urban planning and design. The Festival aims to illustrate how a successful planning response to climate change can transform the quality of life for people working and living in the city, and to stimulate fresh thinking about low carbon cities. Events will include a range of community-based projects, a green day for schools, a hothouse event for professionals working in the built environment sector, and the launch of Birmingham’s first climate change strategy and action plan to coincide with World Environment Day. It is hoped this festival will become an annual event, involving at least eight cities in 2009, and going international in 2010. More…

ASO Conference – ‘Obesity and the Built Environment’
3rd June 2008: The Kennedy Lecture Theatre, Institute of Child Health, London
This one-day conference will discuss and review the role of the physical environment in providing opportunities for, and barriers against, the adoption of healthy lifestyle choices.  more

JRF Report – ‘Regeneration in European cities: making connections’
In this report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, case studies from a range of European cities are used to explore different approaches to tackling deep-seated urban problems, such as the regeneration of run-down industrial areas.  More…

BRASS Working Paper 45 – ‘Supporting skills and knowledge to deliver sustainable communities: an exploration of the conceptual and policy context’
Written by Julie Newton, Terry Marsden, Alex Franklin and Andrea Collins
Delivering ‘sustainable communities’ is increasingly being recognised as an implicit component of the wider goal of sustainable development. However, a lack of appropriate skills or sufficient understanding of which skills are necessary has remained a significant obstacle to attaining this goal. This paper responds to a growing academic and policy interest in the role of skills in delivering sustainable communities. I Download the paper…


isite radar for 14 april

Phil has mentioned podcasts recently – just as I was to recommend the Guardian Environment Weekly podast. Listened to the last two on the car journey home last night, useful interviews with Brain Paddick and Ken Livingston. Next week plans an interview with Boris Johnson (all of whom are apparently standing for Mayor of London – or somewhere down south – on a green election !)  Also an item on Transition Towns – which Brian admits to not having heard of- and a useful round up of enviro news

Over at WorldChanging is an article on ZeroFootprint Cities – an initiative to to link the citizens of the world’s cities around software that combines an environmental footprint calculator, linked to social networking and business intelligence tools. The idea has the backing of Ken Livingston, chair of the C40 Cities Group

Also at WorldChanging: Intelligent Green Buildings Informative article  on linking intelligent buildings into a smart energy grid.

For a few days I  have been meaning to recommend heat monitors are a no brainer from Casey over at Carbonlimited.  Nice simple ideas like this are so important.

Urban revolution

Continuing the theme of Eco Cities

Jaime Lerner‘s ‘urban revolution’ successfully transformed a congested, grimy, crime-ridden city into a world-renowned model of green living and social innovation. London can do it too, reports  Tom Phillips in an excellent and inspiring article.

Jaime Lerner will be speaking in London next Monday, one of a series of Exemplar Talks at Somerset House. For details email exemplartalks@somersethouse.org.uk