Archive for January, 2008

Comment – Problems with cars….

Posted in Models, Movements, Research by fedwards on January 31st, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #44, 30 January 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar, This newsletter provides an excellent commentary on sustainable transport issues in cities around the world.

Problems with Cars

“The explosive growth in the number of motor vehicles in Chinese cities had caused severe traffic jams and posed a grave challenge to the country’s energy security and urban development, Xinhua quoted Vice Minister Qiu as saying. Qiu lamented that some Chinese cities were cutting back on bicycle lanes to make more room for cars, even as some Western cities were building more lanes for cyclists. He said his ministry firmly opposed the practice and ordered cities to restore the lanes. The number of motor vehicles on China’s roads had risen 20 fold between 1978 and 2004, Qiu said, adding that car numbers could increase another five fold by 2020. In 2004, China had 27 million motor vehicles, and that number could reach 130 million in 15 years, he said….China expects to put another 6 million cars on the road in 2006. It is estimated that in Beijing alone, 1,000 extra cars are added to the city’s clogged roads each day.”
Ref: Reuters, The Age 15/6/06

“The number of cars on the roads in India’s capital, New Delhi, increases by close to 1000 every day, the Chicago Tribune reports. An anti-pollution campaign established in 2002, which encouraged the use of compressed natural gas over other fuels, reduced the city’s particulate levels by 20% in just three years, but pollution started to rise again last year, reflected in a 15% surge in asthma cases being reported in the city’s hospitals this year. Pollution is set to worsen next year when budget cars costing about $2250 hit the market, ‘putting an automobile within the reach of millions more Indians.
Ref: SMH 21/11/07

'Used Cars' by Texas Finn

Resource – The winners of the Metropolis’ “5 Sustainable Species” competition

Posted in Research, Visions by fedwards on January 29th, 2008

The January Metropolis Magazine recently had an article (see discussing the outcomes of the “5 Sustainable Species” 2007 IIDA/Metropolis Smart Environments award. The five spaces from the competition represent such diverse interests as the U.S. government, a condo developer, a viticulturist, a non profit and a nature preserve. Students’ sustainable design solutions to these scenarios can be viewed on the Metropolis Magazine website at Have a good look around while you’re at their site – they have a great range of innovative sustainable design solutions!

Resource – The New State of the World 2008 Report from the WorldWatch Institute

Posted in Models, Movements, Research by fedwards on January 25th, 2008

The WorldWatch Institute has recently released their new State of the World Report 2008 with the subheading “Innovations for a Sustainable Economy“. According to the review on the WorldWatch Institute website (, this report highlights “an array of economic innovations that offer new opportunities for long-term prosperity. For example:

In 2006, an estimated $52 billion was invested in wind power, biofuels, and other renewable energy sources, up 33 percent from 2005. Preliminary estimates indicate that the figure soared as high as $66 billion in 2007. Carbon trading is growing even more explosively, reaching an estimated $30 billion in 2006, nearly triple the amount traded in 2005.”

To find out more about this relevant document visit

State of the World

Event – Australian Permaculture Convergence 9 – 20 – 25 March, NSW, Australia

Posted in Events, Models, Movements, Research, Visions by fedwards on January 23rd, 2008

Please find information and links below for the upcoming Australian Permaculture Convergence 9.

Presented by Permaculture North


As Permaculture reaches its 30th birthday…lets converge at Glengarry Training Centre, North Turramurra, north west Sydney.

When… Easter weekend – March 20th to 25th 2008
How to register now and save…
* Download a pdf registration form and full details now at…

Focus for the convergence…
* two-day public forum
* two-day Permaculture Convergence with a full program of:
– speakers
– workshops,
– followed by tours.

Find out about…
* transport
* accommodation
* catering
* Permakids program.

Need more information?
* Contact the Robyn Williamson, APC9 Secretariat, info

Who do we thank…
* Permaculture North Inc will host the event
* Sponsors for the event are local ethical businesses

Australian Permaculture Convergence

Resource – The second issue of the International Journal of the Commons is now online

Posted in Research by fedwards on January 22nd, 2008

Find below notification of the International Journal of the Commons. This journal appears to be related/ inline with global cities concerns. Read on for more information.

The second issue of the International Journal of the Commons is now online. This issue, guest-edited by Fikret Berkes, considers a variety of conceptual perspectives and lessons from cases to deal with the problems of a globalized, multi-level world. It aims to contribute to extending and elaborating commons theory; understanding the issue of scale and institutional linkages; and understanding multi-level governance of a commons with state, private and civil society actors. The issue is largely based on papers presented at the 2006 Biennial Conference of IASC in Bali, Indonesia.

Papers investigate partnerships, networks, and cross-scale institutional linkages in commons management, using a grassroots perspective, while taking into account multi-level governance. The issue includes both conceptual and case study papers (and those combining the two), providing examples from a range of geographical areas and resource
types, and using interdisciplinary perspectives, in keeping with IASC ideals.

(Co-)Authors of this second issue are: Fikret Berkes, Derek Armitage, Lars Gunnar Carlsson, Annica Charlotte Sandström, Martha Dowlsey, Graham Marshall, Cristiana Simão Seixas, Brain Davy, Louis Lebel, Rajesh Daniel, Nathan Badenoch, Po Garden and Masao Imamura.

All articles can now be downloaded from the website:!

Deserts sprouting green cities….

Posted in Models, Research, Visions by fedwards on January 22nd, 2008

Find below an abstract from the article, “UAE About to Start Building Green City in Desert” by Simon Webb posted on The story describes how a new green city is being built from scratch in United Arab Emirates. Read on for more details.

UAE About to Start Building Green City in Desert
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: January 18, 2008
DUBAI – The United Arab Emirates plans to start building a multi-billion-dollar green city in the desert in the first quarter of this year, as the oil producer looks to become a pioneer of alternative energy.

The zero-carbon, zero waste city — actually a town of up to 15,000 residents — is being steered by Masdar, an initiative set up by the Abu Dhabi government to develop sustainable and clean energy. It is one of a string of projects that the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter is eyeing as it looks to reduce some the world’s highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions, Masdar’s Chief Executive Sultan al-Jaber told Reuters.

“We will break ground on the city in the first quarter,” Jaber said.

Taking old cities from the Arab world as inspiration, the plans show narrow streets, squat buildings and no cars. Solar panels will act as awnings to shelter pedestrians from the sun.

For the full story visit


Sustainable Cities – Welcome to Sustainable Silicon Valley!

Posted in Models, Visions by fedwards on January 21st, 2008

Below is the description of the new website on our Sustainable Cities website list: Sustainable Silicon Valley. To visit their site go to

Sustainable Silicon Valley (SSV) is a collaboration of businesses, governments, and non-governmental organizations that are identifying and addressing environmental and resource pressures in the Valley.

As its first initiative, SSV is engaging prominent Valley organizations to work towards a goal of reducing regional carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 20% below 1990 levels by 2010. These are the SSV Partners.

The SSV approach to reaching this goal is to facilitate strategies to reduce CO2 emissions through increased energy and fuel efficiency and through the use of renewable sources of energy.

Vision: A thriving Silicon Valley with a healthy environment, a vibrant economy and a socially equitable community.

Mission: To work with the Silicon Valley community to create a more sustainable future using an Environmental Management System.

To visit the Sustainable Silicon Valley website go to

Cities meet the forest….

Posted in Uncategorized by fedwards on January 20th, 2008

As the focus on the SustainableCitiesNet site is urban-based – and there are so many issues involved in this! – I often don’t get an opportunity to discuss more rural issues, such as forestry. However, the article below, “Ocean City, New Jersey Cancels Order for Rainforest, Destruction to Fix Their Boardwalk” posted on The Rainforest Portal website, brings the issue of rainforest destruction within the grasp of city consumption. Find an abstract below. To read the entire article visit

Ocean City, New Jersey Cancels Order for Rainforest Destruction to Fix Their Boardwalk

Victory for those working to end ancient rainforest logging, and a defeat for supporters of forest certification greenwashing, as an important precedent is set
January 18, 2008
By Ecological Internet, Contact: Dr. Glen Barry, +1 (920) 776-1075, glenbarry

(Ocean City, New Jersey) — The city council of Ocean City voted last night 6-0 to cancel a $1.1 million purchase of timber originating in ancient rainforests. The timber was to be used to patch a one block stretch of Atlantic boardwalk. The purchase provoked outrage as it went against a ten-year old pledge by the council to not use rainforest timbers.

The mayor and others argued Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification ensured sustainability. Estimates are over 60% of FSC timber comes from first time logging of ancient forests, with claims only it is “well-managed”. Such misleading statements setup a showdown with local group “Friends of the Rain Forest” and led them to a year of protest with support from Ecological Internet (EI) and others.

To read the entire article visit

Welcome to BREAZE – the Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions Inc.

Posted in Visions by fedwards on January 18th, 2008

Recently added to the list of Sustainable Cities websites was BREAZE – the Ballarat Renewable Energy And Zero Emissions inc. Based in Ballarat, Victoria, BREAZE is a locally formed group of energetic, forward thinking people who believe that there are more sustainable ways of living on our patch of the planet. If you are concerned about climate change and want to actively reduce greenhouse emissions in Ballarat, then JOIN US! Get involved, contribute ideas, show your support. Together, we can make a difference.


Breeze: Signing the Banner at the Walk Against Warming

Sustainable Cities – Update from the Greensbury Green Town website

Posted in Events, Models by fedwards on January 16th, 2008

The post below is taken from the Greensbury Green Town website at

What is Happening (14 entries)
* City of Greensburg buildings go LEED Platinum
* Lt. Gov. attends Scholfield Honda presentation of natural gas car to GreenTown and City
* Commercial and Residential Building Highlights
* Local builders attend seminar on energy efficient design
* NREL/DOE contractors are here with free consulting on your rebuild
* Recycling the damaged trees in Greensburg
* Update on the Model Home from Mother Earth-Natural Home
* Model Homes Project Launched
* GreenTown secures commitment for Resource Center!
* Great news on myths of the building costs of going green…
* Dwane Shank Motors and GM working to build a model green car dealership building in Greensburg.
* Kwikshop/Dillons enthusiastic about rebuilding green
* County Courthouse, the greenest historic building in America?
* A Generous Donation of Water-Saving Toilets

For more details visit