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Archive for May, 2009

MPs Plan to Let Artists Take Over Empty Shops to Prevent Ghost Towns

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on May 15th, 2009

This article discusses a new way of dealing with cities and sustainability – facilitating changes through creativity. Orginal article by Robert Booth published in The Guardian.

Artists take over empty shops

“Empty shops can be eyesores or crime magnets,” Blears said.” Our ideas for reviving town centres will give communities the knowhow to temporarily transform vacant premises into something innovative for the community – a social enterprise, a showroom for local artists or an information centre – and stop the high street being boarded up.

To read more of the article visit The Guardian.

How to grow your own fresh air

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on May 14th, 2009

Researcher Kamal Meattle shows how an arrangement of three common houseplants, used in specific spots in a home or office building, can result in measurably cleaner indoor air. (TED)

To watch Kamal’s talk visit Kamal Meattle: How to grow your own fresh air

An Urban Dream Farm for London?

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on May 14th, 2009

The first community project in the metropolis to recycle food wastes into energy and fertilizer by anaerobic digestion Sam Burcher.

The organic muesli producer who keeps making history.

Alex Smith has been made a London Leader of Sustainability for 2009 by the London Development Agency (LDA). This appointment by the Mayor of London’s office is a far cry from thirty years ago when Alex was a squatter and started his food company Alara with two £1 notes he found in the street. Alara now produces up to one hundred tonnes of organic muesli each week, some sixty percent of UK’s total muesli production.

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Australian Commonwealth Government’s new Jobs Fund and Community Gardens

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on May 11th, 2009

The $650 million is part of the Government’s Jobs and Training Compact.  The Jobs Fund will support and create jobs and improve skills, by funding projects that build community infrastructure and create social capital in local communities.

The Jobs Fund comprises three streams of funding:

  • $300 million Local Jobs stream to support community infrastructure projects with a focus on the promotion of environment-friendly technology and heritage
  • $ 200 million Get Communities Working stream for self-sustaining projects which create jobs and provide activities and services to improve community amenity
  • $150 million Infrastructure Employment Projects stream for investment in infrastructure projects which generate jobs in regions affected by the economic downturn

For more information visit the Australian Government – Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Build Bright Green Cities is one of the 10 Big, Really Hard Things We Can Do to Save the Planet

Posted in Movements by Devin Maeztri on May 8th, 2009

As part of this Worldchanging post is a section on sustainable cities.

Traditionally, [Earth Day] is a day devoted to making green accessible to all. It’s a day when each of us is invited to take small, individual steps toward reducing our carbon footprints, limiting our waste, or restoring the environment. See how easy it is – and how fun – to do your part to save the planet? (Worldchanging Team)

We are now an urban planet. In general, urbanization offers many benefits. But we need to design cities that allow people access to their greatest potential within a framework of sustainable prosperity. Bright green cities are designed so that residents have access to public parks, basic goods, entertainment, services and jobs within walking distance. Bright green cities include transit systems and mobility options to allow people to get from one place to another comfortably and on time without the use of a private vehicle. Bright green cities feature carbon-neutral buildings that are healthy for the people who live and work inside them. They use strategies like zero-waste plans and producer takeback laws to channel materials in closed loops.

Problems This Helps Solve: Because people who live close together use infrastructure and space much more efficiently, cities may just be our most powerful weapon against global warming. As the human population continues to grow on a planet that remains the same, our urban centers will continue to grow to accommodate those people’s needs for shelter and employment. If we design our cities well, they will become places where people can live in bright green prosperity, enjoying access to a larger number of goods and services. And with people concentrated in comfortable, happy, healthy cities, these urban centers will become incubators for the best ideas and innovations of the centuries to come.

To read more of the article visit WORLDCHANGING

New Food Policy Book: Integrating health, environment and society

Posted in Research by Devin Maeztri on May 7th, 2009

Food Policy: integrating health, environment and society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lang. T., Barling, D. & Caraher. M. (2009)

For over half a century, food policy has mapped a path for progress based upon a belief that the right mix of investment, scientific input, and human skills could unleash a surge in productive capacity which would resolve humanity’s food-related health and welfare problems. It assumed that more food would yield greater health and happiness by driving down prices, increasing availability, and feeding more mouths. In the 21st century, this policy mix is quietly becoming unstuck.

In a world marred by obesity alongside malnutrition, climate change alongside fuel and energy crises, water stress alongside more mouths to feed, and social inequalities alongside unprecedented accumulation of wealth, the old rubric of food policy needs re-evaluation. This book explores the enormity of what the new policy mix must address, taking the approach that food policy must be inextricably linked with public health, environmental damage, and social inequalities to be effective.

For more information visit Oxford University Press.

The Science and Practice of Ecology and Society Award

Posted in Events by Devin Maeztri on May 6th, 2009

The Science and Practice of Ecology and Society Award is an annual award given to the individual or organization that is the most effective in bringing transdisciplinary science of the interactions of ecology and society into practice. Examples of possible winners include a high school teacher who develops a special curriculum, a mayor with initiatives and actions for her/his town based on scientific concepts, a journalist who brings scientific insights to a broader audience, or a NGO group who facilitates local knowledge production in rural communities. Hosted by Ecology and Society.

See the articles about past winners.

The purposes of this award is to recognize the importance of practitioners who translate the scientific findings and insights of the scholarly community to practical applications. We want to identify innovative practitioners so that their story can be an example for others.

For more information, please contact: Marco Janssen: or Michelle Lee:

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Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference

Posted in Events by Devin Maeztri on May 5th, 2009

What: The 3rd annual Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference
When: November 15-18th, 2009
Where: Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, D.C
Behaviour, Energy and Climate Change
2009 BECC Conference Convening Organizations:
Stanford University’s Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC)
The California Institute for Energy and Environment (University of California) (CIEE), and
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
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An Effort to Save Flint, Mich., by Shrinking It

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on May 4th, 2009

This article discusses a new way of dealing with cities and sustainability – planned shrinkage. Orginal article by David Streitfeld published in The New York Times.

Shrinking Flint, Mich.

“Planned shrinkage became a workable concept in Michigan a few years ago, when the state changed its laws regarding properties foreclosed for delinquent taxes. Before, these buildings and land tended to become mired in legal limbo, contributing to blight. Now they quickly become the domain of county land banks, giving communities a powerful tool for change.”

To read more of the article visit The New York Times

What sustainability should look like in Valley by 2025

Posted in Visions by Devin Maeztri on May 1st, 2009

“With visionary planning, we created a practical oasis” – original article by Rob Melnick posted in The Arizona Republic.

Cities would need innovative regional sustainability plans and would have to create economies of scale when purchasing sustainable technologies for public benefit, such as solar-energy products.”

Rob Melnick is executive dean, Global Institute of Sustainability, and Presidential Professor of Practice, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University

To read more of the article visit The Arizona Republic