Archive for the ‘Visions’ Category
Visions refer to ideas on how to create a sustainable future for cities around the world. Visions links in strongly with the overall Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL) project, which designs visions to change our current direction towards a more sustainable future. If you are involved with an environmental visioning project you are welcome to post information about your work on SustainableCitiesNet.com. To do so visit the â€œHow to use this siteâ€ page and follow the prompts.
AlertNet have released a special report “Hungry World“. We heard about it via Nourishing the Planet, who featured the article “Top 10 Food Trailblazers” in their newsletter recently. The report includes articles on a range of issues to be considered when we think of feeding the world in 2050, such as Africa feeding the world; Growing food in cities; Land grabbing for food security, and food commodities speculation. As well as the articles, the report also features a “package” of videos and a series of blogs. It’s all too much to try and include here, so follow the links and explore!
Posted in Visions by Kate Archdeacon on May 7th, 2012
© Drew Adams, Fadi Masoud, Karen May, Denise Pinto, Jameson Skaife
FEED TORONTO: GROWING THE HYDROFIELDS is a prize-winning design proposal by students in the Masters of Architecture and Masters of Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto, Canada.
- 2011 Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence
- Finalist, ONE PRIZE Mowing to Growing Competition, 2010
Designers: Drew Adams, Fadi Masoud, Karen May, Denise Pinto and Jameson Skaife
“The hydro corridors of Toronto are sprawling lengths of continuous, mostly vacant land. They are unusual terrain: both physically sparse but culturally intense. Stippled with electrical towers, planted in acres of mowed grass, they hold the promise of light, energy, and power. They have immense cultural equity, but with an underwhelming physical existence. Rather than pursuing the transformation of a complex network of privatized lawn landscape to create productive greenspace, this project takes on the proposition of finding the greatest and most immediate place for urban agriculture by using public lands. Growing hydro corridors can be done across North America, as they are a staple of most cities. If made into a standard this practice would not only circumvent the need for the buy-in of countless individual land owners, it would also also align the ground of the site with its significance as a place of energy production—this time through food. FeedToronto is proposed as a force of fiscal, ecological and social productivity. It re-imagines over 6,000 acres of mowed lawn as an abundant urban green that generates affordable, nutritious, local food.” From the submission
Read about the project and see more images on the Adams-Masoud site:
TED is pleased to announce the winner of the 2012 TED Prize. For the first time in the history of the prize, it is being awarded not to an individual, but to an idea. It is an idea upon which our planet’s future depends.
The City 2.0 is the city of the future… a future in which more than ten billion people on planet Earth must somehow live sustainably. The City 2.0 is not a sterile utopian dream, but a real-world upgrade tapping into humanity’s collective wisdom. The City 2.0 promotes innovation, education, culture, and economic opportunity. The City 2.0 reduces the carbon footprint of its occupants, facilitates smaller families, and eases the environmental pressure on the world’s rural areas. The City 2.0 is a place of beauty, wonder, excitement, inclusion, diversity, life. The City 2.0 is the city that works.
The TED Prize grants its winner $100,000 and “one wish to change the world.” How will this prize be accepted on behalf of the City 2.0? Through visionary individuals around the world who are advocating on its behalf. We are listening to them and giving them the opportunity to collectively craft a wish. A wish capable of igniting a massive collaborative project among the members of the global TED community, and indeed all who care about our planet’s future.
Individuals or organizations who wish to contribute their ideas to a TED Prize wish on behalf of The City 2.0 should write to firstname.lastname@example.org
The wish will be unveiled on February 29, 2012 at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California. On a Leap Year date, we have a chance, collectively, to take a giant leap forward.
Via City Harvest
Our backyards are home to a wealth of gardens and fruit trees, many of which bear more produce than the gardener can consume, or more at one time than is desired. Often people end up with piles of unwanted zucchini, plums falling off trees to rot on the ground, peas that grow old and hard before they can be picked and shelled, and other garden produce that goes to waste. At FoodPool, we see the “problem” of excess garden abundance as an opportunity! It is an opportunity to help provide those in need with fresh, ripe, homegrown produce. The only obstacle lies in linking growers with their hungry neighbors.
Our answer is FoodPooling. Our mission is to create small, local groups to gather backyard garden produce and deliver it to food banks and food pantries. These “FoodPools” are modeled on carpools – neighborhood based, easy to set up, and a big win for everyone involved! By creating numerous small, local groups, we feed our neighbors while strengthening our communities.
Through the influence of people like Michelle Obama, Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, and many others, more and more people are returning to growing fruits and vegetables in their yards. At the same time, due to a host of factors, there is an ever increasing number of Americans going hungry, eating food of questionable nutritional value, and without access to quality produce. Now more than ever there is a real need for a garden produce donation program on a national scale – hence, FoodPool.
There are already groups gleaning produce in various places – groups whose work we heartily applaud. What makes FoodPool different from existing organizations that gather and donate fruit and/or vegetables is our goal of actively building a network of new gleaning groups in places where they don’t already exist. We seek to spread the notion of assisting the hungry with backyard produce through promotion of this FoodPool “brand” on a national scale.
Find out more on the FoodPool website.
Posted in Visions by Kate Archdeacon on November 9th, 2011
„mo“ – a flexible mobility system for the city of tomorrow
mo is a new mobility system – it helps make the city a better place to live. mo subscribers can rent bikes, cargobikes, ebikes and cars or use public transportation with just one card. With mo it pays to be eco-friendly: choose an eco-friendly transport or use your own bike to collect momiles. The more momiles the lower your bill. For instance if you mostly ride bikes, renting a car gets cheaper. Cycle and save money.
About the design concept: Under the direction of Munich design agency LUNAR Europe, a “human-centred” design process has been used to develop an innovative mobility system by the name of “mo”. The concept study, developed in collaboration with environmental organisation Green City e.V. and the University of Wuppertal, is based on a flexible, affordable and sustainable combination of bike rental systems, local public transport and car sharing.
>> Read more about mo.
From “Cities rethink urban spaces with ‘pop-up’ projects” by Siri Agrell:
‘Pop-up’ urban planning gives cities the freedom to experiment with projects on a temporary basis, allowing innovative ideas a trial run without expensive commitment of taxpayer money. Cities around the world are embracing the idea, leading in many cases to permanent changes in the urban landscape.
If there is a reigning Queen of Pop-Up, it is Janette Sadik-Khan, the New York city transportation commissioner. In 2009, Ms. Sadik-Khan famously closed Times Square to traffic, transforming it into a pedestrian mall by simply throwing down some pylons and offering a smattering of lawn chairs. Although some drivers howled, Ms. Sadik-Khan was ready for the criticism, and began citing statistics she gathered by closely tracking the experiment.
The city quickly found that revenues from businesses in Times Square had risen 71 per cent, and that injuries to motorists and passengers in the project areas dropped 63 per cent. The city installed GPS units into 13,000 taxis so that the Department of Transportation could track the impact on car traffic, and found that northbound trips in the west midtown area around Times Square were actually 17 per cent faster.
The pop-up projects didn’t stop there. Ms. Sadik-Khan brought temporary public swimming pools onto Manhattan streets last summer, and, over the course of a single weekend, she turned a Brooklyn parking lot into a park by painting a white border and filling it in with green to represent grass. “It was a quick way of showing you can transform a space in a matter of hours instead of a matter of years,” she told Esquire magazine.
She performs most of her transformations without capital funds from the city, scrounging up cash and resources and avoiding actually asking permission.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration has embraced the tactic, and now uses the term “pilot project” to introduce programs into other departments, including education, making them exempt from the usual approval processes.
Read the full article by Siri Agrell for The Globe and Mail.
For an interesting follow-up, read this March piece in the NY Times, outlining the difficulties faced by the city officials mentioned above. KA
50 Ideas For The New City, from Urban Omnibus
With this poster campaign, we want to turn the language of ubiquitous marketing — in which every bus, taxi or construction barrier is a canvas for advertising anything and everything — on its head by using a similar language to share examples of creativity and innovation in the urban realm. We want to spread these ideas to the whole city. And we want to hear your new ideas too.
So starting next week, (now live!) at UrbanOmnibus.net/Ideas you will find 50 ideas for New York already explored on Urban Omnibus and a space for you to share one of your own. We hope, in some small way, we can help re-enchant the urban environment as a landscape of possibility, a realm of action and intention, and a place that represents — and deserves — a long and evolving history of creative ideas.
Read more about the posters and click through each image or blurb to find the essay that led to the idea.
The poster campaign was part of New York’s Festival of Ideas for the New City.
On May 4-8th, the Festival of Ideas for the New City brought artists, designers, politicians and community organizers to downtown Manhattan, infusing the city with a commitment to creativity and dedication to place. Through a string of lectures, panels, workshops, a street fair and over a hundred art installations and openings of cultural projects, the Festival brought to mind a sensibility which first made the neighborhood a forefront for the avant-garde. For four days, a dizzying array of visionary thinkers, makers and practitioners shared ideas and projects that might help articulate what kind of city we want, as well as some concrete examples of how to get there.
Read more about the Festival in this recap by Caitlin Blanchfield.
Posted in Visions by Kate Archdeacon on June 16th, 2011
New York Project Architect: Terreform and Michael Sorkin Studio
The exhibition Our Cities, Ourselves commissioned 10 architects to imagine how a specific area of their cities should be transformed towards 2030, when the global urban population is expected to be 60 percent. All of the renovation projects explore how cities would be if they were redesigned for people, not cars, and follow principles for sustainable mobility drafted by Jan Gehl and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Most projects seek to create more public space and introduce alternative transportation to solve pressing issues in the selected cities. Jemina Veloz, This Big City
Our Cities Ourselves shows the visions of ten of the world’s most fascinating cities from ten of the world’s leading architects. These cities have proven to be leaders in innovation in sustainable transport and are fertile ground for further transformation.
Our Cities Ourselves is a program of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. It is designed to attract interest and stimulate debate, enabling ITDP to maximize its impact in cities throughout the world. The aim is to think about what sort of cities we want to live in, the sort of street we want to walk along, and the sort of future we want for ourselves and our children. Looking ahead, how will each of us help create our cities for ourselves? The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy works with cities worldwide to bring about sustainable transport solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of urban life.
This international exhibition is currently on show in Buenos Aires. See Events page for further details.
Posted in Visions by Kate Archdeacon on February 23rd, 2011
The Victorian Eco Innovation Lab (VEIL) has launched a series of thirteen one-minute films at Federation Square, which will run within the regular content on the Big Screen over the next few months. The films are responses to some of the questions VEIL has been asking since the project started in 2007:
What could a sustainable neighbourhood in Melbourne look like? How could we transform a number of our existing urban communities through design ‘interventions’?
If we are to develop low-carbon resilient suburbs in Melbourne, we need to have some vision of what a desirable future living scenario is, and the changes we can make today to set us on a path there. The films are a glimpse of that potential future. The animated films are a culmination of four years’ worth of work by students and staff from Swinburne University, RMIT University, Monash University and the University of Melbourne, as well as from Melbourne design professionals. Each presents a different area of sustainable design innovation. These include new infrastructure schemes for water, food, energy and public transport, along with innovative design strategies for suburban development and new local employment opportunities.
The films can be seen here, on the VEIL website, or they can be downloaded from Vimeo (once you log in).
SustainableCitiesNet is a project of the Victorian Eco Innovation Lab.
Image from video ‘More people, more trees’, part funded by the International Institute for Environment and Development
More people, more trees by Camilla Toulmin
This is the name of a new video, part-funded by IIED, which shows two decades of progress in addressing soil erosion in Burkina Faso and Kenya that have significantly improved rural livelihoods and farm productivity.
Twenty years ago, we noticed that some new projects across dryland Africa were attracting a lot of interest for their positive impacts on restoring degraded soils and building more resilient cropping systems. I had recently set up the Drylands programme here at IIED, and was working in partnership with Oxfam’s then-newly established Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), led by drylands expert, Ced Hesse. We produced a video and booklet — Looking after our land — under the direction of Will Critchley from the Free University of Amsterdam. It showed the growing evidence that simple, low cost soil conservation measures can empower local farmers to restore their lands and improve the fertility of their soil.
Nearly twenty years on, Ced Hesse has been with IIED for more than 12 years and we were keen to find out whether the dryland projects had been a ‘flash in the pan’, or the foundations for a better way of managing soils and landscapes. We asked Will Critchley to go back to look at two of the six original sites from Looking after our land — one in Machakos District, Kenya and the other on the central plateau of Burkina Faso.
Sometimes you can be disappointed going back to places you knew long ago — but this time there was no need to worry. In both cases, both soils and plant cover have been clearly restored, with greater investment in trees of all sorts. By following a participatory approach, in which people learn together about better ways to care for their soils, much has been achieved. Many farmers now harvest enough grain to meet all their needs, with extra to sell.