Posts Tagged ‘cities’

FARM:Shop – Growing Food in a London Shop

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on July 18th, 2011

From “Urban Farm in a Shop” on Urban Gardens:

FARM:shop is a workspace, cafe, and events venue packed to the rafters with living and breathing food–literally a farm in a shop. Asking themselves “how much food can we grow in a shop?” FARM:shop opened its doors in March and aspires to become the meeting place of choice for London’s food lovers and urban farmers, as well as a special place to rest one’s feet, have a coffee, and smell the countryside without ever leaving the city. Busy growing their idea, FARM:shop folks have filled the old space with a mini fish farm, vegetable garden, and are raising chickens and livestock.

The first FARM:shop, in Dalston, is the start of [a planned network of shops and grow sites across the UK.]

FARM:shop aims to:

  • Excite and inspire city dwellers to grow their own food, fabric and medicine and make an income doing this.
  • Create direct links between farms in the countryside with urban communities
  • Grow food commercially via a network of FARM:’s across cities and retail this food at FARM:shops
Read the full article on Urban Gardens

 


Making Cities Flow: Integration & Infrastructure

Posted in Models, Opinion, Research by Kate Archdeacon on March 3rd, 2011

Source: Forum for the Future


Image: fsse8info via flickr CC

From “How to make a city flow” by Matt Kaplan & Anna Simpson:

Cities never really sleep. Even in the small hours, before commuters surge from their homes onto the roads, the things they need for the day ahead are travelling to and fro: groceries from the countryside; water down the pipes; electrons through cables; news down the wire.

In many cities, all this ebb and flow is like a relay race without proper teams: there’s no real coordination, and so the baton keeps falling between the runners. The people responsible for public transport don’t speak to the ones distributing the food; the energy providers don’t communicate with the information experts. Delivery vans make a one-way trip and come back empty; leftovers from the canteen travel, at best, to composting sites, and at worst, to landfill – while fresh and processed food is brought in from far away.

The daily frustrations of city dwellers asides, this failure to think and plan across different sectors means we waste everything from energy, food and water, to money, time and space – all critical resources that no city with a burgeoning population has to spare. By 2040, two in every three people on the planet will be living in urban areas, and providing them all with the bare necessities – never mind a seat on the bus – will be a huge challenge.

It may seem a way off yet, but less than 30 years isn’t much time in which to make major changes to infrastructure that – in some of the bigger cities – has been around for centuries. Where do we start, and whose job is it anyway? In an effort to help get things started, Forum for the Future has launched ‘Megacities on the Move‘, a new initiative in partnership with the FIA Foundation, Vodafone and EMBARQ (the sustainable transport centre). It’s set out six key priorities for action to ensure the smoothest flow of people and resources.

[…]

Read the rest of the article by Matt Kaplan & Anna Simpson – the section reproduced here is less than a quarter of it!

 


Dispersed Cities Vs MegaCities

Posted in Opinion by Kate Archdeacon on February 7th, 2011

Via Trendwatching


Image of Mumbai by Abhisek Sarda via flickr CC

As unfashionable as it might sound, what if we thought less about the benefits of urban density and more about the many possibilities for proliferating more human-scaled urban centers; what if healthy growth turns out to be best achieved through dispersion, not concentration?

Foreign Policy article Urban Legends: Why suburbs, not cities, are the answer by Joel Kotkin:

The human world is fast becoming an urban world — and according to many, the faster that happens and the bigger the cities get, the better off we all will be. The old suburban model, with families enjoying their own space in detached houses, is increasingly behind us; we’re heading toward heavier reliance on public transit, greater density, and far less personal space. Global cities, even colossal ones like Mumbai and Mexico City, represent our cosmopolitan future, we’re now told; they will be nerve centers of international commerce and technological innovation just like the great metropolises of the past — only with the Internet and smart phones.

It’s far less clear whether the extreme centralization and concentration advocated by these new urban utopians is inevitable — and it’s not at all clear that it’s desirable.

Not all Global Cities are created equal. We can hope the developing-world metropolises of the future will look a lot like the developed-world cities of today, just much, much larger — but that’s not likely to be the case. Today’s Third World megacities face basic challenges in feeding their people, getting them to and from work, and maintaining a minimum level of health. In some, like Mumbai, life expectancy is now at least seven years less than the country as a whole. And many of the world’s largest advanced cities are nestled in relatively declining economies — London, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo. All suffer growing income inequality and outward migration of middle-class families. Even in the best of circumstances, the new age of the megacity might well be an era of unparalleled human congestion and gross inequality.

Perhaps we need to consider another approach. As unfashionable as it might sound, what if we thought less about the benefits of urban density and more about the many possibilities for proliferating more human-scaled urban centers; what if healthy growth turns out to be best achieved through dispersion, not concentration? Instead of overcrowded cities rimmed by hellish new slums, imagine a world filled with vibrant smaller cities, suburbs, and towns: Which do you think is likelier to produce a higher quality of life, a cleaner environment, and a lifestyle conducive to creative thinking?

So how do we get there? First, we need to dismantle some common urban legends.

[…]

Read the rest of this article by Joel Kotkin on the Foreign Policy site for some interesting points about future suburbs (clusters of services in the places people live) and some eye-candy (if you like cities, which I do).


High-Speed Rail: A Catalyst for Sustainable City Development

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on February 2nd, 2011

Source: Going Solar Transport Newsletter


Image: paularps via flickr CC

From A Track Record of Success High-Speed Rail Around the World and Its Promise for America by the US PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund:
As America moves toward construction of new high-speed rail networks in regions throughout the country, we have much to learn from experiences abroad. High-speed rail lines have operated for more than 45 years in Japan and for three decades in Europe, providing a wealth of information about what the United States can expect from high-speed rail and how we can receive the greatest possible benefits from our investment. Indeed, the experience of high-speed rail lines abroad, as well as America’s limited experience with high-speed rail on the East Coast, suggests that the United States can expect great benefits from investing in a high-speed passenger rail system, particularly if it makes steady commitments to rail improvements and designs the system wisely.

High-speed rail systems in other nations have been able to dramatically reduce the volume of short-haul flights between nearby cities and significantly reduce inter-city car travel. In the United States, similar shifts would ease congestion in the skies and offer alternatives to congested highways, reducing the need for expensive new investments in highways and airports. Short-haul plane trips are the least efficient in terms of time and fuel, and replacing those trips allows air travel to be more efficient and focused on long-haul trips. High-speed rail service has almost completely replaced short-haul air service on several corridors in Europe, such as between Paris and Lyon, France, and between Cologne and Frankfurt, Germany.

  • The number of air passengers between London and Paris has been cut in half since high-speed rail service was initiated between the two cities through the Channel Tunnel.
  • In Spain, high-speed rail service between Madrid and Seville reduced the share of travel by car between the two cities from 60 percent to 34 percent. The recent launch of high-speed rail service between Madrid and Barcelona has cut air travel on what was once one of the world’s busiest passenger air routes by one-third.
  • Even in the northeastern United States, where Amtrak Acela Express A Track Record of Success service is slow by international standards, rail service accounts for 65 percent of the air/rail market on trips between New York and Washington, D.C., and 52 percent of the air/rail market on trips between Boston and New York.

Read the rest of this entry »


2011 Brisbane Ideas Competition

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on December 7th, 2010

Source: Contour Newsletter

“What is missing from Brisbane?”
“What does Brisbane need for the future?”

By proposing these intentionally broad and ambiguous questions we hope to encourage debate and discussion across a wide fields about the future of our city. As a practice of ethical professionals who understand and appreciate our responsibility to the future generations who occupy our city, we hope the inaugural Brisbane Ideas competition will facilitate debate, discussion and discovery.

It is the hope that the broad entry requirements will solicit entries across a wide range of disciplines, from Architecture, Art, Science, Urban Design, Engineering among others. While we expect a wide range of entries, please ensure they are all graphically represented and meet the submission requirements. We would encourage entries from the large urban scale through to the bespoke artefact.

The final outcome of the competition will be a series of exhibitions throughout the city, opening with a one month exhibition of the grand prize winner and the honourable mentions. Held in a public venue in the heart of the central business district, adjacent to the government precinct of the city.  It is through this wide and continued exposure that the the competition will encourage discussion and debate about the proposals and the future of our city. Finally this is expected to be a fun competition.

Deadlines:
Registration – 3 January 2011
Stage 1 Submissions – 10 January 2011

Visit the competition website for more information, including prizes and how to enter. (http://competition.heise.com.au/)


Sustainable Cities: Challenges for the Asia Pacific – Series podcast from ABC.net.au

Posted in Opinion, Research, Sustainable Cities by Rob Eales on November 16th, 2010

This series of podcasts from 2008 from ABC Radio, Radio Australia.  It discusses the challenges of cities in the Asia Pacific region with a broad range of local and regional participants.  It discusses transport, infrastructure and livability along with community and identity, how they are defined, exist, can be planned for as well as how they affect the fabric of cities.

It is still current and thought provoking, with the local participants providing a broad range of technical, historical and cultural viewpoints from across the region.

http://www.abc.net.au/ra/podcast/cities/podcast.xml


Urban Agriculture: Underused Spaces

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on October 14th, 2010

Source: The Ecologist


© tokyo green space

From “How to grow food in strange places – by the experts” by Helen Babbs:

You don’t need a garden to grow your own fruit and veg. If you’re a budding horticulturalist with no space to swing a trowel, here are some creative – and sometimes bizarre – ideas from around the world

Mushrooms in disused railway tunnels and strawberries in drainpipes… perhaps it’s silly but I find food growing in strange places both bizarre and romantic. Horticulture can be so creative. It can involve melons growing on net curtains and rice growing on pavements. Introduce an against-the-odds element – like doing it in Tokyo, that seething, steely metropolis – and it’s somehow all the more exciting.

My love of the bizarre and the romantic – and of vegetables – has led me on a journey, albeit it an armchair one. I’ve found people growing food in some unlikely places, for fun and from necessity, and on a personal and a commercial scale.

Rowena and Philip Mansfield farm fruit, herbs and fish in Anglesey, North Wales. I was drawn to this Welsh couple, who have swapped urban life for something very rural, because they’ve been growing strawberries in a drainpipe.

From sections of humble pipe, and employing less humble hydroponics, they’ve harvested 75lb of berries. They’re dismissive of my delight. ‘Nothing original about drainpipes,’ says Philip. ‘We look at all pipes and see them sprouting food. Just pass water along the tube and let the plant roots touch the liquid – they’ll take up whatever nutrients they need.’

[…]

Read the full article by Helen Babbs for more on urban food-growing (and some inspiration)!



Real-Time Informatics for a “New Soft City”

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on June 21st, 2010

Source: The City Fix


Image from New Soft City – Keynote presentation by Dan Hill

From “Real-Time Informatics for a “New Soft City” ” by Erica Schlaikjer

What if cities could talk? Or transit systems could tell you how they’re feeling?  Sounds crazy, but it’s not that far-fetched. “Urban informatics” could change the way people understand and interact with cities, says Dan Hill, a designer, urbanist and senior consultant at Arup in Sydney. He explains the idea of projecting real-time data onto the physical environment of a city, such as a lamppost or observation tower, in order to enliven public space, improve the mass transit experience, and transform the way citizens relate to their urban surroundings. Data, which exist all around us, would be accessible to everyone, rather than contained on a mobile device, such as an iPhone or laptop.

Just imagine if you could use light projections, e-ink, or LEDs to display a “smart meter” of energy consumption on the outside of your home. What would change? Research shows that friendly neighborhood competition can actually breed energy-saving behavior.

Likewise, imagine if cities provided free wireless Internet connectivity outdoors and in other civic spaces, like atriums, libraries and shopping malls, to encourage people to spend time socializing outside of their personal bubble at work or at home. They would literally interact with the city. Public spaces could become friendlier, safer, cleaner and more attractive. It could improve people’s health and well-being. Read the rest of this entry »


Future Everything Conference: Keynote Addresses

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on June 12th, 2010

Source: Experientia

From Design Everything, a futures conference by Mark Vanderbeeken:

I finally had a chance to listen to the two excellent keynotes of Design [Future] Everything, the futures conference that took place last month in Manchester, UK.

Keynote: Ben Cerveny

Ben Cerveny’s keynote explored how, as newly-emerging urban-scale technology infrastructures are implemented, citizens will begin to gain the ability to affect their environment in new ways, using city services the way they would use a digital application in an online environment. Through collaborative interaction with such tools, users of public spaces can configure them for specific temporary functions and even begin to ‘perform’ space together.”

Keynote: Keri Facer

In her keynote, Keri Facer explored the scenarios emerging from the Beyond Current Horizons programme and ask how, as a society, we can learn together as communities to respond to the profound environmental, demographic and technological opportunities challenges we face over the coming two decades.



Visioning the City: FutureEverything Conference Panel

Posted in Events by Rob Eales on April 20th, 2010

If we could co-create the city we wanted, what would it look like? The Visioning the City panel will explore our collective dreams of urban utopia as well as addressing practical plans to understand and improve city life.

FutureEverything is an award winning, world class organisation using mass participation in creativity and social innovation to bring the future into the present. It has a strong global network and international profile, and is recognised around the world for leading pioneering projects and important international debates. The organisation delivers a range of benefits, including mass engagement, awards, international networks, local advocacy, training and thought leadership, on themes including innovation, technology, art, society and the environment. It is embedded in business support networks, and is central to the innovation ecology in the UK.

The Future Everything Conference is a desination for a world-wide community of inspirational people; an engaging, entertaining and essential event to attend. Exploring the interface between technology, society and culture, the internationally acclaimed FutureEverything Conference is the crucible that allows artists, technologists and future-thinkers to share, innovate and interact. Keynote speakers include Keri Facer, Dame Wendy Hall, Ben Cerveny, Nigel Shadbolt and Darren Wershler.

Taking place at Contact on Oxford Road, Manchester, 13 – 15 May 2010