Image: Detroit, Michigan is a city in transition. With the car industry gone it will soon host the world’s biggest urban farm. (HantzGroup)
Urban Renewal normally means more buildings not less. This story is about a form of renewal in urban areas that replaces brown bricks with green fields.
Given that many of our urban settlements have been developed on once arable land, is restoration of some of that land to food production the way of the future? Continue reading
This story is a follow on from the British Standard Fire Test of an earlier post. It is the story of how an attempt to be innovative with design in the aftermath of a major natural disaster foundered on the rocks of tick-box regulation.
Satellite image of Chelmer on the Brisbane River in January 2011. Source; ABC/Nearmap.
Whilst working as an architect in London in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s I encountered what has become my template for inflexible regulations that stifle innovation. An encounter with the British Standard Fire Test is now my metaphor for the architect’s equivalent of a Catch-22 situation – thank you Joseph Heller!
Calm solar cycle prompts questions about impact on Earth
First seen (by me) on the New Zealand Herald site.
Originally reported by Jean-Louis Santini (AFP)
Washington — The surface of the sun has been surprisingly calm of late — with fewer sunspots than anytime in in the last century — prompting curious scientists to wonder just what it might mean here on Earth.
via AFP: Calm solar cycle prompts questions about impact on Earth.
The question that exercises my mind now is what this means for the global warming debate. Continue reading
Posted in Thoughts, ideas, musing
Tagged Australia, Blue Economy, climate, climate change, economy, Greg Craven, Gunter Pauli, positive development, resilience
I recently had the privilege to spend some time working with the people of Gunbalanya, a small community in West Arnhem Land, part of the ‘great top end’ of Australia. Whilst there I was taken on a tour of the ancient rock art galleries of Injalak Hill.
This is a brief visual diary of that experience:
Injalak Hill from Gunbalanya
Into the wild… wet season buffalo grass grows to over 8 feet and is razor sharp
Pausing for breath and breathtaking views across the flood plain
Viewing the gallery as it has been for thousands of years – no walkways, barricades or interpretive signs
Up close and personal Gary Djorlam shares some of the stories and explains the meaning of the paintings
Rock polished by human contact over the millennia and an ochre grinding bowl carved by stone tools
X-ray style painting – a Barramundi is good eating
Digging for bush tucker
Gunbalanya viewed from Injalak Hill
Find out more about tours and local art at: http://www.injalak.com/
Victor Harbor South Australia
I’ve been inspired recently by genuine grass-roots community initiatives to regain control of their energy security as a buffer against increasing costs and supply disruptions through investment in cooperative style renewable energy. The City of Victor Harbor in South Australia in particular has made an impressive start – more below, but first some background.
Posted in Thoughts, ideas, musing
Tagged Australia, carbon trading, climate, economy, energy, environment, greenhouse gas emissions, innovation, Magnetic Island, renewable energy, resilience, Solar Cities, sustainability, Victor Harbor
There is a lot to think about when trying to live a low-impact lifestyle particularly if as I do you live in an affluent western society.
Without doubt our western lifestyle has evolved into something of a monster rapaciously consuming resources and spewing out pollutants at an exponentially increasing rate. We know this is unsustainable, but how can you or I make any real difference? Easy. Change happens when something better comes along. That ‘something better’ doesn’t just appear by magic it is pioneered by innovators and early adopters until eventually the idea reaches a tipping point, then everyone is into it.
After 25 years of studying and practicing architecture I’ve distilled five principles that underpin low-impact (maybe even sustainable) living principles for built environments.
There are conflicting claims about the greenhouse friendly nature of coal seam gas in Australia. In this article, Colin Hunt finds that the differences turn on assumptions about the quantity of gas that escapes to the atmosphere from coal seam gas operations and the gas’ global warming potential. He argues that both better measurement of the fugitive emissions of coal seam gas and an official update of its greenhouse potency are required. These recommendations have important implications not only for meeting Australia’s greenhouse targets but for the tax rates on emissions under the Clean Energy legislation.
via The Brisbane Institute » November 2011 Issue.
Returning to business as usual as soon as possible was the mainstream mantra after September 2008; such was the shock of the collapse. A crash like that is never an easy time for considered reform and few countries had the resources to make any serious attempt in any case, so invested were we all in the good old days of cheap abundant energy and exponential growth. August 2011; here we go again?