Tag Archives: resilience

Urban Renewal redefined?

Detroit urban farm

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

Stifling innovation #2: Overland Flow

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.

Satellite image of Chelmer on the Brisbane River in January 2011. Source; ABC/Nearmap.

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Climate Change: It’s complicated or what!

Solar_Flare_and_Coronal_Mass_Ejection_2010-02-12_lrgCalm 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

FlyKly – future mobility

I’ve been interested in alternatives to cars for urban mobility for years. Several earlier posts have covered new and interesting ideas. The latest development to catch my eye is the FlyKly smart bike conversion. Rather than a new idea, FlyKly is an evolution and confluence innovation bringing together pedal assistance, smart-phone control and social media in one elegant retro-fit package.

...missing image?

FlyKly integrates everything in the hub – you control it with an App!

Check out the video:

The project is currently seeking crowd funding. Interested?

Click through to the FlyKly web site for more.

Related posts:

Parallel Universe, 20’s plenty, Parallel Universe reprised

Doha Dreaming

Doha Dreaming

“There is surely a correspondence between an exhausted culture and a populace devolved so far into mental dullness that it can’t recognize its predicament. We don’t seem to get how much the industrial production spree of the past 200 years has just plumb worn us out, not to mention the ecosystem we were designed to dwell in” writes James Howard Kunstler under the title “Modernity Bites” this November 26, 2012.

James’ thesis is that we are at the end of the industrial era and that the economic structures it has spawned are imploding around us.

What if we just accept the reality that the industrial spree was a self-limiting adventure and now we have to move on?

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Community Based Renewable Energy Programs

City of Victor Harbor

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.

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Base-load Solar Power?

The Question:

What steps are needed to make solar energy a cost-effective, base-load energy source?

(from North America)

My Answer:

Broad definitions of ‘solar’ and ‘baseload’ are necessary to best answer the question. Solar is not limited to photovoltaic panels and base-load (demand) is not necessarily a given, it can also be managed through increased systems efficiency. Continue reading

Out of the Blue – a new model for a resilient economy:

10 Years, 100 Innovations, 100 Million Jobs 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?

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20s Plenty for Us

What a delight to stumble across the website of 20’s Plenty for Us!

My hypothetical Parallel Universe turns out to be in the UK…

In March 2010 when I first wrote about an imaginary futuristic world where the maximum speed of any powered road transport device is 30-km/h within urban areas the notion seemed plausible to me, but most readers politely suggested the idea would remain a dream.  It turns out that dreams can come true:  The 20’s Plenty for Us movement in the UK (20 mph = 32-km/h) appears to be gaining some real traction.

Already 5m residents live in towns which are adopting or have adopted this policy. Most importantly, through democratic debate those communities have decided that “20s Plenty Where People Live”. And it is those same communities who have then changed their behaviour to drive slower in residential streets and where people walk and cycle.

via 20s Plenty for Us.

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Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution must not be subsidised

Gil Scott-Heron

With the passing of poet Gil Scott-Heron this week, I’d like to dedicate a few lines here to reflect on his work, particularly his recurrent themes of freedom from oppression and peace. He died on Friday May 27 in New York after becoming ill during a trip to Europe.

Born in Chicago April 1st 1949 Gil was often called the godfather of rap for his groundbreaking spoken-word performances set to music, a tag he disliked. He recorded more than a dozen albums, but was probably best known for his 1970 song ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’.

“You will not be able to stay home, brother. You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out. You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip, skip out for beer during commercials, because the revolution will not be televised.” Continue reading