Sustainable Cities...

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    Jan 27, 2012 3:11 PM GMT

    Vandana Shiva from Sustainable Cities™ on Vimeo.



    Vandana Shiva, an internationally recognized Indian activist and philosopher, explains that planning for the human being rather than the automobile can liberate space and create community within a city. In her opinion, a sustainable city should operate as a self-reliant and self-sufficient cluster of villages.

    Vandana Shiva is an internationally recognized Indian activist and philosopher. After earning a PhD in physics from the University of Western Ontario, she has campaigned tirelessly on issues related to agriculture and food, property rights, and gender. She has assisted grassroots movements in countries around the world.

    Dr. Shiva has advised the International Forum on Globalization, a citizens’ group that monitors the impact of globalisation; the Women’s Environment & Development Organization, an international organization focused on gender equality; and the Third World Network, a network of individuals and organizations that addresses environmental issues and development in the Third World. In 1984, Dr. Shiva founded Navdanya, an organisation that works to promote biodiversity, farmers’ rights, and organic farming. In 1993, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize, “for placing women and ecology at the heart of the modern development discourse.”
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    Jan 27, 2012 3:58 PM GMT
    In the very long term, I see the sustainable, independent arcology/city-state as
    the model of future human civilisation.

    Picture this if you will, a vision of North America about 100-150 years from now:

    - No more USA or Canada or Mexico, (or any of the other known nation-states of the 21st century) but possibly a regional alliance of major independent city-states as a very loose confederation (the purpose of which would be to arbitrate property rights and human rights issues common to members of that confederacy) and a mutual self defense force (possessing no weapons of mass destruction or strategic countervalue capability).

    Picture the individual city-states as otherwise having their own sovereignty, being completely self-sufficient in satisfying their energy and food requirements, with excess to trade...

    Cities built with a durable, reliable mass transit structure and plenty of pathways for human powered and low-or-neglible-footprint non-human powered vehicles...

    High speed maglev transit between major arcologies...

    And a place where power derives from the bottom up:

    City block/Village street cluster > Neighbourhood > City Ward/District/Village > City/County > City Cluster/Region > Entire City-State (example: BosNYDC or "Bos•Nī•Dik" megacity) and close-surrounding waters and lands...

    Other noteable Arcologies/City-States might arise:

    SanFresAnjio (San Francisco-Fresno-LA-San Diego)

    VanSeaTac (Vancouver/Seattle/Tacoma)

    SavATlampi (Savannah/Atlanta/Tampi/Miami)

    OttaMonQue (Ottawa/Montréal/Quebec City)

    EastLakes (London.ca/Toronto/Buffalo/Rochester.ny)

    WestLakes (Chicago/Gary/Toledo/Cleveland/Lansing/Detroit Wilds*)
    * Detroit would be reverted to wildlands and the ruins left as a reminder of failed 20th-21st century urban planning)

    Minnekota (most major cities in MN, WI, and the Dakotas would be internetworked -- due to relatively thinner population it might have a major focus on food production and renewable energy mining)

    La Arcología del Golfo (Arcology of the Gulf) - Monterrey.mx, Matamoros, San Antonio, DFW, Galveston, Houston)


    ... and numerous other smaller cities outside of major arcologies/transit lanes could develop independently, sustainably, and with walkability on a smaller
    smaller scale.

    Perhaps this might come to pass if MeOhMy's vision of a global, anarcho-libertarian revolution comes to pass.
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    Jan 27, 2012 4:22 PM GMT
    ^ lol @ the anarcho-etc. comment hihihi

    but i woudl certainly ascribe to this above idea... I would think faster than you projected though.. and even faster in South America.. there are the western hemisphere's largest cities and most numerous populations which are most concerned with sustainable development... Colombia's cities are already at the forefront.. more advanced in sustainable urban planning than many in North America
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    Jan 27, 2012 4:56 PM GMT
    Groen - Dank je wel!

    This topic has become my new favourite after reading 'Geography of Nowhere' by James Howard Kunstler. If you haven't looked at his critiques or the work of the New Urbanism movement, I would recommend it.

    Alpha- I think the city state idea you mentioned is more or less be under way. The City of London is a great example of this. For example, London promotes its own civic agenda with a climate change group and representative offices in other city.

    In Australia ambitious mayors have been bypassing the traditional Federal -State-City funding flows to directly lobby the Federal government for infrastructure funds etc.

    I would have argued that the world is moving toward a more regionalised future with countries falling into blocs such as Mercosur, AU, EU etc. This still may be the case but the EU crisis has really shown how volatile this can be.
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    Jan 27, 2012 5:12 PM GMT
    I agree that sustainability is the future of human civilization on this planet, there's no way we can keep going the way we are going. Unfortunately, with the world's population at 7 billion, a lot of people are going to have to die before we can actually get there, governments and economies are going to have to collapse (don't expect nonviolent revolutions either with the way corporations control the government), and then MAYBE people will see this is the way we need to go. I'd like to think it can all happen peacefully but I think this is more likely. And I don't think any of it is far off in the distant future.
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    Jan 27, 2012 5:27 PM GMT
    I recall a study suggesting that when aggregated in the most fertile areas, augmented by increasingly advanced and efficient means of food production (multi-storied greenhouse buildings with wind-sourced thermal turbines and aggressive water capture and waste reclamation capable of growing wide varieties of non-native vegetable foods, protein sequencing and artificial "meat growth" that could render current ranching practices utterly obsolete, save for maintaining a gene stock for properly gene-sequencing the meat stem cells) and kinetic energy reclamation (sidewalks that can harvest your footfalls and contribute it back to community power grids)...

    ... to say nothing of floating oceanic city-stations that can be moved out of the path of major weather disturbances and into areas for deep sea resource harvesting ... the potential for supporting 40-100 billion people at a reasonable standard of living is possible.

    All at a local or regional level of power, with the supra-regional confederacies serving only to adjudicate matters of trade, transport, and guidelines for maintaining inter-city sustainability as well as promoting a culture of local self-sufficiency, with a global moral conscience.

    And freedom with liberty for all.

    Self-sufficiency for food, energy, and water would remove a lot of the impetus that drives human conflict and the nastiness of war and deprivation that comes with it.
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    Jan 27, 2012 5:42 PM GMT
    AlphaTrigger saids, protein sequencing and artificial "meat growth" that could render current ranching practices utterly obsolete,


    Wow, sounds very technologically doable.. but I wonder if I would want to eat something like that? icon_confused.gif Im actually more in favour of reducing the plentitude of meat in the diet.. its not even healthy, from a purely nutritional standpoint..

    Not to mention the culinary loss of all these different kinds of meat not being available, just thinking of some wild game that feasted on nuts and berries.. and the much better flavour the meat gets that way.. mmmmm... kind of tips me over to the idea of simply reducing the quantity of meat and increasing its quality

    plus, loss of variety is always a bad thing, in my book.. thats purely from a genetic standpoint of course... I would be rather afraid the meat we eat becomes as standardised as refined sugar... me no likey icon_confused.gif
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    Jan 27, 2012 6:25 PM GMT
    She wants soylent greenh arcologies?

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    Jan 27, 2012 6:28 PM GMT
    Maybe Siberia will become more habitable within the next 100 years? icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jan 27, 2012 6:31 PM GMT
    pocketnico saidMaybe Siberia will become more habitable within the next 100 years? icon_rolleyes.gif


    Same for Canada then.. problem is, more ice melting means more extreme temp differences too.. more flooding.. more snow storms.. more heat waves.. but that seems to be happening already
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    Jan 27, 2012 6:33 PM GMT
    GreenHopper said
    pocketnico saidMaybe Siberia will become more habitable within the next 100 years? icon_rolleyes.gif


    Same for Canada then.. problem is, more ice melting means more extreme temp differences too.. more flooding.. more snow storms.. more heat waves.. but that seems to be happening already


    In that case, Russia has 100 years to fix their economy, political system, and civil rights so that it'll become an immigration hot spot when Siberia thaws icon_lol.gif
  • Suetonius

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    Jan 27, 2012 6:44 PM GMT
    If god had intended man to live in the concrete of cities, he would have given us more durable feet - maybe like birds' scales - and better cushioning in the ankles. Perhaps all the hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes he sends us are to remind us that we don't belong living in urban structures. He is both omniscient and omnipotent, right?
  • metta

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    Jan 27, 2012 6:59 PM GMT
    As someone that lives in Los Angeles County, there is something that I disagree with her on. There are areas in LA that are very community oriented. I know and am friends with many of neighbors. We have community events together. Actually, I help put the events together. We go out to dinner sometimes. We have been to various events together. Yes, we use our cars, but that does not mean that we don't see/talk to our neighbors on a regular basis. A lot of my neighbors tend to walk on around our neighborhood and on the trails that surround the development....especially the ones with dogs.

    As for buildings that are mixed use, it is true that more buildings have been built like that and there are plans for even more. It would be great to be able to walk to the stores, but in order to live where I live, it is not realistic. I will take living in the middle of a forest over living in the center of town any day.

    From what I have seen about the future plans for many of the cities in Los Angeles County, they expect the suburbs to eventually become larger cities (which will hopefully slow down us pushing farther and farther out), with more walkable destinations and mass transit options available for people. It will never be ideal but at least they are headed in the right direction.

    One of the best examples of a sustainable city (at least trying to be) in LA County is Santa Monica. http://www.smgov.net/departments/ose/
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    Feb 02, 2012 9:35 PM GMT
    Alpha-

    Not sure if you've heard about this before but I came across it today.
    www.freecities.org

    The Free City Institute promotes the development of new cities in the developing world. These cities would develop autonomously from their national government and their rule of law and existence would be guaranteed by a strong, democratic outside country.

    An example of this is Hong Kong which boomed under British rule.

    The Congress of Honduras has already passed the necessary amendments to facilitate this in the city of Trujillo.

    http://www.fastcoexist.com/1678720/former-seasteaders-come-ashore-to-start-libertarian-utopias-in-honduran-jungle