Fracking In Our Backyard : One Percent for the Planet Through our current campaign, Our Common Waters, and with exposure to increased oil and gas development near our homes and communities, we have grown concerned about hydraulic fracturing (commonly called “fracking”) and its impact on water, air, soil, wildlife habitat, and human health. Over 90% of oil and gas wells in the U.S. use fracking to aid in extraction, and many fracking fluids and chemicals are known toxins for humans and wildlife. For decades, natural gas (methane) deposits were tapped by single wells drilled vertically over large, free-flowing pockets of gas. Then came fracking, a water- and chemical-intensive method that promised the profitable extraction of natural gas trapped in shale. [Above: A natural gas fracking site in Erie, Colorado across the field from an elemetary school. Photo: Topher Donahue]
The Hackable City The Hackable City is an on-going research project on the role of digital media in the process of citymaking that resulted from a cooperation between One Architecture and The Mobile City Foundation. The project investigates the opportunities of digital media technologies for the empowerment of citizens and other stakeholders in a democratic process of citymaking. It also explores the shift in roles of and relationships between governments, (design) professionals and citizens in this process. The Protester - TIME's People Who Mattered in 2011 Once upon a time, when major news events were chronicled strictly by professionals and printed on paper or transmitted through the air by the few for the masses, protesters were prime makers of history. Back then, when citizen multitudes took to the streets without weapons to declare themselves opposed, it was the very definition of news — vivid, important, often consequential. In the 1960s in America they marched for civil rights and against the Vietnam War; in the '70s, they rose up in Iran and Portugal; in the '80s, they spoke out against nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Europe, against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, against communist tyranny in Tiananmen Square and Eastern Europe.
Dubai Plan 2021 : Dubai Plan 2021 Dubai Plan 2021 describes the future of Dubai through holistic and complementary perspectives, starting with the people and the society who have always been, and always will be, the bedrock of the city. This aspect describes the characteristics that Dubai’s people need to have to deliver on the city’s aspirations in all areas, and examines the society needed to support and empower these individuals in achieving their goals. The plan addresses the urban environment including both natural and built assets, and looks at the living experience of the people of Dubai and its visitors as a result of their interaction with this environment and the economic and social services provided. In addition, the plan also focuses on the economy, which is the city’s development engine and its fuel for its march forward.
Five Things Governments Can Do to Encourage Civic Startups « Civic Innovations 2012 is shaping up to be the “Year of the Civic Startup.” With the growth of the open government movement and more and more governments embracing open data, we see an increasing number of useful civic applications being developed. Every weekend hackathon spawns multiple projects that could potentially live on as a successful venture or company. Battery Park City Community Center by Hanrahan Meyers Architects - Architecture Directory Hanrahan Meyers architects currently working on a project Battery Park City Community Center, in North Environment, Battery Park City, New York. It is scheduled to be completed by 2010, the primary architectural feature of the new platinum LEED-rated Battery Park City Community Center is a 500-foot long glass ‘Wall of Light’ situated at the base of two new residential towers in Battery Park City’s North Neighborhood immediately north of Ground Zero. The wall will feature an installation of LED lights designed by hanrahanMeyers architects with Tillotson Design Associates, illuminating a sound composition by New York composer Michael Schumacher. The wall is a public promenade and demonstration of the passive energy systems fueling the new Community Center.
Focus Group on Smart Sustainable Cities Cities are powerful engines of economic growth, fuelled by intensive interpersonal communication and high concentrations of specialized skills. Urbanization’s advantages are however mirrored by significant sustainability challenges, with cities today accounting for over 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 60-80 per cent of global energy consumption. Given that an estimated 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, sustainable urbanization has become a key policy point to administrations across the world. Can Karaoke Transform Public Space? This post is also available in: Chinese (Traditional) Government agencies and marketing bureaus across the globe strive to find ways to get people into parks and using public spaces. Some spend millions with extravagant firework spectaculars, while others import international music acts or host an almost continuous string of farmer’s markets and craft fairs, many of which fail to deliver a certain je ne sais quoi. But in a not-so-pristine park in Berlin, an Irish guy named Joe draws crowds of more than 3,000 people … with karaoke. Which got me thinking, can karaoke transform our public spaces? It seems an odd thing to say, but yes, I believe it probably can.
Land Grabs It's not necessarily a problem when wealthy companies invest in agricultural land in poor countries for commercial use. But when families are kicked off the land or less food is grown as a result, that's a very big problem indeed. Recent data indicates that at least 33 million hectares of land deals have been identified since 2001 – an area 8 times the size of the Netherlands. And since the food price spikes of 2008, that's been happening more and more. Demand for land has soared as investors look for places to grow food for export, grow crops for biofuels, or simply buy-up land for profit. But in many cases, land sold as “unused” or “undeveloped” is actually being used by poor families to grow food.
Triumph of the City: Amazon.co.uk: Edward Glaeser: 9780330458078: Books Okay, you live in a rural area and are involved with agriculture, or work in the fishery industry, this book will not be of much use or interest to you in general, but if you live in a city, are interested in city planning, or how cities work, then this book will be of much interest. I must admit that I spent most of last night laying awake reading this as I became so absorbed. Edward Glaeser takes us on a trip through what makes a great booming city that brings in much needed capital to a country, and why they work, with examples of badly run cities that either struggle, or are in decline. Also he shows that those in decline can make dramatic comebacks. Some of the stuff in this book you will already know, some of it is just common sense, but some of it could end up blowing your mind.
The Hope for Suburbia. « At the Helm of the Public Realm I’ve always been a fan of Ellen Dunham-Jones’ concept of retrofitting suburbia and I’ve often thumbed through her book with absolute excitement. After writing about urban sprawl and our unfortunate dependency on the automobile, I thought I’d return to Retrofitting Suburbia to regain my faith again in our urban planning and urban design future. Often times, I, like many others I am sure, feel a slave to the economy, the market, and years of poor development precedents. Emergent Urbanism, or ‘bottom-up planning’ I was asked to write an article around ‘bottom-up planning’ by Architectural Review Australia a while ago. It was published in the last issue, and I’m re-posting here. ‘Bottom-up’ is hardly the most elegant phrase, but I suspect you know what I mean. Either way, I re-cast it in the article as ‘emergent urbanism’ which captured a little more of the non-planning approaches I was interested in (note also the blog of same name, which I didn’t know about beforehand). It partly concerns increased transparency over the urban planning process but also, and perhaps more interestingly, how citizens might be able to proactively engage in the creation of their cities.
Suburban scenarios « placeblog I’ve been thinking about suburban narratives and the kinds of images, scenarios and stories that emerge. Australia calls itself an urban nation but it’s more appropriate to recognise it as a suburban nation – 80% of us live in suburbs – even post-suburban. Various ideas emerging in the face of population growth and climate change such as: Slumburbia (crisis, displacement, another cycle of flight)Repair and retrofit (urbanise, localise, infill, pedestrianise etc)Suburbia 2.0 (teleworking, technology parks. mobility etc)Edible/Green suburbs (permaculture, agriculture, forest)Global suburb (a relationship to the global city and the global slum, cultural diversity/ethnoburb)Civic suburbs (shared space, social/cultural capital, citizenship, governance) I’m keen to flesh these out.
Adaptable Suburbs A study of the relationship between networks of human activity and the changing form of urban and suburban centres through time The project closing conference will take place on 28 April 2014. If you wish to attend please go to our Closing Conference page for further information. The UK’s suburbs are overlooked and poorly understood.