Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pictures of green and sunny San Francisco

I took my green eyes on me and walked though a pretty large part of the city. Here is some more pictures of "Green eyes in San Francisco".

Despite the cars..

Those pictures were taken under my lunch break between a class and a lecture about evaluation at the Foundation Center in downtown. It was for 1½ hour and I walked up to Broadway highest hill to take some pictures of our "van view" which I forgot to take pictures of before, saw China Town again and feel that I have a pretty good feeling about this city.

I like I like I like.

San Francisco is quite amazing.

Where its not buildings on the hills, like this pictures and the cars on the sloping ground, there was a lot of parks. The view.. you can see the ocean from the streets in the center of the cities. And if you climb up to for example Corona Heights Park, my #1 favourite (where you can read the text "don't feed the coyoties"), you have views in every direction, as far as to Oakland, Berkeley and in the other direction the Pacific ocean.

The green, the closeness to nature is here, its just some things that should be different.. help me to sort that out with comments!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Green San Francisco

I walked from downtown to Haight's area. A lot of green spots, parks, people, buildings and cars..

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

12 hours walking in San Francisco

Also in San Francisco you can find some trees, terrasses, huges parks. But most of all, there are cars. Everywhere. Small street, big streets, streets from the mainland. The BART system (simple subway), the trams and busses are from the early 70s. Quite good for sure, but a bit crazy. Today we went for free, cause the bus driver didnt have change, he didnt stop at the busstops either- people have to yell at both of them.

San Francisco have the largest number of homeless people I ever seen. I have been told that they have chosen to stay there, coming from other cities. Also the area of Oakland have the most crazy people I ever seen. Someone said that there was a mental house closed down resently. I have no clue.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A view over the Golden Gate Bridge, Berkeley, California, US

These pictures were taken on my way down from Anza Lake, Tilden Regional park above Berkeley. Beautiful day and so hot, around 28 degrees C. I got sunburned everywhere, almost passed out on the way uphill so everyone have to wait for me, and well there, I had to lay in the shade for a hour before I just relaxed on the way down (walking down.. tricky bike).

Here are some picutes of pretty amazing houses on the hill side. Big trees were saved and they just live there under in the cosy dark? space.

Some of the houses was pretty special built too, with big windows, different rooms in different hills, very similare to a small Ecocity.

 The view was also amazing, not easy to see in the dowtown Berkeley. There are some high houses in the center but the roofs are not open for public. More houses with open roofs should be something for Berkeley says Richard Register at Ecocity Builders, "so people could see the view here..". Cafees and restaurangs could have it, or just roofs where peope can relaxe? Roofs are almost always flat, but aren't used for other purpose than just.. a roof.


Richard Register had tried to do a lot of work in Berkeley but it hasn't work so well cause it's too hard; landowners or owners of restaurants don't want to rebuild the area. When the plans for the Strawberry creek (Center street, Berkeley) was questioned around the street, some of the owners were really angry and thought they would miss customers if the street (read a street for cars) could't leave people outside the restaurant (same argument all over the world, right..).

It's so sad to see that such a great idea and great job will be a failure if its not implemented right. But it is so, everywhere in the world. We could give people a chance to realize by themself that it would be a great idea. But how to do this? They (Ecocity Builders) have had some open meetings (like workshops?) were the public can come and say something about the rised issue. But what about the landowners? How to rebuild someone else's property or as a first step; how to convince people that it is a good idea?


Berkeley Hills view. If you look closer to the picture of the view you will see Golden Gate bridge and after that the open sea. In some pictures you also have to look closer because you might not understand that I try to show, look again and now you can hardly see the houses, it's only the cars that tells that someone lives there under the trees. Why not have this much nature in the city center?

Yesterday at the meeting in the Ecocity Builders organisation we talked about how a city looks mostly. They talk about the "Smart Code". Dense city center, lower surroundings, even lower and more nature and so on, until we reach "pure nature". But why even have all this zones? This is why the society look as it does. It has to be rebuilt. Built directly from densed to "pure nature".

A holistic perspective is important to not say necessary for future plans for cities. And with that; some cities have to be entirely rebuilt.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Visit at Ecocity Builders, Oakland, California, US

Ecocity Builders is a small organisation with only two employers; Richard Register and Kirstin Miller. They are really kind and work a lot. I´m sitting with them in their 2-room small, new office with big windows to the sun. In one window it is a citrus fruit tree that you can see from the street- very "ecocityish". Today they had a visit from a woman working with marketing. She will do a summary of the masterplan for Oakland. Connect all ecocity plans to a small booklet, easy for everyone to have an overview. I will from now observe this organisations work and see how they goes from information (ecocities are good) to action (rebuilding to ecocities).

Tomorrow I will go with Richard to Berkeley and see some of the work, for example Gaia Building with a green roof. And the Strawbarry creek that will be a car free plaza for people to join the center of Berkeley. In the weekend I will join the project ”Urban villages project, West Oakland”.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My own lovely "ecocity building", Skövde, Sweden

Here is my 1/26 share of a building. A building from 1872 which was a brewery converted into apartments in 1983. Each apartment is unique. A tenant-owner association meet occasionally to clean the common areas and courtyard. In the basement there is a room for carpentry, and one of the corner apartment is rented for a help-organisation for abused women.

The idea is close to an Ecocity multiple functioning building, even if the 26 tenants could do some more activites together. Well, most of all; the house is a candy to the eye and cheer up the whole city with just its presens. Standing next to the trainstation, busstation and the mainroad.

"Ecocity buildning" #2, Uppsala, Sweden

Another house in Uppsala. The house in the front have grass on the roof and the house behind have balconies in different sizes and costumes.

In the bottom there is a yard, but I dont think it will count as a Ecocity yard. But anyhow a very interesting building!

"Ecocity building" #1, Uppsala, Sweden

A building in Uppsala, seems very close to the concept of an Ecocity house; its high, it have balconys to the south, native plants and a lot of windows.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ecocities as a concept of sustainable future

1. Why is it important to do something new to reach sustainable development?

In the era of the information society we can find a lot of material how to do things- but how to do it in reality? Some people mean that this is a problem that will fix itself cause our way of living is not a way that can go on forever- We will destroy the planet with garbage, materials mix together by human, in the same time we have problems with security for water, soil loss- erosion, deserts are spreading and more people will enter the slums in the cities. Some people mean that our concern will grow- we will demand more environmentally friendly products. Ecological modernisation will help the society to be more stable. But is that really true? Products have to develop, be constructed- find new solutions- people have to change their stuff to have the last environmental best product. Is that sustainable? Is this a time when we have to broader our view- looking at the whole spectra from natural resources to what and when to use it to how to recycle it? Is this the era we have a wider view then just looking for profit and to see what people really need and make it available? Is this the era when government, international politics, organisation and local people will do something together to make a more pleasant world to live in?

2. The role of environmental communication for sustainable future

When you working with environmental issues you have to consider other perspectives than the "classical model of communication"- the model that is common used in marketing. Information is not enough. People often have to be involved in the action to actually change their attitudes and behavior. Then people do things together- even if it just to come up with the suggestions- they participate and feel more involved in the decision. Information from a lecture can give new perspectives but a workshop where participants came up with things, agree or disagree give them a feeling of what is difficult and also the complexity of thoughts and the power of group; the group is more than the sum of the parts. It gives great ground for new ideas. More and more make workshops, role play or other activities for giving this feeling. But then- that to do? Community-based social marketing (CBSM) give an answer; when you know the barriers you can give solution to the problem or more over; build the right environment and people will act in the right way- but to know what is wrong, you have to ask people that is involved in the issue. Another approach is the "adaptive governance of ecological system" goes a step longer and sat that interaction between actors, experts and organisation will give a trust , vision and meaning for the problem. People from the local have better knowledge of the local conditions, greater ability to enforce rules, change rules and have higher sense of responsibility.

3. About Ecocity Builder, a short background for the organisation

Ecocity Builders is a small non-profit organisation that says that they have a big message to get out to the world. Richard Register, the founder of the organization says in the conference 1990 "Cities and town is the largest things human built and the way we are building then destroying the planet. Why not instead build cities in balance with nature?". The organisation is founded in 1992 but Register have a longer background than that. 1975 he founded the organisation Urban Ecology. He have now more than 40 years of experience and are also the author of the book "Ecocities- Rebuilding the cities in balance with nature". In page... you can read "transportation is what you do, when you are not where you want to be". The concept of ecocities is broader than just focus in the sustainable energy use or more green spots. The organization argue that cities have to be rebuild, be denser, have less cars, fewer parking lots, more stores closer to everyone, produce food in the cities, building should be higher, the picture of the city should be 3- dimensional with more space for meeting between the houses. House should be bigger and should be built upon ecological principles, use light where there is light, use the heat, use squares and balconies for people to meet. This is the concept of ecology. To collect people in the in cities, see that they feel good and then the area around the cities can be healthy as it should be.