Sunday, November 29, 2009

Living in future

How shall we live in year 2030?

The idea of Ecocities, Transition Towns, Biotechture and some real Sustainable cities have one thing in common; we have to think in another direction for future. Green energy is only a part of the solution, not The solution. Instead we have to change the way we think and look at things. That is; if we live in a good environment we will behave good, and the opposite. Only in a world with a surrounding that allow us to make good decisions without even think about it, instead of a world full of "bad for the environment", can help us to a sustainable future or if you want another word for it; a livable place to live.

How we live in 2030 deeply depends on how we plan and act right now. Projects in this way are already built, other in its process. What's happen right now its that it is spreading, the knowledge and examples.

The concept of Ecocities can be read in the wonderful book Ecocities- rebuiding the cities in balance with nature from 2006. Ecocity Builders, the small organisation with the huge message have consulating others in seminares, lectures at the university in San Francisco and next month they holds the 8:th International Ecocity Conference 13:th of December to 15:th of December this year in Istanbul. Last conference was last year in San Francisco and before that approximately one every 2-4 year from 1990. The speak in 1990 conference started with the now famous quote;

Cities and towns are the largest things humans build and the way we’re building them is destroying the planet. Why not, instead, build cities in balance with nature?

And from the book, the very truthful quote;

Transportation is what you do when you're not where you want to be [places where we want to stay are needed]

> New Mexico, US
To build cities with more green spots are one of the main point with all of these concepts. Someone that really takes that seriously is Mike Reynolds, with the concept of Earthship Biotecture. He have been building houses that are self subsistence with water from the rain, heat from the sun and cool from the ground for almost 40 years. Inside the house there is room for a small food production. The material that he build the houses from is garbage. The movie "Garbage warrior" was produced in 2007 and Reynolds have made some handbooks and movies to inspire others. Biotecture talks for itself in this video.

>Arcocanti, Arisona, US
The architecture in Earthships is similar to what is built in Arcosanti, but this is planned to be a whole city. The project in Arisona is designed according to the concept of arcology (architecture + ecology), developed by Italian architect Paolo Soleri. In Arcocanti the project have been going on since 1970 as a working place in a continuous development and an education center. More than 60 000 have participate in the construction, where now 160 persons live, but are planned to be around 5000.

The ground concept in Paolo Soleri's ideas is the dense living, to collect people in a small area to leave other space intact. Also in Arisona, Paolo Soleri have his office in Cosanti; an invented word that shows his ideas; from the two Italian words, "cosa", "things" and "anti", "against". Soleri have published a lot of books, the latest Soleri: Architecture as Human Ecology. He will present Work at “3D City: Future China” Exhibit in Beijing November 29, 2009 – February 28, 2010. Year 2010 is the 40 year anniversary of the Arcosanti, with workshops starting every second month.

> Started in England
A very new idea is the The Transition Town network that started 2006 in the town Tones in England with a change in an already settle community. Instead of focusing on the buildnings they are focusing on the people to make a change for their own. They even have their own Handbook with ideas of how to interact people in local projects, and projects are going on at a lot of places; more than a 100 towns call themselves Transition Towns. The basic idea about growing your own food, local money systems and the local solutions for Peak Oil and Climate change have given it attention in media and made the idea spread very quickly around the world. Message is simple and clear; local people have to do something by themselves- we can't wait for the politics to do it.

May 19th to May24th, 2010 is the date for "European Transition Town Conference". People from Transition Town initatives and those interested in the Transition Town movement from all over Europe is invited to gather in the camp that will be held in the ecovillage of Sieben Linden in Northern Germany - a newly built resilient village.

>Västra Hamnen, Western Habour, Malmö Sweden
Compared to the organization work or community work we also have some real project that have been built. Western Harbour in Malmö is a great example of new architecture in an initiative from the city government itself. Buildnings in different levels, a lot of common space, green spots, water, a diverse area with shops, restaurants, close to school and healthcare is in the concept.

>Tübingen, Germany
From Germany we have examples from Tübingen where an old garnison area where transformed to a diverse neighborhood in an architecture competition. Every block had their own discussion group of how they wanted to have it. The result; a lot of greenspot, common space, different buildings and attention in media.

>Exibithion Älvrummet, Gothenburg Sweden
In Gothenburg a similar thing is going on down the river where they want to build houses instead of port activities. It is the municipal owned company Älvstranden Utveckling AB that runs the project. The vision of "The Good City" is the basis of their work. The Good City is emerging on both sides of river. This interact work, housing, education, commerce, science, culture and recreation in a fruitful manner. The rooms of people created a character full of water and close environment, with the human meeting as an ideal. The mixed construction and existing buildings will be in harmony with the water and the environment. An exibithion room is there for the dialog with the citizens. "We want more access to the water in Gothenburg", "It's important with diversity both in the environment and the people here" and "Open for everybody" have been some of the most common votes.

Feel free to comment and describe more projects that are ongoing during this time! Good examples leads us further into the future.

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MIRAGE: A Short Film about Arcosanti

Mirage from Edan Cohen on Vimeo .