Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What is an ecocity?

A sustainable city and the ecocity sounds like something quite similar, but the ecocity concept takes everything one step longer. Without putting too much expensive technology behind, or care too much what materials the buildings are made from, we can reduce a lot of our problems in the city just if we just build better. And with that, increase human health.

 First; cities should be compact and therefore have closeness to everyday's needs in a walking distance. Compare a) with c) above.

Five block (left) vs one block (right). Remove the cars, and left is 2½ block, if  activites which do not requiers sun-light could go under the other it can be halved again. (Register, 1987).

Second; an ecocity needs open spaces so it's not too compact. Open spaces can also be built ontop of buidings or as terraces. Thinking in 3-dimentional is the keyword here, where our compact living today is mostly 2-dimentional. The ecocity takes advantages of the natural sun light so the houses points in the "right" direction, with big windows, terraces and places to be, not in shade by a house, but maybe a tree.

Third; make it alive. An ecocity is an ecological healthy city. "If ecological buildings are not about the relationship to the rest of the community, what is it about?" (Register, 2006) That means other people, activites and nature. If plants and especially higher life can live here, it is also good for people. Open creeks give more space for native species, more diversity and more "life" in itself.

Forth; consider the other steps and the ecocity can now look like how ever. Do you want to live in a mountain, a futuristic building like Soleri's Arcosanti house or in the colorful Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna? It should look beautiful and should be functional in the same time.

And fifth; The city is for the people; "there needs to be equity; fairness among the people, the full opportunity for citizens to choose, create and live out their own special epressions of potential. The city is an instrument for human purpose- without this equity it fails in its human purpose whether it impacts negatively or positively to nature" - Richard Register, Ecocity Berkeley p 13.

See some real examples from Europe! Check my Journeys in the top of the blog. See also a newer post about what an ecocity should contain, What is an ecocity? #2

All drawings, except Paolo Soleri's Arcosanti, are from Richard Register's two books and their homepage. I got the book "Ecocities- rebuilding cities in balance with nature" in the second year of Human Ecology two years ago, at that time I was in the end of my Master's in Ecology and fell in love with the ideas directly. The previous book Ecocity Berkeley. Building cities for a healthy future is also worth to see, I got it as a gift from Richard himself.

*Note; I have no permission to display these pictures or drawings in this post, but they are so very important and deserve to spread, I take the responsibility to admit that I am a theif, but a good-hearted one! And if Richard sees this, I guess he remember me, the crazy, blond Swede and smiles a bit, right?

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