Sunday, July 25, 2010

Face of an ecocity

High compact living with a succer ground in front. Ecocity?

"The problem is the present design of cities only a few stories high, stretching outward in unwieldy sprawl for miles. As a result of their sprawl, they literally transform the earth, turn farms into parking lots and waste enormous amounts of time and energy transporting people, goods and services over their expanses. My solution is urban implosion rather than explosion." -architect Paolo Soleri, founder of the compact city Arcosanti (a portmanteau of architecture and ecology), 1970, see more at

Single structure, single storey buildings, a lot of meeting place in the between (Youth hostel Gotland, Sweden). Sertainly not an Ecocity building, but even here, ecocity element can be found.

World have changed and so should we adabt.. First of all, we are a lot of people in this planet, in 100 years human population went from 1,7 to 6,7 billions. Next; it is peoples rights to have a home, bigger and not together with other is better. So, here we are, in a world with more people going more individualised but more dependent on work force from other-- cheap labour is the story of success.

Can we turn the another way? Can we turn a system, that seems to now have involved everyone in this planet, to something else? And then how? To build small highly advance sustainable cities is possible, and so also self-sufficient "ecovillages". But 6,7 billions people do need to live like this..! We need plans which we can adapt everywhere. The ecocity is not about technology, even if energy- saving window panels and solars are some of the building construction parts.

Instead, the ecocity is about human being and our primary needs, which are often forgotten in the citylife where the functions (mail delivery, fire stations, productions of industries, public transportation and etc) are more of priority. Primary needs such as a building to live in, fresh food, water security, health care and transportation, is the picture of a living in a city in a developed country (and so as some argue, put "eco" before all this and it turn to an ecocity). But other primary needs, such as happieness, calmness, beauty, curiosity and understanding, those things which distict us from being robots or autonomous animals or even just plants, should be prioritized.
In the city of an ecocity some principal features must be listed and a summary can look like this;
  • accessibility for everyone
  • public space for everyday life
  • minimized land consumption
  • balanced of mixed use
  • new balance of concentration and decentralization
  • qualified density
  • concentrating development at suitable site
  • network of urban quarters
  • human scale and urbanity
  • integrated into the surrounding region
  • short distances
  • power station of renewable energies
  • minimized energy consumption
  • health, safety and well-being
  • strong local economy
  • cultural and social diversity
  • balance with nature
  • contributing to closed water cycle
  • for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport
  • integrated green areas
  • reduction, re-use and recycling of waste
  • bio climatic comfort
  • integrated in global communication networks
  • sustainable lifestyle
  • city built and managed with the inhabitants
List was made by Ecocity Builders, the organization with Richard Register, the founder who have been working with sustainable citylife for over 40 years. He also mean that no real ecocity have been built-yet. But examples of ecocity element can be seen at this blog, check my journeys and another post of what an ecocity is. Many of the posts in this blog are about how to find ways to be able to built such and with the mission to discuss how to integrate the inhabitants in the construction of a more livable city.

Dense housing, close to public transportation and common spaces. Ecocity?

Apartments, in the middle of a commerce center, facing the sun. Ecocity?

High density, close to nature, close to district center, close to public transportation. Is this ecocity elements? Close also to the highway (between the cars and the buildings), close to big parking lots, close to a lonley life? High-densed, public transportation and trees is not enough to be called an ecocity.

We should open up the city to feel connected to our neighborhood. This is what ecology is about; living relation and their interaction to the surroundings.
What we can do, is to combine our knowledge and ask us three questions; why does it look like it does (past), what do we not like with the area (present) and how would we like to have it (future). Those three questions is the key to understand human ecology and then human life.

And I would like to set some features to the ecocity list above myself, that would be; get rid of the car, get rid of the tv, make 3-dimentional buildings with common space; even not in ground level, make groups, subgroups, make boundaries! (use Ostrom's theories). Because people need to live their lives.

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MIRAGE: A Short Film about Arcosanti

Mirage from Edan Cohen on Vimeo .