Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Masdar city begins to take shape

The high technological and energy efficient city of Masdar has opened the first section (see pictures here). 28th of November 10 pod cars (link to and see video from Masdar here) started to run from the parking house to the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. City would when its finished host 45 000 inhabitans and another 45 000 commuters. It was planned to be finished in 2016 but plans are delayed.

In Arabian Desert, a Sustainable City Rises writes New York Times
"Still, one wonders, despite the technical brilliance and the sensitivity to local norms, how a project like Masdar can ever attain the richness and texture of a real city. Eventually, a light-rail system will connect it to Abu Dhabi, and street life will undoubtedly get livelier as the daytime population grows to a projected 90,000. (Although construction on a second, larger phase has already begun, the government-run developer, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, refuses to give a completion date for the city, saying only that it will grow at its own pace.)
We are exited to see what will comes from this. As I earlier mentioned, in the post A very beautiful place to live, it may not be that easy to create a sustainable city, if considering social and economical sustanability and not only the ecological part.

More updated news from Masdar can be read at and more about the plans at

Monday, December 13, 2010

Consensus Design

No 'ecological' places for people will be sustainable unless people want to live there, want to maintain them, imprint them with care. We tend to care for things to which we feel connected, and not for once where we don't. The more levels of connection, the deeper is our relationship[..] Beauty cannot be built on disrespect- that's what makes for ugliness[..] The better buildings are matched to people and place, the better they will be care for [..] It is this relationship focus that is essential to any really sustainable building

-Christopher Day with Rosie Parnell (2003), Consensus Design- Socially inclusive process, p 32-33

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Changing paradigms

The animated version missed some important cores from the lesson with Ken Robinson. I think they were very interesting and I post them here:

  • The genius level of divergent thinking of 1500 kindergarten kids was 98 %, when they re-tested them again years 5 later, then it was 32%, and again 5 years later; 10%. They also tested two hundred thousand adults. Their result was 2 %. This shows interesting things. One is that we all has this capacity. And a lot of things happens with these kids when they grow up, a lot; one things is that they become educated.

  • Human organisations are not like mechanisms... Human organisations are much more like organisms. They dependent upon feelings, and relationship, motivation, value, self-value and a sense of identity of the community. You know the way you work in an organisation is deeply effected of your feeling for it.

  • Not far from Las Vegas, is Death Valley, the hottest place in America. In the winter of 2004 it rained. And the spring 2005 it was a phenomen, the whole floor in Death Valley was coted by spring flowers. What it demonstrate was that Death Valley wasn't dead. It was asleep. Right beneath the surface were there seeds of growth, waiting for conditions. And I beleive it is exacly the same way with human beings. If we create the right conditions in our schools, if create the right insentives, if we value each learner, for them self and properly. Growth will happen.

  • Changing Paradigms is to go from a industrial way of look at education to see it more organic.

          Industrial                       >  Organic
  • Utility    >   to be    >  Vitality
  • Linearity      >   to be    >   Creativly
  • Conformity      >   to be    >   Diversity
  • Standardisation      >   to be    >   Customization

Interested to see the real lecture? See it here at PSA, Ken Robinson- Changing Paradigms.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Changing civilisation

Jeremy Rifkin  -The Empathic Civilisation

Sir Ken Robinson - Changing Education Paradigms

A lot more to see at RSA
"For over 250 years the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has been a cradle of enlightenment thinking and a force for social progress. Our approach is multi-disciplinary, politically independent and combines cutting edge research and policy development with practical action. From their homepage RSA.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Role Play an Environmental Conflict

Tips from the book Environmental communication and the public sphere, Robert Cox, 2006. And same chapter about conflict resolution through collaboration and consensus;

"What do environmentalist believe we have in common with the Yellow Ribbon Coalitation? We believe that we are all honest people who want to continue our way of life. We believe that we all love the area in which we live. We believe that we all enjoy beautiful views, hunting and fishing and living in a rural area. We believe that we are being misled by the Forest Service and by large timber, which controls the Forest Service, into believing that we are enemies when we are not. (quoted in Wondolleck & Yaffee, 2000, Making collaboration works: Lessons from innovation in natural resource management, pp, 71-72)

Move people to build a better world?

At Pulau Gaya, an Island outside Kota Kinabalu, Borneo the Kampung Lok Urai people lives. The island is protected and the people with a population of 6000- 8000 lives in stilt houses along the beaches (see more pictures close here at Evan Hwong's page).

The area has no sanitation and the crime level is high. The people have to drive 10 minutes by boat to sell and buy things in the city.

In another neighborhood we have to deal with the other side of the coin. Here is some picture of a so-called "good neighborhood" in US.


Alameda, San Francisco Bay Area. Suburban sprawl, but compare it to the picture below.

Same map scale as above, Springfield outside Washington DC. An area for around 1000? We can count the houses. High way to the right.


"the high speed rail project will conserve 1 million acres of environmental lands and cause 44% less land to be consumed. How does a train running down the middle of I-4 do all that? The answer is by "compact development" aka "smart growth", aka "New Urbanism", aka "Traditional Neighborhood Design", aka "Transit Oriented Development", aka "Livable Communities", aka "Sustainable Development." These are all names meaning the same thing: they are anti-suburban, high-density dwelling design concepts that are part of the UN's Agenda 21 and will make single family home ownership for our posterity unattainable. Cost is not the only factor with high speed rail. Statists are using these central planning schemes to combat "man-made climate change" and is a land grab to convert private lands to federal control. 

said the Chairman at the Tampa 912 Project. Read more about Tea party against Sustainable development and American Dream Coalitation.

Almost same map scale as above, Fittja, outside Stockholm, Sweden. A neigbourhood for 7500 people. Subway is located in the middle. Is it this they do not want to have?


More from the article at Mother Jones;

"If sustainable development is fully implemented, she says, "This basically will turn us into a Soviet state."
In the tea parties’ dystopian vision, the increased density favored by planners to allow for better mass transit become compulsory "human habitation zones." They warn of Americans being forcibly moved from their suburban dream homes into urban "hobbit homes" and required to give up their cars and instead—gasp!—take the bus to work.

Isn't it time to build cities where people want to live? Where it is as same good to live in a close-to-work apartment as in a close-to-nature suburban house? Because it is close to both work and nature.

Isn't it time to build cities where people can live, even if they are poor or rich? Where you can choose to have a small apartment or a big? Because both options are there.

Isn't it time to build cities which take care of sanitation, and car pollution? Where no-one needs to live in the shit? Because cities should be a good place to live.

You might also like to read:
Examples of cozy cities under 
Upon Equality
Französisches Viertel
Heart of the world

Friday, December 03, 2010

Ecology of architecture

So in architecture, as in music, it is not the sound of the note alone or the sum of the notes which creates music, but the experience of their interrelations; i.e., the perception of subsequent events while still being aware of those immediately preceding.
"Visual objects are not as static as we might carelessly think they are. Actually they have life. They have life because their existence are complementarily interrelated to and influenced by each other; because they are subject to transformation due to the transfusion between brightness and darkness, and because they are experienced by life." The above statement also reinforces the imprtance of not looking at objects in isolation for their own sake. The cuts must be seen as the most active parts of the environmnent which reveal those tensive and compulsive energies.

-From Architecture as environmental communication, 1984, Asghar Talaye Minai1, p. 175 . Quote ia referenced to the book Art, Science, and Architecture; Architecture as a dynamic process of structuring matter-energy in the spatio-temporal world, 1969, same author.

You might also be interesting in;
architecture as environmental communication
Upon architecture
Antimaterialism in the nature of architecture
What is an ecocity?
A whole new world view

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Safe daycare building

They solved the problem of burnt kindergartens in Alby, Stockholm, by building one all-metal. The grass is artificial turf and the outer courtyard is guarded by camera.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Cracks in your concrete? You need ‘BacillaFilla’

From the Press Release 12th of November 2010. Joint project instructor Dr Jennifer Hallinan explains:

“Around five per cent of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions are from the production of concrete, making it a significant contributor to global warming
A bacteria that can knit together cracks in concrete structures by producing a special ‘glue’ has been developed by a team of students at Newcastle University.

The genetically-modified microbe has been programmed to swim down fine cracks in the concrete. Once at the bottom it produces a mixture of calcium carbonate and a bacterial glue which combine with the filamentous bacterial cells to ‘knit’ the building back together.

On this blog, you might also like;
Wales captures carbon emissions
Delicious healthy "fishfarm"
Ecofriendly kitchen
Beetles and other small animals
Epigynes and male palps; views from the spiders
Ecosystem services- a lesson about

Personalized Energy | MIT

“On advice he received from Kurt Vonnegut: He told me, 'stop worrying about the planet dying. When you have a big organism and you become irritating to it, the immunological system just kicks in and kills the invading organism'. And he assured me that we have just become so irritating to the earth, she'll just kill us. Which makes me happier. It says that there is something much bigger than us, which we forget about the earth. And she is much more powerful than us. She'll get rid of us if we don't take care of her
Daniel Nocera

"Nocera’s goal is to make each home its own power station, with photovoltaic arrays on the roof feeding the catalytic reaction that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. Some of these elements are still pricey or unreliable -- in particular, fuel cells and photovoltaics are troublesome -- yet he envisions villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing one of his basic systems for $800. While Nocera acknowledges his critics, he views them as institution-bound naysayers: “I always say when the scientists stop fighting, then you’re screwed.”  MIT World