Friday, December 16, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Alex Steffen: The shareable future of cities

Alex Steffen in a great speech about ecocities (explained in other words with nice pictures of present solutions).

I would submit to you that all of these things are not only possible, they’re being done right now, and that it’s a darn good thing. Because right now, our economy by and large operates as Paul Hawken said, “by stealing the future, selling it in the present and call it GDP.” And if we have another eight billion or seven billion, or six billion, even, people, living on a planet where their cities also steal the future, we’re going to run out of future really fast. But if we think differently, I think that, in fact, we can have cities that are not only zero emissions, but have unlimited possibilities as well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Masouleh, Iran- Carfree village

"The buildings have been built into the mountain and are interconnected. Courtyards and roofs both serve as pedestrian areas similar to streets. Masouleh does not allow any motor vehicles to enter, due to its unique layout. It is the only village in Iran with such a prohibition. However, the small streets and many stairs simply wouldn't make it possible for vehicles to enter."


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Underground Community Green Space

Future inovations goes underground. "The Delancey Underground project seeks to transform an abandoned trolley terminal into New York City's first underground community green space". Take a look at the homepage Delancy underground or read more about the project at

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Spaceship Earth - city as arcology

Fuller's Challenge

How do we make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone?
Hear Bucky in the video:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Paolo Soleri's briges

"As architecture develops to become a phenomenon of human ecology, cities will become like an organism reflecting, in their complexity, the life that they contain."
- Paolo Soleri, 1969

Saturday, September 03, 2011

New plan to restore 150 million hectares of forest

Conservationists and politicians meeting in Bonn on Friday launched a new initiative to restore 150 million hectares (580,000 square miles) of deforested and degraded forests, reports the World Resources Institute (WRI), an NGO that is involved in the effort.

Supporters say the target — dubbed the Bonn Challenge — could could boost economic growth while helping fight climate change.

"Restoring 150 million hectares of degraded lands represents an exciting and largely untapped opportunity to create more jobs and economic growth, while also protecting our climate," said Göran Persson, a former Prime Minister of Sweden who will lead the New Global Restoration Council.

Read full text at

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vänersborg goes participatory

Participatory methods, i.e be a part of a process, sharing ideas, involvment of 'public', when consulting new housing areas has been done successfully but is not something to ordinary processes. Consultation is in an early stage within the municipality, later with a building company and artitechts and, it is first when a plan is finished, when people can come and have a say.

Examples from Germany's so-called Baugroupen, shows very clear, that a large group of people together can plan a housing area. The Baugroupen, which are created in consultation with an architect, is a participatory way to plan an area. Bauroupen are normally around 10 households, discussing their issues, conserns and needs.

Methods to share information to a group of people when they are not involved in the future living, and before a plan is finished is extremly rare. But this happened in Vänersborg, Sweden, spring 2009 when nearby households to an area under planning were involved in the planning process. This was also done with specifically participatory methods, to understand the case from everyone's perspective, to whittle down the expected conflict..

Case; The forest next to the suburb of Mariedal in Vänersborg, Sweden, has a pine tree plantage now high enough to clearcut. Same forest has a housebuilding plan accepted early as 1929, were the area should house 40 more villas. Some of the residents knew this, some didn't. But these plans where now at the architects drawing table- because it's time efficient  to build houses in the same time as the forest is cleared. A case ready for a conflict, so SLU (the Swedish Agricultural University) set a dialouge with residents in the area to mediate between the Planning Committee and the one's living and using the forest (knowing later; as a playground for kids at the nearby school and kindergarten, as a walkingarea for dogs etc). 200 letters were send out to the neighbourhood close to the forest, welcoming everyone to listen to new plans but moreover, to have a say about it.

 A closeby area with new villas, residents saying: isn't that large enough?
Leave our forest alone!

Conserned neigbours came to a participatory meeting to discuss the forest where a new housing area were planned before the plan was a plan. The first meeting led to another where participants were invited to walk around the forest to give another perspective to the municipality, the second meeting followed, now with the starting point of "if the forest has to be a new housing, how would it look like". Participatory methods for this were done with small  groups sitting with models of houses which could be moved over a map. The participants wrote lists on what they thought was very important in the area if it was built. Everything was documented as notes. A doctorate candidate used some of the material to her dissertation.

So what happened after? Now august 2011, they do not even know what to do there. Residents in the nearby area wonder if they have their forest or new neighbours. They lack information and the project is placed on ice.

Important note: meetings in this way should only be organized if they are needed. Participatory meetings are for learning and action.. A follow-up after things like this is necessary if starting a process like this.

From Participatory methods toolkit; A practitioner’s manual;

The general steps in developing and implementing public participatory methods constitute the following:
1. Recruit a project team.
2. Define the purpose and goals of the strategy.
3. Determine the scope and focus of a public involvement process.
4. Understand the legislative, legal, jurisdictional and social context for the issue and any decision(s) to be made.
5. Determine who should be involved and why.
6. Understand the time frame and process for decisions.
7. Design the plan (choosing one or multiple methods).
8. Assemble the funding.
9. Set adequate timelines and other resources required to make the process work.
10. Recruit participants.
11. Promote the event.
12. Implement the plan.
13. Evaluate the process and results.
14. Produce and disseminate final report.

Vänersborg's participatory methods were stuck at number 13. So much work for nothing.

Read more:

Samråd löser konflikter kring tätorts-skogarna 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Carbon Footprint for Google Maps

Good or bad? Check your CO2 car emissions at google maps.

(Whatever plans you have, whenever you need, wherever you go, the best way to reduce emissions is always to drive nowhere!)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Carfree in Italy

A calm street, Siena

My family (father, his wife and my elder brother) went to Rome with the train. It took us five days to travel there with three stops in Germany and one in Switzerland. Home "only" 32 hours. Here is some of the pictures I made. Another post will come from Cinque terre, five small cities along the Italian coast, completly carfree. See also the post these cars, to see some links to carfree cities and places.

Pictures here are from Siena, Rome, Genova. Pisa and Florence. All cities with a lot of cars but also a lot of limitations. However, in all of the cities some streets where very busy while others where almost empty. Normal was also very small cars and scooters and they took care of walking people.

 Rome. Simple construction makes it easy to use the full street when no cars and moving when they are on their way.

Piazza del Campo, Siena

Escalator from the station which had a shopping center in several layers in the hill slide, Siena

The long long escalator, Siena

A small path down the hill of Gianicolo, just for pedestrians in Rome

No entry for cars, Rome

Only scooters allowed, Rome

Beautiful stairs up to the hill Gianicolo, Rome

 Along the Tiber river, not the nicest path, but a way to walk from the traffic, Rome

In Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome which is of course carfree because it is a building. But I think this picture tells us something about the feeling of a clean and calm place.

Special arrangements to hinder cars to go here, Genova

 Pedestrian street, Pisa

Piazza dei Cavalieri is where the leaning tower stands. Here is space for the tourist to walk, Pisa

Carfree at the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore at Piazza del Duomo, Florence

Knowledge of ecology mixed with the ability to imagine

Michael Pollan is the author of The omnivore's dilemma: a natural history of four meals, he also wrote the book The botany of desire. Both books discussion and explain the relationship between man and traditional compare to industrial farming. In the TED video above, he trying to explain the relations (the ecology) between different speices, including our own. Starting at time 07.25;
"-As soon as you start seeing things from the plant’s point of view or the animal’s point of view, you realize that the real literary conceit is that. Is this — the idea that nature is opposed to culture. The idea that — that consciousness is everything. And that’s another very important thing it does. Looking at the world from other species’ points of view is a cure for the disease of human self-importance. You suddenly realize that consciousness — which we value and we consider the — you know, the crown of — the crowning achievement of nature — human consciousness — is really just another set of tools for getting along in the world. And it’s kind of natural that we would think it was the best tool. But you know, as — there’s a comedian who said, “Well, who’s telling me that consciousness is so good and so important? Well, consciousness.” 

The best part in this TED is the example of the farm starting at 10.43 in the video and the text below at 14.45:
"-But look at it from the point of view of the grass, now. What happens to the grass when you do this? When a ruminant grazes grass, the grass is cut from this high to this height. And it immediately does something very interesting. Any one of you who gardens knows that there is something called the root-shoot ratio. And plants need to keep the root mass in some rough balance with the leaf mass to be happy. So when they lose a lot of leaf mass, they shed roots. They kind of cauterize them. And the roots die. And the species in the soil go to work, basically chewing through those roots, decomposing them. The earthworms, the fungi, the bacteria. And the result is new soil. This is how soil is created. It’s created from the bottom up. This is how the prairies were built: the relationship between bison and grasses.

And what I realized when I understood this — and if you ask Joel Salatin what he is, he’ll tell you he’s not a chicken farmer, he’s not a sheep farmer, he’s not a cattle rancher: he’s a grass farmer, because grass is really the keystone species of such a system — is that, if you think about it, this completely contradicts the tragic idea of nature we hold in our heads, which is that, for us to get what we want, nature is diminished. More for us, less for nature. Here, all this food comes off the farm, and at the end of the season there is actually more soil, more fertility and more biodiversity.

It’s a remarkably hopeful thing to do. There are a lot of farmers doing this today. This is well beyond organic agriculture, which is still a Cartesian system more or less. And what it tells you is that if you begin to take account of other species, take account of the soil, that even with — with nothing more than this perspectival idea — because there is no technology involved here except for those fences, which could be — you know, they’re so cheap, they could be all over Africa in no time — that you can — that we can take the food that we need from the Earth, and actually heal the Earth in the process".

Like couchsurfing but airbnb

We know couchsurfing, stayning some nights at some other peoples bed or sofa. All runned from the sight,, where you can find your host who describes the place with pictures and feedback from other couchsurfers. The same about you; you get some comments about you living in the place which your host can read before she or he desides to have you over. All this is for free. Now comes something else, airbnb, is like couchsurfing but you pay a little. Same idea but better? Take a look at

With new cellphones and systems of feedback and paying this is now possible. Getting to know the culture, getting to know new people, making friendship is known from couchsurfing but now too, helping a little with rent and so on. Might this even be better than the free couchsurfing?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The hyenas at Stureplan

"Hyenorna vid Stureplan", provocative street art in the center of the capital city Stockholm of Sweden. The hyenas whould represent the young people who use to party in the area, so called brats, young adults with rich parents, who tend to be a bit like hyenas- proud, insolent and grabbing from others (at least their own parents and some think they are extremly lazy and spoiled). Picture above is from

My guess is that some people just think it's nice and fun art, even cute, with kids coming and pat them. I saw the story that the creators, when arranging, had the municipality working clothes, set up roadblock and had the right tools to put them into the ground. And the sign looks like an ordinary information sign in a zoo, but when look closer, it's not. Read it in Swedish here and in English here. Brilliant work for the curious observer, which questioning in one hand, the rich young peoples behavior in that area, but in the other, rise the discussion about what is nice art and what's not and the biggest qustion is perhaps the right to use the city's spaceroom for art and/or opinions and views. Some angry voices has already been heard, including Marten Castenfors, director at Liljevalchs Gallery and head of Stockholm's public decoration. He says;- They are not that funny and it's pretty bad finish on them too. Ambitious art attack, but from my perspective, dubious

However a good mind reminder I think. Let's see how long they can stay at the square.

LEED for Neighborhood Development

New guide to a sustainable neighborhood:  A Citizen’s Guide to LEED for Neighborhood Development: How to Tell if Development is Smart and Green

[pic from Italy, some trees makes the road much more walkable as the temperature is quite high during the summer]

- Link tip thanks to April at Food Coalition of Central Indiana FCCI

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ecothinking vs ecodoing

Or "plans do look better in paper"

What I've seen after spending years with environmental action is a huge gap between thinking and doing. Meaning, people do not do what they think. Often- too- thinking, even if you are following a great plan, leads to a doing which is not exacly what was planned from the beginning. Word here is process, and they are in a continuous change- if they even exists.

Me intresested in environmental planning and buildings would like to use a good example of thinking- doing process in the planning of building new housing areas. In pictures and plans and in the architects minds those areas would be the nicest and most environmental friendly one have ever seen. But what then happen in the reality is that it was not planned from people but from pens.

Things which are often wrong when translate from paper to reality;
  • Distances are longer
  • People do not just gather because there is an ”open area”
  • Cars are more
  • Bad weather is a phenomena which occur quite often
  • People do not just take the tram if the tram is ”close”
  • (add your own.. there are much more) 
Last touch in a new housing area needs to be in a participatory process with future tenants. They should and would take care for the place when it's there. They are also they people who might want to have something special in the area. Or want something gone. They are the experts not the professionals in the office. And they become even more of after some years.
    As last thing, again, have to say, eco is not only about technology. In fact, its not much about technology at all, but is all about people's ability to have a healthy life.. Eco is something sustainable. In mind, heart and soul.

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Play it hard

    We love Vegan Black Metal Chef! 14 minutes of metal or cooking for that matter is not what I usually like. This, hilarios, genius, positive. Good not only when making homour, but when changing peoples feelings about things. Here; a black metal guy who's funny! And delisious vegan food seen made from scratch. More like, please!

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Let your senses guide you

    Hans Makart (1872–79) Die fünf Sinne

    Senses, touching, hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, our five senses which make us human.

    What about those feelings of right and wrong? Often we feel directly what we want to do.

    Scientists mean that we use our brain better if we exercise. Why?

    What is it to have a conscience?

    To have a concern about other people and nature is often something questioned. Why isn't it the opposite?

    Why is it so that we have so much feelings, but always need to have a common sense to prove what we mean when talking to others?

    And is it so that all is now logic to us, but because of the lack of our senses to issues, we do not care? Use your senses, let them guide you

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Bolivia: Fighting the climate wars, Sunday 10 April 2011

    John Vidal reports from La Paz where Bolivians are living with the effects of climate change every day. Their president has called for an urgent 50% cut in emissions - action that is essential for the country's survival.

    Monday, April 04, 2011


    Symbolic interactionism assumes that man is social, and with, in constant exchange with his surroundings that shapes us as human beings. The individual human being can integrate with others but also himself. This means that the individual at every moment, can be active in defining the situation they are in. What makes up the individual situation is for the individual a result of interpretations of the current situation. When people are described as active creatures who respond to their surroundings, it is also assumed, to understand human behaviour we must focus on social interaction, human cognition, the defined situation, time frame, and the active nature of man. The view of ourselves is how we perceive ourselves through our environment. We are responsible for this interpretation when we create our perspective within us. "The world does not tell us what it is, we actively reach out and understand it and decide what to do with it". Different backgrounds (value/belief) and systems underpinning the way we perceive the world around us and with what tools we read and process our impressions influence the individual interpretations of our self, situations, and reality as a whole.

    Underlying of the concept of sustainable future is the conviction that everything in the world is interdependent. We are all part of interconnected systems of humans and nature. These systems change over time, and have more than one equilibrium position. Various feedback loops make the system dynamic and can even lead to chaotic changes. To have a system that, can take some interference and does not not alter it’s state drastically is the key to sustainability (resilient thinking). Adaptability when living in such a system is to have an understanding of not only details but of the whole system, to have strategies for rapid change, knowing how to reorganize after any change and have strategies for dealing with uncertainty and surprises (adaptive approcach). Sustainability is based on the three concepts of ecological, economical and social sustainability. These are called the three legs of sustainability. The legs are seemingly in a conflict with each other and must be discussed and understood to be balanced. One can also infer that if the ecology is in balance, the economy would be in balance and therefore the social meanings. Or simply told, if the ecology of society is taken into consideration it would be good even for people in the long term. But, to get to the point that we can think of ecology, we must begin by arranging the individuals and talk about the problems. Thus, the process towards a sustainable society is only as important as it’s definition (Hallberg and Ljung, 2005).

    Objects are constituted of whatever people indicate or refer them to be (Blumer, p 68). People do not see reality as it is, but they interpret what they experience and form a picture of reality. We use perspectives. Each social science brings a perspective on human beings. In each case, reality, as it is, is not open for us.


    If, by Rudyard Kipling (1895)

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
    Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with triumph and disaster
    And treat those two imposters just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
    And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breath a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
    Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
    And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!


    Hear and see it in a modern touch here; Typography: IF by Rudyard Kipling from George Horne on Vimeo. Compare to what you thought in the first place. Ask yourself what pictures, music and other peoples thoughts can do to our own, and, in what way they do.

    Friday, April 01, 2011

    Nonviolent Communication

    Practical summary of Mr Marshall Rosenberg's revolutionary theories about NONVIOLENT COMMUNICATION: how to communicate, raise children and live together without violence, without punishment, without reward. From scribd.

    Nonviolent Communication

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Postcards From The Future

    How will the future look like? How shall we live?

    See London in a possible future with climate change, climate immigrants, higher population and more povertry at Postcards from the future

    Wednesday, March 09, 2011

    Upon education

    "The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn't need to be reformed -- it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions."

    — Ken Robinson (The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything)

    Ken Robinson has been discussed in earlier posts about Changing paradigm and Changing civilisation. Is then Robinson in conflict with Salman Kahn from Khan In my meaning he is also doing education more inspiring for kids. Here's a new TED on personal education and how to humanize classroom and that- with technology. The technology makes it easy to overlook for teachers on how kids are doing, they can see how much time the student put on their studies, and they can make sure that the students gets the help they need, to get the ground for future life.

    Tuesday, March 01, 2011

    In the Game

    Commute 2 hours a day, drink a lot of coffee and meet around hundred people per day.

    I admitt, I'm not used to it, but I'm in the big working holic society. I don't do it for the money or for the fun, but to test myself. The environmentalist is on the last mission, the teaching experience. I teach upper elementary school (ages 11-16) in Math, Science, Social sciences, English and Swedish. The school call me in the early morning and tell me what to do in the day, as a substitute teacher when the ordinary is sick. I have approximatly one hour to prepare for a lession. And when there, I need all the attention from the students, and I call tell you, it's very tricky to do so.

    In my school, the kids have their own computer, they got it from the school to write and find information. They use it for facebook, games, youtube and whatever comes into their minds. And they run around, one jumped out from the window, they play music loud and they test the limits in all directions.

    The huge test started last week. The ultimate test to make unmotivated and not interested people to work for a purpose.

    Teaching in this kind of a way is not about knowledge or deliver information, this is only inspiration and a challenge to find ways and methods to make as little time as possible for the students to do other things, not in purpose for school. This experience is about efficient learning in action. Practising all knowledge from environmental communication. Making the people to find their own will to do something. Asking the questions as they can answer. Because they already have a lot of knowledge, a lot of ideas how to make things work.

    I learn from them. They still not learn too much from me. But what I do is to help them find their own motivation and potential. They have it.

    I guide them throught out the hour of class;
    • I start every lession to tell them who I am and why I'm there. I tell them what to do the next 40 or 50 minutes and I tell them what time the class is over
    • I give them time to get into the subject. If, like in the swedish class, they have to make a review of a book, they tell in pairs what they remember about it, or from the religion class, talk in pairs what they did last time, or in english class, tell another student in english what they did over the weekend, or in natural science, what they know about acid conditions
    • a next step here should be to share a bit in class, where we are and again what to do next hour
    • time is limited and they have to work, what to do to engage them to want to work? answer questions, of a mix of reading and writing, and some help from the teacher..

    In a class where I will be the teacher in the two different subjec, 8 times in two weeks, we made a little get-to-know-each-other exercise. We took away the tables and sat in a ring on the chairs. I asked them what they wanted to do. They told me they wanted to present themself to me, and when they said their name, they also told what they like to do and that with a movement of the activity. It was really fun, we got tennis players, animal lovers, one sailer and a WOW player. We laughed some and then we could start the lession, still in the ring, to talk about the New Testament and what they knew about Jesus. They talked, they smiled, we got the connection. We also splitted the ring and started to work as a "normal class" again. And they really worked.

    I have no idea how to make this in a math class, with big boys who has to make the class misarable for the other or how to inspire more on how to make a movie review more than suggest some different angels to start from. But I think we certainly do something. And that is not by "ordinary lectures", which, I believe would be without any attention at all.

    More about:
    Communicate the future of mankind
    The disadvantages of lectures
    Learning by doing
    More teamwork less competition

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    Questions From a Worker Who Reads

    Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
    In the books you will find the names of kings.
    Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
    And Babylon, many times demolished
    Who raised it up so many times? In what houses
    Of gold-glittering Lima did the builders live?
    Where, the evening that the Wall of China was finished
    Did the masons go? Great Rome
    Is full of triumphal arches. Who erected them? Over whom
    Did the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in song
    Only palaces for its inhabitants? Even in fabled Atlantis
    The night the ocean engulfed it
    The drowning still bawled for their slaves.

    The young Alexander conquered India.
    Was he alone?
    Caesar beat the Gauls.
    Did he not have even a cook with him?
    Philip of Spain wept when his armada
    Went down. Was he the only one to weep?
    Frederick the Second won the Seven Year's War. Who
    Else won it?

    Every page a victory.
    Who cooked the feast for the victors?
    Every ten years a great man?
    Who paid the bill?

    So many reports.
    So many questions.

    ("Fragen eines lesenden Arbeiters" - translated by M. Hamburger in Bertolt Brecht, Poems 1913-1956, Methuen, N.Y., London, 1976)

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Ecological mosquito killer

    As you already know, I also have a huge fascination of the order Araneae, spiders, small and large. A friend, also a hobby enthusiast, told me about this very interesting thing, combaning arachnology, environmentalism and human health in a low risk, low investment and natural way.

    The thing is about malaria. The ecological mosquito killer; a jumping spider from Kenya and Uganda, Evarcha culicivora. They kill up to 20 mosquitoes in rapid succession. Scientist now knows that this spider likes the smell of sweaty socks, meaning good news for malaria areas. Call for it with your smelly footwear and then.. let it work in your home.
    Read the article from yesterday's BBC news here; Mosquito-eating spider likes smelly socks

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    What environmentalists do- for real

    It seems many times, as people think environmental issues is just another problem in the world. My questions to those people is then; what would man be without his environment? Proved by this statement, everything man does are environmental issues.

    An environmentalist is then, someone who cares about environment, but as much as environment, also about man's happiness and ability to continue to have a decent life.

    Checklist for an environmentalist's action would be;

    • food which is low-resource produced as organic, vegan, rich in nutrients, locally produced and seasonal food
    • a lifestyle which is low-resource produced as buying clothes and things which is long-lasting and often good quality, use things as long as it is possible, second-hand shop, borrow things which is not needed daily, and share
    • ethic shopping as fairtrade, no animal testing, no endangered species, no pollution, no waste of water
    • activities which does not require so much resources; cultural, art, historical, theater, music, most sports and outdoor activities and handcraft
    • transportations mostly by walk and bike or longer with train
    All these things can be hard, when this society does not help us too well to make those choices. We need to think all the time in every situation, how to deal with it.

    Some call it voluntary simplicity, a choice to live a life with less needs, a more free life. But is it? And can we say that it is free to choice anything out there, like a shopoholic? We all have our ideals, and groups we would like to be identified with. Our surroundings says so. People says so. Environment says so.

    People around the planet dream to live like we do, but they can't. They never will. We are out of resources before that.

    To be an environmentalist is to have a dream for a better place. The mission for the environmentalist is to find the way there.

    Read more
    Environmental awareness: attitude or action?
    Ecological modernization vs Ecocities
    What's wrong with the human society?
    Making the consistency of ideas
    The perfect society
    Creations of groups and exclusion of others

    Saturday, February 05, 2011

    Chris Jordan pictures some shocking stats | Video on

    Chirs Jordan shows with photography how scale can make a different on small choices.

    See more from Chris Jordan, especially the exibition Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption  (2003 - 2005) and a distinguishing exhibit of another way of seeing things in the Year of the Tiger, 2010 in the exhibition of Running the Numbers II: Portraits of global mass culture (2009 - 2011).

    Monday, January 31, 2011

    Reviving New York's rivers -- with oysters!

    "Architect Kate Orff sees the oyster as an agent of urban change. Bundled into beds and sunk into city rivers, oysters slurp up pollution and make legendarily dirty waters clean -- thus driving even more innovation in "oyster-tecture." Orff shares her vision for an urban landscape that links nature and humanity for mutual benefit". (from

    Similar posts;
    Delicious healthy "fishfarm"
    Ecosystem services- a lesson about
    Wales captures carbon emissions

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    Moving without car

    I grow up without a car. We took the bus to viola lessons, ballet class, walked to school and went by tram to visit my mother. Our holidays spent in the archipelago with grandma was a fast one-hour trip by car and then we move it not before going home again. My father never had a driver's license, even if he "drives" a whole orchestra almost every day in his work as a conductor. Never did I have one, or any of my seven siblings, except of one, my father's youngest. He was tired of the bus, same bus my dad took every day, year around to get to work. Now my brother lives in the middle of the city, in a walking distance to his work. And his car is in my garage.

    When I was in my first school grade, school linked us together in "walking teams"- we had to wait for some other kids to walk to school or home. I had two walking friends. They lived in the same neighbourhood and I lived in another. Sometimes they had to wait for me, sometimes the other way. When we got a little bit older we started to bike to school. And it was the same team. By walking to school took us around 45 minutes. By bike maybe 20. We had a great walking and bike path to school seperated from cars, along nice houses and gardens, with safe pedestrian crossing.

    A few times in life, I've been addicted to a car, for example when going to ride horses, anyhow I live in a walking distance to a stable where I live now (not in the countryside) so reason is not that they are unreachable without a car. Other times are when heading to the recycling center (paradoxically) and when to move from one place to another. One time when I had to move, we drove all the way through Finland to reach North Sweden in a big GMC van, in which we also had to sleep in (trip was a great memory) but other times I just took my things with a small push cart, but that was at that time while package was small. As older we get, as more things we have. Bookshelves, sofas, desks, kitchen tables, paintings, books, millions of shoes and clothes and things (not so easy to take on the train anymore, even if that have happen).

    Recently I bought skis to enjoy some of the nice snow we got in the country. I been to Olso in Norway with them, and I've been at the tram, bus, subway and train with them now several times. They are a bit big and with another ordinary travel bag besides the skis, I'm a bit clumpsy and big, all of me. But besides that, I really enjoy travelling like this. It's just me and my bags. When I reach my distination, I can just walk away. No extra bags, seaching for a parking lot, find money to pay or anything. It's just me.

    In Oslo, when prepare for skiing, we just took our ski shoes on in the apartment, took the skis under the arm and walked to the subway. When reached our distination, we walked 10 meters and then off we went! Soo relaxing. Soo much freedom. We were not the only ones in Oslo doing this. It was, were I lived, almost like an alpin village with people carring skis alover.

    Another way of doing without a car or bus, train or tram would be to bike or run. After a whole life without any special exercise I started with running. What I found out in the summer was a trail  from my brother, all the way in the forest to my ordinary running trail. It is almost 10 km in the forest and it is a beautiful forest, with a spectacular view in the end, seeing over the city and I can almost see all the way to the ocean. To combine time when you have to move in some sort of a way, with excercise is not just environmental correct but time saving! To take the bus to my brother takes me 45 minutes sometimes one hour. To run, around one hour. So, combine, and I save a lot of time. To not talk about to save the unpleasure to change bus three times, miss the crowd and to have my own decision where to go and how fast. If you are lucky to have a shower at your work, this is the inspiration video for you; take your legs to work.

    In the utopian future, we live in a world without cars. Cars should just be for transportation of gods and work situations where cars are the only choice, think investigations of environment, construction of infrastrucure and sorts like that.

    If a society would be built up in this way, would it take the freedom away from people?! Hold that question for a while.

    Take a look at the site parking lots to see what you can do instead of parking lots. Another fun site is walkscore, where you can try your own street and see how "nice" it is to walk on. In a project in Falun and Borlänge, two small towns in middle Sweden, you can be a part of theirs winter project called the "winter biker" to lead more people to use their bikes in the wintertime. The project is held from the municipailty and give participants winter tires, saddle cover and a cyclocomputer to reports their travels. See more about the project here at their homepage vintercyklisten. A similar way of encourage people to drive less is a project in Belgium were environmental organisations and local stores promots peoples daily shopping by bike; every time you drive your bike to the store you got one stamp, and when you got 8 of them you can order a bike bag from the designer Walter Van Beirendonck. See more about that project at (in Flemish).

    Terrible without a car? Terrible with? You deside, but most important and not to forget; The shortest distance between two points is achieved by moving those points closer together. I.e we need to change the way we build communities.

    More from this blog:
    What happen to the ferries
    New York, car free plaza
    Low density, high density
    Bike lines and bike roads
    These cars
    Theme; public transit
    Let’s build cities for people (not cars)

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Ecocity buildings all around

    Some girls are enjoying the green roof in a summer day of 1926 in Berlin

    Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall, Japan. From the architect Emilio Ambasz. See more info from this project at

     Nanyang Nniversity in Singapore. See another green roof project here; Stunning Green Roofed High School by Off Architecture.

    Futuristic pictures found at the web long time ago. Take a closer look by dubbel-click on picture.

    A picture used for the book The world without us, from the author Alan Weisman.‘Warsaw Without Us’ was a cover piece commissioned by Focus Magazine in Poland from Mondolithic Studios.

    Ecocity San Francisco by Richard Register. See his organisation's homepage Ecocity Builders for more.

    I found a lot of pictures at, some very similar to what a ecocity building could look like. BUT no ecocity building lives alone. The building itself have to to be very large on it's own to be a full city, something explained by Paolo Soleri in previous posts, or the building have to be connected to other buildings.

    Cottages at Fallingwater by Patkau Architects

    Training centre by Chartier-Corbasson

    East Mountain by Johan Berglund

    Composting Shed by Groves-Raines Architects

    Spanish Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010 by EMBT

    Trestles Beach footbridge by Dan Brill Architects

    More about ecocity buildings and features in this blog;

    Make'n a good feeling in the city?
    Eco-town Amersfoort
    Green walls
    Animals in the city
    Urban agriculture
    Streets in greenery
    Greening the streets
    Garbage solutions
    These cars and carfree cities
    Interaction human-street
    Bike lines and bike roads
    Through Europe with one ticket

    Pictures from South Germany
    Example from Tübingen
    Freiburg, The Green City
    Le Halles, in Paris
    Göteborg and Älvstranden in Göteborg
    Green spots in Istanbul
    Cars and ugly spots in San Francisco Bay Area
    The city forest in Alingsås
    The "ecopath" in Hjo
    Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm
    The Western Harbour in Malmö
    Houses and green spots in Copenhagen
    Terrace house and green spots in Warsaw
    Green spots in San Francisco
    Slope houses in the hill of Berkeley
    The old bewery house in Skövde
    Ecoarchitechture house in Uppsala
    Why so ugly?
    Public transit over the world

    What is an ecocity? part 2
    What is an ecocity?
    Face of an ecocity
    A city perspective in your own imagination
    Living in the future with some examples

    The Boverian house  (winter-garden greenhouse with apartments connected)
    New York with car free plaza
    15 examples of green cities
    Vancouver EcoDensity Initiative
    Plans for sustainable cities and ecocities
    Ecoplans for Treasure Island, San Francisco

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Let’s build cities for people (not cars)

    "I heard the great urban planner Paolo Soleri speak way back in 1965 about the benefits of a compact city designed for pedestrians—ie, humans—instead of sprawling, anonymous suburbs built for cars. I took his notions seriously.
    In Soleri’s notion, the compact city was more like cities in Europe than those then spreading in a thin veneer across the United States. The car would be replaced as the primary mode of motorized transportation by the streetcar and the elevator.
    If we could push the idea of the compact city of enormous variety—Soleri used the words “complexity” and “density”—the whole thing could run on something like a tenth of the energy, all renewable, and cover just a fifth of the land, compared to a sprawl city of the same population, making it possible to have nature and agriculture immediately next door. Just take the stairs or an elevator ride and you could walk or bike out in the country in a matter of a few short minutes.

    Bottom line: we need a geographically smaller city, but that is possible only if we shift from two-dimensional design dependent on cars to a more three-dimensional city designed around the human body. The new city needs to grow upwards, not outwards.
    Elsewhere, major district centers would become small cities or towns in their own right and neighborhood centers would become villages of varying sizes, each with its own character. Buildings would, on average, be higher, houses would be replaced by apartments and cars by bicycles, walkable streets, streetcars, and elevators. Pleasurable and beautiful places like rooftop gardens and restaurants, multi-story solar greenhouses and bridges with spectacular views connecting buildings would predominate, along with renewable energy and closed-in organic agriculture. It would be the start of a new green economy.
    Such cities would be places to further the ecological health of human society and whatever we mean by “nature” on this planet. But, equally important, such cities would be places to grow and develop ever more “human” humans. Thus we help further both ecological health and our own evolution at the same time."

    Richard Register from Ecocity Builders writes at What matters. Read the full article here; Let’s build cities for people (not cars)

    Friday, January 07, 2011

    The long tomorrow


    Got a tip about the comic The long tomorrow from a close friend after reading last post. The comic was made by Dan O'Bannon in 1975. Picture from the front page, showing the city in the ground.

    Comic illustrated by Moebius and later inspired the movie Bladerunner. The city has several layers, where the ground is ontop of the roof. If this would be a sustainable city, we could see it as forests and small agriculture spots at the roofs, maybe some wind power and solar panels. Another interesting thing with this drawing is the seperation of cars and pedestrians and the many paths between buildings, this means that a city is not 2 dimentional, but 3. A very important feature in a future.

    A real building, digged out from the ground. The building is used for living and as a studio for boat building and carpentry. Buildings like this is also good for biodiversity, but why not just for our inner peace and harmony. Some space to be private even with a lot of people living close or in same building.

    Drawing from Richard Register. Close to both the other picure above. A close to everyday need. A city where creativity flows and happiness is all over. But cars has to stay outside.

    A real building in the mountain. Very similar to next picture and the picture above in the dirt.

    Drawing from Richard Register.

    Paolo Soleri

    See also: