Watch urban planner Jeff Speck discuss the four tenets of walkability, in order to call attention to the literally growing problem of sprawl in our cities:
When dealing with ripped jeans, broken appliances, and shattered cell phones, it’s often cheaper to buy new ones than repair them. Why fix the stitching and replace the heels on your fall boots when you can buy a brand new pair for less? This is a major contributing factor to consumerism and waste, which is why Sweden is working to reduce taxes paid on repairs and increase them on items that are unrepairable.
The demand for flawless fruits and vegetables is fueling food waste across the world. Blemished peaches, flowering broccoli, and misshapen carrots are often deemed unsellable by retailers, forcing farmers to dispose of nutritious and high-value produce. Food is not only wasted in fields, but also in warehouses, in packaging and distribution plants, in supermarkets and restaurants, and even in our homes.
Cities need more trees. Not just because they look nice, but because they help cut down energy use by reducing the need for air conditioning. They also store carbon dioxide, trap airborne pollutants, intercept rainfall, and raise property prices.
Highland Park, a small city within Metro Detroit, could no longer afford basic residential services in 2011. Many homes were cut off from running water and streetlights were even torn from the sidewalks.
November 29th, 2012
Did you know that 97% of homes in Copenhagen have district heating? Listen to architect Bjarke Ingels talk about the design challenge, how to build units sustainability with architectural alchemy and public participation, create spontaneous social encounters, and a public service market place. How do we take the symbol of the problem and turn it into fun--a CO2 smoke ring? How does a power plant in Copenhagen include a park and a man-made mountain for skiing?
I read an interesting article in the latest edition of Maclean's last night, entitled Building a better city. If you look at how an ecosystem works, it spends as much time on maintaining itself as growing, unlike human systems. Our infrastructure deficit is continuing, making the cost of replacement greater every year we keep sticking our heads in the sand. The infrastructure deficit is estimated at $123 billion in 2007, up exponentially from $12 billion in 1985 and $60 billion in 2003.
Most of my work touches on the theme of reconciliation, between ourselves and other species, between the built and the non-built environment, and critically, between the heart and the head, especially important when one works as an academic.