Can eco-density be beautiful? By Adele Weder
Vancouver, B.C. wrestles with how to make new buildings and greater density produce better, less uniform architecture. It turns out nobody has a very clear image of what that would look like.
…..Nobody has a clue what an eco-dense city will actually look like — or even what we want it to look like. New York? Shanghai? Disneyland?
At this and other eco-density public hearings, presenter and star eco-densifier Peter Busby has brandished a freshly produced, beautiful little booklet entitled mdash; what else? mdash; “Busby on Eco-Density,” as he offered an impassioned manifesto. The booklet contains clear and attractive illustrations of what Vancouver might “look like” under varying degrees of eco-density mdash; but in the abstract.
Source: Crosscut Seattle – Can eco-density be beautiful?.
Editors Note: The article is well written and well worth the read
Reuters reports that Shifting China’s model of urbanization to favor huge supercities could boost per capita output, improve energy efficiency and help contain the loss of arable land, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) said on Monday.
Rapid urbanization has been a major driver of Chinese growth over the past two decades and will become more so over the next 20 years; cities will account for 95 percent of China’s gross domestic product by 2025, up from 75 percent today, MGI said.
But the institute, the economics research arm of consultants McKinsey & Co, said in a report that China could reap even greater economic benefits by adopting a more concentrated pattern of urban growth.
China urged to shift urban growth to supercities
Urbanisation in the Asia-Pacific region has driven up poverty, says the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap).
The agency’s latest yearbook showed that with an increase in urbanisation and growth, urban poverty had also worsened.
This year represented a turning point in human geography. For the first time in history, more people now live in cities than in rural areas.
Although the Asia-Pacific region, along with Africa, was still one of the least urbanised regions of the world, its urban population had grown at the fastest pace in the last 15 years, said the yearbook, which describes economic, social and environmental trends in Asia and the Pacific.
Source: Bangkok Post : General news.
Are Australians visually illiterate? That’s the question that architects, designers and their critics have been pondering since the first convict staggered ashore, whacked up a bark humpy on the edge of Sydney Harbour, hung an emoh ruo sign on the front door and stuck a gnome in the garden.
The Pritzker Prize-winning architect Glenn Murcutt is in no doubt.
Read more @ The triumph of ugliness – smh.com.au.
Source: Syndey MOrning Herald
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) addresses in the latest issue of its flagship publication, the Economic and Social Survey for Asia and the Pacific 2008.
The Survey will be launched on Thursday, 27 March, 2008, at 0500 GMT, in more than 20 capitals in the region, and in New York and Geneva.
This year’s Survey, entitled “Sustaining Growth and Sharing Prosperity,” says 218 million – a third of the region’s poor, largely living in rural areas – could be lifted out of poverty by raising agricultural productivity if governments address decades of policy neglect and failure in the agricultural sector. The Survey also calls for a comprehensive liberalization of global trade in agriculture, as this would take a further 48 million people out of poverty in the region.
Source: ESCAP Press Release: ESCAP TO LAUNCH KEY ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SURVEY ON ASIA-PACIFIC REGION.
The dark side of this surreality is that the places far from these hallowed urban cores are experiencing unprecedented decline and, according to some experts, threaten to become tomorrow’s slums.
We’re not talking about mean inner city streets getting meaner, we’re talking about the pristine, newly built developments of four-bedroom, three-bath dream homes produced in the last housing boom becoming ghettos for the poor and the disenfranchised.
Slumburbia? After decades of middle class flight from the cities in search of safe neighborhoods and good schools — a flight that continues today even from gentrified cities like San Francisco — it’s hard to conjure the image of a truly derelict suburbia. Will all those manicured lawns sprout weeds and broken bottles like a Baltimore back alley? Will drug dealers take over the local cul-de-sac? Will squatters set up camp in the neighbor’s McMansion?
Source: SFgate.com – Is Suburbia Turning Into Slumburbia?.
Urban planning a factor in rising obesity rates, says new report
By Isabela C. Varela, ExpressNews Staff
Kim Raine, director of the University of Alberta’s Centre for Health Promotion Studies
March 13, 2008 – Edmonton – If you and your family are fighting the battle of the bulge, look around you: your environment may be partly to blame. Research led by the University of Alberta and funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Information confirms there are links between our urban surroundings and how likely we are to struggle with overweight or obesity
Source: ExpressNews – University of Alberta – Urban planning a factor in rising obesity rates, says new report –