After the athletes have gone and the flame has moved on, the biggest public park in more than a century will emerge from the site of the 2012 Olympics in London.
Its designers hope the 270-acre park (pdf), which will open in 2014, will capture the spirit of the great Victorian parks whose creators hoped to counteract the urban squalor of the industrial revolution.
Source: The Guardian – Olympics will leave east London an open space to rival Hyde Park
Daniel Ben-Ami writes a thought provocating essay on China that debunks some of the generalisations that we have read over the years about China and its disregard for the environment
The possibility that China could become a fully industrialised and urbanised society, with living standards akin to those in the West, has become the ultimate environmentalist nightmare. Whereas China under Mao was sometimes called the ‘red peril’, and before that was sometimes referred to by Western racists as the ‘yellow peril’, contemporary China is often viewed as a ‘green peril’.
Source: spiked – The Chinese: from Yellow Peril to Green Peril? .
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Monday called on the Commonwealth to help the most vulnerable nations deal with the impact of climate change.
The 53-nation Commonwealth of Britain and its former colonies includes some of the world’s wealthiest countries as well as some of the poorest.
“The impact of pollution falls unequally: it is often those who pollute the least — notably in the world’s least-developed nations — who are closest to the razor’s edge: most affected by the impact of climate change and least equipped to cope with it,” the monarch said in a Commonwealth Day message.
Source: International Herald Tribune – Britain’s queen says global warming likely to hit hardest at most vulnerable nations.
It is the country that once invented gunpowder, wrought iron, the compass, paper, silk, and the toothbrush. These days it is the world’s biggest workshop, making everything from the contents of Wal-Mart’s bargain bins to lusciously designed objects like the iPhone.
That country is, of course, China. Given its frenzied growth, the next logical step is for the Chinese to revive their rich history of innovation to ensure that some of their future products are “Designed in China,” not just “Made in China.” Whether they succeed is one of the most contentious issues in design today, and a thorny challenge to all of the foreign companies that have been manufacturing there so profitably.
Source: International Herald Tribune – China’s new designers: Building on a rich heritage of innovation – International Herald Tribune.
It is one of the most seismic changes the world has ever seen. Across the globe there is an unstoppable march to the cities, powered by new economic realities. But what kind of lives are we creating? And will citizens – and cities – cope with the fierce pressures of this new urban age? Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum and author of a major new report, asks if the city of the future will be a vision of hell or a force for civilised living?
Read more @ guardian.co.uk
Source : guardian.co.uk – Cities on the edge of chaos – Deyan Sudjic
The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) and the Design Commission for Wales are holding a meeting on 10 March.
Key stakeholders, including the Landscape Institute Wales, have been convened in a process that will create momentum in efforts to tackle climate change through changes to the built environment and to develop the agenda for action including policy and practical measures.
Read more @ L.I. – An opportunity to create a truly sustainable future for Wales.
Victorian Premier John Brumby freed-up land today for 90,000 new homes in the councils of Wyndham, Melton, Hume, Whittlesea and Casey. The land will be zoned residential.
The governments actions are as a result of research and calls from various social and government department research stating that this is a shortage of housing for low-income earners. The governments actions condradict its own Melbourne 2030 vision.
The release of land is merely a short term cure for low income earners as soon as they have moved into there new fringe houses they will become city residents who will experience high transport costs and will be time poor due to lack of efficient and fast public transport in fringe areas of Melbourne. These fringe-dwellers will also create a larger environmental impact due the large amount of resources required to supply basic infrastructure to these new inefficient housing estates.
The government would be better injecting a sufficient amount of funds and resources into reducing the planning approval process for high density developments and also fastrack more development zones for high density residential housing around inner city transport hubs such as Hawthorn, South Yarra, Collingwood, Clifton Hill and Footscray.
The government would also be wise to redevelop some existing low-income housing in the inner city to have a greater a density.
The governments actions show that is out of touch with the growing trends in the rest of the world to create higher denisty cities with efficient transportation which in turn reduce the environmental and carbon footprint of its residents.