Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Amen, amen, amen: Cities must focus on resiliency

Can't add anything to this:

Cities Must Become More Resilient to Survive

The idea that cities are greener than suburbs has gotten a lot of attention lately. But a recently published book argues that in a future of diminishing resources, cities themselves are going to have to become much more efficient and inventive if they are to be sustainable -- indeed, if they are to survive at all.

The book is "Resilient Cities," by Peter Newman -- the man who coined the term "automobile dependence" -- Timothy Beatley and Heather Boyer. As Streetsblog Network member The Dirt (the blog of the American Society of Landscape Architects) writes, Newman and his colleagues say that some radical changes will be necessary if the world's cities are to avoid the worst-case scenarios of division or collapse:

freiburg.jpgSolar Settlement, in Freiburg, Germany. Photo via Young Germany.
"Resilient Cities"... presents a range of options to help adapt cities to lessen a dependence on petroleum, and create more resilient urban areas. The authors argue that the urban centers that may best survive a climate and energy crisis are those that engage in long-term planning and design for resiliency, and create sustainable, inter-connected modes of transportation; invest in renewable energy technology and smart grids; support walkable, high-density living; and provide for self-sufficient food production and protection of urban biodiversity... "It is clear that the changes needed for a resilient city are not just technology substitutions, they are in the business paradigms, the culture of the utilities, and the organization that can enable new ways of managing our cities; every household needs to be a part of it."

According to Newman and his co-authors, "cities throughout history have competed by examining innovations in other cities and building upon them. This [...] is the basis of wealth creation. We see the the response to climate change and peak oil as the impetus for the next burst of innovation." “Resilient Cities” also outlines a set of specific recommendations for making existing cities more adaptable to changes in climate and energy usage.

The authors write about many concrete models of cities such as Freiburg, Germany, that are implementing the types of initiatives they deem necessary. But will the world's cities be able to act decisively in time to save themselves? In the US, at least, they face some formidable obstacles. Let us know what you think in the comments.. . .

This Saturday: Passive Solar Workshop (Portland)

Brighton Earthship Front / Left ElevationHalf-buried ultra-efficient, low-tech passive solar home. Image by Dominic's pics via Flickr

Passive Solar Building Design - 7/18/09 - Portland - Tickets still available

Increase Energy Efficiency and Comfort in your Home

A well designed Passive Solar Home uses up to 80% less energy for heating & lighting than a conventional home! Your home's windows, walls, and floors can be designed to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. This is called passive solar design because, unlike active solar heating systems, it doesn't involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices, such as pumps, fans, or electrical controls to move the solar heat.

To understand the techniques involved and how passive solar design works attend our upcoming workshop! >>Click Here for more details

A practical "how to" workshop for builders, designers and individuals who are planning to design or build a passive solar home.

You gain an understanding about the natural processes that underlie passive solar design and how building orientation, architecture and construction materials take advantage of these natural processes to provide a significant portion of a home's space heating, cooling and daylighting. You will also learn to calculate how much glazing and thermal storage you will need and how to meet the requirements for the $1500 Oregon State Residential Energy Tax Credit.

$10 for Solar Oregon members; $20 for Non-members

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