Posts Tagged ‘urban’

Growing food: What would nature do?

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Food production in the western world – and increasingly in other parts of the world – is industrialized. We use chemicals on a massive scale to produce food, industrial techniques are the norm. We rely heavily on chemicals to get the job done. The saying is that yield is high, prices are low. But the drawbacks are becoming obvious and some major qualities are obviously left out. Chemical agriculture has failed and must be replaced by better solutions.

The drawbacks are there for all to see: local communities are destroyed, plant diversity is reduced, the environment suffers, food quality is questioned, transport costs are high, human health is not so good, GM plants with unknown qualities, chemicals are entering the environment, the soil is damaged.

We must rebuild respect for the land and natural processes. The natural rhytms of the world – birds, fish, the growing season.

We want a healthy harvest from environmentally friendly agriculture. This means natural fertilizers and disease and bug control methods, composting, no chemicals, rich biodiversity, good rich soil, equipment that do not harm the environment. A low maintenance landscape should also be the norm. The underground ecosystem and soil should be tested and kept in good order. We should invite helpful plants, insects and organisms to obtain organic pest control and good growth. Composting could produce methane for production of energy.

Plants should be chosen wisely so that they fit the environment, they should be rich in nutrients and taste, keep their freshness and look good.

These principles should be applied to farms, gardens, backyards, rooftops, verandas, urban areas and all.

The percentage of local organic produce is low in most countries, but encouraging signs are present. Interest is growing as the understanding of the problem grows.

A basic local supply is desirable for many reasons: local control, knowledge of what you eat, less transport, fresher food…. Use of local wisdom and experience should be encouraged, so that local conditions and plants are well taken care of.

Plants could also be used to feed animals in a small scale production.

Yield and cost are important factors, and evaluation of these factors will enter into the broad picture. The negative factors of chemical production must be measured.

Authorities must find their place in this new picture as new and more modern methods are introduced. These principles mean small scaleĀ  production, but the advantages could far outweigh possible increased costs.

Education must find its place: courses, books, DVDs, seminars, articles, organizations…..

No need to destroy the environment and make people ill – the solutions can be worked out when the principles are right.

Developing a sense of nature

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Environmental thinking is developing nicely, although good environmetal practices are somewhat lacking in many places.

The look of a landscape should be part of environmentalism – especially where humans have made changes.

Landscapes could be opened up for transport, building, viewing, business, leisure but increasing care must be taken to ensure that nature is part of our considerations – that we develop a sense of nature.

Beautiful scenery can be combined with human activity, landscaping can add new dimensions to roads, bridges, tunnels etc. to make an integrated solution as regards what nature made and what man made.

Agricultural areas, waterways, roads, railroads could all be designed so that they are in harmony with forests, mountains, rivers etc. in a holistic picture.

The next ambition could be to design urban spaces, agricultural areas and even industrial areas with a view to beauty and integration with nature.

Landscaping can add new dimensions to nature, nature can enhance manmade structures.

See also: ” MAD is a Beijing-based design office dedicated to innovation in architectural practice, landscape design and urban planning. MAD develops its unique concept of futurism through a persistent investigation of the symbiotic potentials amid nature and technology. MAD aspires to design in close harmony with nature, offering people the freedom to develop independent urban experiences.”

Great cities for design (BW)

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

What makes a city great: