eco cities Archive

  • Bring Joy to (Saving) the World

    photo credit: gallagher.michaelsean The short-term efforts needed to achieve long-term change towards sustainability are to a large extent about creating habits and making sustainable choices natural. In order to get to that point and not fall off the ‘sustainability wagon’ on our way there, we...

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  • Why Mumbai Needs a Strategic Urban Design/ Ecological Master Plan

    As Mumbai matures and harbors aspirations of becoming a world-class city or an international business center, the City needs to engage in ecological urban design and accountable urban planning. Urban planning is a means to create a citizen-defined vision for the city’s future that is implemented by responsible public and private leaders. Much has been said recently about the need for improving governance of cities in India where there has been little attention paid to the planning or design of cities. Cities throughout history – especially in democracies — evolve from a state of chaos and irresponsible governance (where mostly the interests of the powerful take precedence over the city’s general welfare) — to a progressive state where the better informed and educated citizens demand and receive political accountability for better urban life through effective planning and urban design.

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  • Would you betray your own race?

    Would you betray your own race? If you watched the latest James Cameron blockbuster movie “Avatar” and were passionately backing the alien’s cause; then you have just become a “race traitor”. The movie depicts human civilization as a group that is evil and greedy who destroy the environment without any consideration while the aliens live in perfect ecological harmony with their natural environment. The Pandorans might be a figment of Cameron’s wild Imagination but in many ways the depiction of human civilization is almost bang on in the movie. Practically all of Earth’s ecosystems have now been destroyed or severely altered through human activities. According to the World Conservation Union ,784 extinctions have been recorded since the year 1500 (to the year 2004). At this point, The loss of global biological diversity is advancing at an extraordinary pace. According to some estimates, up to 150 species are becoming extinct every day. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2007b) has also predicted that if temperature increases exceed 1.5-2.5°C, 20-30% of plant and animal species assessed are likely to be at risk of extinction.

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  • The Future of Human Civilization

    The future of the human civilizations is going to be largely defined by the character of its future cities. This is especially important to reflect on at this point in time as humanity reached a special milestone this century by becoming a majority urban species. In 2007, for the very first time in our history, humankind has become a majority urban with more than half of the world’s population living in cities. The phenomenal rate of urban growth, increasing from 13% in the 1900’s to 29% in 1950, reach over 50% this decade.

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  • Sustainable urban systems = Mitigating Climate Change

    Sustainable urban systems = Mitigating Climate Change Today, climate change has clearly come to be recognised as one of the greatest environmental, social and economic threats facing the world. Cities and urban activities are at the heart of this challenge. According to UN-HABITAT, even though cities...

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  • “If we can’t save our cities, we won’t save ourselves.”

    “If we can’t save our cities, we won’t save ourselves.” says William E. Rees – The Man who conceptualized the ecological footprint idea. In a recent article in Scientific American , he explains how cities are at the heart of the climate change challenge. He...

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  • Expert Diary : Commentators