Re: Urban: Ecovillage training program in Curitiba Brazil
ecocity <at> igc.org <ecocity <at> igc.org>
2005-12-30 07:00:48 GMT
Hi Lois... on 12/29/05 3:22 PM, Lois Arkin at crsp <at> igc.org wrote:
> Yes, Richard, I think you are absolutely right on this: that "roll back
> sprawl" and "pedestrian/transit centers" or "jobs/housing/transportation
> balance" must come to the front of every urban agenda if we are serious
> about making significant progress toward ecocities, and mitigating the
> devastation from creeping, and perhaps sudden, collapse.
> There is a big movement here in central LA toward higher density compact
> mixed use attractively designed projects with even some movement toward
> more sustainable design (several LEEDS projects coming on-line now).
> Unfortunately, even when they are built along transit lines--which they
> are mostly--they are built as if the car was still the main type of
> transportation with 1 car space for every bedroom or something like
> that. So I believe, for us Californians, this will have to be corrected
> at the state level.
Yep. Lots of new buildings of higher density are going into areas around
downtown Oakland near where I live now. All have one or two stories of
Parking takes up a lot of space on the street level and sometime rises up
several stories more than in my neighborhood, up into the building. That
could become retail and storage space, movie theaters etc., or even more
housing. Storage is a low income per square foot use, but no most of it is
in the suburbs linked to higher density centers by trucks and freeways and
millions of gallons of gasoline every year per city. Would make sense to
pay out of transportation and highway building funds to subsidize the
building of storage space in cities and near rail. Free concrete and steel
for buildings instead much more of it for highways. The unimaginative and
no-fun architecture (could have rooftop access, bridges between buildings,
splurging on mini parks from ground level to rooftops, more arts, etc.) is a
big problems. If high density were more like my drawings....!
> In my redevelopment area (one of the largest in the U.S.), I have been
> advocating for, at a minimum, that those parking garages be designed to
> be easily convertible to other kinds of uses. Not much luck so far, but
> I remain a squeeky wheel.
Me too. I call them "convertible parking." Not my idea (though the term's
mine - could be others use it, though - it's a natural). They have them in
Portland and my friend architect developer Ron Morgan has been promoting the
idea since I met him in 1987 or earlier. Good idea. He said once he knew a
garage that was converted - I believe into classrooms on a campus.
> My recommendation for some time has been the following: for every new
> transit amenity (bus/rail/bike/pedestrian) that comes on-line, a
> comparable auto amenity should be eliminated. Of course, this means a
> massive project to quantify auto amenities in a city (a good PhD team
> project perhaps). Then, of course, there would be the issue of
> prioritizing their elimination over time.
I think use of transfer of development rights that builds right in the
growing pedestrian/transit centers and uses some of the potential prophets
to pay for buying property in willing seller deals in areas designated as
high priority because they are relatively far from those centers or are on
top of rich ecological features, such a creeks and ridgelines, is a simpler
approach. It's based on a mapping system that identifies the lively centers
and augments them. Thus the withdrawal from auto amenities, as you call
them happens by starving them or simply eliminating them in the density
shift pattern that results.
> I am heartened by the 30 year
> downtown strategic plan in Copenhagen to elminate street parking at 3%
> of spaces per year. My understanding is that for every parking space
> they eliminated, three new pedestrians came into the downtown area, so
> obviously getting rid of parking was good for business.
Excellent statistics, that business one and 1 to 3 ratio. Amsterdam started
a plan to expand car free areas in downtown systematically some years ago.
I think it was in the late 1980s. But they came under such pressure from
car addicts they stopped the program - so I've heard. I haven't read about
it in a long time though. I'm not completely sure of the original story and
have no certain up-date, but it seems likely. If you know, let me know!
> I realize the suburbs will be particularly challenging, and I think the
> most we can hope for in a city like L.A. is to try to influence the
> neighborhood councils
Once people start thinking very directly about ecocities, as say once upon a
time they thought very directly about space exploration (in the l950s with
writings by Wily Ley and illustrations by Chestley Bonstell, backed by sci.
fi. writers, magazine editors, enthusiastic elementary and high school
science teachers and government aeronautics development people) all sorts of
images can come forward. The same could happen with changing cities and
suburbs are so pathetically thin and under-capitalized relative to dense
cities, the creation of density in their centers could be a realistic
consideration. Inspiring designs could make all the difference - if anyone
pays attention and thinks it's the "wave of the future." I think if we
don't think that way we don't have much of a future.
> <http://www.lacityneighborhoods.com/page2.cfm?doc=home> to begin
> thinking about how their communities will be redeveloped after our big
> earthquake predicted for sometime in the next 3 decades (60% probability
> here in LA; 67% for the Bay area according to the Governor's Office of
> Emergency Services). More sustainable community design will have to be
> supported by the insurance industry (assuming there still is such an
> industry when/if those quakes hit). The big guys at the top get it, but
> they haven't percolated it down to the agents dealing with the average
> joe suffering the losses. All the agent knows is that claims have to
> replicate what was lost.
Without looking for this, I've become something of an experienced guy in
disaster planning - who few pay attention to. I've been pretty deeply
involved in the Oakland Hills Fire, World Trade Center replacement planning
and DMZ as of two weeks ago. Next I'm off to New Orleans after thinking it
all through some in Washington. I deal with very good basic ideas - that
people consider - then ignore. I just read in a book called "A River and
its City, The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans" which is a history of the
politics, planning and hydro-geodynamics of the Mississippi and its delta at
and near New Orleans. In 1851 the US government commissioned two studies.
One took the "tout ensemble" (whole banana) approach and the other the "run
with what works most conspicuously" engineering approach. The first looked
at the way nature actually works along the Mississippi and in the delta.
Theo other looked at what walls can do to hold back water. The latter
prevailed for 126 years - and then all hell broke loose in the enormous
flood of 1927. They had to copy nature, finally, and break open the levies
to save New Orleans - at the cost of destorying the land and livelihood of
10,000 rural people immediately adjacent. It took them that long to look
seriously at the ecologically founded notions that were clearly described
three quarters of a century earlier.
We don't have that kind of time with peak oil, climate change and global
species collapse breathing down our backs. Why people don't think like this
I have no idea!
Lots of affection,
> Los Angeles Eco-Village/CRSP
> NOTE to Franco in San Paulo:
> Hi Franco, I haven't figured out how to subscribe yet to our new
> megacities listserve, so could you forward this for me. My Brazilian
> neighbor is going to help me soon. Thanks, Hugs, Lois
> ecocity <at> igc.org wrote:
>> Thanks Lois,
>> I'm more convinced every year that neglect of strategies for reshaping the
>> structure of the city toward pedestiran/transit centers is the missing piece
>> (mostly that would require a confrontations with "zoning" issues). If the
>> "roll back sprawl" and pedestrian/transit centers strategy continues to
>> never come up or be taken seriously at conferences like this one you are
>> telling me about we will continue to make very little progress and I'm
>> convinced we will be blindsided by peak oil, climate change and biodiversity
>> collapse all at the same time. Then it will be too late. (It may be
>> The keystone is missing. Curitiba in many ways leads in that direction but
>> has some major problems, not the least of which is their three gigantic car
>> manufacturing companies - they are almost like the Detroit of South America!
>> Pretty weird! Maybe that's why I haven't seen anything from them that looks
>> like progress to me in the last seven or eight years. Good up to that
>> point, then stalling out. Maybe now the place is sliding backward.
>> Certainly the last time I was there it was getting clogged with cars (2000).
>> They seem to be coasting on their laurels. Thus seeing what comes out of
>> this conference would be very interesting!
>> Please let me know if you find out.
>> Nice picture of you on the cover of Communities!
>> on 12/29/05 11:01 AM, Lois Arkin at crsp <at> igc.org wrote:
>>> I just came across this. Hopefully we'll see some notes from this
>>> conference soon.
>>> To subscribe or unsubscribe to this list go to:
>> To subscribe or unsubscribe to this list go to:
> To subscribe or unsubscribe to this list go to:
To subscribe or unsubscribe to this list go to: