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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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Excerpt From “De-growth in the Suburbs, A Radical Urban Imaginary.”

EXCERPT FROM “DE-GROWTH IN THE SUBURBS, A RADICAL URBAN IMAGINARY.”

Over the next 4 weeks we will be sharing with you excerpt from Samuel Alexander and Brendan Gleeson’s new book, “Degrowth in the Suburbs: A Radical Urban Imaginary”.

This book addresses a central dilemma of the urban age: how to make suburban landscapes sustainable in the face of planetary ecological crisis.  The authors argue that degrowth, a planned contraction of overgrown economies, is the most coherent paradigm for suburban renewal. They depart from the anti-suburban sentiment of much environmentalism to show that existing suburbia can be the centre-ground of transition to a new social dispensation based on the principle of enlightened material and energy restraint.


Prelude: The Great Resettlement

This book opens, as it must, by acknowledging that the human species stands at the precipice of self-made destruction. At the very hour when modern humanity arrived at the pinnacle of triumph – a global market economy promising riches for all—the skies have been darkened by the terrible spectres of ecological and social threat. Global warming is only one of these storm clouds, but this alone has the potential to lay waste to our species, as well as most others. At the same time, vast oceans of debilitating poverty surround small islands of unfathomable plenty, exposing the violent betrayal of the growth agenda, euphemistically (or just deceptively) known in public discourse as ‘sustainable development’. This is a race leading towards an abyss, both enabled and entrenched by a sterility of imagination.

The late German scholar Ulrich Beck spoke of how triumph and crisis simultaneously emerge and remerge in a world pervasively and con- tinuously remade by capitalist modernisation.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Might Buildings, Settlements and Even Regions Look Like Through the Lens of Permaculture Design? Part 2

WHAT MIGHT BUILDINGS, SETTLEMENTS AND EVEN REGIONS LOOK LIKE THROUGH THE LENS OF PERMACULTURE DESIGN? PART 2

This is part 2 of 2 of a transcript of a talk given by Paul Jennings to the recent SBUK Big Straw Bale Gathering. Paul has built his straw-bale family home on a ‘One-Planet Development’ smallholding in Wales (costing £12,000).

You can read part 1 in this link.

PERMACULTURE PRINCIPLES AND BUILDINGS:

Site design improves building function. Working from patterns of landscape design and land use, we work to details, like how our buildings fit into the landscape. From pattern to details is a technique of nesting one pattern or design in another, a higher order system. For example: a bioregional pattern to localities; localities to site developments; site landscape developments to buildings, gardens or orchards; house to conservatory; conservatory to watering system or composting process; watering system to plant species choice or gardening practice.

Credit: Paul Jennings

Hopefully then, you’ll see that design of good buildings, the sort which we might readily call “ecological”, cannot really begin with just building design. By definition the ecological must be linked in a complex web of relationships to both higher and lower order systems. If ecology is your thing (and it should be your thing) then the short phrase which is your house makes no sense unless combined in a sentence which refers both to landscape and how you deal with your bodily wastes, or what you use to clean your worktops, or how much of your own food you grow.

So let’s place our buildings in an understood and designed landscape where windbreaks reduce our energy needs, and where zonal design reduces work and helps us to create self-sustaining abundant household and settlement economies of the sort we are going to need.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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