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it's about time the paradigm shifted
by Katy Purviance on 03/22/08 @ 11:41:02 am
Categories: News, Urban Planning, Green Design | 673 words | 1143 views

One of my fantasies is to live in a city without any cars.

I live in Los Angeles and have some kind of anxiety attack every time I have to join a sea of red brake lights on any of our five hundred thousand freeways.

So. Fantasy City Item Number One: no cars.

What I’d also like is maybe some cleaner air? My boyfriend and I like to go hiking up in the Santa Monica mountains. Once we’ve reached the top, sure, we’ve got a great view of the ocean, but turn your head a quarter of an inch to the left and OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! It’s a thick, brown layer of NASTY covering the city. I mean you can barely make out the buildings downtown. And we inhale that stuff in with every breath. In twenty years is my doctor going to say, “Surprise, it’s cancer!”

So. Fantasy City Item Number Two: no smog.

And while I’m dreaming, how about less trash all over the place? The other day I was walking down the street and I saw this woman buy something from a taco truck and without a second thought she just removed the plastic wrapping and tossed it on the ground. OH MY GOD WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?! There’s garbage in the gutters, on the sidewalks, on lawns, and don’t get me started about the alleyways.

So. Fantasy City Item Number Three: no trash.

Okay, okay, I know, how about all of the city’s electricity comes from solar panels. Or wind energy! I feel tingly just thinking about it.

And gray water irrigation!!

And it’s AFFORDABLE!!!

GUESS WHAT?

Dubai is doing it!

Masdar City will be the world’s first zero-carbon, zero-waste, car-free city, aiming to exceed the 10 sustainability principles of “One Planet Living™”– a global initiative launched by the WWF (known internationally as the Worldwide Fund for Nature and in the U.S. as the World Wildlife Fund) and environmental consultancy BioRegional.

A model of the Masdar City was unveiled at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. February 9th was Ground breaks for the construction of the city in this year.

Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, Director of WWF International’s One Planet Living initiative, said: ”Today Abu Dhabi is embarking on a journey to become the global capital of the renewable energy revolution. Abu Dhabi is the first hydrocarbon-producing nation to have taken such a significant step towards sustainable living.

“Masdar is an example of the paradigm shift that is needed. The strategic vision of the Abu Dhabi government is a case study in global leadership. We hope that Masdar City will prove that sustainable living can be affordable and attractive in all aspects of human living – from businesses and manufacturing facilities to universities and private homes,” Jeanreneaud continued.

Dr. Sultan al Jaber, CEO of the Masdar Initiative, said: “Masdar City will question conventional patterns of urban development, and set new benchmarks for sustainability and environmentally friendly design – the students, faculty and businesses located in Masdar City will not only be able to witness innovation first-hand, but they will also participate in its development.”

“We are pleased to be able to work with One Planet Living to make our vision a reality,” he said.

Pooran Desai OBE, co-founder of BioRegional and Technical Director of the One Planet Living Communities programme, said Masdar would be the largest and the most advanced sustainable communities in the world.

“The vision of One Planet Living is a world where people everywhere can lead happy, healthy lives within their fair share of the Earth’s resources. Masdar gives us a breathtaking insight into this positive, alternative future.

“In realising the goal of a sustainable future, Masdar is committed to surpassing the One Planet Living Program’s Ten Guiding Principles, covering issues that range from how waste is dealt with to the energy performance of the buildings.”

See the whole article and the models.

Look at the official Masdar site and its pretty flash pictures of our brave new world.

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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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