Saturday, June 12, 2010

Innovating the Cities: Design, Planning and Architectural Solutions in the Urban Environment

David Owen: Greening the Metropolis

Owen's central proposition is that densifying the city is the most effective intervention in reducing environmental impact and carbon footprint.
There was no argument about this proposition from the Panel, rather the discussion centred on solutions and obstacles to achieving it.
Tim Flannery, curator of the Deakin lectures, appeared least persuaded about the arguments, speaking almost in parables. He reminded us of the acute vulnerability of cities from any threat to water or food supply. He concluded that 'the interest of the individual has to be confluent with the interest of the city/civilization.'

Here are some quotes I liked or key points I wanted to remember:

David Owen:

'when you move to the country, you move into your car'

'move people and their daily destinations closer together'

'density is the main tool to reduce environmental impact and carbon footprint'

'the car dragged a whole infrastructure behind it'

'there is no such thing as a sustainable house, a sustainable building or a sustainable car. Sustainability is the context, the relationship between things: it is not a gadget or a technology.'

'its not about signing up to solutions that you can buy'


'our houses are oversized and underoccupied' [Melinda Dodson]

'smaller houses, closer together and drive less' [Melinda Dodson]

'How to get people to want to live differently' [Sue Holliday]

density is easier when there is 'a high quality public realm that people feel comfortable in' [Rob Adams]

'enough not more' [Rob Adams]

Bruce Taper:

'Greenhouse gas emissions reduction has to be the most basic kpi of all metropolitan strategies'

we've got to do 'simple things agressively'

'we've got to put some hope into it.'

5 stars is 'a loose and sloppy metric'

we've got to examine 'the lives we really live rather than how we imagine we live' in answer to a question along the lines of 'where will the children play in the denser city' [David Owen]

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