This is a bit of a heads-up for something which is unfortunately not available online, but can be ordered here. It is the latest edition of AD (Architectural Design) journal, a very high quality publication, which focuses on the issue of scarcity (“architecture in an age of depleting resources”). The issue of resource scarcity and designing for a future with very different underlying assumptions to the present is rarely discussed in architectural circles it seems. When I went to TEDGlobal in 2009, several architects presented their visions of ‘green’ futures, building new cities in deserts and other outlandish schemes, which seemed to be based on a belief that architecture can reinvent the world anew, as and when it chooses. This edition of AD tells a different story, one that explores, in a series of fascinating articles (I wrote one), how architecture might adapt to scarcity. It costs about £24, so not a casual purchase, but highly recommended.
Panel discussion at the Climate Alliance conference. Photo:Roland Stuermer.
Switzerland is a country that comes pre-wrapped with a smorgasbord (oh, wrong country) of national stereotypes- chocolate, mountains, well organised, clocks, and trains that run like, er, clockwork. And it lives up to those expectations. Its approach to environmental issue runs to type. The level of public buy in to the city scale roll out of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures is impressive, top down (mainly) and communicated in well thought through multi decadinal plans and policies. This might hold one of the clues as to why Transition seems to be taking off rather slowly in Switzerland. They seem to be actively creating the transition we need especially at the technical level, with businesses playing their part – and being rather good at spotting business opportunities. Although of the participants told we the Swiss are just good at looking like they are doing something!
I spent a very enjoyable day at Bristol Green Week yesterday. Green Week is a celebration of green ideas and thinking in Bristol, which has featured a wildly eclectic mix of talks, workshops, music, comedy, films, walks and much more. I arrived midway through the week’s festivities, to participate in two events. The first was a screening of ‘In Transition 2.0’, shown as the third in a series of films under the somewhat uninspiring banner of ‘Documentary Evidence’. Apparently Monday’s had attracted 30 people, and Tuesday’s just 4, so it was suggested that I might want to temper my expectations in terms of attendance. In the end over 40 people came, and the whole thing went really well.