Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Philadelphia Ghost Signage Project

Here is an interesting site about Philadelphia ghost signage...
I stumbled upon it while doing some research about PHL history, and the photographs and information are pretty interesting. Enjoy.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

3D Urban Farms

I found this article about an interesting approach to urban farming. These design proposals show fruit, vegetables and even animals grown in skyscrapers. I'm not exactly sure how they function but the renderings are nice.

Urban Farming in 2050?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour '08 and random thoughts

I'm sure most people are probably aware of this, but Earth Hour '08 is this saturday, where we're supposed to turn of our lights "to make a statement about climate change". An article in Time recognizes that turning the lights off for one hour doesn't do much in terms of reducing carbon emissions, but that the purpose is to influence politics and that the language of politics is largely symbolic.

I understand all this, but I'm a bit confused by the argument because I don't know how turning off the lights for one hour is going to affect policymakers, or influence them to change policy. It's not a raucous movement that impedes social life or progress on a daily level (especially when hotels and other businesses are capitalizing on this with moonlight specials) nor will it flood mailboxes.

To me, it makes more of a statement that we, the public are aware of global warming and that it is an issue that we're concerned about. Nothing much beyond that. What are we demanding here? What do we want when we all turn of our lights for one hour? I think that in order for this to be more effective, that needs to be me made much more clear because right now, it's just saying that we're aware and that we're willing to live without electricity for an hour. The demand for change (to go Obama on you) is implicit, when I think it needs to be explicit. Much more explicit. Policy makers, it seems, historically have not often responded to implicit demands from the people they're supposed to represent. I'm not entirely convinced that the language of politics is purely symbolism, particularly when it comes to global warming. it's a problem that politics, at least US politics, has denied the existence of for so long, that reliance on symbolism seems to be a naive and extremely slow-moving process that is overly dependent upon the ability of policymakers to be more action-oriented than they have been in the last 50 years.

Nonetheless, I will be joining the rest of the world in darkness at 8pm tomorrow.

here's the time article if you're interested: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1725947,00.html?cnn=yes

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Catholic Church weighs in on pollution

Last week, the Vatican released a list of new sins that emphasize social responsibility in today’s world. Included among the seven new don’ts are pollution, causing social injustice, and causing poverty—all of which contribute to the unsustainability of communities. For more check out NPR’s coverage which includes an interview with Rev. James Martin, SJ.

The suburbs are going to be America's next slums?

The sub prime mortgage crisis is causing many homes in tidy little suburbs to be foreclosed. Vacant homes have become the target of vandalism and others are occupied by shady renters. According to this article a structural change is underway in the housing market. Trends are shifting and people are moving back to the cities from the suburbs. Will these people move into sustainable neighborhoods????

Check out this link for more information

Monday, March 10, 2008

Start buying bottled water...

Feeling high on a little more than sustainability? According to a recent review of 'treated' water in many cities throughout the country, prescription drugs are making it through the filtration process and into the public drinking supply.

"Officials in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said testing there discovered 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water, including medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems. Sixty-three pharmaceuticals or byproducts were found in the city's watersheds."

You can read more about here:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sustainability in the Desert?

Here's a thought-provoking article and video about an new "ecocity" development currently under construction in the United Arab Emirates, where the per capita ecological footprint is larger than the United States: