"But when mayors and developers focus on technology rather than people, smart quickly becomes stupid, threatening to exacerbate inequality and undermine the social cooperation essential to successful cities."
"After researching leading cities around the world, we’ve concluded that truly smart cities will be those that deploy modern technology in building a new urban commons to support communal sharing.
What can we do as community citizens to promote ecologically sensible urban planning projects in our communities?
What role should crowdfunding play in our cities?
"By allowing citizens to donate small amounts of money to projects of their choosing, urban planning can become a more participatory and inclusive process. These platforms also open up a new source of capital for projects that may not otherwise be funded.
However, civic crowdfunding also presents risks. While it can make planning more participatory, it may exclude citizens who lack the ability to make significant donations. Further, it is unclear whether governments will turn to civic crowdfunding instead of funding projects that should be paid for with public funds. Finally, most civic crowdfunding projects remain small, and it is unclear whether the model will effectively scale up.
Still crowdfunding is gaining momentum around the world. While is it most common in wealthier countries, it also has strong potential for opening up new capital in middle and lower income countries. It is already growing quickly in India, where a variety of crowdfunding platforms are emerging to fund arts and business ventures.
Crowdfunding is growing as a tool being used to fund a variety of projects, including investments in start-up companies, real estate ventures, and alternative energies. Still, these innovative funding models are early in their growth. In time, civic crowdfunding may help reshape our cities to be more sustainable and responsive to citizens’ needs and desires."
"Meet the Neurotoxins"
June 2014 is now on record as the hottest month EVER since we started tracking this stuff in the 1880's. May was the hottest "May" ever recorded, too. All the more reason to start getting serious about ecosteading.
(Graphic from: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/)
Interesting infographic about the (slowly) shrinking size of the typical American home. Homes < 800 square feet aren't even an option? Let's change this.
Algae is the new crude. It converts CO2 into triacylglycerol and can break down into a sludgy form of organic crude material (biomass), that can then be further broken down, chemically converted into ethanol and biofuel.
The question of whether algae will replace fossil fuels is the wrong question; the question is how much of earth's "oil producing" capabilities can be sped up by using algae?
"Well, it is a basically simple process that uses temperature, pressure, and time to accomplish the chemical conversions ... A lot of people think of fossil fuels as, you know, dinosaurs and giant ferns and things. There is some of that, but the bulk of the organic matter was algae. Gradually the organic matter converts into slightly different forms, which make up the material that comes out as crude oil or natural gas.”
"One of the biggest single sources of greenhouse gases and other pollution to our atmosphere are landfills. They decompose over time creating methane and other greenhouse gases."
"In urban areas as much as 40 percent of all trash is food waste."
-- Modern Marvels Environmental Tech II
In nature this process takes months, but with an indoor composter supercharging waste for the perfect oxygen, moisture content and temperature, compost can be made in as little as two weeks.
Know of any eco-friendly mail-order house companies around today?
"From 1908 until 1940, Sears offered 370 models to choose from. Houses available ranged from the modest "Starlight" to the stately "Alhambra." One option was a sweet little bungalow, called "the Osborn."
"It was one of their best selling homes," says Thornton. "I've seen 'Osborns' all over the country."
After you picked out the house of your dreams, Sears would mail it to you in 30,000 pieces. The kit included 750 pounds of nails, 27 gallons of paint and varnish, 10 pounds of wood putty, 460 pounds of window weight, 27 windows, 25 doors and a 75 page instruction book.
By following the instructions, you could build "the Collingwood," "the Chatham," "the Maytown," "the Vallonia" or "the Chelsea." A home could be brought for $500 and up.
Sears Roebuck promised that a man of average abilities could build one of their homes in 90 days. "