Can we build happiness into a city via urban planning?
"The pursuit of happiness may be an unalienable right, but are the technologies we are designing really helping its users to be happy? Take the simple example of a web map. It usually gives us the shortest walking direction to destination. But what if it would give us the small street, full of trees, parallel to the shortest path, which would make us happier? As more and more of us share these city streets, what will keep us happy as they become more crowded?"
"In 2003 jeffery S. Dukes, who at the time was a postdoctoral fellow in biology at the University of Utah, calculated that every gallon of gas we burn today represents the transformed remnants of almost a hundred tons of prehistoric plant material -- roughly the same quantity of biomass to be found in a forty-acre wheat field, including the stems, leaves and roots." Green Metropolis p. 68 David Owen
"The US is the world's leading consumer of oil. We use over 350,000,000 gallons of gasoline every day.
It's very important that the number of fossil BTUs that go into a gallon of fuel be significantly less than the number of renewable BTUs that come out of that gallon. If it's not -- let's not do it.
We have about 133,000 BTUs worth of energy in every gallon of biodiesel. When you add up all our inputs we need to end up being less than 133,000 BTUs, or we probably shouldn't be making that gallon. (1 BTU ~ the amount of energy in one wooden matchstick)."
Our main sources of energy are still petroleum, coal and natural gas. With global energy consumption predicted to increase 56 percent by 2040 the continued use of non-renewable fossil fuels comes at a great cost to the environment and to our health." QUEST: America's Energy Future
Infographic on composting courtesy of PBS's Nature