Anna: The ‘Anthropocene’ and walkable cities

The ‘Anthropocene’ is defined as ‘relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment (Oxford dictionaries). With this in mind it’s important to acknowledge what real effect humans have had on the environment and climate in this time period, what issues we have caused? How will we solve them?

To begin its understandable to see how the desire was to move towards developing and nature was neglected as we had an abundance of it. Now that our natural wildlife is starting to slowly slip through our fingers, its been reprioritised within urban planning and conservation.

This brings forth the idea plotted by Bruno Latour:

“The environment is exactly what should be even more managed, taken up, cared for, stewarded, in brief, integrated and internalized in the very fabric of he polity”(reference)

To factor in the environment, nature and the climate has to become intertwined with our way of living and existing. There is a new movement within design and architecture addressing sustainability and what it means to be sustainable and what behaviours and lifestyles will need to be changed. Daniel Owen who wrote the successful novel ‘Green metropolis’ explains his view point of sustainability to be living locally. Reducing the belongings in our life, commuting by foot and being conscious of our purchases and their consequences.

This idea is further explored by Jeff Speck:

Jeff is a city planner, urban designer and trained architect. He has a passion for sustainability, the wellbeing of people and cities. He proposes ways to encourage dependence from automobiles within cities.

“cities should be a place where people want to be”

(Speck 2013)

Creating places were people want to move means they will search for local income and hopefully they can function within a local radius, reducing the need for cars, fuel and hours lagging through traffic. Additionally creating a more active and healthy culture.

We see designers such as Sir Norman Foster and Jean Nouvel who designed Sydney’s most sustainable living village ‘Central park’ supporting this concept of local enviovment, sustainibilty and desirable eco living in the city.

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Another example is Ingenhoven Architects and Singapore firm A16 have proposed a high rise in Singarpore’s Marina Bay which is designed to mimic a mountain, with landscaping and waterfalls. It will become the biggest urban village within singapore’s CBD known as ‘Green Heart’

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The designers wanted to “integrate soft landscape into the fabric of the building” combining our modern world with nature.

A move towards these living village/ eco systems could hold of strong future to sustain us and reduce some of the neglect of nature caused by the Anthropocene.

Reference List:

Anthropocene, The oxford dictionaries, viewed on the 28th of October 2015 < http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/Anthropocene&gt;

Central park, 2013. Green transformation, viewed on the 28th of October 2015 < http://www.centralparksydney.com/explore/a-sustainable-habitat&gt;

Deezeen, 2015. Verdant “cloud forests” and waterfalls proposed for new Singapore high-rise, DeeZeen Magazine, viewed on the 28th of October 2015, < http://www.dezeen.com/2015/10/27/marina-one-bay-gustafson-porter-high-rise-singapore-elevated-gardens/&gt;

Owen, D. 2009. Green metropolis: why living smaller, living closer, and driving less are the keys to sustainability, viewed on the 20th of October 2015

Speck, J. 2013. Walkable City: how downtown can save America one step at a time, viewed on the 26th of October 2015

Speck, J. 2013. The walkable city, TED, viewed on the 26th of October 2015, <https://www.ted.com/talks/jeff_speck_the_walkable_city?language=en#t-686551&gt;

Latour, B. 2012. Love your monsters: why we must care for our technologies as we do our children, The Breakthrough, viewed on the 26th of October 2015 < http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/journal/past-issues/issue-2/love-your-monsters&gt;

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