My Favourite Stories of 2011: June

© Gordon Graff

Gordon Graff drew one of the most iconic images of a vertical farm five years ago, the tall green tower overlooking Toronto. It was an image that was often used when debunking the concept of urban vertical farms as pie in the sky. Everybody loved showing images of vertical farms, but even Dickson Despommier had some trouble really justifying their existence.

© Gordon Graff

But Gordon Graff kept plugging away at it, making it his thesis for a Masters of Architecture from the University of Waterloo. He designed an entire system, ran the numbers and showed that it actually could work. He was, I believe, the first to make a convincing case:

Vertical farming would increase a city's resilience to the more long- term, systemic alterations that human society is widely expected to experience in the coming decades. With vertical farming's maximally efficient resource use and functional segregation from the natural world, cities could achieve food security amidst the environmental transformations and resource shortages that would cripple a conventional urban food network.

Read it all at Gordon Graff Demonstrates That Vertical Farms Can Actually Work

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

I completed two years as President of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, a large volunteer organization with 25 chapters around the province. I must have lectured once a month about how heritage is green, and refined the message that I have spoken about so often on TreeHugger. I concluded with a theory that I have called

Heritage Urbanism, where we restore the urban fabric and rebuild our communities to work the way they used to. Where we learn from those who designed them before there was oil, about how to live after oil.

When my term was up I summarized it all in Heritage Is Green: Lessons From The Architectural Conservancy

Apple via Cupertino/Public Domain

I believe I was one of the first to complain about the new Apple Headquarters proposal. I am an Apple fanboy and admirer of Norman Foster, but thought the proposal to be a throwback to the kind of research parks in the suburbs that big companies built in the sixties. Eero Saarinen even did one for IBM that was round. More at One Ring to Bring Them All And In The Darkness Bind Them: Apple's New Headquarters

More favourites from the month in the Related column to the left.

Tags: Ban Demolition | Preservation