ETech 2009: Eco Cities Are Already Here, We Just Need to Cut & Paste

eco cities etech talk photo
photos by Jaymi Heimbuch

Here's an interesting question: If you could cut-and-paste anything into or out of your city, what would it be? In designing the eco-cities that we have to create in order to survive on this planet, we get to ask this question, and imagine the answers. Chris Luebkeman of Arup spoke at ETech 2009 about designing an eco-city, and he brings up several design elements we need to examine during planning. Click through for video.

Luebkeman states the obvious thing that we don't immediately think about: Cities are for people. We need to design cities so that people thrive in them. What do we need to do to make this so? He states that we already have the basic infrastructure to do this. We don't have to build a whole new eco-city - though that can be fun - we have to recreate the cities we have to make them functional and sustainable.

According to Luebkeman, we need to design with three things in mind:

Urban equality: is the question what you can/should do? Or is it what shoud you NOT be doing? At the end of the day, it's about reducing impact

Change is constant, and the context of the change is always variable. The eco cities are where we are now. The real question is how do we turn them into the same kind of eco city we all hope to be living in in the next 25-30 years.

The future is always over-sold and under-imagined. We talk a lot about the future but it does take some crazy ideas being taken seriously to get us to the future we want to be in.

Luebkeman states that 600 million people are moving from the rural areas of China into urban areas. To put it in context, it looks like this:

eco-cities talk etech china population graph photo

And because of that, the conclusion to why we have to devise eco-cities with what we have is immediate:

eco cities talk etech unsustainable cities photo

More on ETech 2009:
ETech 2009: AMEE, Your Energy Identity, and Scary Futures to Avoid
ETech 2009: Ending Obsolescence with a Post-Consumerist Economy (Video)
ETech 2009: Population Boom, Wealth, and 6 Ways to Stave Off Environmental Collapse (Video)
ETech 2009: Tim O'Reilly and Our Reality Bubble Burst (Video)
ETech 2009: Lilypad Electronic Fashion

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