Having just covered the Village Project in North Carolina, we were delighted to discover another community-oriented organization working towards livable communities, this time on the other side of the Atlantic. URBED (Urbanism Environment Design) is a co-operative regeneration consultancy that has transformed itself into a design practice. Based in Manchester, UK, the group is apparently committed to sustainable urban regeneration and lists its core principles as "urbanism, community, sustainability and design." The group clearly thinks beyond the usual concerns of planning and design agencies, to include a view of towns as living systems, as evidenced by this piece in a recent newsletter of the Permaculture Association (Britain):
"When we look at the resource 'metabolism' of a city such as London — with its reliance on food transported from across the globe, demand for a supertanker of oil every week and the need to transport 23 million tones of waste out of the city each year — it seems hard to imagine a less sustainable form of development. But would we really be more sustainable if we were all living in scattered hamlets across the country, and is this realistic? If as a society we are to become more environmentally sustainable then we must tackle the problem head on: we must develop urban solutions to environmental problems. From URBED's work, it is clear that cities can be part of the solution."