Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ecological Urbanism

Greetings from the University of Sydney, where Gareth Doherty from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design is speaking on "Ecological Urbanism: Geography, Ethnography, Ecology". He started by talking about the village in Ireland he came from. He talked about the social side of landscape, growing up in a village where your ancestors are part of your surroundings. He told a story of how his colorblind uncle painted his house pink (usually the buildings are drab colors). Shortly afterwards, with this advice, other businesses painted their buildings bright colors (Dr Doherty argues to attract business). The bar owner and undertaker followed the next year and painted his premises pink. Red then became popular. The point of the story was that change could happen quickly, with something as traditional as the color of buildings in a village..

Dr Doherty then talked about Bahrain, which is traditionally very green due to date farms. He mentioned recent difficulties in Bahrain, presumably referring to the suppression of protests by the Bahraini government, with the assistance of troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Dr Doherty mentioned "Real Time Rome" from MIT SENSEable City Lab, which mapped cell phone usage. He also showed some work on vertical gardens to green cities. It happens Sydney has the world's tallest vertical garden (33m high) on the TRIO apartments, by Phillip Johnson and Patrick Blanc in the inner-west of Sydney.

The journal "New Geographies" so far has had five volumes, starting with zero:
Dr Doherty 's book Ecological Urbanism was published in 2010.

Ecological Urbanism was published in 2010 by Lars Muller Publishers. The book and larger project of ecological urbanism considers the political, social, and emotional ecologies of the city, as well as the environmental.

This lecture will outline the main positions of ecological urbanism, and will also address some of the challenges it presents, including a renewed focus on the geographic and ethnographic aspects of urbanism and design.

About the Lecturer

Gareth Doherty is a Lecturer in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and Design, at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. His research and teaching have focused on the intersections of landscape, urbanism, ecology, and anthropology. He edited Ecological Urbanism with Mohsen Mostafavi (2010). He is a founding editor of New Geographies journal, and editor in chief of New Geographies 3, "Urbanisms of Color" (2011). In addition to a D.Des. from Harvard, Doherty has an M.L.A. and Certificate in Urban Design from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.Agr.Sc. and B.Agr.Sc. from University College Dublin

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