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Serena Chiacchiari | eu collaborators

Category: ⚐ EN+colaboradores

Today we introduce Serena Chiacchiari, an Italian architect who’s doing right now an internship with us, being mainly involved in our proposal for the competition in Kiruna. Enjoy her introduction and the great photos from her trips around the world!

Serena in Patagonia

In November 2010 after graduating in Architecture in Rome I decided to go to Australia and New Zealand for a period. I was there 2 months, trying to visit as much as I could, from big cities to wild nature. When I came back I decided that what I had studied wasn’t enough so I started a professional master about sustainable architecture in IED Torino. The trip around Australia, where everything is so extreme, inspired me. I started asking myself “Is it possible to live without wasting what nature gives us?”, “Can we as architects help not to waste it?”. So I moved to Turin where I started studying the main elements of sustainable architecture.

Apart from theory, we had 3 workshops, one of which was held by “Arcò”, a young group of Italian architects, who helped us to understand how to build in extreme conditions with poor materials like earth, sand and tires. This workshop was awe-inspiring for me and I decided that I would like to start my architectural career in a young and active studio. I was very happy when I knew that I could have my internship in Ecosistema Urbano, which reflects perfectly my idea of what architecture should be: FUNNY, SUSTAINABLE AND PEOPLE’S.

This experience is very important for me because my passion has always been to travel and meet different cultures and this is the best way to do it!

Serena in Jordania

Here is a short summary about Serena:

Occupation: Architect
Interests: Architecture, photography, travel, sports
City/country: Rome/Italy
Web: www.serenachiacchiari.com
Online profiles: Facebook, Linkedin

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Herligheten, urban gardening in Oslo

Category: ⚐ EN+placemaking+sustainability

Do you have a dream about planting your own mango tree? The statistic probability that you who are reading this live in the city is over fifty percent, and the number is increasing. This means that fewer and fewer of us have the opportunity to grow our own fruit and vegetables, but are entirely dependent on the increasingly industrialized and transport-based large-scale agriculture.

Urban food production is a growing trend in many cities, and productive green spaces emerge on rooftops, in ditches, between buildings and on the left-over spaces without a specific use. The motives for cultivating food are diverse, some see it as part of a strategy to increase awareness and knowledge about the food we eat (food safety), others will create a focus on local food as one of the solutions to environmental challenges, while others grow their own garden just because it’s pleasure and to save money. Jennifer Cockrall-King claims in the book Food and the City that we are facing a food revolution as we have passed both the oil peak and peak water, and this begins to affect a growing global population:

Food and the City examines alternative food systems in cities around the globe that are shortening their food chains, growing food within their city limits, and taking their “food security” into their own hands.

Working at Herligheten - Photo by Christoffer Olavsson Evju

In Oslo, Norway, urban farming occurs in a smaller scale, including the Geitmyra allotment garden where you can be assigned a soil patch for cultivation, and as guerrilla gardens, a more freely and actionist activity where the city’s leftover spaces are used for food production without formal permission of the landowners. The latest addition to this green trend where you can grow your own vegetables in Oslo is Herligheten (The Glory), an ecological initiative and project about urban food production initiated in April 2012 and developed during April and May 2012.

As part of a long-term development and urbanization of the waterfront in Oslo, the developer Bjørvika Utvikling has carried out several temporary projects from stunts to pavilions which have been standing there for a few years. The events and installations are bringing human activity into an area that for many years has been characterized by construction activities, but Herligheten differs from previous projects by a greater degree of activation of users and visitors, who are now shaping the new area of the city with green and consumable pleasures.

Working at Herligheten - Photo by Christoffer Olavsson Evju

Herligheten is located at Loallmenningen in Bjørvika, a rocky “island” in the middle of a rough building site surrounded by roads, railway lines and the ventilation towers for the submerged tunnel underneath. It has found its home in an apparently gray and idle landscape between the Medieval park and the Oslo fjord, which has for many years been seen as a lifeless place in wait for better conditions. But during a few hectic weeks during spring the area has experienced a small, green revolution worked out by diligent volunteers who have transformed it into an oasis consisting of consumable plants, in what was previously a closed area for city residents.

Herligheten - Photo by Christoffer Olavsson Evju

As of today Herligheten consists of three main parts: Herligheten Allotment Garden with 100 allotments, a field measuring 250 m2 where several types of ancient grain such as spelt, emmer, einkorn and bere barley will grow, and an activity program consisting of a number of events and seminars for learning and exchanging ideas. As many as 3790 people applied in April to take part in Herligheten through the disposal of one of the 100 allotments, so it is clear that the people in Oslo have ambition to develop their green thumbs. We wish them good luck with the green revolution!

Read more:

About Herligheten in English
Flickr gallery. It will be updated soon with photos of the growing plants!

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Urban land teleconnections and sustainability

Category: ⚐ EN+research+sustainability+urbanism

Review of the paper “Urban land teleconnections” by Karen C. Seto, Anette Reenberg, Christopher G. Boone, Michail Fragkias, Dagmar Haase, Tobias Langanke, Peter Marcotullio, Darla K. Munroe, Branislav Olah and David Simon.

Recently a research paper was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) concerning the conceptual development of global sustainability, in relation to both urbanization (urban sustainability) and land change. The paper argues that land change and urbanization dynamics are explicitly connected, and suggests “urban land teleconnections” as a new framework for dealing with global sustainability.

Urban Land Teleconnections

“We propose urban land teleconnections as a process-based framework for integrating urbanization and land change, for revealing their linkages and pathways across space and time, and for identifying potential intervention points for sustainability. Through the lens of urban land teleconnections, new and surprising diverse urban forms and processes, such as periurbanization, can be better understood and foreseen. The urban land teleconnections concept could also be useful to the wider research community to anticipate implications for global land resource use.”

More and more people live in the cities. The increasing urbanization is raising many discussions about sustainable planning, and this recently published paper feeds the debate with new inputs. Encouraging a reconsideration of the terms on which we base sustainable policies, the research is widening again our perception of the relationship between the urban field and land. The term “teleconnections” refers to climate science, where it is understood that events have impact over large geographic areas – when the waters of the North Atlantic go through a warm phase, fire incidents increase in the western United States. Just such urban land teleconnections explain the interrelation and invisible bond between urban processes and land use processes, which we must consider when planning our sustainable future. The key to develop strong sustainable planning, is to stop thinking of urban sustainability and land use sustainability as limited to local scale and place, and instead start to take into account the processes and global connections merging urbanization and land use.

“The virtual shrinking of distances between places, strengthening connectivity between distant locations, and growing separation between places of consumption and production are emerging topics in “telecoupled” human–natural systems and tropical teleconnections of deforestation […] In an increasingly urban world, characterized by global flows of commodities, capital, and people, where land that provides goods and ecosystems services for people is becoming more segregated from the space of habitation, teleconnections captures links between distant processes and places, and can be used to explore consequences of urbanization and land changes at great distances from points of origin that would otherwise go unrecognized.”

Urban Land Teleconnections

Urbanization and land change have so far been treated as parallel processes. Apparently this has limited the progress of the concept of sustainability. The paper states that a simultaneously treating of urban sustainability and land change as interwoven, non-separable processes is the keystone to advance in developing sustainability:

“The magnitude and accelerating rate of contemporary urbanization are reshaping land use locally and globally in ways that require a reexamination of land change and urban sustainability. Worldwide, urban populations are projected to increase by almost 3 billion by 2050 and the total global urban land area by more than 1.5 million square kilometers—an area three times the size of Spain—by 2030. Urban economies currently generate more than 90% of global gross value added, meaning few rural systems are unaffected by urbanization (3). Given such trends, we must reconsider how we conceptualize the many connections and feedbacks between urbanization and land change processes.”

The paper is confronting three understandings of the urban – land relationship that so far have been key themes in sustainability policies.

One is the Land Classification Systems, on which the paper states:

“By definition, because urban is human-dominated, urban areas “appropriate” natural ecosystems, ecosystem services, and natural capital. By this logic, urban cannot be natural capital. However, such a conceptualization contradicts underlying principles of urban ecology as well as sustainability.”

The second theme is Place-Based Definitions:

“The place-based conceptualization enforces the idea that urban sustainability requires urban self-sufficiency. […] However, decisions and behaviors that are local or even regional in scope do not account for critical consequences of teleconnections, which may undermine sustainability efforts at great distances or influence the overall sustainability for the entire system. Eating locally might undermine livelihoods of distant farmers who may be using less energy-intensive methods to produce food than local growers. Put another way, sustainability initiatives often focus on the importance of place while ignoring the processes of urbanization that may have farreaching effects on distant places and people. These processes can generate uneven and undesirable outcomes that may be undetected when focusing solely on place.”

On the third theme, Land Transitions, the paper argues:

“[…] Although not always explicit, a common assumption is that land transitions in Europe and North America can help understand future trends in Asia, South America, and Africa. Such assumptions disregard the realities that cultural differences influence conceptions, codifications, and uses of space and land, and that use of distant land to meet demand for local populations can significantly alter the pathways of change. As a result, there is no universal or linear transition process; phases identified in one context can be shortened, prolonged, overlapped, or even omitted or transgressed elsewhere.

Urban Land Teleconnections

Urban Land Teleconnections is suggested as a new key theme, a framework to address sustainability. In an immediate invisible network, urbanization and land change are constantly in a process of affecting one another. The term itself indicates that the concept of sustainable urbanization and sustainable land use has merged. Conceptualization of sustainability should contain both processes at once.

“By using an urban land teleconnections framework, we move away from conceptualizing urban sustainability and land as attributes specific only to a place, to begin to link dynamic global processes to their spatial “imprint”.”

This means that changes in nonurban places affects urban places and that change in urban space affects nonurban space. In this way, urban and land relations are interwoven in a global network wherein neither the themes Land Classification Systems, Place-Based Definitions nor Land Transitions can stand alone to define the framework for developing sustainable concepts.

“ […] we can study multiple urban regions jointly, rather than trying to aggregate and generalize across many disconnected sets of case studies, and consequently provide a more organized way to integrate knowledge globally. A more holistic analysis of the underlying and spatial effects of production, consumption, and disposal will enable development of policies that promote viable and fair solutions, and ultimately global sustainability.”

Further reading: Urban Land Teleconnections paper – PDF

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EU collaborators | Ekaterina Kozhevnikova

Category: ⚐ EN+colaboradores

Today we’re glad to welcome a new intern: Ekaterina Kozhevnikova. She will be staying here for the next 3 months and taking part in the different projects that are going on at Ecosistema Urbano. And you’ll be reading soon some articles of her own on this blog, because she comes with a lots of ideas to share. Welcome, Kate!

Kate in the workshop 'Una scuola Sostenibele' Turin

As she says:

About 1 year ago I graduated as an architect in one of the Siberian cities in Russia. Then I became really interested in the topic of Sustainability and decided to go to Italy to find out more about that topic. I chose the Professional Master in Sustainable architecture that was held in Turin. One of the cities in Italy that really pays a lot of attention to the way of using renewable energy and reduction of CO2 emissions. During the period of study I was involved into the workshops and researches that explained the way of sustainable design, not just using the environmental strategies, but also the tools. So it let me discover new and great ways of designing.
I was always interested in the urban design that collaborates with the buildings and the environment, so the Ecosistema Urbano’s way of work seems really inspiring for me. I hope during the period of my collaboration I will improve my skills and see the practical side of designing.

Kate in Roma

And here is Ekaterina’s short profile and related links:

Occupation: Master Sustainable architecture IED Torino (graduated)
Interests:  Sightseeing / Travelling, Theatre, Painting / Body art, Sculpting, Hand made
City/country: Tyumen / Russia
Web:  Online portfolio
Social profiles: Facebook | VK
Ekaterina’s posts on ecosistemaurbano.org

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From Brown to Green: Development of London´s 2012 OLYMPIC PARK

Category: ⚐ EN+city+sustainability

Olympic game development is  rushed,  expensive and large-scaled.  Now, more than ever, winning the right to host Olympic games also comes with large-scale responsibility. Olympic game hosts are given the opportunity to present their country as leader of the current  times –  and in our time, its becoming more and more obvious that such large-scale development must be carefully pursued by the sustainability conscious.

London took this challenge and ran with it. The new East-London Olympic park that will soon boast world-class sporting facilities for the 2012 summer Olympics was once, not too long ago, just an unvisited, industrial wasteland. continue reading

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Sostre Cívic, a cooperative housing model

Category: ⚐ EN+urbact

While preparing the URBACT Biannual report, we found some interesting information regarding sustainable urban development. One of them is Sostre Cívic, a non-profit association that aims to provide planning solutions applicable to our society through non speculative access to housing.

continue reading

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Green Coverage: They say money doesn’t grow on trees, rather, trees grow on money

Category: ⚐ EN+sustainability+the environment

green – eco – sustainable

The media plays a crucial role in defining what these words mean because, lets face it, these words don’t have any universally acknowledged definitions. It´s been a challenge, of course, for the media to embrace this recent environmental enthusiasm and deliver news that is truly ¨green¨-worthy. However it has also been an incredible opportunity for these writers to decide, for the millions of their readers worldwide, what sort of initiatives really are worth the press.

Most of us assume that if the words  ¨eco¨ ¨green¨or ¨sustainable¨ are in the headline of an article, than the writer is speaking about an environmentally and socially responsible subject. These articles inform public understanding of the environmental terms used and shape the culture that either embraces or rejects them.

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bring buddy | a new approach to goods transportation | #followresearch

Category: #follow+#followresearch+⚐ EN+research


Last friday at the event rebel matters, directed by Manuel Gausa and Mosè Ricci that took place in the University of Genoa, I had the opportunity to meet Christian Schärmer, an austrian designer based in Barcelona from proxidesign.net. He made an interesting presentation talking about design thinking showing different samples of his own work and some other references. continue reading

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In Berlin: Reclaiming Dark Spaces

Category: ⚐ EN+creativity+urbanism

Artists in Berlin utilize a forgotten beer cellar, an old soviet bunker and an abandoned power station.

Berlin is well known for it’s population’s frequent reclamation of abandoned tenement buildings, but the past couple of years have seen an even more impressive trend of the reuse of seemingly uninhabitable dark spaces for art showings and cultural gatherings.

Galerie Unter Berlin
Eight meters below ground, Galerie unter Berlin exists in the cellar of a former brewery. The 500 square meter space recently opened to the public in fall 2010 and serves as a venue for gallery art and performance pieces. continue reading