Sep 30, 14

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Leapfrogging into a Carbon-Light Future: Grameen Shakti and Shidhulai

Like millions of his countrymen living in coastal areas in low-lying Bangladesh, fisherman Faroukh Mia and his family are acutely at risk from rising sea levels. They’re often portrayed by the world’s media as the helpless victims of a climate disaster waiting to happen. But that’s just half the story. They’re also entrepreneurs, exploiting new technology sold to them by one of Bangladesh’s most dynamic businesses. Faroukh lives miles from the nearest mains power. His mobile, like...

cities

Leapfrogging into a Carbon-Light Future: The End of High-Carbon Prosperity and How Low-Income Nations Are Becoming Climate Resilient

Martin Wright asks whether low-income countries are on a fast track to low-carbon prosperity. The tropical sun is beating down. The wind is picking up. Yet the co-op farmers and their VIP visitor from the National Treasury are wreathed in smiles. Of course, their spirit of well-being owes something to the creature comforts of this airy, ultra-modern building, and to the friendly shade and shelter of the tree belt that surrounds it. But the real story is there for all to see on the LED wall...

cities

Lighting Africa: Outstanding Products and Distribution Issues

Over the last five years Worldchanging has covered a number of stories about the leapfrog potential of increased use of solar power, and solar, portable and LED lighting in Africa. As James Cascio wrote in 2005: "...in the developing world, Africa in particular, solar has the potential to be a life-saver, providing clean energy in the remotest of locations." Rural electrification projects provide the underlying power necessary for bettering education, increasing information access, and...

cities

Frameworks for Citizen Responsiveness: Part 1 - Trouble Tickets

by Adam Greenfield In the past, I’ve often enough described cities as being “all about difficulty“: They’re about waiting: for the bus, for the light to change, for your order of Chinese take-out to be ready. They’re about frustration: about parking tickets, dogshit, potholes and noisy neighbors. They’re about the unavoidable physical and psychic proximity of other human beings competing for the same limited pool of resources….about the fear of crime, and its actuality. If...

cities

Frameworks for Citizen Responsiveness: Part 2 - Toward a Read/Write Urbanism

by Adam Greenfield We’ve been talking a little bit about what we might gain if we begin to conceive of cities, for some limited purposes anyway, as software under active development. So far, we’ve largely positioned such tools as a backstop against the inevitable defaults, breakdowns and ruptures that municipal services are heir to: a way to ensure that when failures arise, they’ll get identified as quickly as possible, assessed as to severity, brought to the attention of the relevant...

cities

Vancouver Makes a Bright Green Future its Official Goal

Vancouver just released its new city strategy, titled Vancouver 2020: A Bright Green Future (PDF), and it's a bold step forward (as well as a flattering adoption of our bright green frame): We envision a bright green future that couples economic prosperity, health, and happiness with decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. We envision less pollution and cleaner air, less machine noise and more birdsong, less pavement and more green space, fewer sick days and healthier people. We want to send a...

cities

Indonesian Activist Targets Community Waste

Six relatively unknown grassroots activists from around the globe receive a moment in the spotlight when the Goldman Environmental Prize announces its list of annual recipients. The prize, now in its 19th year, is considered the Nobel Prize for the environment. Past recipients include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, former Brazilian environment minister Marina Silva, and Nigerian environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was killed seven months after his recognition. The...

cities

The Street as Platform

I realize now that I've been delinquent in recommending Dan Hill's truly excellent speculative essay The Street as Platform, which explores a cross-section of all the ways that urban environments have become suffused with data. It's one of maybe 25 things I read this year that actually changed the way I see things in daily life: We can’t see how the street is immersed in a twitching, pulsing cloud of data. This is over and above the well-established electromagnetic radiation, crackles of...

cities

Book review: “The Bottom Billion” by Paul Collier

I’ve got a hip-high pile of books by my bedside, including several manuscripts written by good friends. But after Paul Collier’s talk at TED, his book moved to the top of the pile, and I spent a rainy Saturday diving into his new book, “The Bottom Billion”. It was time well spent. Collier has dedicated the last thirty years of his life to the study of African economics, as director of the development research group of the World Bank and now as Director of the Center...

cities

Free Energy

Here's a cute little bit of solutions porn: Free Energy

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