One of the main achievements of COP-7 was the adoption (decision VII/16 F) of the Akwé: Kon guidelines, the voluntary guidelines for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessment regarding developments proposed to take place on, or which are likely to impact on, sacred sites and on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities. The Guidelines, which were named with a Mohawk term meaning “everything in creation”, provide a collaborative framework ensuring the full involvement of indigenous and local communities in the assessment of cultural, environmental and social impact of proposed developments on sacred sites and on lands and waters they have traditionally occupied. Moreover, guidance is provided on how to take into account traditional knowledge, innovations and practices as part of the impact-assessment processes and promote the use of appropriate technologies.
1998: International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) identified five principles that were seen to characterize the LA21 initiative worldwide:
environmental objectives are linked with economic and social objectives
all groups in society are to be involved
measures and projects are based on ling-term objectives
impacts of local on global are measured
utilization of natural resources is based upon the rate at which new resources are formed
1994: At the European level, the Aalborg Charter (emanating from the that year’s European local government LA21 conference in Denmark, at which the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign was established) The commitments also represent a statement of intent by the signatory municipalities to work towards local sustainability. Municipalities both participate in the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign, and adopt the 13 Commitments of the Charter
Notion and principle of sustainability
Local strategies towards sustainability
Sustainability as a creative, local, balance-seeking process
Resolving problems by negotiating outwards
Urban economy towards sustainability
Social equity for urban sustainability
Sustainable land-use patterns
Sustainable urban mobility patterns
Responsibility for the global climate
Prevention of eco-systems toxification
Local self-governance as a precondition
Citizens as key actors and the involvement of the community
Instruments and tools for urban management towards sustainability
Local Agenda 21 is conceptualized in chapter 28 of Agenda 21, which was adopted by 178 governments at the 1992 Rio Conference. Agenda 21 recognized that many environmental problems can be traced back to local communities and that local governments have an important role to play in implementing environmental programs and gathering community support. The objectives of Local Agenda 21, as stated in Agenda 21 are: a) ‘By 1996, most local authorities in each country should have undertaken a consultative process with their populations and achieved a consensus on “a local Agenda 21” for the community; b) By 1993, the international community should have initiated a consultative process aimed at increasing cooperation between local authorities; c) By 1994, representatives of associations of cities and other local authorities should have increased levels of cooperation and coordination with the goal of enhancing the exchange of information and experience among local authorities; d) All local authorities in each country should be encouraged to implement and monitor programmes which aim at ensuring that women and youth are represented in decision-making, planning and implementation processes.’ Adoption of Local Agenda 21 is voluntary. If adopted, the Agenda 21 objectives require local governments to consult with the local community; minority groups; business and industrial organisations to create a shared vision for future sustainable development and to develop integrated local environmental plans, policies and programs targeted at achieving sustainable development. The consultation process is designed to raise awareness and encouraged the formation of business partnerships and information and technical exchange programs. The most appropriate implementation method is not prescribed. Rather local government and the local community agree upon a suitable implementation method for their region. A 2001 survey by the ICLEI found that almost 6,500 local governments in 116 countries are committed to or are undertaking a Local Agenda 21 process. Countries with national campaigns were found to have more Local Agenda 21 participants than countries without.
THE GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH CENTER Full text available here
(…) Before modernity we lived in what could be referred to as the City of Being and Belonging, which amongst other things was also the crucible of culture, creativity, and consciousness. This is the compact, traditional city whose buildings line, define, and animate the public realm of streets, squares, and green spaces that are shaped in response to who we are so we feel that we belong and are at home. These elements of the public realm together form a coherent gestalt that is not mere residual space but is articulated to constitute the multiple stages of the theater of daily life. Within the contiguous fabric of spaces and framing buildings of such a city, we were the same persons wherever we were, known in all our aspects by all those around—an essential condition for acquiring self-knowledge and maturity. Most importantly, such cities served all of who we then were as humans, their experiential and symbolic richness nurturing the subjective self. The traditional City of Being started to fragment with the impact of polluting and noisy industry, and as mechanical public transport allowed the better off to move to the suburbs. This and the impact of modern planning—initially a set of defensive measures to protect against insalubrious industry and over-crowded housing conditions—led to the dispersal and loosening of the tight contiguities of the traditional city.This has resulted in the fragmented modern City of Doing—and of Dispersal, Disconnect, and Denial. In this City, free-standing buildings are distributed in a conceptual void in which you play out different roles in different parts of the city: parent at home, employee at the office, and passive consumer in many other parts. The emphasis on distributed specific functions (Doing) results in a machine for avoiding the chance encounters, complexities, and contradictions that lead to self-knowledge and psychological maturation. It also disrupts the continuities of the ever-present, ever-experiencing self that is the subject of the City of Being (…) To move beyond modernity, we need to recover the sense of community and belonging of the City of Being (…) we need to retain some of the dynamism of the City of Doing (…) This answer will be the City of Becoming, informed by an emerging and expanded sense of what it is to be fully human. This City will offer multiple ways to explore its richly diverse fabric and facilities and so discover ever more potentials in ourselves. The architecture of the City of Becoming will further expand and elaborate this role as it weaves a web of relationships in a way that encourages one to be aware and engaged, stretching you to all one could become. Instead of modernity’s isolated objects in a conceptual void, un-treasured and tarted up with smears of landscaping, the result would be a richly woven tapestry of relationships.
In September 1967, land artist Robert Smithson took a tour over Passaic in new Jersey* and created a short photo-essay to report his journey, entitled “A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey” later published in “Artforum” magazine, December edition. Interestingly, he names profane objects such as pipes and derelict spaces as monuments:
The bus passed over the first monument. I pulled the buzzer-cord and got off at the corner of Union Avenue and River Drive. The monument was a bridge that connected Bergen County with Passaic County (…) Along the Passaic River banks were many minor monuments such as concrete abutments that supported the shoulders of a new highway in the process of being built (…) As I walked north along what was left of River Drive, I saw a monument in the middle of the river—it was a pumping derrick with a long pipe attached to it (…) Nearby, on the river bank, was an artificial crater that contained a pale limpid pond of water, and from the side of the crater protruded six large pipes that gushed the water of the pond into the river. This constituted a monumental fountain that suggested six horizontal smokestacks that seemed to be flooding the river with liquid smoke (…) The last monument was a sand box or model desert.
Smithson, says Maarten Overdijk in his ‘Monuments and Mental Maps‘ article in OASE 98, rejected conventional ideas about perception and cognition precisely because they did no justice to his experience and offered him no method to analyze or describe it. Instead, he had a preoccupation with space and the changing relations of place, location and map. In his ‘literary’ narrative of the Passaic, continues Overdijk, Smithson attempts a montage of descriptions; observations and reflections while shifting between different layers of time: “the psychological time of the individual, the social time of culture and its symbols, and the time of geological change.”
* Ellen Mara De Wachter revisited the locations captured in the photo-essay through a short film
The theme of the 19th Oslo Architecture Triennale, Enough: The Architecture of Degrowth plays with the explosive power of this word to open up new debates into how much the pursuit of economic growth has damaged the environment and of the need to try out new solutions in architecture (floornature). The curators (Matthew Dalziel, Phineas Harper, Cecilie Sachs Olsen and Maria Smith) argue that “architects are mistaken if they believe they can confront the climate crisis by merely rethinking the way they design buildings. Instead, it is the economy and the very armature of our civilisation that requires a rigorous redesign.” (AR)
You must be brave to peel back the skin concealing the ugly ribcage of our economic system, its guts ingesting gas, coal, trees, animals, minerals, water and clean air and flatulently defecating an endless stream of clothes, plastic bags and neat packets of processed food. (AR)
The program develops in the “Academy,” the “Theatre,” and the “Playground,” until November 24. (Official site)
This Embassy comprises partners who are working on this future scenario through practical design assignments and by exploring new approaches. The key questions are: how can we scale, what does a new circular construction chain look like and which new design language is associated with using biobased building materials?
The author claims the need of a systematic approach “that brings together the design of built environments with the best scientific knowledge of processes of change in complex natural and social systems.” Urban planning must work within these systems that require local info (through participatory practices) and the creation of technical solutions. He thinks the challenge is mapping informality as cities grow in unpredictable ways. He also claims that cities are about connections: “the socioeconomic and physical links that allow each one of us to make a living, obtain services that make our lives easier, and learn and invest our time and resources.”
The effects of connections can be traced as the concentration of social networks in space and time where the value of a group is not proportional to the group’s numbers, but to its interactions. GPS tracking, and smart phone technologies can help track the networks.
New methods from urban science allow the accelerated evolution of these neighborhoods to follow natural urban processes. They are based in part on the mathematical analysis of detailed maps, including the development of algorithms to optimize building access, delivery of services, formalization of land, and taxation, with minimal disturbance and cost.
Planning through the development of detailed maps at the neighborhood level is also an effective way to capture local, person-centric knowledge, providing a clear vehicle for better local politics via the coordination of priorities and action from communities, local governments, and other stakeholders. The convergence of a networked science of cities, quantitative methods of spatial analysis, and information technology tools is key to allow users to participate.
Luís M. A. Bettencourt (2019) Designing for Complexity: The Challenge to Spatial Design from Sustainable Human Development in Cities Technology|Architecture + Design, 3:1, 24-32, DOI: 10.1080/24751448.2019.1571793
VETEMENTS was started in 2014 as a French clothing and footwear “design collective” and brand founded by Georgian fashion designer Demna Gvasalia and CEO Guram Gvasalia in 2014. The brand was designed by a collective of their friends who had previous experience working for various known brands. Championing a more ‘pragmatic’ approach to fashion, Demna reflects the ‘down to earth nature’ that he says is reflected in what today’s youth wear. Operating from a philosophical and methodological approach to his designs, Demna propelled Vetements to world class status in just three short seasons (wiki).
Vetements is now trying to raise awareness on clothes overconsumption, overproduction and wastefulness by amassing tones of unused clothes on Harrods window displays. Clothing production is the second-biggest polluter on the planet and the company is trying to encourage companies to have their supply meet their demand.
Closing The Loop is the world’s first feature length documentary on the zero-waste / circular economy, supporting UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 on Responsible Production and Consumption. The film is presented by global sustainability expert Prof. Dr. Wayne Visser, in collaboration with Emmy and two time Telly Award winning director Graham Ehlers Sheldon. The film ranges across three continents and includes commentary from global experts and centres of excellence like the World Economic Forum and the University of Cambridge. A number of innovative circular economy cases are also featured in detail. The Circular Economy Club (CEC) is a communication and promotion partner of Closing the Loop. A film by Kaleidoscope Futures Lab. and Stand Up 8 Productions.
On the outskirts
of Cairo lies the world’s largest garbage village. A labyrinth of narrow
roadways camouflaged by trash, the village is home to 60,000 Zaballeen — Arabic for
“garbage people.” The Zaballeen have survived for centuries by recycling Cairo’s waste.
Members of Egypt’s minority Coptic Christian community, these entrepreneurial
garbage workers recycle nearly all the trash they collect, maintaining what
could be the world’s most efficient waste disposal system. Filmed over
four years, GARBAGE DREAMS follows three teenage boys born into the Zaballeen’s trash trade:
17-year-old Adham, 16-year-old Osama, and 18-year-old Nabil. Laila, a community
activist who also teaches the boys at their neighborhood Recycling School,
guides the boys as they transition into adulthood at a time when the Zaballeen community is
at a crossroads.
population of 18 million, Cairo — the largest city in the Middle East and
Africa — has no sanitation service. For generations, the city’s residents have
paid the Zaballeen a minimal amount to collect and recycle their
garbage. Each day, the Zaballeen collect more than 4,000 tons of
garbage and bring it for processing in their village, where plastic
granulators, cloth-grinders, and paper and cardboard compactors hum constantly.
As the world’s capacity to generate trash skyrockets, Western cities boast of
30 percent recycling rates — admirable, until you compare it with the 80
percent recycling rate the Zaballeen can claim.
following the international trend to privatize services, Cairo sold
multimillion dollar contracts to three corporations to pick up the city’s
garbage. Shimmering waste trucks now
line the streets, but these multinational waste disposal corporations are only
contractually obligated to recycle 20 percent of what they collect, leaving the
rest to rot in giant landfills. As these foreign companies came in with
waste trucks and begin carting garbage to nearby landfills, the Zaballeen watched their way
of life disappearing.
with the globalization of their trade, Adham and Osama are each forced to make
choices that will impact their futures and the survival of the Zaballeen community.
Activist Laila sighs with despair: “They don’t see that we are poor people
living off of trash. What are we suppose to do now?”
Iskander provided this update on the plight of the Zaballeen since
the ability of the Zaballeen to both acquire and process Cairo’s
garbage has become harder in the last few years. Cairo’s Zaballeen are
still locked out of the trash trade by the multinational companies that arrived
on the scene several years ago as part of the Egyptian government’s failed attempt
to overhaul the municipal waste management system.
Five years after the multinationals took over, it has become abundantly clear that the privatized waste management system is not working.
One of the
multinational companies’ contract was terminated because it failed to keep
Cairo’s streets clean. With time, it became evident to the two remaining
multinationals that they did not have the capacity to manage all of Cairo’s
garbage or find a large permanent constant work force. As a result, the foreign waste companies started to contract some Zaballeen,
allowing them access to the garbage in return for their garbage collections
service. While these Zaballeen are pleased to once again have
access to the garbage, they have not regained any percentage of the fees
residents paid for their garbage collection service.
decision to cull the nation’s nearly 350,000 pigs (in an attempt to prevent an
outbreak of swing flu in Egypt) wiped out a vital source of income for Zaballeen that
came from raising pigs who fed off organic waste.
current economic outlook for the Zaballeen appears bleak, with
garbage piling higher every day and with increasing pressure being put on the
government to clean up Cairo’s streets, there is undoubtedly growing
international and national interest in the Zaballeen’s industrious and
innovative recycling practices.