Monday, January 23, 2012

What is Green Urbanism? Holistic Principles to Transform Cities for Sustainability

by Steffen Lehmann

Over the last thirty-five years or so, an international debate on eco-city theory has emerged and has developed as a relevant research field concerning the future of urbanism and the city itself. During that time, a number of architectural schools of thought have been implemented worldwide. One such school is Technical Utopianism (a technological idealism that relied on the quick `techno-fix’, as expressed, for instance, in the work of Archigram).
Other early writing on green urbanism was available from Ebenezer Howard, whose 1902 book was entitled `Garden City of Tomorrow’, and whose political and social agenda has recently made a comeback. Much later, in 1969, Reyner Banham pioneered the idea that technology, human needs and environmental concerns should be considered an integral part of architecture. Probably no historian before him had so systematically explored the impact of environmental engineering and services on the design of buildings. (Howard, 1902; Banham, 1969) Some other early significant writing on green urbanism has come from Lewis Mumford and Jane Jacobs – although they didn’t call it green urbanism. From `Silent Spring’ (by Rachel Carson, 1962), to Victor Olgyay’s `Design with Climate’ (1963), to Reyner Banham’s `Architecture of the Well-tempered Environment’ (1969), to Ian McHarg’s `Design with Nature’ (1969), to the pivotal publications by authors re-connecting urbanism with the climatic condition (such as Koenigsberger, Drew and Fry, or Szokolay, in publications in the 1970s and 80s), to the remarkable `Brundtland Report’ (Brundtland, 1987); the important contributions from Robert and Brenda Vale (`Green Architecture: Design for an Energyconscious Future’, 1991), and the `Solar City Charter’ (Herzog et al, 1995/2007), the field of sustainable city theories and climate-responsive urbanism has constantly been expanded.
An important contribution came from Guenther Moewes with his book `Weder Huetten noch Palaeste’ (1995), which is a programmatic manifesto for designing and constructing longer-lasting buildings. More recent theories for `Compact Cities’ and `Solar Cities’ (Burton, 1997; Jenks and Burgess, 2000; Lehmann, 2005) encapsulate the visions based on the belief that urban revitalization and the future of the city can only be achieved through `recompacting’ and using clearly formulated sustainable urban design principles. These principles for achieving green urbanism have to be clearly defined and adjusted to an era of rapid urbanization, especially in the Asia-Pacific Region. In the 21st century we are working in an entirely new context, for which we need new types of cities. As noted by Ulrich Beck, we have arrived in `a new era of uncertainty’, where energy, water and food supply are critical. ‘We live in a world of increasingly non-calculable uncertainty that we create with the same speed of its technological developments.’ (Beck, 2000)

Sir Ebenezer Howard, by Mr Gue

more about urban sustainability:

Urban Sprawl and Atlanta’s Air Quality Problems


The Münster Application for the European Green Capital Award

Capturing Sao Paulo's Sidewalks

A Garden City Without A Garden!

Sustainable Urban Planning

Urban Planning and Real Estate Development

1 comment:

  1. Your information is really informative for us.
    Nice blog on Holistic Theory.
    Keep sharing more & more.....