The Power of Nearness

February 9, 2010

Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.
– Albert Einstein

City planners aren’t usually on the list of people we associate with paradigm-shifting embers of wisdom. Spiritual leaders, artists, and philosophers — yes — they have sparked our collective imagination and shaped the course of society throughout history. While Be the change you wish to see in the world and I have a Dream will forever be guiding lights in our journey through a complex and often confusing world, it’s clear that each generation brings with it the need for new symbols and archetypes in response to the struggles of its time.

It was at last month’s Ecocity World Summit in Istanbul that I thought I’d heard a concept expressed that reflects and encompasses so much of the millennial Zeitgeist, as a theme to embrace as well as aspire to: The Power of Nearness

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Ecocity World Summit Speakers, Part XIII

November 25, 2009

Today: Brent Toderian, Rusong Wang & Ken Yeang

Brent Toderian, Director of Planning, Vancouver, BC, CANADA
toderian_brentIn 2006, Brent Toderian was appointed the City of Vancouver’s Director of Cent Planning, succeeding celebrated Co-Directos Larry Beasley and Dr,. Ann Mcafee. his broad mandate involves current planning, including the many projects related to the 2010 Winter Olympics, and visioning/CityPlans, including the new “EcoDensity” citywide initiative recently adopted by the City. EcoDensity is based on the premise that strategically located, sustainably designed density can reduce the City’s ecological footprint while making vancouver more sustainable, livable and affordable. Since arriving, Brent’s been encouraging candid, city-wide dialogue around an evolving urbanism, with bold opportunities around sustainability, creativity and architectural risk taking. Vancouver Ecodensity: http://www.vancouverecodensity.ca

Rusong Wang, President, Ecological Society of China, Co-convener, Ecocity World Summit 2008, CHINA
wang_rusongMr Rusong Wang is head of the Center for Ecological and Environmental Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Science and has been one of the pioneering leaders in ecological city theory and support of those practicing the sciences and arts of ecocity building. He is one of the founders of the Ecological Society of China and he has been one of the most accomplished ecologists and champion of solutions in waste treatment and pollution abatement for the health delivery systems in China. Internationally he is known as one of the founders of SCOPE – Scientific Committee on Problems in the Environment. Rusong has convend many conferences for SCOPE kindred to the International Ecocity Conferences. He expounds a theory based on ancient Chinese tradition and on remapping cities for reshaping them for minimum energy demand and maximum ecodiversity. He is also a member of the Peoples Congress of China. Ecological Society of China: http://www.rcees.ac.cn/dse/en/team


Audience Q & A with Walter Hood, Brent Toderian and Maria Rosario

May 12, 2008

Audience Q & A with Walter Hood, Brent Toderian and Maria Rosario


Brent Toderian at Day 3

May 12, 2008

Brent Toderian

April 25, 2008

In 2006, Brent Toderian was appointed the City of Vancouver’s Director of City Planning, succeeding celebrated Co-Directors Larry Beasley and Dr. Ann McAfee. His broad mandate involves current planning, including the many projects related to the 2010 Winter Olympics, and visioning/CityPlans, including the new “EcoDensity” citywide initiative currently being discussed with the Vancouver community. EcoDensity is based on the premise that strategically located, sustainably designed density can reduce the City’s ecological footprint while making Vancouver more sustainable, livable and affordable. Since arriving, Brent’s been encouraging candid, city-wide dialogue around an evolving urbanism, with bold opportunities around sustainability, creativity, and architectural risk taking.

Vancouver EcoDensity: www.vancouver-ecodensity.ca


Featured Project: EcoDensity, Vancouver

March 3, 2008

EcoDensityOther than just being a great place to live, Vancouver, Canada may soon become a great green place to live. EcoDensity is their flagship green project, and the scope and breadth of what they are planning is pretty amazing.

In beginning this process, Vancouver is putting itself at the cutting edge of sustainability and ecoplanning for cities its size. The complete Draft Initial Actions [pdf] document gives a glimpse of this project. Still in the public input phase, the year and a half old project has a great spokesman in Brent Toderian. In our last post on Friday we featured Brent, Director of City Planning in Vancouver. It’s important to remember that no decisions have been made in this project, and that the Vancouver city council will make the final say on any concrete changes. Until then, we can applaud the vision that Brent and other Vancouverites have, and encourage the healthy dialog that will make projects like this possible all over.

Past the jump you’ll find some very enlightening info from their FAQ

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Featured Presenter: Brent Toderian

February 29, 2008

Brent ToderianDirector of City Planning in Vancouver, Canada Brent Toderian has been described as an “urban firecracker” and a “sophisticated urbanist.”

Add to that list one more: Speaker at Ecocity World Summit 2008.

As Director of City Planning, his broad mandate involves both current planning, including the many projects related to the up-coming 2010 Winter Olympics, and visioning/city plans. The eco-project that he is working on in Vancouver is a major urban re-envisioning called EcoDensity. EcoDensity is a concept currently being discussed with the Vancouver community. EcoDensity is an acknowledgment that high quality and strategically located density can make Vancouver more sustainable, livable and affordable.

In this segment from Greater Vancouver Television, he describes the goals that EcoDensity is striving for, and the community effort that is required to accomplish them.

For a truly illuminating peek into Brent’s work and perspective on all things urban, check out his blog.


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