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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November 26, 2009
Ken Yeang, Architect, UNITED KINGDOM – MALAYSIA
Dr. Ken Yeang is the world’s leading architect in ecological and passive low energy design. He has delivered over 200 built projects and his ‘bioclimatic’ towers have had an impact around the world, fusing high-tech and organic principles. Born in Penang, Malaysia in 1948, Yeang was educated there, as well as in the U.S. and the UK, receiving his doctorate in Architecture from Cambridge University, and attending graduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. His expertise in the field of green design originated from his early doctoral dissertation from Cambridge University (1971-1974) followed by his ongoing R&D work, which has since led to the publication of a number of his treatises on the topic of ecological design and planning, bioclimatic design and high-rise design. He is best known as the inventor of the Bioclimatic skyscraper (as a genre of low-energy skyscrapers based on bioclimatic design principles), and for his novel ideas on designing the high-rise building type as vertical urban design. Llewelyn Davies Yeang: http://www.ldavies.com
November 25, 2009
Today: Brent Toderian, Rusong Wang & Ken Yeang
Brent Toderian, Director of Planning, Vancouver, BC, CANADA
In 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
Mr 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
November 24, 2009
Today: Hiroaki Suzuki & Sudarshan Tiwari
Hiroaki Suzuki, Lead Urban Specialist, Finance Economics & Urban Department, the World Bank
Hiroaki Suzuki has more than 20 years of the World Bank operational experiences in infrastructure sector and public sector management. Having worked in East Asia and Pacific Region, as East Asia Urban Sector Leader/China Urban Sector Coordinator for the last five years, he recently joined the World Bank’s corporate Finance Economics & Urban Department (FEU). He is the principal author of “Eco2 cities: Ecological Cities as Economic Cities (www.worldbank.org/eco2)”. Eco2 cities initiative which helps cities in developing countries achieve ecological and economic sustainability is a World Bank’s new urban sector business line which has been adopted as an integral part of the World Bank’s new urban sector strategy which will be launched, soon.
Sudarshan Tiwari, Architect and City Historian, Katmandu, NEPAL
Dr Tiwari is an architect and cultural historian and scholar of the Katmandu Valley of Nepal. Sudarshan earned degrees in architecture from the University of Delhi and the University of Hawaii. He has served in the faculty of Tribhuvan University’s Institute of Engineering for more than 25 years, and was Dean of the Institute between 1988 and 1992. His own interest drew him to the study of Nepali historical architecture, urbanism and conservation, which led to a PhD from Tribhuvan University, Katmandu, for his work on the ancient settlements of the Katmandu Valley. Sudarshan Tiwari: www.himalassociation.org/himalbooks
November 23, 2009
Today: Richard Register & Ambika Shukla
Richard Register, President, Ecocity Builders, Founder of the International Ecocity Conference Series, USA
Mr. Richard Register is the world’s leading author, illustrator and theorist in ecological city design and planning. He is also an activist on local projects, from creek restoration and urban gardening to street and building redesign, working with environmentalists, developers and politicians to get a better city built and running. Mr Register is founder of Ecocity Builders, a California non-profit corporation. He convened the First international Ecocity Conference in 1990 and advised on all subsequent conferences in the series. These evens have involved approximately 5,000 people and 625 speakers to dates. His latest book is Ecocities – Rebuilding Cities in Balance with Nature. Ecocity Builders: www.ecocitybuilders.org
Ambika Shukla, Director, People For Animals, INDIA
Ambika Shukla of New Delhi is widely considered one of Asia’s leading advocates to protect animals and wildlife. Educated in the United States, she has worked with numerous global organisations such as the World Wildlife Federation in drawing attention to the subject of cruelty to animals. She runs a nonprofit, nonpartisan organisation called People for Animals, which operates animal shelters in virtually all of India’s 29 states. Ms Shukla is a popular speaker on the lecture circuit in India, South-east Asia, Europe and the United States.