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.


Liz Walker & Joan Bokaer

February 27, 2008

Liz Walker and Joan Bokaer have done some amazing work at the EcoVillage at Ithaca that we talked about in our last post, and they deserve some more attention.

Liz WalkerLiz Walker co-founded and has directed EcoVillage at Ithaca since its inception in 1991, and has lived there with her family since the first buildings were completed. She has worked on all aspects of the community’s development, and has written and lectured widely on the topic. Her book, EcoVillage at Ithaca, tells the story of life at EcoVillage at Ithaca, an internationally recognized example of sustainable development. It transports the reader into the midst of a vibrant community that includes cohousing neighborhoods, small-scale organic farming, land preservation, green building, energy alternatives and hands-on education. By integrating proven social and environmental alternatives into a living model, EcoVillage at Ithaca provides a rare glimpse into one possible – and positive – future for the planet. EcoVillage at Ithaca delves into the heart of the lived experience at this innovative community. It provides a warm, personal and reflective look at what it is like to create a sustainable culture.

Joan Bokaer Joan Bokaer was a nuclear disarmament activist and national speaker in the 1980’s. She organized A Global Walk for A Livable World – one hundred people who walked from Los Angeles to New York City in 1990 to raise awareness about environmental issues. Upon her return from the walk she founded EcoVillage at Ithaca, an environmentally sensitive community based on ecological principles of design. She also co-organized the Third International EcoCity Conference in Senegal, West Africa in 1996.

Featured Project: EcoVillage at Ithaca

February 26, 2008

Located on the Cornell University campus, the Ecovillage at Ithaca is up to some exciting stuff. Co-founders Liz Walker and Joan Bokaer, will be speaking at the Ecocity World Summit in April. They have a long history with the Ecocity World Summit; they were both co-conveners of the third conference in Senegal 12 years ago.

From their website: www.ecovillage.ithaca.ny.us

Ithaca 2EcoVillage at Ithaca, located in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, is part of a growing global movement for a saner, more sustainable human culture. Comprising an intentional community and a non-profit educational organization, the project aims to develop an alternative model for suburban living which provides a satisfying, healthy, socially rich lifestyle, while minimizing ecological impacts.

The village currently includes two 30-home cohousing neighborhoods, an organic CSA vegetable farm, an organic berry farm, office spaces for cottage industry, an education office, a neighborhood root cellar, a warm-season grasses ecosystem restoration project, a sheep pasture, and varied natural areas. Over 80% of the 175 acre site is planned to remain green space, including 55 acres in a conservation easement held by the Finger Lakes Land Trust.

Ithaca 1

Village residents share common dinners several times per week in the two Common Houses, and volunteer about 2-3 hours per week on various work teams to keep things running smoothly: outdoor maintenance, finances, governance, future projects, and more.

The evolving village culture includes plenty of neighborly support for families in need, various annual celebrations to mark the seasons, and plenty of ad hoc parties and music jams. For example, every Halloween there’s a great spooky dance party in the FROG Common House, and every August there’s a fabulous Guys Bakin’ Pies event (male villagers pick wild berries and bake pies, served amid song parodies and other home-spun entertainment).

Future village elements under consideration include more accessible and affordable housing, an education center, a charter school, village-scale wind power, organic orchards, a roadside farm stand, on-site biological wastewater treatment, graywater recycling, biomass energy crops, onsite biodiesel/vegetable-oil fuel production, carshare, shuttle van, a natural cemetery, and an expanding portfolio of educational programs.

Featured Project: Sonoma Mountain Village

February 25, 2008

KRCB radio interview with Geof Syphers: [ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ]

GeofSyphersGeof Syphers doesn’t have to cross the globe to come to the Ecocity World Summit; his project, Sonoma Mountain Village, is located just 40 miles north of San Francisco. Geof Syphers is Chief Sustainability Officer for Codding Enterprises, the developer for Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park, California. Syphers is responsible for defining the environmental and social sustainability goals, and overseeing the Codding Enterprise’s successful transition to “sustainable developer.” He began his career as a physicist, and then earned his combined masters degree in solar/nuclear engineering only to find out through trial-and-error that the technological aspects of sustainability were the easy ones.

Sonoma 3Sonoma Mountain Village occupies 200 acres in Rohnert Park in Sonoma County, California, about 45 minutes north of San Francisco. Sonoma Mountain Village is a deeply sustainable mixed-use community endorsed by One Planet Communities, an initiative of sustainability experts BioRegional UK, EPA Climate Leaders and the US Green Building Council, targeting the highest platinum level in the LEED ND pilot program. The $1 billion dollar project is open in existing buildings with our light industrial zoning, allowing them to start the adaptive re-use community now. There are currently 30 businesses located there, including a 40,000 square foot facility housing AT&T.

Ecocity 2008 – Plan your trip…

February 25, 2008

Here’s a link for the watchers:


Radio Interview: Richard Register on KCSB

February 22, 2008

A Sustainable World on KCSB

Richard Register and Margie Bushman were interviewed last week on “A Sustainable World,” a college radio station operating from University of California, Santa Barbara. Richard talks about ecological city design (and how he first met Paolo Soleri), and Margie talks about her role with the Santa Barbara Permaculture Network, and Ecocity’s Eco-Film night, an event that promotes the Ecocity World Summit.

Featured Project: Auroville

February 22, 2008

Auroville is a universal township in the making for a population of up to 50,000 people from around the world. Presenting at the Ecocity World Summit is Lalit Bhati, an architect, urban planner, and resident of Auroville. Auroville aims at becoming a model of the ‘city of the future’ or ‘the city the earth needs.’ It wants to show the world that future realizations in all fields of work will allow us to build beautiful cities where people sincerely looking towards a more harmonious future will want to live. Below is a 360° view of Auroville, showing the partially constructed separate yet harmonized industrial and residential neighborhoods spiraling from the open center.What a beautiful place!