On Futuristic Architecture, Public Participation and Hedonistic Sustainability

This excellent TEDx talk by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels could potentially transform the way city planners, architects and even public policy planners view the structures within which we operate. The buildings he designs transcend both the structure and the purpose of traditional architecture, with futuristic, warped structures that go beyond merely creating spaces for living and working to creating whole, synergistically functioning ecosystems.

Some of his buildings may seem almost impossible, like creations from an alternate universe, sci-fi style, but in fact they seem to be amongst the most intelligently designed, highly livable buildings, with greenery, water bodies, clean energy and beautiful, unobstructed views incorporated into the structure.

Documentary on Urban Agriculture

Filmmakers Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette are in the process of making a documentary film, Growing Cities on the rural-urban divide, brought about in large part by agriculture. As people become more aware of the need for sustainability and self-reliance, the phenomenon of urban agriculture has grown considerably over the past few years.

It’s amazing to consider all the in-between steps that separate the majority of first world populations from their sources of food. Perhaps the cycle of growers-distributors-sellers is a luxury that is no longer realistic or affordable for a large segment of the world. One easily forgets that food production is different from other facets of consumerism in that food is a product we can produce ourselves (given the right environment, etc.). This is in stark contrast to, say, an iPad. Modern-day society—even the current Apple-centric one—is predicated on the fact that we, as humans, can grow our own food instead of hunting for it… the tradeoff being that we’ve grown away from this skill set (no pun intended).

Watch the trailer:

Growing Cities Preview from Growing Cities Movie on Vimeo.

Read more: Growing Cities – A Documentary on Urban Agriculture

Innovation vs. Sustainability: Finding the Right Balance

FastCompany writes about how American firms, while among the most innovative in the world, are also the most unsustainable. Jens Martin Skibsted of the Danish design agency Skibsted Ideation offers solutions towards incorporating sustainability in innovation processes.

Finding sustainable solutions isn’t about discovering new, ever-more disruptive ideas. It requires the opposite, something very un-American: standardization, slowness, and centralization. To most, more ideas are always better. But in this case, the more green solutions we have, the less effective and efficient processes become.

What American brands, therefore, need to do, is revisit some of the deep-founded beliefs about business, their companies’ identities and why they operate in a consumerist market.

Read more: Over-Innovation Makes U.S. Firms Suck At Sustainability