Built Environment

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

-Native American Proverb

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, and then names the streets after them.

-Bill Vaughn

This section will include resources on retrofitting, green building design, urban planning and designing public spaces.


The built environment is a complex topic. Where you live in the world will affect how you might research and engage with this subject matter. Urbanscapes in Europe and North America are dealing with very different issues in terms of restructuring. Towns and communities whose structure does not rely heavily on automobile transportation are going to find the adaptation process easier than those living in suburban developments that necessitate heavy automobile use. Outside of urban centers, suburbs will have to be restructured so that amenities are locally available.

New Urbanism is one movement in town planning that recognizes the folly of the car. Through the present dialogue, some New Urbanists are recognizing that oil decline represents an opportunity to prepare local communities. North American urban and suburban fabric has some major rethinking ahead – as cities were mainly built around petroleum. The New Urbanism model returns to a more traditional European model, where public transit and walking replace the dependence on the car.

We also include resources that look at options for buildings to evolve into greener developments, and technologies such as solar and grey water treatment systems. The term "Sustainable Communities" is big. These resources will give you a chance to see what this term means to you. We look forward to hearing your stories and adding your recommended readings to this list.


Books

The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community, and the American Dream by Peter Calthorpe
Calthorpe, Peter. 1993. The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community, and the American Dream. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Superbia: 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Neighbourhoods by Dan Chiras and Dave Wann
Chiras, Dan and Dave Wann. 2003. Superbia: 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Neighbourhoods. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.

The Creative City : A Toolkit for Urban Innovators by Charles Landry
Landry, Charles. 2000. The Creative City : A Toolkit for Urban Innovators. London: Earthscan Publications.

Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities by Diana Leafe Christian
Christian, Diana Leafe. 2003. Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities. Gabriola Island, New Society Publishers.

Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck
Duany, Andres, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck. 2000. Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. New York: North Point Press.

The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape by James Howard Kuntsler
Kuntsler, James Howard. 1993. The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Ecocities: Building Cities in Balance with Nature by Richard Register
Register, Richard. 2002. Ecocities: Building Cities in Balance with Nature. Berkeley: Berkeley Hills Books. (www.berkeleyhills.com)

Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes (CPULs): Designing Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Cities by Andre Viljoen, Katrin Bohn and Joe Howe
Viljoen, Andre, Katrin Bohn and Joe Howe. 2005. Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes (CPULs): Designing Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Cities. Oxford: Architechtural Press.

Web

US Green Building Council
www.localharvest.org

Energy Experts: Rocky Mountain Institute
www.rmi.org

Ecosa Institute - Education programs for Ecological Designers
www.ecosainstitute.org

The Gaia Institute - Integrating human communities with natural systems
www.gaia-inst.org

Global Ecovillage Network
gen.ecovillage.org

The Green Map Guides
www.greenmap.org


Have resources that you'd like to share? Please send us an email.