Tuesday, August 02. 2016
By fabric | ch
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Posted by Patrick Keller in fabric | ch at 16:58
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Friday, June 27. 2014
Monday, March 21. 2011
On daily basis we come across images that are built using various code techniques, whether this be pixelation, glitch, particle fields, swarms, reaction diffusion, looking that these images on Wired Science, it’s amazing to see the similarities between the works we create and the environment we inhabit. Even more apparent when we consider that they bare no correlation to one another and the large gap in scale that exists between them. Likewise, the images below appear strangely “Digital”…
Agriculture is one of the oldest and most pervasive human impacts on the planet. Estimates of the land surface affected worldwide range up to 50 percent. But while driving through the seemingly endless monotony of wheat fields in Kansas may give you some insight into the magnitude of the change to the landscape, it doesn’t compare to the view from above.
more on Wired Science
Tuesday, May 25. 2010
Via Edible Geography
IMAGE: Screen grab showing global agricultural land-use in 1700, from World Cropland, Bill Rankin, 2009.
At Bill Rankin’s fantastic Radical Cartography site you can see an animation that shows the intensification and spread of agricultural land-use around the world over the past three hundred years.
IMAGES: Screen grabs showing global agricultural land-use in 1750 and 1800, from World Cropland, Bill Rankin, 2009.
I could spend hours with these maps: for example, it’s amazing to see that agricultural activity in India in 1700 is as intensive, if not more so, than in the traditional bread-baskets of the Caucasus or the densely populated areas of Northern Europe. The persistent un-farmed patch of France’s Massif Central is also interesting: even the Alps appear to have more agricultural activity.
IMAGES: Screen grabs showing global agricultural land-use in 1850 and 1900, from World Cropland, Bill Rankin, 2009.
Rankin notes that the major trend of the past three hundred years is simply the intensification of farming practices on land that was already agricultural, “punctuated by several episodes of rapid expansion into previously untapped areas: the Great Plains in the late nineteenth century, Argentina in the early twentieth century, and in last few decades, Brazil and central India.” He also points out rare but occasional declines in agricultural density: in the “central Amazon, northern Patagonia, or the Appalachian Piedmont after World War II.”
IMAGES: Screen grabs showing global agricultural land-use in 1950 and 1992, from World Cropland, Bill Rankin, 2009.
You might be wondering how Rankin knows what percentage of land was used for growing crops in 1700, before much of the world had even been charted, let alone systematically analysed in terms of land-use.
The dataset on which Rankin’s animation is based was developed by Navin Ramankutty and Jonathan Foley, whose methodology relied on an assessment of global agricultural land in 1992, at “5 min spatial resolution” (about 10 km at the equator), by “calibrating a remotely sensed land cover classification data set against cropland inventory data.” They then compiled an “extensive database of historical cropland inventory data, at the national and subnational level, from a variety of sources,” and processed that information through their 1992 land cover/inventory algorithm, in order to arrive at a historical reconstruction.
As Ramankutty and Foley freely acknowledge, the resulting map is a guess, albeit an extremely educated one that also matches what we know of “the history of human settlement and patterns of economic development.”
As always, much of the interest in maps like these lies in thinking about what is or isn’t measured—and why. Personally, I’m intrigued by the intensification metric, and the visual implication, as Bill Rankin puts it, that “many agricultural areas are at close to 100% exploitation.” This doesn’t seem quite right: Ramankutty and Foley are measuring agricultural land use (and only at a resolution of about 10 km at the equator), not productive potential. After all, surely an area of land could be solely devoted to agriculture and yet produce wildly differing yields depending on the crops sown and the farming techniques used?
Elsewhere, Ramankutty and Foley have also collaborated to map agricultural potential, based on “the temperature and soil conditions of each grid cell.” Somewhat implausibly, since agriculture both shapes and is shaped by human civilisation, the suitability rating ignores human inputs—urban sprawl, artificial irrigation, topsoil creation—altogether.
Stepping even further away from plausibility (and human intervention), Ramankutty and Foley subsequently produced a fascinating map of potential vegetation, showing “the vegetation that would exist at a given location had human forms of land use never existed.”
It is an alternate surface of the earth, carefully surveyed and classified by a human civilization that could not have existed in order for it to be a reality.
On a similar note, Colorado State University researcher David Theobald has designed a new system for evaluating and mapping the “naturalness” of a landscape. In his review, Rob Goldstein describes Theobald’s methodology thus:
Using this technique, Theobald arrived at “a natural landscape score of .6621 for the conterminous United States in 2001.” In other words, the lower forty-eight states are sixty-six percent “natural,” and only one-third human-designed, or “unnatural.”
The project seems flawed on several levels (it is somewhat incredible that Owens Valley, with its hijacked river and poisonous lake-bed, could receive the “highest naturalness” scores under any rubric), but the paradox of its premise is fascinating—that a pure form of nature can be carefully located and recognised as such by humans whose activity otherwise renders impossible its very existence.
Theobald suggests that his system is a useful tool for conservationists seeking to prioritise their efforts. To me, however, it is more interesting as a geographic expression of impossible nostalgia—the land-use database equivalent of medieval monks calculating how many angels could dance on a pin.
This is to be put in parallel with Jared Diamond's book: Guns Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies that explain the evolution of human socities from a geographic/food point of view, that would in a way generate, according to Diamond, social and cultural diversities. An eye opening book on the interaction between environment and human societies.
Monday, February 15. 2010
by David Basulto
A lot has been said (through) on Urban Farming, but many don’t consider their feasibility.
I´m not being pessimist (I grow some of my own vegetables and herbs), but I think that urban farming goes more in the direction of the last phrase of the video: “could it (urban farming) help bringing some agriculture into the cities to bring us closer to our food again?”.
Animation by Wieland Gouwens
Update: The same study applied to Manhattan
We do hear a lot about "urban farming" these days. Here an interesting study by the dutch connection (a.k.a "data style") about it, which shows that it won't be an easy thing to manage to become significant for the "sustainable"approach...
Friday, January 22. 2010
By Paul McAuley|01 December 2009
Photo: Peter Grundy
This article was taken from the January issue of Wired UK magazine. Be the first to read Wired's articles in print before they're posted online, and get your hands on loads of additional content by subscribing online
Cities may be more energy-efficient than the countryside, but we can radically enhance that efficiency with existing and achievable technology plus a little imagination, making cities carbon neutral and all but self-sufficient.
Here's a four-step plan:
1 Build intelligently Construction of new buildings consumes materials and creates massive carbon debt. Wherever possible, existing stock should be refurbished and retrofitted using bioarchitectural techniques and recycled and sustainable materials to enhance energy conservation, reduce water consumption, and maximise use of rainwater. Turn office buildings into the equivalent of high-tech beehives; shopping malls into jungle bazaars; point blocks into pinnacles dripping with vines and pocket forests.
2 Go Nuclear Present experience shows sustainable sources of energy - from buildings equipped with solar panels and wind generators to plants generating biofuel and electricity by digesting garbage - will not satisfy the energy demands of large cities. A new generation of compact long-life nuclear power plants such as India's thorium reactor or South Africa's pebble-bed design will plug the power gap and produce small quantities of waste that, unlike carbon dioxide generated by oil- and coal-fired plants, can be safely stored in vitrified form.
3 Stop using fossil fuels Cities are at present vulnerable to the smallest interruptions in oil and gas supply. The first step in cutting this dependency should be a ban on private car ownership in metropolitan areas. Even a sprawling city like London can be comfortably navigated by walking, cycling, and use of public transport - powered, like delivery vehicles servicing businesses and homes, by batteries, biofuels, or hydrogen fuel cells. The great tidal flows of commuters could be reduced by rezoning commercial areas for residential use and introducing workshops and offices into residential areas, as in the human-scale, mixed-use street plans of medieval cities.
At present, 30 per cent of London's carbon budget is consumed by commercial aircraft flights. In the future, all flights should use only biofuels produced by farming GM microalgae that mop up nutrients from sewage and produce ethanol and lipids. Even without genetic modification some strains of algae already yield more than ten to 20 times more biodiesel than rapeseed; the most efficient grow in saltwater, so would not compete for potable water; and fuel production powered by photosynthesis would be carbon neutral.
4 Embrace GM Parking structures and unwanted office and residential tower blocks could be converted to vertical farms where high-value GM crops, produced by open-source research rather than agribusiness, modified for perennial growth and maximum productivity, could be grown year-round using advanced hydroponics systems (drug dealers have already embraced this technology to produce crops of GM marijuana in ordinary houses). Walls and streets would be turfed with tough GM grasses and sedges; these, and thick plantings of trees lining roads, would absorb carbon dioxide and provide equitable microclimates.
From the air, the ideal green city should resemble Mayan ruins poking out of a lush forest. Under the canopy, there'll be densely populated but diverse and vibrant streets humming with every kind of human life. Utopian? You bet. But unless we get a lot smarter very quickly, we'll get the future we deserve: sweltering resource-poor mega-favelas salted with the high-security enclaves of the hyper-rich. Time to choose.
Paul McAuley is a biologist and multi-award-winning science-fiction author. His new novel Gardens of the Sun is published by Gollancz.
Read other articles from the Rebooting Britain series
- Tax people back into the cities
Online editing by Michael Conroy
Want more Wired UK magazine? Get your copy every month by subscribing online today
Via Wired UK
Work AC, in collaboration with Edible Schoolyard NY and the Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Foundation, is designing a new schoolyard for PS216 that will offer the young New Yorkers a different learning experience. The Edible Schoolyard is designed as a series of interlinked sustainable systems where the building will produce energy and heat, collect rainwater, process compost and sort waste with an off-grid infrastructure.
More images and more about the school after the break.
The school includes a kitchen classroom and mobile greenhouse where children are brought together in a learning environment that also promotes eco-friendliness. The roof of the kitchen classroom, a room that provides the facilities for up to 30 students to prepare meals together, channels rain water for reclamation. The mobile greenhouse extends the growing season by covering 1600sf of soil in the colder months and gardens will allow the children to care for plants.
A systems wall, a series of spaces that include a cistern, space for composting and waste-sorting, solar batteries, dishwashing facilities, a tool shed and a chicken coop, rests on the opposite side of the yard.
The project is a great way to introduce sustainable methods into children’s lives at an early age. The “edible” element will definitely pique children’s interests and help the next generation realize the importance of the eco-friendly movement.
All images courtesy of WORKac
Saturday, September 26. 2009
Recueilli par PHILIPPE BROCHEN
Dans un magasin de Lucknow, dans le nord de l'Inde, le 6 juillet. (REUTERS)
Aurélie Trouvé, docteur en économie et ingénieur agronome, est enseignante-chercheuse à l'Agrosup Dijon et copréside la branche française d'Attac. Elle réagit aux déclarations de la FAO (Organisation des Nations unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture) selon laquelle il y aura 2,3 milliards de bouches de plus à nourrir en 2050 - soit 9 milliards d'être humains - et qu'en conséquence une hausse de 70% de la production agricole est nécessaire.
Wednesday, July 22. 2009
Ripples, and sometimes waves, of the economic tsunami continue to roil through cities across the United States. One product of the downturn is stalled real estate projects. Many shelved projects have left vacant lots, derelict buildings, or parking lots where housing or office space was planned. The need to put these spaces back into use has motivated some great thinking about how to integrate open space and farming into the urban landscape. Interestingly, this is not a new problem. Philadelphia has been working on projects to convert “brown space” to “green space” for years. Philadelphia’s voids were created by migration from the cities to outlying urban areas, not a specific downturn. In 2005 they held an international design competition called Urban Voids. The point is, Philly has paved the way—er, broken new ground—for other cities to follow. And the best ideas about what to do with vacant property have to do with food.
You can review some of the design contest entries here. For the most part these ideas are at the edge of feasibility, but that’s the point of design competitions: to push the limits of what conventional wisdom says is possible.
One of the successful entries to the Urban Voids competition was Front Studio’s cleverly named Farmadelphia concept. Farmadelphia was another competition created to generate ideas for urban agriculture in empty urban spaces.
Here is an aerial view.
We wouldn’t want to leave out the chickens.
What is a farm with out some goats?
Seattle’s Greg Smith has allowed a great food truck to park right around the corner from the Sightline offices on property that is no longer going to be developed. Portland has been doing this for years. Seattle, Portland and Vancouver allow chickens and thanks to City Councilmember Richard Conlin Seattle allows goats.
Seattle has a municipal farm, the Marra Farm, that is not only in an urban area but in part of the city that’s downright industrial, South Park. The Marra Farm is a working farm that is right near the day-lighted Hamm Creek. The Marra Farm was one of the many farms operated by Italian immigrants in the Duwamish River Valley that supplied produce to the Pike Place Market in the early years of the last century. Today it provides for a city food security program called Solid Ground. Portland and Vancouver have similar programs. Vancouver has also entertained a skyscraper farm called Inhabitat.
Putting farms on more and more vacant lots makes sense on several levels: transportation costs would be cut for hauling produce, green spaces help reduce runoff into streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans; healthy food would be more available in more neighborhoods. And just as important urban farming reminds us food doesn’t come from the grocery store but from the land, animals and water.
So perhaps, one day, our region might realize a version of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City, a city of tall buildings surrounded by open space and farms. Something about this concept is very appealing.
This article originally appeared on sightline.org
Dans la continuité de la réflexion sur l'"urban farming", avec ici un lien historique intéressant vers Frank Lloyd Wright (Broadacre City).
Tuesday, July 21. 2009
Article from the Guardian by John Vidal (16th June 09) about temporary "grow gags" being moved guerrilla style across London to provide food for city dwellers.
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fabric | rblg
This blog is the survey website of fabric | ch - studio for architecture, interaction and research.
We curate and reblog articles, researches, writings, exhibitions and projects that we notice and find interesting during our everyday practice and readings.
Most articles concern the intertwined fields of architecture, territory, art, interaction design, thinking and science. From time to time, we also publish documentation about our own work and research, immersed among these related resources and inspirations.
This website is used by fabric | ch as archive, references and resources. It is shared with all those interested in the same topics as we are, in the hope that they will also find valuable references and content in it.
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