Posts Tagged 'Urban Agriculture'

April ’08 Eco-City Conference: Academic Sessions

The key to the Eco-City Conference as a whole was separation of labor and time management. Wielding dual mp3 recorders and carefully planning each day in advance, Ryan Mykita and Grant Canary ran this second gauntlet shortly after the bio-cycle conference. Amongst diverse topics that were decently grouped, some speakers were obviously hard hitters, others languished on well-beaten trails, while others came up as big surprises.

As I found out later, Umbria’s services are based on a former DoD code. Umbria tracks issues online using algorithms that are applied to the text of blogs and web pages.  In their presentation they analyzed who is talking about sustainability.  Amongst the interesting results of their 170,000 blog sample was the movement on sustainability they’ve seen recently.  The majority of discussions were about food and sustainability while only 9% of discussions were about brands and the latest campaigns. (hmm…there’s a hint…no one cares about green washing)

In the Urban Agriculture sector, NY Sunworks nailed their presentation, which detailed a system that cultivates plants contained within the walls of skyskrapers.  The skyskraper in question uses a double skin facade (like a double pane window) and in between the two layers of glass is a “dutch bucket system” of plants that are rotated up from floor 1 as seedlings, through to floor 10, and back down when they are mature at the thirty day mark.  The plants provide cooling (via evapotranspiration), shading, and food which makes the building an ultra efficient project.  The group’s economic figures purport that there is a $20 gain per square meter of installed system for heating/cooling cost reduction and a $70 per square meter when the production value of the plant is taken into consideration.

This group offered three visions for the sustainable future: the eco-apocalypse (everything goes to hell),  the eco-apartheid (those who can afford healthy and sustainble life are the only ones who get one), and the vision they are working for: eco-equity.  It is for this reason that they offer an accreditation program on greenroof installations for persons of all classes.  Judging by the participant handbook I had a minute to look through, the program appears phenomenally well organized and put together.

After two days of grueling sessions, we had another 3 days of featured speakers in the conference sessions of the Eco-City conference held at the masonic center. The fun had just begun…

(For the sessions listed above, contact me if you’re interested in the Mp3 recordings and we’ll see what we can work out.)


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