With a vision and a strategy the 21st century city will be green, a healthy place for all and will generate zero net pollution. This book offers a vision and a strategy.
Productive urban landscapes have two huge challenges to address: CO2 emissions are projected to increase by two-thirds in the next 20 years, and as the global food production increases so does the number of people
going hungry, with the number of urban hungry soaring.
The symbiotic relationship between a productive landscape and the human settlement system is as old ascivilization. During the past 200 years that millennium-old positive relationship deteriorated into a further and further separation of town and landscape. The good news is that during the past quarter-century the agriculture industry has turned a corner towards greater integration with our modern cities.
One of the earliest archeological evidences of CPULs (4,000 years ago) are the semi-desert towns of Persia. Underground aqueducts brought mountain water to oases where intensive food production was conducted, substantially based on the use of urban waste within the settlement. A marvellous example in history is Machu Picchu in Peru. The Spaniards did not discover this nutritionally self-reliant city for 100 years. Scarce water was reused time and again, step-by-step down the mountain.
Biointensive vegetable beds were designed to catch the afternoon sun and stretch the season. Water and land crops were brought together to resist the frequent mountain frost. There are many such stories from all
corners of the earth.
The industrial revolution brought the railroads, chemical fertilizers, petroleum fuel, tinned food and refrigeration and a separation of the food system from where we live. Socially this converted to the creation of the ‘city slicker’ and of the ‘country bumpkin’. Ecologically it brought many dreadful patterns of sickness, worst today in the Himalayan city of Katmandu.
Our current industrial and agricultural systems transport by ship, rail, truck and plane over 80 percent of all extracted natural resources to four percent of the Earth’s land and on that urban four percent convert over 80 percent of it to waste and pollution. The interpretation ‘waste is food ’ enables us to conceive of operating systems that utilize waste (heat, sewage, waste-water runoff, organic solids, construction debris, etc.) to green the city and feed the urban population of the globe by closing now-open nutrient cycles.