Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Infrastructure in Kathmandu

Almost had forgotten about this photo - a pretty good overall description of place.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Boundary-less cities?

Since I cannot sleep back in the land of dark winters, I figure I will share my most recent thoughts. Most of today I spent putting together a presentation for Fulbright regarding the problems of land ownership in making public use of undeveloped land as contrasted with the Norwegian idea of shared rights to uncultivated land. Thinking more about this, I would like to study how this Allemannsretten concept could be applied to urban areas. Granted, even in Norway there has been much debate on it, as people strive sometimes for privatized property. However, to move towards a true balance, it seems that people bringing their (spare) land together for the appreciation of all could be a small compromise to a greater goal.

If cities could take down walls and fences, encourage vegetation in parcels of land between buildings, make full use of utility easements in ecologically sensitive ways, and allow public passage, could this give the city back to the people - encouraging them to take ownership and show environmental stewardship? And how much land could be given back to nature, for purposes of natural drainage, shading, and CO2 reduction? Maybe planners should think more about un-developing urban areas, if holistic sustainability is truly our goal.