This course is for those interested in the evolution of cities and towns throughout history, and how they can be designed and reshaped to continue serving human social, cultural and economic purposes, while far from damaging nature, actually contribute to the health of all.
The study of ecologically healthy cities, sometimes called ecocitology, promises to have enormous positive effect and presently many features of ecocities are being built around the world as vital pedestrian centers are becoming ever more popular, bicycle culture is thriving and growing, people are moving back to neighborhood and downtown centers away from stultifying commutes and boring suburbs that are neither urban nor rural.
Architectural features such as passive solar design as seen in MUM’s Sustainable Living Center building, green walls and rooftops gardens and social areas, bridges between buildings, growing number of car-free streets and areas in cities are proliferating here and there around the world. Many other features we examine constitute steps in a profound set of changes toward much more sustainable, healthy living in much more friendly spaces than those dedicated to the demands of automobiles, asphalt and high use of energy for transport.
This course provides, in very a rich gallery of photos from around the world, maps and drawings of the nuts and bolts of making a transition heading deep into ecological and social health. The course touches on philosophical underpinnings as well as exploring technologies of building and supplying renewable energy, nearby food production, public and personal transportation other than by car and restoration of natural areas.
In seven lectures we see the full panorama of the pageant of cities coming into being, heading deep into an era of sprawl and pollution and beginning to change into something that could become healthy for all – all people and other living inhabitants on Earth. The course introduces the whole subject by way of six lectures by the world-trekking pioneer in the field and author of several books on the subject, Richard Register.
An introduction covers the basic principles and how the discipline of “ecocity making” – Adventure Register says – came to be. Other talks feature, for example, the way the land is used and cities are organized and laid out physically in relation to internal functions, outside resources, transportation and energy and water and food.
Still other talks focus on the city’s architecture and layout of open spaces, the deeper strains of evolution and ecology as profoundly important in design, “paradigm shifting” in a time needing new ways of seeing things and being and acting, the relationship of activism of both the group and the individual in the transition toward ecocities and the kind of economics by which such cities can be built, along with how such cities build far healthier and happier economics.
Richard Register is perhaps the world premier proponent of ecocity design and transformation of cities “in balance with nature.”
His several books are very early and leading in the field:
- Ecocity Berkeley, 1987
- Village Wisdom / Future Cities, 1996
- Ecocities – Rebuilding Cities in Balance With Nature, 2002 and 2006 editions
- World Rescue – An Economics Built on What We Build, 2016
- Ecocities Illustrated – the easily built, visionary future of Richard Register, 2016
Richard is a seasoned world traveler and on a lecture circuit so far taking him to 36 countries on all continents but Antarctica and to 31 states of the United States, with particularly strong connections – 26 trips – to China by this year, 2016.
He is the founder of two ecocity non-profit institutions, Urban Ecology, 1974 and Ecocity Builders, 1991, both based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is presently International Consultant to the Chinese national government’s Society for Urban Studies, Ecocities Planning, and Construction Center at Beijing. He is also a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science based in Pondicherry, India.