The Low2No project is designed to help transition our cities to a low carbon future. We aim to balance economy, ecology and society through strategic investments and interventions in the built environment.

03. Week in Review

This week, Marco and I were with Bryan at the Umeå Institute of Design conducting a strategic design studio with students. Umeå is a beautiful town and the compressed studio experience was exhausting, but interesting and fun. Some results here.

Umeå bicyclists on ice
Umeå bicyclists on ice

On Wednesday we took a break from Umeå to host a Low2No meeting at Sitra's offices in Helsinki. On the table was fire protection, centralized versus decentralized ventilation systems, PV system sizing and integration, and ground floor planning. Progress was made, but it was hard-fought. As we get ever closer to a real set of buildings, with real dimensions, real systems and real costs, the more distant we become philosophically. This is one of the great challenges with "sustainability" as a goal: it is everything and nothing and everyone brings individual understanding to the table. Even with "carbon" as the operative goal of the project, carbon mitigation cannot be done at all costs. Economy, ecology and society must be balanced as much as possible in the solution.

Updates from the field:

Johanna attended the First Sustainable Infrastructure Financing Summit in Basel. Eco-cities were the hot topic at the gathering, and with good reason: with 70% of the global population projected to be living in cities by 2050, our cities will be the site of greatest potential for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Johanna was struck by one other statistic: over the next 40 years, there will be more urban development than the last 4000 years all together. One might wonder how will we will transition our cities to cope with this massive change!

Tuula Laitinen brings word that our questionnaire for future residents of Jätkäsaari is nearly ready for prime time. The 20 questions from the study will be folded into a larger study to be published this spring looking into the future of the city in Finland. 

And Marco has been thinking about Abe Lincoln:

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. 

January 28th, 2011

Posted by: Justin W. Cook

Category: Weeknotes