Cities capacity to endure

Towards Sustainability

‘What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a world of information creates a poverty of attention.’

— Herbert Simon, Sciences of the Artificial

We wake up to a world with pressing issues of environmental degradation, climate change, energy consumption, population growth et al. Economic development, Industrial expansion, better lifestyles have come about with technology and business acumen. The entire aforementioned are bound to effect the eco-system. But needless to say the limit has been exceeded. I think all this can be dealt with. Sustainability is achievable. But sustainable cities need the human population to maintain a dialogue with the environment. I think sustainability as a system and at its very basic starts with an individual’s daily interaction with the surrounding. It is a simple give and take process. But our approach is the exact opposite. The way we live today is aimed at the individual.

We have become so reliant on technology to provide quick solutions that we often overlook (don’t bother) to determine the effects on other parts of ecosystem. Our solutions are superficial, one time fix. Yes we need to be technologically competent, we need to develop and use energy but we need to think holistically too. There exists a misalignment between our needs and what we get because the path taken is unidirectional. For a concept as tricky as sustainability there has to be a collaboration of strategies with constant and consistent inlets and outlet of resources and compromises.2

It is interesting to study the ‘feedback loops’ 3(the eco-system is all about these-interdependencies, relationships) how the results of an action percolate down and have multifarious effects. I think maybe we are not looking in the right direction. The best designs do not have to be expensive. As Bateson mentions, ‘’our way is not the only possible human way, It is conceivably changeable.’’4

  1. Peters, Brady & Peters, Terri eds. 2013 Inside Smart geometry-Expanding the Architectural Possibilities of Computational Design – Foreword by Steele Brett (Pg. 6)
  2. Peter Calthrope, 2010. Urbanism in the age of climate change. Chapter 1, Urbanism and Climate Change (Pg. 9, Line 24-25)
  3. Peter Calthrope, 2010. Urbanism in the age of climate change. Chapter 1, Urbanism and Climate Change (Pg. 10)
  4. Gregory Bateson. 2000. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. 1 edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. – Chapters: “The roots of ecological crisis” (Pg. 498)
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