MIT Seminar: Keystone Cities kicks off

[Update: Thanks to all the participants in this year's seminar.  It was great to get to test out some new ideas and approaches to designing green cities with you!]

All this week, as part of MIT's IAP period, I'll be teaching an intensive seminar on integrated approaches to urban sustainability.  Things kicked off this morning with a great group of students. I'm really excited to see the end result of our work.

I've structured the seminar as a collaborative exploration of some recent trends in how leading cities are shifting their approach to climate and sustainability policy. Rather than pursuing narrowly defined "emission reduction plans" there are signs that cities are adopting more complex and holistic policies that tie together multiple environmental, social, and economic goals.  Counter-intuitively, it may be that by embracing complexity in this way actually makes more ambitious and effective local environmental action easier to plan and implement.

The seminar is titled "Keystone Cities: Networked Approaches to Urban Sustainability."  If you are curious you can see more, including the work of some of the students, on the class website. Read more...

Aaron Swartz, Open Access Information, and Sustainability

The death of Aaron Swartz, internet innovator and open data activist, has sent waves through political, hi-tech, and academic communities. 

Swartz - whose many accomplishments included writing the code that powers the RSS feeds for all your favourite news sites - was facing a possible 30 year jail term for having downloaded thousands of academic articles from the on-line repository JSTOR which houses most academic publications.

JSTOR is a pay-per-use service. Swartz's intent, allegedly, was to provide free on-line access to that vast store of knowledge. Hounded by U.S. federal prosecutors, Swartz took his own life at the end of last week.

His death, among other things, is prompting a renewed discussion around the ethics of the current academic publishing model.



This is a blog for news and views on the future of sustainable cites. A major revamp is in the works. Until then I am keeping this version up as an archive of my past writing.

You can expect occasional updates, but not with the same frequency as in the past.

You can also find my writing on urban redesign and sustainability in ReNew Canada, The Mark, Sustainable Cities Canada, WorldChanging, and other more specialized academic publications.

Info on my consulting work, c.v. and current research focus is all here.