CCCP_Climate Change College Proposition
Manchester School of Architecture Technology CCCP Proposal BArch 2010_2011 Compiled by_
Nasar Ishfaq Hawa Patel Daniel Stock Paul Westwell
Preface - Tipping Point?..................6
Preface_Tipping Point? We are all aware that the dangerous rise in carbon dioxide is leading to transformations in our environment, such as climate change. The threat we face is partly a consequence of our own actions and the need to alter this path, is crucial. However, if we are to believe the writings and theories of some, it may already be too late. We have already passed the tipping point and reached the state of no return. Thus we are facing the Revenge of Gaia, “the living, self-regulating 1 earth, is now fighting back”. Their confidence comes from the knowledge of the many glacial and interglacial events that have occurred within the past two million years of history.
Extreme measures are now needed to ensure our continued survival on earth. Whether or not we have passed the threshold is debatable, but we could limit damage by preventing carbon dioxide emissions, the temperature rise would then be slower, as would the rise of sea level and it would take longer to reach the ‘final steady of hot state than if we continued 2 business as usual’.
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Introduction With this realisation for an immediate change, this text investigates the ways in which we are able to assess our current situation and implement practical solutions, utilising technology and cultural developments, at varied scales. We propose to use the concept of a utopia as a vehicle to contest various factors in order to establish an ecological stability. We perceive utopia to be a way of exploring various factors, which impact the environment around us, rather than it being a solution to the worlds’ ills. The word ‘utopia’ is derived from the Greek words eu (“good”) and ou (“no”) and is combined with the word topos (“place”). It therefore refers to both ‘a good place’ and ‘no place’ but is most commonly perceived to be an ‘ideal place’. In his book entitled ‘Utopia’(1516), Sir Thomas More described the perfect society on an imaginary island. He perceived utopia to be an ideally perfect state, particularly in 3 terms of social, political and moral aspects.
landscape. Throughout history, politics has played a key role in society, for example, when Julius Caesar attempted to remove the annona, civil unrest erupted that ended only with his own assassination in 44BC.4 Our second objective is to employ networks, which will shape the complexities of our cities, both the physical and non-physical. Our third objective is mapping which, reveal latent subjects in our urban context using varying techniques. The above three objectives encompass and control the following 6 key strategies; renewables, waste, infrastructure, connectivity, economy and policy. These 6 strategies combine together to form the core elements of civilian life, each of them pose several questions, such as:
Utopia is an idea that varies depending on the ideological basis it is formed. It could illustrate a place that does not or could not exist, hence why many theorists and writers often dispute amongst it. Some argue it should be left to the pages of history, whilst many on the other hand believe utopia is a necessary element to the creative process of design.
• Is possible for current coal power plants to be superseded by renewable sources? • Can the current waste cycle be adjusted to become cyclic as opposed to linear? • If our energy sources change, what would the affect be upon our current infrastructure? • Can the immense field to fork journey of 30 billion vehicle kilometres be reduced to tens of miles? • How would the inhabitants of utopia live in the sustainable world? And what would direct their behaviour? • What would be the economic system? • Who would have the ability to direct policy?
Using various methodologies, the aim of this text is to utilise three main objectives. We wish to utilise politics to help direct the physical
These are some of the questions we wish to test using the utopian platform, beginning with renewable energy.
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x 200 x1
Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant, Canada 80 Mw Enercon Wind Turbine, Germany 6 Mw Dinorwig Hydro Power Plant, Wales 1,800 Mw (1,636 Mw)
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Drax Power Plant 3,960 Mw
Renewables In the current technological world, and with todayâ€™s increase in energy consumption, it is pivotal that renewable sources of energy are explored. Some of the worldâ€™s most powerful nations, such as China, refuse to join the G8 forum, as fossil fuels are depleted and coal burning power plants are envisaged for the future. Renewable ways of producing energy, utilising the power of the sun, wind and water, are continually mentioned but governments remain stuck in their old ways, not willing to invest in the cost and infrastructure. The utopian model we are proposing aims to eventually eradicate the burning of fossil fuels to create energy and to move to a completely renewable provision of energy. In utilising the contextual topography, on an island with just over 11,000 miles of shoreline, there is huge scope to meet, if not exceed the current energy provision. Drax power plant is the largest power plant in the west of Europe, and accounts for 7% of UK energy. This diagram illustrates the quantity of sources required, to equal the Drax production and how this approach could be distributed in relation to the contextual topography.
By utilising off-shore wind farms and tidal turbines we can generate energy that is more reliable and already proving viable. An organisation named Alderney Renewable Energy Ltd is planning to use tidal turbines to extract power from the notoriously strong tidal races around Alderney in the Channel Islands. It is estimated that up to 3 GW could be extracted. This would not only supply the islandâ€™s needs but also leave a considerable surplus for 5 export. Amongst urban and high density, there is the opportunity to design in these sources, creating materiality through construction. The copious amounts of high-rise roof space that are currently vacant are perfectly located for photovoltaic panels and small scale wind turbines. This approach to a more renewable energy provision is driven by policy and openness. Governments and consumers need to have the foresight to actively participate to achieve this vision.
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Waste Implementing waste prevention policies and recycling strategies is paramount in achieving an ecological utopian vision. Our cities consume vast natural resources at unsustainable rates, and most often discard waste without regard. Hence, a zero waste utopia acknowledges that the production of waste is inevitable, but concentrates on the options available for reducing waste and utilising resources, rather than waste disposal strategies. It discards the current linear metabolic system and embraces strategies for reducing, reusing and recycling, via a circular metabolic system. This system fully values resources by converting the output from each stage of resources into the input for another use. As McDonough and Braungart say, 6 â€œWaste equals foodâ€?. The system aims at nearing zero landfill and simultaneously aims to create a consciousness in our attitude towards waste. This circular system was implemented in Kalundborg, Denmark, where numerous companies decided to utilize and re-use each otherâ€™s products. With the ultimate aim to reduce imports and reduce waste, implementation of this system, reduced the amount of natural resources and waste consumed within the 7 city.
Implementing strategies from the macro to the micro via the adoption of a top-down societal approach is also fitting to encourage immediate change. This has proven evident by waste prevention policies introduced by the government regarding household recycling, and the reduction of packaging and usage of disposable bags in retail. As statistics prove, this instantaneously had a significant impact on longterm sustainability. By interacting with the physical infrastructural and virtual networks within our society (i.e. selling unwanted items using online forums such as e-bay, opting to receive emails rather than letters, visiting networks of charity and second-hand stores, reducing imports etc) we can contribute towards a zero-waste utopia.
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Infrastructure In the field of transport, the current ‘Field to fork’ journey has become immense. “A recent report by DEFRA reckoned that British food transport accounted for 30 billion vehicle kilometres in 2002 – 10 times further than a decade earlier and the equivalent of circumnavigating the 8 globe 750,000 times” Our utopian model embraces networks on a global and national scale, allowing a certain amount of import whilst focussing on boosting the locally economy. Local businesses such as bakers, butchers and grocers are encouraged as major chains such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s are denied land, therefore a monopoly in the market. Settlements are increasingly self-sufficient leading to de-centralised networks in which societies grow their own produce and are less reliant on shipping and lorries. The ‘food mile’ journey, now reduced to tens of miles rather than thousands of miles, provides a healthy provision of local, seasonal produce.
In support of a more sustainable energy efficient society, as previously mentioned, buildings are designed with integrated energy sources at heart. Using zero energy developments such as BedZED, in Hackbridge, as a precedent, communities are developed and adapted to be: •Locally sourced, with regard to materials and foods, •Of a high quality, helping to promote the area and to ensure longevity of buildings, •In support of recycling, to reduce waste, transport and land fill. With a de-centralised network of individuals, actively communicating at all levels, utopia is a place where interaction is embraced. The social buildings of our communities such as markets and town halls are utilised for the sharing of information as well as produce. Technology is used in conjunction with human discourse allowing ideas and inventions to spread.
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Culture We find ourselves immersed in a new era of networked society’s and digital information. We have emancipated ourselves through the use of nomadic personalized technology, merging the private into the public space, digitally and physically. However, now our society has become highly connected, we have found that this has tended towards anti-social behaviour at times. These advancements have helped create a global awareness of the need to build a self-sustaining future. At the same time, it is through this technology and the lack of physical interaction, which has stifled the integration of any practical applications which could be utilised within a societal way of living. The quest for sustainability demands for new approaches to interface between electronic communication and physical interaction, by a combination of networks and physical places, where people are able to become involved, rather than convey a body of knowledge. This advancement has created an awareness of topics such as global warming and sustainability on a global scale. People have an immediate, and intuitive sense of the urgent need to build a self-sustaining future, but are unable to correlate this information into a practical application, which would integrate itself within their ways of living. The quest for sustainability demands new approaches to involve people, rather than convey a body of knowledge.
“…it is only by reaching out to the cultural transformation of urban life…that social movements 9 can transcend their limits of localism.” This ability to seamlessly pass information and knowledge, through localised and nationalised networks, is in a constant state of flux, being updated, adapted and re-distributed. This would help create an opportunity to educate people about the practical solutions available, whilst allowing a form of an emergent teaching on a local level, through direct and passives means, encouraging the sharing of ideas, innovation and development, across this idea of a bottom-up system. This idea is to introduce a culture of learn-by-doing, rather than a series of shallow ideological propositions entirely reliant through electronic means. A current example of this networking strategy which is integrated into our daily lives is the internet. This is utilised as global means of communication on a large scale, on a small scale, as previously mentioned it can be used to share ideas.
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Economy Our economic philosophy affects the choices we make as a State; the utopian ideal must be financially sustainable. The economic system must remain free from government and monopolistic control. Carolyn Steel states in Hungry City that, “Power in the modern food industry has shifted more than ever away from farmers, to those who control the food 10 supply chain.” David Handley the chairman of the FFA commented in a BBC interview stated, “British farmers at the moment are being paid below their 11 cost of production for the majority of produce.” This lead to a blockade formed by farmers, who protested against such abuse and unfair treatment 12 on the 22nd October 2010. The idea of control is key in the field of economy, Carolyn Steel claims that “Today, just 30 companies 13 handle 30 per cent of all global trade in food”. If this is the case then the vast majority of farmers and small suppliers will eventually be priced out of the market, leading to higher rates of unemployment and an increasingly divided middle and lower class. On the 20th September 2007, the Office of Fair Trade posed allegations against some of the UK’s leading supermarkets such as, Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda and Safeway for price fixing dairy products, which lead 14 to a combined increase of £270 million.
Utopia is a place of possibility and opportunity where domestic growth is not in the hands of several individuals but is the conscious choices and actions of all its inhabitants. Lucy Bullivant in State Client – Client state, mentions, “Powerful architecture must not cost too much, otherwise it easily overwhelms the fragile partnership of public and 15 private stakeholders.” We believe that short-term expenditure can lead to long-term financial stability and growth, our networks must allow for future systems even if the initial cost may be daunting.
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Policy Implementing strategic government policy is key for the advancement of a sustainable future. The power struggle between government, the role of the people, and monopolistic control is stifling innovative progression towards an ecological stability. Currently, resultant advancements have been lacklustre due to the political and economic clout of large conglomerates. Anti-competitive practice is rife through the industries, with agreements favouring the large organisation, leaving smaller providers financially unable to compete. This top-down approach of government has two extremes. The negative aspects of this approach are that a strict governmental oversight can strangle independent thinking and innovation, creating a subservient form of input. Political views and objectives are influenced by outside factors/groups, which may not necessarily align with the general consensus. Its advantage lies with its ability to affect immediate change through the passing of laws, as people recognise authority. A bottom-up approach recognises the idea of a horizontally distributed intelligence, allowing the ‘people’ to generate incredibly diverse solutions, and implement them without compromise. Input comes from those who are directly involved with the processes, spreading a wealth of knowledge through a kind of ‘swarm intelligence’. However, the lack of leadership can result in ideas becoming convoluted, with no decisive driving force behind them.
This can be seen with the new Renewable Energies Act in Germany. In 2000, the new administration, SPD-Green, implemented new legislation as a result of the Kyoto Protocol. The new administration had the vision, and was willing to set ambitious targets and achieve them. It introduced a fundamental change in energy supply; any citizen was able to become an energy producer, getting paid fixed fees from grid operators. The incentives created by this made investment into renewable technologies more cost effective, with bottom-up support from consumers willing to help distribute additional costs. Ideally, what we need is a mixture of the two, introducing incentives for participants, creating the momentum for significant change from the micro, through to the macro scale, requiring only small alterations in one place, with larger knock-on effects. This will allow the actions of the masses to feedback into the system, with government operating as the champion of the free market, covering all individuals and supporting localised production and consumption.
Conclusion We must foresee the spaces and lives we want future generations to experience, today. Having used the vehicle of utopia we have been able to suggest ideal scenarios for each of our six strategies. We believe that a successful implementation of each of these strategies will lead to a sustainable ecological and societal future. Utopia is an achievable concept which we believe can be accessed via a co-operation of the 6 strategic points. We hope this proposal can be adopted by current societies to realign and pursue an efficient and sustainable system of living. This system appreciates our limited natural resources and provides a realistic method for integrating current lifestyles with foreseeable ways of habitation.
With rising rates of CO2 and worrying levels of energy use we need to go beyond primary investigations into the problem and begin acting upon solutions whether they are preventative or revolutionary. With the aforementioned points in mind it is clear that the future will be challenging, we hope that by focusing on the 3 key elements of networks, mapping and policy we can face that future with determination and a renewed understanding of the tools which shape our society. â€œIt is worth recalling that what is currently called 16 realistic was itself once impossibleâ€?
Lovelock, J. (2007) The Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth is Fighting Back and How We Can Still Save Humanity.Penguin. p.61
Lovelock, J. (2007) The Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth is Fighting Back and How We Can Still Save Humanity.Penguin. p.65
Pinder, D. (2005) Visions of the City. Edinburgh University Press Ltd. p.15
Steel, C.(2009) Hungry City. Vintage. p.77
Alderney Renewable Energy Limited. (2008) Alderney Renewable Energy Limited [Online] Available: http://www.are.gb.com/index.php [25 Oct 2010]
Braugart, M. & McDonough, W. (2009) Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way we make things. Vintage. p.92
Girardet, H. (2004) Cities People Planet: Urban Development and Climate Change. John Wiley & Sons. p.
Steel, C.(2009) Hungry City. Vintage. p.64
Braham, W W. & Hale, J. A. (2006) Rethinking Technology: A Reader in Architectural Theory. Routledge. p.443
Steel, C.(2009) Hungry City. Vintage. p.95
BBC. (2002) Farmers set to blockade Tesco [Online] Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1750003.stm [29 Nov 2010]
Farmers Guardian. (2009) Fury as farmers blockade Tesco depot [Online] Available: http://www.farmersguardian.com/home/business/fury-as-farmers-blockade-tesco-depot/35172.article [27Oct 2010]
Steel, C.(2009) Hungry City. Vintage. p.94
Mail Online. (2007) The great milk robbery: Top supermarkets â€˜fixed price of milk, butter and cheeseâ€™ [Online] Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-482827/The-great-milk-robbery-Top-supermarkets-fixed-price-milk- buttercheese.html [01 Nov 2010]
Bullivant, L. (2003) From the State as Client to the Client State. John Wiley & Sons. p.23
Fisher, M. (2009) Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? O Books.p.17
Bibliography Books, Journals and Articles Amoroso, N. (2010) The Exposed City: Mapping the Urban Invisibles. Routledge. Braham, W W. & Hale, J. A. (2006) Rethinking Technology: A Reader in Architectural Theory. Routledge. Braugart, M. & McDonough, W. (2009) Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way we make things. Vintage. Bullivant, L. (2003) From the State as Client to the Client State. John Wiley & Sons. Colletti, M. (2010) Exuberance: New Virtuosity in Contemporary Architecture. John Wiley & Sons. Dobson, A. (1991) The Green Reader. Andre Deutsch Ltd. Fisher, M. (2009) Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?. O Books. Girardet, H. (2007) Surviving the Century: Facing Climate Chaos and Other Global Challenges. Earthscan Publications Ltd. Healy, P. & Bruyns, G. (2006) De-/signing the Urban: Techno-genesis and the urban image. 010 Publishers. Kelly, K.(1995) Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, & the Economic World. Basic Books.
Bibliography Lovelock, J. (2007) The Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth is Fighting Back and How We Can Still Save Humanity. Penguin. Patteeuw, V. (2003) Reading MVRDV. NAi Publishers. Pinder, D. (2005) Visions of the City. Edinburgh University Press Ltd. Steel, C.(2009) Hungry City. Vintage.
Websites Alderney Renewable Energy http://www.are.gb.com/index.php BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1750003.stm Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-482827/The-great-milk-robbery-Top-supermarkets-fixed-price-milk-buttercheese.html Enercon http://www.enercon.de/en-en/66.htm Renewable UK http://w.bwea.com/statistics/ Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/aug/03/drax-coal-burning-carbon-emissions-biomass ÂŹ