The Sonoma Valley in Northern California is known for it’s world-class wine, gentle hills, and year-round temperate climate, where novelist-gentleman-farmer Jack London set up his ode to wild sustainability one hundred years before it became a thing. Flying over in a hot air balloon, hiking the protected hillsides to find a precious Pinot Noir at one of the 425 wineries, sailing off the coast, there are many ways to get lost in them hills.
Tag: sustainable communities
We have forgotten the flocks of passenger pigeons that blotted out the sun, the herds of bison that shook the ground, and the untamed places in which we destroyed them. This is ecological amnesia. This capacity to forget, this fluidity of memory, has dire implications in a world dense with people, all desperate to satisfy their immediate material needs. Yet, the way forward is land and water protection and regeneration, permaculture, and community reconnection with the wild.
A visionary eco-city in the Arizona desert, Arcosanti is an urban laboratory created by Paolo Soleri. Based on the concept of Arcology, or ecological architecture, it presents a compact, sustainable, energy-efficient urban form that confronts environmental destruction, economic collapse, and social dislocation.
The U.S. EPA recognized seven communities with its 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. Specific initiatives include improving transportation choices, developing green, energy-efficient buildings and communities, and providing community members with access to job training, health and wellness education, and other services.
Despite an eventual pricetag of $68 billion and numerous engineering, environmental and political challenges, the California bullet train offers a promising vision of sustainable mobility, posing less impacts and competitive costs than expanding airports and freeways.
Southern California’s new Sustainable Communities Strategy plan posits that as a region, we have to grow up, not out. That doesn’t mean Hong Kong skyscrapers, but more apartments near light-rail stations and vibrant mixed-use areas like the ones in downtown Pasadena.
With “ambitious but achievable” transportation and land use proposals left off the table, California’s first climate protection mandated Sustainable Communities Strategy aimed high but did not quite achieve setting the San Diego region on a long-term course toward sustainability.