Eco-Districts as Competitive Advantage for Edge Cities

Speaking at a TedxTysons conference, my friend Dan Slone describes his vision for eco-districts in edge cities. Eco-districts integrate urban farming, renewable energy, microgrids, water recycling and even wildlife habitat with a walkable, mixed-use built environment to create resiliency and business continuity in the face of natural disasters and social upheaval.

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4 responses to “Eco-Districts as Competitive Advantage for Edge Cities”

  1. musingsfromjanus Avatar

    Must see video. A Futurist’s catnip.

  2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Dan Slone is onto something big here.

    Tyson’s today is at war with itself. Each of its parts war with one another, individually and collectively. So in Tyson’s today conflicts rage all day now, and they ebb and flow each night, and all the time they are diluting, if not tearing apart, one another. So the whole is far less than the sum of its parts. This we call dystopia, in a place blessed with potentials trashed and tossed away so the place harms those living there long term.

    Thus Dan Slone’s vision not only halts today’s self-destruction, it holds the potential to reverse these ongoing destructive habits and their self inflicted wounds as it transforms these negative patterns of living into an upward spiral of cumulative advantages. These new patterns of living then breed gifts that keep on giving as they grow in a multitude of ways that work for cumulative advantages spun off horizontally and laterally and collaterally. This spreads wealth and health and vibrant meaningful life all around for most everybody. This is the goal anyway. Of course, there is no utopia so long as humans are involved in any endeavor.

    But here perhaps we have a vision of what might be our best chance. Slone vision gives us this best chance by laying out infrastructures that feed new and/or altered patterns of living that are organic to the site and region, its cultures and it peoples. Hence it empowers the ambitions and desires of the people who live there in many different complimentary and synergistic ways that are long lasting, if not self sustaining.

    Slone’s vision is smart growth with far elaboration and depth that Courthouse to Ballston scheme. The cumulative advantage are profuse. Perhaps most compelling of all is the design’s armament of many layers to Civil Defense that has grown so critical today. A 21st Century Bomb Shelter in Utopian Form rendered practical.

  3. Finally, systems thinking applied to community development! The energy system that I have been discussing is a diverse, resilient, two-way flow of energy and information that is one of many nested systems that comprise the type of community system that he is describing. I have long said that if we want to create successful long-term systems, we should mimic natural systems that have evolved and sustained themselves over eons of time. It is those principles that he is describing here.

    We don’t need earth shattering technological advances to make this work, although they can certainly contribute to its success. Rather we need a shift in the way we view each other and how we fit into larger living systems. All of what he describes is possible today. There is ample opportunity for innovation, prosperity, good health, and sane, enjoyable living. Refine the vision and take steps to make it so, correcting on the way.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      I agree.

      Creating holistic communities whose parts feed, compliment, and enhance one another for maximum cumulative advantages ought to be the goal. We can do it. We’ve done it for thousands of years. Created cities like Barcelona, hill town found all over. But we’ve recently forgot those old ways, having been enticed away by the short term advantages of modern false solutions, and overconfidence in our power armed with Technologies. So we rush in without thinking through all the consequences of our actions, so fail to counter bad unintended consequences, while failing also to maximize positive ones that are in reach. For example, how we replaced mud brick adobe construction with steel and glass without understanding how to bridge the gaps we created but not appreciate. Now hopefully we can better learn how to deploy new technologies to bridge and best fill in those gaps rather than to compound those gaps.

      Some new ways of thinking now at hand, including the art of applying modern technologies to smart building and living, are discussed in the post and its later comments found herein under the title The Fiscal Fix.


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