As the US presidential election campaign drags on and becomes more and more alarming with regard to the planet’s true needs, I’ve been seeking intellectual and existential solace in my family and also in further forays into the “Ecovillage L.A. 2066” project I outlined in one of my earlier posts.
In this context, I’ve recently been reading stuff by Richard Register, the father of the “ecocity” concept and founder of EcoCity Builders. I love it.
The French engineer François Grosse, currently the CEO of the urbanism consultancy ForCity, whose quantitative analysis of recycling underlies the contents of my most visited and quoted post up to now, is doing me the honor and the pleasure of contributing this blog’s first guest post. He delineates the rationale for what he calls “quasi-circular growth,” based on his understanding of why (a) recycling might well be useless in the long run in a growing economy but why (b) a de-growth — or negative growth — economy isn’t the answer. Ultimately, he calls for a deeper cultural overhaul of our entrenched habits if we are going to usher in a permacircular society.
My collaborative-utopian-imaginative-radical open-action-research project Ecovillage L.A. 2066 has been out there now for a few days. It’s getting off to a somewhat slow start, but that’s probably normal. Perma-circularity is in itself a new notion to wrap one’s head around, and applying it to an urban “hyper-organism” such as Los Angeles might seem like a tall order even for those who are prepared to go permacircular at full throttle.
So while, hopefully, the word gets around and gradually spreads, today I want to send out a somewhat geeky post. Some geekiness is called for, because we need a whole new vocabulary for the challenges facing us.
It’s kind of a dream idea. A bit crazy, in fact — the stuff utopian ideas and innovations are made of. You might call it a thought experiment. On a massive scale.
I want to call it “Ecovillage L.A. 2066.”
The question: What if, 50 years from now, Los Angeles were organized and inhabited as an ecovillage, or – more to the point – a federation of ecovillages? A metropolitan ecovillage of 20 million people, envisioned as a permacircular region: What would it look and feel like? What would have to change, and why would those changes – momentous as they would have to be – offer exciting new cultural and social horizons?
Have your relatives at the dinner table been asking you lately about the difference between false and genuine circularity? If so, and if you felt your answer came up short because the blog posts I’ve been feeding you are so long, let me try to encapsulate things so you have a snappy set of replies handy next time.