A talk on Los Angeles and the Swiss “Horizontal Metropolis”

On September 20, 2017, I was invited by Paola Viganò’s Lab-U urbanism team to give a talk on Los Angeles and Switzerland at the EPFL (Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne). The talk was one among various contributions gathered for the “Bernardo Secchi Day 2017,” organized annually by Paola and her team in memory of the late, great Italian architect, urbanist, and engineer Bernardo Secchi (1934-2014). The topic of the 2017 edition was “The urbanism of hope,” and you can see the whole program by clicking here. Continue reading

“To irrigate our souls”: Some thoughts on a Southwestern “hydrosophy” and the Colorado River

In my previous post, I offered some thoughts about how, in our quest for a perma-circular economy and society, we could learn – or re-learn – from the great cycles of the Earth’s biosphere. In this post, I want to dwell on one of those cycles: the water cycle and, more specifically, the “water wisdom” we might gain from flowing water, in the form of rivers and streams – a wisdom I will call “hydrosophy.” While I live and work in a country blessed with beautiful watercourses and majestic watersheds circumscribed in part by formidable mountains, I couldn’t have written this post if my partner and I hadn’t traveled in the Southwestern United States this past summer and the one before. So I will begin from over there even though, as I am writing, it’s so far away from here… and I’ll end up suggesting that, perhaps, the Southwest’s most iconic river, the Colorado, might be the right place to start on our hydrosophical journey. Continue reading

Perma-circularity and deep personal change: Learning (from) the wisdom of the biosphere’s great cycles

Before I tell you more, in forthcoming posts, about the impressions and lessons I brought back from our second summer trip to the American Southwest, I’d like to kick off this new after-summer season with a somewhat more general post about our necessary quest for deeper wisdom, about nature’s great cycles and about how we might tune into them so as to tap into what they can teach us — with the help of Native traditions that have long known about these things. Continue reading

GUEST POST: Re-visioning Los Angeles and envisioning perma-circular settlements through the ecovillage paradigm, by Paul Glover

A while ago I announced that, as part of my “Ecovillage L.A. 2066” project, I would review the 2012 edition of Paul Glover’s book Los Angeles: A History of the Future, initially published in 1982. Instead, I now have the pleasure and the privilege of publishing this guest post by Paul himself, in which he details his vision for Los Angeles on the basis of the ecovillage paradigm, and offers an example taken from an initiative with which he is involved in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In doing so, he significantly enhances our understanding of the basics of perma-circularity – even though he doesn’t use the term himself. Paul Glover is a famous community organizer, probably best known for being the creator, in 1991, of “Ithaca HOURS” in New York, one of the United States’ oldest functioning community currency. He is also the founder of the Philadelphia Orchard Project as well as a dozen other organizations and initiatives. His website can be visited at http://paulglover.org/. I’m convinced this text will soon be recognized as foundational by many of us who are seriously engaging with perma-circularity and its implications for city and settlement design. Continue reading

GUEST POST: Towards perma-circular currencies? Why a regenerative economy calls for new forms of money, by Matthew Slater

The British community currency designer Matthew Slater, co-founder of Community Forge and co-author of the Money & Society MOOC, has sent me a text on why we should make our money system perma-circular and how we might go about doing it. Because he sent it to me right before my father’s death, and because in January and February I was overburdened with administrative university work, it took me a while to edit it and upload it. Here it is now, and I’m excited and honored to be hosting Matthew’s thoughts – rooted in many years of practice in the area of community currency design (currently focused on upgrading and open sourcing the largest of the community exchange networks, CES) – on my blog. Continue reading