Creatures and Machines

urban sustainability, resiliency + humans

  • Geosocial Speciesism: The End of Climate Politics

    (Some thoughts on a recent research article, ‘The Politics of Climate Change Is More Than the Politics of Capitalism’ by Dipesh Chakrabarty, published 02/2017 here) Humans are both in and of the Earth—just try telling us that. In a research opinion piece, Dipesh Chakrabarty of University of Chicago dissects our seemingly opposing approaches to the spectre of […]

  • On the ‘Sovereignty of Planet Earth:’ Bookending the Industrial Revolution with Tales of Life and Living.

    Two of last year’s most popular films, The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road, both serve as allegories for humans’ perceived place in Earth’s ecosystem today. Each tells their respective cautionary tales of survival, bookending the peak of the industrial revolution and the logical end of its aftermath. Here we examine the films together in the context of […]

  • Elasti-City: Thoughts on Urban Resiliency Through Regional Policy

    Like a mature ecosystem, a city is shaped by its users. Any healthy system produces waste, whether it is a digestive system, an ecosystem or a citysystem. It is helpful to think of the abandoned, in-between, leftover land in cities as leaves on a forest floor, or fish bones on a seabed; if the system […]

  • The densest and the most popular.

    Faced with the challenge of constantly doing more with less, the agribusiness has consistently championed the tools, practices and seed varieties that churn out higher crop yields, year over year. While this does provide more total cereal crops to an ever expanding global population, recent studies have pointed to the fact that this ‘sustainable intensification’ has sacrificed […]

  • Backing up the world’s seed collection

    reposted from When we think of food security, we think of farming intensification and greater resource management. In Aleppo, the capital city in Syria, as rebels began looting and razing ancient artifacts this past spring, a new definition emerged. There, the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) began developing its own emergency […]

  • Vanishing Into Our Common Home

    Facebook has made waves by building a 9-acre green roof on its new headquarters in Menlo Park, CA. The building was designed by Frank Gehry with CMG Landscape Architecture in charge of the roof, and opened this spring. An insider compared the green roof to the High Line, and while it does incorporate native plantings, provides meandering […]

  • ICT + Ag extension

    Last week I attended a conference on information and communications technology (ICT) and the opportunity it presents to improve smallholder agriculture in the development context. Gathered vendors offered a variety of ideas surrounding mobile credit service access and educational ag extension programs, intended to increase overall crop yields, market productivity and profitability. By far the […]

  • Consider the cricket

    Over the past few years, there has been a growing appetite for edible insects, with a greater number of restaurants serving chili-spiced grasshoppers and cricket-covered pizza. Much of the attention follows the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) 2013 report highlighting the importance of insect protein in the future of food security and reducing malnutrition. Nicolas Pena Parra even dreamed […]

  • Dunne & Raby’s United Micro Kingdoms

    I first learned of Dunne & Raby in 2011, during their MoMA exhibition, Between Reality and the Impossible, exploring urban foraging and the concept of synthetic digestive systems to accommodate rising food insecurity. I instantly became fascinated by their futuristic and evolving examination of heterotopias and the dystopian earth. Two years ago their team created a […]

  • A Synthetic Approach to the Industrial Food System

    Cultured meat, or in vitro meat (IVM), has been science fiction for a long time; after a decade of research & development, in 2013 it became reality. IVM is actual meat created by harvesting muscle cells from a living animal, grown in a nutrient-dense medium for a number of weeks. It is not genetically modified; it […]