By shifting from globalisation to localisation, and creating smaller, self-sufficient communities within sustainable developments, cities could regain their equilibrium, writes Paul Jones. From where we stand today, the Organicity may sound like a Utopian dream. But if we're to avoid an urban apocalypse, we're going to need strong alternative visions, to change the way we imagine and plan for the cities of the future. Too good to be true? Or the way to human survival?
A huge raft of environmental reforms is promised in the Labour Party's draft manifesto, writes Oliver Tickell. Among the highlights: a ban on fracking; a clean energy policy based on renewables and efficiency; no commitment to new nuclear power; to meet our Paris Agreement obligations on climate; to give companies a legal obligation to protect the environment; to retain all EU environment laws post-Brexit; and multilateral nuclear disarmament.
A crucial component of concrete, sand is vital to the global construction industry, writes Nick Meynen. China alone is importing a billion tonnes of sand a year, and its increasing scarcity is leading to large scale illegal mining and deadly conflicts. With ever more sand fetched from riverbeds, shorelines and sandbanks, roads and bridges are being undermined and beaches eroded. And the world's sand wars are only set to worsen.
Britain's 20th century architecture is in danger of obliteration, writes Sebastian Messer, with a 'new brutalism' that holds that socially deprived council estates are fit only for demolition. But these buildings are an important part of our cultural heritage, and more than that, they provide affordable housing to millions of people.
Earthship Brighton, an award-winning off-grid community centre set in an organic farm within the South Downs National Park, has hosted hundreds of events and inspired tens of thousands of visitors over the last decade, writes Phil Moore, demonstrating green technologies and energy-efficient living. But now it's in need of a refit.
As temperatures soar in the Persian Gulf, modern buildings rely on energy-guzzling air-conditioning to maintain tolerable temperatures, writes Amin Al-Habaibeh. But traditional buildings stay cool passively using shade; wind and thermally driven ventilation; and naturally insulating, reflective materials. For a sustainable future, modern architects must revive the ancient knowledge.
The UK Government has ditched the requirement for new homes to be 'zero carbon' from April 2016, writes Gordon Walker. With builders already geared up to meet the challenge, this needless reversal will raise energy bills and carbon emissions for a century or more to come, and send out all the wrong signals for the Paris climate talks.
Tired of politicians' platitudes, defensive pledges and blinkered vision? As the General Election approaches, we desperately need to expand our discussion of 'the economy' beyond its usual narrow confines, writes David Powell. And if they won't get the ball rolling, he will ...
Another budget, another missed opportunity: the VAT system charges the full 20% on home upgrades, but 'zero-rates' developers who demolish and rebuild, writes Duncan Baker-Brown. Instead we should target VAT to reward those who meet 'green' criteria for energy efficiency and sustainability. Chancellors in waiting, listen up!
Straw is cheap, plentiful, eco-friendly and an excellent insulator, writes Pete Walker - and officially certified prefabricated straw bale building systems are challenging traditional brick construction. So why aren't straw bale houses mushrooming on building sites across the country? Maybe they are ...
There is a simple solution to the problems of rampant consumerism, debt and a lifetime of servitude, writes Samuel Alexander - radical down-sizing to a truly tiny house. For a start, it's only big enough for the things you really need. And it's so cheap to build, that it's paid for from a month or two's salary. Just one question - what will you do with your freedom?
With continuing Coalition in-fighting over the troubled 'zero carbon homes' programme, writes Alex Stevenson, a plan is afoot to allow homes on smaller developments to meet a less demanding energy performance standard - but still carry the 'zero-carbon' label. Critics denounce the plan as 'nonsensical'.
Energy efficiency in office buildings struggles to gain the attention of top management, writes John Alker - because energy is too cheap to really matter. But with 90% of operating costs spent on staff, show that green building design makes employees happier and more productive, and you're really onto something ...
As the world gears up to finance Gaza's $6bn reconstruction after Operation Protective Edge, an EU source has revealed that Israel will earn billions of euros by making sure that all the steel, concrete and other materials and other aid are sourced in Israel and benefit Israeli companies.
With the growing trend for natural swimming in cities new opportunities are opening for architects and designers to create dramatic, inspiring, enjoyable new public spaces in urban waterways, writes Jane Withers. And it's the subject of a new exhibition at London's Roca London Gallery ...
The global construction industry is dominated by steel and concrete, writes Dirk Hebel - but it doesn't have to be that way. There's a strong, fast-growing, climate-friendly, sustainable material ready and waiting. Bamboo could be the basis of a whole new 'green' building industry, that also provides abundant rural livelihoods.
There is no better time to put the 'green' into building than at the outset of the design phase, writes Ryan Kohn. And to get it there we need to raise awareness of sustainable technologies, and offer incentives, rather than loop-holes, for developers. Buyers too must learn to appreciate the long term value of green ... and demand the highest standards.
A Sussex-based forest gardening project has overcome adversity to celebrate its 20th anniversary, writes Jan Goodey. And now it features one of the most eco of eco-builds in Britain, using all local timber, clay, straw ... and wine bottles.
The Government has gutted its 'zero carbon home' standard - builders will be able to 'zero the carbon' through an offsetting scheme - rather than by installing more insulation, or renewable technologies like solar PV or solar water heating.
We are most certainly witnessing the onset of a rapid pulse of sea level rise, writes Harold R Wanless. And low lying areas - like southeast Florida - will be the first to know about it. So how come they're building there like there's no tomorrow?
The New Sylva is a worthy successor to John Evelyn's original of 1644, writes Colin Tudge, with superb line drawings and a text that looks more to the future of Britain's trees, than their past. A book for ladies, gentlemen, 'meer woodsmen' and 'ordinary rusticks' alike.
Ten years ago, Mo and Dave fell in love, writes Helen Leavey - with a ruinous but romantic water mill in Yorkshire. It was the beginning of a fabulous restoration adventure, and the mill is now an exemplar of renewable energy generation and a thriving education centre.