Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Building natural myths

While discussing living sustainably and other lifestyle choices available with a friend recently, we covered the much debated subject of how one is able to live sustainably using natural and alternative sources of energy - solar, wind, propane gas, water etc. Much of the press, and general opinion arise from the misguided viewpoint that alternative sources of energy are not advanced enough to support the average joe's lifestyle. In other words, that solar and other forms of natural energy are not at a level yet to sustain our lifestyles, and therefore shouldn't be adopted - just yet - until they are bigger and more affordable! Well, the news is, they *are* at a point of sustainability. They have been for a long while. What is debatable is the 'level' of lifestyle we are demanding of the energy source. What level of sustainability do we want to sustain?

Clearly, many individuals are living outside what is considered a sustainable lifestyle choice. Technology is advancing, yet we, the consumer, are advancing our expectations also. To slow this invent > out consume > re-invent > cycle of living, we may consider adjusting our lifestyles to meet the output of the currently available natural and alternative sources of power.

Solar myth : Solar panels are not large enough or affordable to meet our needs.
Yes, to meet our needs. So, our needs, and the planet, community, and environment might benefit from some change.

That doesnt necessarily mean building a tree house or other wholly natural buildings but it might mean learning about permaculture, getting educated about water saving devices, your power needs, community gardening, and so much more...

Monday, 5 July 2010

Bradford’s ‘wastefield’ becomes an urban garden

Original post at the culture vulture blog

A glmpse of work in progress on Bradford Urban Garden

A glimpse of work in progress on Bradford Urban Garden

Work started quickly to make the site safe – the big hole where the shopping centre was meant to be remains closed off with hoardings, but now they’re a nice shade of green, and Gideon is working to get local artists and schools to create images on them. He said, ‘It’s not enough to just create an empty green space, although obviously that’s an improvement. We want to make something that gives people a sense of ownership and a reason to linger – through artworks and murals, installations, sculptures and garden features – and also through activities and events, with live music, theatre and film , as well as informal gatherings, busking, partying, and so on.’

Weather permitting (i.e. if it rains enough for the grass to establish) the ‘Bradford Urban Garden’ will be open to the public from 9th July.

It will be a bit longer before art works and events take shape, though – Fabric have been given a contract to manage the space (with the support of an Advisory Group so that local creative and commmunity experts can input into plans), but need to raise money to make things happen. So, Gideon is busy talking to businesses about sponsoring artworks and activities, to schools about images for the hoardings and about a logo design competition, to arts organisations about the things they can bring and to anyone else who wants to make things happen in the space.

You can email him at if you’ve got an idea for something you’d like to do to turn Bradford’s former ‘wastefield’ into a creative and animated space that local people can enjoy. Or if you want to keep updated when events on site are planned, join the Bradford Urban Garden facebook group or subscribe to Fabric’s E-bulletin by emailing