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Bicycle Elevator September 9, 2007

Posted by Tom in Alta de Lisboa, anti-car, Environment, Lisbon, Techstuff.
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One the strongest cases against cycling in Lisbon is the hills. While Lisbon is said to be built on seven hills most of the city is in fact fairly flat. This, however, does not stop politicians claiming that Lisbon will never be a city for cyclists because of the hills.

One of the Seven hills Lisboa

Here you can see one of the hills in question.

Thankfully we can rely on the Norwegians for a solution (Found by Tiago on Viver Alta de Lisboa) .

This is the obvious answer to Lisbon’s hills for cyclists. Now there is no excuse.

For all Lisboners (and any visitors in Lisbon) there will be a city bike ride for the European Mobility week on the 16th September:

A Federação Portuguesa de Cicloturismo e Utilizadores de Bicicleta page

The ride goes from the centre of town near the river to the centre of town in the north of the city (Alta de Lisboa) and back again.

Vertical Farming June 20, 2007

Posted by Tom in anti-car, Cities, Environment, future, Science Fiction (for now), tech news, Techstuff.
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One of the vertcal farm ideas
I have many visions of the future of humanity living in a world that we have finally grown old enough to manage sensibly. I have lots of ideas on this topic but one area I like to dwell on is the future of cities.

I would love to share them all now but I think I will finish my second degree first and get some more knowledge, then they (my ideas) might be taken more seriously and have some positive effect other than spreading ideas (which is, of course, useful). That is how I would like them to be taken so that’s the way I’m doing this.

Anyway one of my personal visions is that we all live close to one another. By this I don’t mean that all humans live crammed into a tiny space.

We will, I hope, reach a collective realization that our personal goals are less fulfilling than that of our planet’s and species’ survival and we will live in communities (I’m not envisaging some future communism) in which all services and needs are taken care of close by. If they aren’t serviced in that region they will be in the next. This will involve a dramatic decrease in the use of transportation of goods and people.

I cannot go into too much detail here as I mentioned earlier I wish to be able to develop this idea further.
What has struck me in the news this week was Vertical farms.We are one step closer to this idea. Vertical farms are skyscrapers built with farms on every floor. They will have a renewable power generator (solar or wind) on the roof that provide energy throughout the building and will have elaborate irrigation systems that recycle all the water.

So while people in cities live close to their food supply (that hasn’t been flown in from miles away), the countryside, outside the population centres, can thrive and seeds can evolve as they should.Some may feel this is removing the natural from food. What many don’t perhaps realize is that this happened a long time ago. What we may be looking at here, is allowing the natural food sources to develop themselves so we can develop our own versions safely without destroying the source.

One has to be careful though as with all miracle solutions, we do not then want to turn the solution into another problem. I would hate to see the remaining countryside be used for biofuel production.
Another projectAll images from the project’s site: http://www.verticalfarm.com/index.php

China sets example for Europe June 18, 2007

Posted by Tom in anti-car, Cities, Environment, tech news.
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T-shirt
In my search for an interesting piece to follow up on that had nothing to do with phones or Leopards I stumbled across a brilliant technological solution to decrease greenhouse gasses and energy consumption.
This can only deemed as brilliant for its simplicity.Europe should wake up and take notice.
T-shirts.
Yes that’s right. T-shirts.
Planetsave is reporting that Chinese workers now have to wear T-shirts instead of suits in a move to turn air-conditioning down.
I have frequently discussed this with friends, colleagues and students and we all agree it is sheer idiocy to wear a suit in August to get to the office and sit in cold air-conditioning.
The sight of men in suits in 35ºC + (95ºF) temperatures walking to lunch is very common. I wonder what they would be wearing if there was no air-conditioning in their cars or offices.
I vote to start a pro T-Shirt movement. The cooler the better (and once we are all wearing t-shirts we can also wear trainers and walk to work).