Thursday, April 1, 2010

Utopian Mauritius

So then - the hypothesis is this - to achieve a state of sustainable development, one first needs to have a vision of what that state should be. This is my version ...

I will live in fairly small home - either semi-detached or row house typology. The literature says we should aim for quite high population densities - the kind of density already achieved in the towns and villages of "native" Mauritius (Please excuse any unintended racism). We will have moved away from the suburban sprawl of Pereybere, to the far more compact models offered by Goodlands or Quatre Bornes. The compactness of the neighbourhood / village means that there is more rural land for farming or for giving over to nature. It also means that I live in walking distance of the local shops, parks, schools, churches and other amenities. I either work within walking distance, or cycling distance, from home, or I catch the bus to work every day. Its okay that I need to travel a fair bit for my job, because the public transport system is far reaching and efficient. The buses are electric or hydrogen cell vehicles, but really, most people cycle or walk unless they need to go long distances.

My home has a green roof (which slows stormwater run-off). The extra thickness of the roof also creates a thermal barrier to stop the inside of the house heating up. There's also wind-turbines on the roof, or photovoltaic panels; a solar water heater; and of course the ubiquitous Mauritian water-tank. A rainwater tank sits somewhere around the side of the house, with a windmill on the roof that pumps the water back up to another roof tank, so that the rainwater is gravity fed back to ...

I'll continue another day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sus.Dev. heaven

Never mind about the green and brown agendas. I'm getting increasingly irritated by the international politics involved in the climate change debate. That's why I'm thinking like a climate-change denier. Well, rather than being a denier, I'm caring less and less about CO2 emissions. They're detracting from the rest of the debate.

So I found this article recently on the BBC website that complained about the religious language used by environmental activists to try to get their message across. The argument went that, rather than portraying endless visions of the hell that will happen if the world fails to act - they should be describing the scenes of heaven that await us if we act the way we should.

My path through life has generally been to invisage something that you want, and then it starts to happen - its that vision of the future that is critical.

So what does the ideal sustainable Mauritius look like?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A New Blog: But first... The sustainable development debate

In case you want to read my cooking exploits - go to This blog is the start of an analysis of the architecture of Mauritius, and some general architectural commentary, that will one day get me a Phd in architectural history, or maybe a published book. However, I start writing on something completely different ...

The climate change debate needs to be re-examined. The IPCC is increasingly losing credibility because of academic shoddiness, and perhaps even some falsified information. At the very least, the climate-change skeptics appear to have a point that there are a number of significant jumps in logic, or questionable interpretations of data, that throw the whole CO2 emission argument into doubt.

I'm going to leave the CO2 debate up to people who are real scientists, and instead try to re-frame the debate. Alan Atkisson wrote an article recently on entitled 'Pushing the reset button on sustainable development'.

Lets start  by returning to a definition: The World Business Council for SD said: "SD involves the simultaneous pursuit of economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social equity." (Gissen 2002: 185). A more detailed definition came from the WCED of 1987 - society's ability to meet its current needs and fulfil its greatest potential without compromising its ability to address its needs and potentials in the future.

Anyway, life beckons ... To be continued with specific reference to the need to focus on the Brown as well the Green agendas.