anthropology · architecture · community · environment · health · Social

IDEO asks how to inspire communities to care about their environments

English: Overview of Singapore's financial dis...
Overview of Singapore’s financial district; how do we make our living environments better as our cities grow? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love these OpenIDEO public challenges, so I was thrilled when I saw this challenge alert pop up in my inbox (and then unfortunately let it get buried for a week, oops!) about ideas on how to make communities more involved and engaged in their environments.

Public agencies such as Singapore’s National Environment Agency would like to envision how to rejuvenate our local environments to inspire and enable communities to make our living environments better – and are eager to collaborate with the global community to explore solutions which resonate in Singapore and across the world.

In this challenge we are looking to try and explore the following questions, both for Singapore and for communities everywhere that face similar challenges.
How might we better collectively solve problems facing our neighbourhoods?
How might communities look out for each other more?
How might we provide a safe space for positive and constructive action?
How might we help passive citizens become active contributors?
How might the role of the government evolve in the future, with regards to local neighbourhoods?
In short, what does community ownership look like in 2012 and beyond? The National Environment Agency invites you to join us in designing better answers, together.

Let’s collect examples of existing initiatives and explore the challenge topic to inform our ideas for the upcoming Concepting phase.

It’s a question that I bring up a lot on the blog, and share different examples of how communities around the world are doing just that, from adding public art to bee and butterfly gardens to building playgrounds. I am bubbling with excitement over this challenge, and have lots of different ideas, but there are only 14 more days to submit ideas and I want to make sure mine are really good, eek!

What have you seen that worked in growing communities to keep the residents and developers motivated to preserve the surrounding environments, rather than bulldoze them over for a quick couple hundred bucks? What are some of your ideas? Have you seen any story of community building on this blog that screams “Yes, this is the answer!”? Submit your ideas at the OpenIDEO website.

anthropology · behavior · community · Uncategorized

Getting the locals on board is key to conservation

An ethnic Adivasi woman from the Kutia Kondh t...
You're looking at the face of sustainable conservation. Image via Wikipedia

Great post from the Human Directions of Natural Resource Management:

Indigenous peoples are key to preserving the world’s forests, and conservation reserves that exclude them suffer as a result, according to a new study from the World Bank.

Its analysis shows how deforestation plummets to its lowest levels when indigenous peoples continue living in protected areas, and are not forced out.

Across the world millions of tribal people are conservation refugees, but the World Bank says its evidence shows ‘forest conservation need not be at the expense of local livelihoods.’

Using satellite data from forest fires to help indicate deforestation levels, the study showed rates were lower by about 16% in indigenous areas between 2000-2008.

Read more at It’s Official – The Key To Conservation Lies With Indigenous Peoples

This is something Woodland Park Zoo, Izilwane, and many other non-profit organizations have been working on for years, so it’s nice to see the World Bank back them up.

So, the next question is what can be done to support local, indigenous groups to protect and care for their natural surroundings? Most groups want to preserve their environments and keep them handy for the next generation, but it is simply economically not viable, at least not how they see it.

technology

Microsoft Research paper proposes using ‘Data Furnaces’ to heat the home

Diagram showing overview of cloud computing in...
All this cloud computing heats up data centers; now they may be able to help keep you warm AND informed. Image via Wikipedia

Keeping data centers cool is one of the costliest parts for a company running a computer and data system. Microsoft and other companies have already moved many of their data centers to cooler climes like North Dakota and Idaho. Now, the data centers may be able to give something back; all that heat they produce.

The U.S. EPA estimated that servers and data centers were responsible for up to 1.5 percent of the total U.S. electricity consumption, or roughly 0.5 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, in 2007. With companies such as Apple and Google strongly pushing the move to cloud computing, that figure is likely to increase significantly in the coming decade. Since a lot of energy is consumed keeping the computer systems cool, colder climates are seen as more favorable sites for data centers. But a new paper from Microsoft Research proposes a different approach that would see servers, dubbed Data Furnaces, distributed to office buildings and homes where they would act as a primary heat source.

The Microsoft Research paper says that at around 40-50°C (104-122 °F), the temperature of the exhaust air from a computer server is too low to regenerate electricity efficiently. However, this temperature is perfect for heating purposes, such as home/building space heating, clothes dryers and water heaters. So the researchers argue that placing servers used for cloud computing operations directly into homes and/or office buildings would turn heat generation from a problem into an advantage.

more via Gizmag’s Microsoft Research paper proposes using ‘Data Furnaces’ to heat the home.

Uncategorized

Cultural preservation and empowerment programs/projects:

I was going through my old notes and found this. It’s not something I’m working on anymore, but is a really great collection of examples of groups working on cultural conservation/preservation, and resources to help with those sorts of projects.

I just copied and pasted, so it’s a little messy, but enjoy:

Cultural Survival: http://209.200.101.189/

Work done in American Samoa to preserve Samoan culture: http://crm.cr.nps.gov/archive/24-01/24-01-3.pdf

National Park Service Cultural Resource Training Initiative.

Article about influence of outside world on culture: http://coa.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/19/1/53

NGO for cultural preservation of indigenous peoples: http://www.nativeplanet.org/projects/projects.shtml

Tips on how to strengthen culture: http://www.scn.org/cmp/modules/emp-pre.htm

Founding regional tourism: http://oscar.virginia.edu/asp/PublicAward.asp?AwardID=97858

Native American-owned business plan for CP&E: http://strategicempowermententerprises.com/

Virtual museum?: http://www.archimuse.com/mw2001/papers/christal/christal.html

Igbo mask culture, changes and preservations: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0438/is_1_38/ai_n15341097

Projects at Evergreen College, Washington: http://www.evergreen.edu/nwindian/projects-cultural.html

Interesting Books/Authors:

Indigenous Education and Empowerment: International Perspectives
Series: Contemporary Native American Communities #17

Sustainable Community Development: Studies in Economic, Environmental, and Cultural Revitalization (Hardcover), by Marie Hoff

Cultural Revitalization, Participatory Nonformal Education, and Village Development in Sri Lanka: The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement.

Authors:

Colletta, N.J.; And Others; Comparative Education Review, v26 n2 p271-86 Jun 1982

intergenerational relations, and human development (Joel Savishinsky,)

Paul Guggenheim is on the staff of the Chicago Field Museum focusing on conservation education with the population living in the buffer zone of a new national park in Peru.