Cities have SO much potential for innovation, and I’ve had this fact come at me again and again in my reading this week.
First, I was reading “Common Wealth” by Jeffrey Sachs, which is a manual for “economics on a crowded planet.” As we now have more people in cities than we have in rural areas it means that we will have to invest more resources into the burgeoning field of “urban ecology”. This will be an interdisciplinary field, according to Sachs, with “architects, city planners, ecologists, public health specialists, and environmental engineers”. To achieve this, we need to create more interdisciplinary dialogue (Gallatin!) and route scientific and policy research toward the field.
Next, I was reading Foreign Policy’s Jan/Feb Issues, “The Economy Issue.” They had a feature, “How to Save the Global Economy” with 13 fascinating posts by various economists and thought leaders. Number 12? Build Green Cities, by Alex Steffen. Basically, there’s no turning back from being urban, and we need to make urban be as cutting edge as possible. “Carbon-neutral cities will also help uncage urban innovation,” he writes, “given that making them carbon-zero will involve a million opportunities to do things better in nearly every industry”. (And the picture featured in this article is of the High Line! NYC!)
We need to get going on this, asap. And if you’re in NY, I’ve got two events coming up for you:
1. FARM TO CITY EXPO: CONNECTING FARMERS TO NYC’S WHOLESALE FOOD SYSTEM
Hosted by New York City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn, March 6
2. 31st ANNUAL MAKING BROOKLYN BLOOM
Think Global, Grow Local: What’s Next for Urban Gardeners? March 10
3. 28th ANNUAL GREEN THUMB GROW TOGETHER, March 31
4. BROOKLYN FOOD CONFERENCE, May 12
The New School also had a two talks on Urban Agriculture last week: “URBAN AGRICULTURE’S ORIGINS AND OPPORTUNITIES IN OAKLAND: AND INTERDISCIPLINARY AND PARTICIPATORY APPROACH” (Nathan McClintock) and “REALIZING THE POTENTIAL OF URBAN AGRICULTURE: Policies to Support New York City’s Growing Production Sector” (Nevin Cohen). Work worth checking out. And, NYTIMES on Urban Ag
Let’s make our cities bloom!