In their Orwellian World view of the future the modern day “environmentalists and eco-warriors” seem to have lost all connections to REALITY!
Carbon Foot Print this, Green that, Sustainable this and that not to mention “human settlements and Global Warming”, these righteous and crazy as a rat in a coffee can pontificators of doom have one thing in common: “Hatred for Humans”!
I don’t know if this human-hating species is a throwback to another age where humans weren’t quite evolved or sentient as they are today, but inside their twisted little green pea brains comes some of the most insane and downright STUPID ideas for the future of mankind all dressed up as “SMART”!
Here’s how devolved the word “SMART” has become!
More and more people are living alone, and more want to live downtown, close to work, where the action is. Graham Hill is a pioneer in this trend with his LifeEdited project; the TreeHugger founder was in Toronto recently to speak at the launch of Smart House, a condo project composed of mostly very small units, starting at a mini 289 square feet. Making units that small isn’t actually very easy; Developer David Wex noted that if you’re not careful, “the kitchen, bathroom and shafts can eat up the whole thing.”
The project, designed by the Architects Alliance, hits many of the buttons that we have talked about on TreeHugger over the years.
Reducing your carbon footprint without reducing the function of your space is smart. Complementing the walkability of our location, Smart House has features that significantly conserve energy, including energy-efficient windows, lighting, appliances and ventilation. From bike parking to the ability to individually control the use of energy in your suite and more, our green features ensure the everyday ease of eco-smart living.
Peter Foster | 15/10/13
One danger of technologies such as “smart meters” is that they might be used not merely to economize on energy usage but “out” alleged excessive use, an electronic form of the Scarlet Letter. Bill Keay/Postmedia News files
Sometimes the word “smart” is just a marketing tool. Everybody loves their smartphones (except when the service goes down, as it did last week at Rogers). But “smart” has also become a ubiquitous weasel word that, like “social” and “sustainable,” conceals a multitude of political dangers.
When it comes to smart grids, smart cities and smart growth, we are dealing with concepts that are potentially subversive, or dumb, or both. One example that is merely annoying is those electronic signs above the highway that were originally designed to warn of traffic hold ups, but now sport slogans telling us that our children are precious, and that we should buckle up and drive sober.
As Tom Adams and Kathy Hamilton pointed out on this page on Thursday, the notion of a smart grid covers both ideological thrusts – such as the promotion of electric cars – as well as attempts to compensate for previous policy disasters, such as the promotion of energy storage related to the proliferation of heavily-subsidized and inefficient wind and solar projects.
Cities are traditionally organic in nature, although there inevitably has to be an element of planning and coordination in infrastructure. The question is always one of balance. Jane Jacobs is most often associated with a revolt against master schemes that put planning above people, and neglected the importance of neighbourhoods.
Technologies have had a profound impact on the shape of cities. The most obvious is that of the automobile. Significantly, much “smart” thinking is anti-automobile (except if it is electric). At the same time, however, we are told that technology will soon enable driverless cars. We already have the power to regulate traffic and “price” roads via satellite.
Technology will obviously continue to shape the city, but the dangers of “overspecification,” that is inflexible top-down design, are highlighted in a recent pamphlet, “Against the smart city,” by New York based urban designer Adam Greenfield.
The pamphlet examines three cities that were planned in minute detail, with predictably problematic results: New Songdo in South Korea, MasdarCity in the United Arab Emirates, and a settlement in Portugal called PlanIT Valley.
Mr. Greenfield describes New Songdo thus: “It’s as if someone took [the movie]Minority Report as a shopping catalogue or a punch list rather than a vision of dystopia, and set the results on a few thousand acres of reclaimed mudflat lying just offshore.”
‘Smart cities’ may be dumb, but they are not an offshoot of the ‘neoliberal agenda’
Masdar City is the brainchild of a government-owned sustainable energy concern, a “technologically-enabled oasis” where an “airport-style, all-electric personal rapid transit network eliminates any need for conventional automobiles.”
At PlanIT Valley, which is still at the conceptual stage, “the moment-to-moment flow of experience is to be coordinated by nothing less than a unified Urban Operating System that, at least in theory, manages the interactions of every connected space, vehicle, device and garment in the city.”
Mr. Greenfield does a wonderful job of explaining the manifest shortcomings and dangers of the overdesigned smart city, but his critique ultimately flies off the rapid transit rails because he sees these urban monstrosities as an offshoot of the “neoliberal agenda,” a Chomskyan phrase that speaks volumes about anybody who uses it.
His suggestion that grand plans of city control are intimately related to the promotion of free trade, privatization, lower taxes and deregulation is not just muddled, it’s upside down. This “neoliberal agenda” is in fact a response to the economic destruction wreaked by trade barriers, high taxes, and overregulation, not an ideological masterplan to conquer the world. Privatization of municipal services isn’t a plot to maximize shareholder value at others’ expense; it’s a response to lousy public provision.
Mr. Greenfield conflates this vague neoliberal agenda, which is promoted by unnamed “ideologues,” with the alleged dark powers of the companies involved in providing smart-city services, such as IBM, Cisco Systems, Siemens AG, Samsung, Intel, Philips and Hitachi.