The birthplace of civilization (at least based on the clearest evidence we have) was in population centers based in abundant agricultural lands, at the crossroads of moving groups of varying ethnicities: the Fertile Crescent, i.e. the eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia.
This was an exciting development in human development. Cities are culturally dynamic and innovative places. At a critical time in our history, seeking to change the direction of civilization and commit to a zero-carbon or negative carbon economy, we do well to remember this.
Most observers agree that the way forward for Canada lies in achieving a more effective innovation economy, but there is considerably less understanding of the role that cities play in an innovation economy. The reality is that cities are ever more important as sites of production, distribution and innovation around the globe.
On the other hand, people outside the cities are more connected than ever. So while a city’s face-to-face interactions are great for innovation, we can still keep track of a project like the Factor-E Farm, where innovative appropriate technologies are being developed in an off-the-grid context that’s forcing them to hard work and creativity to achieve their aims.
There’s no need for a a fiery debate about whether off-the-grid or cities are better. Each have their advantages, and there are different choices for different people – and a thrivable future means having choices. But off-the-grid technologies and the social, creative energy of cities can work together. Social technologies that enable collaboration – of which Appropedia is one example – can bring together the creative forces of cities and physically isolated people.
Not sure if that was coherent or a ramble. But share your thoughts in the comments.