An Ecological Human Settlement Theory

Responding to Tim Hollo’s article Towards Ecological Democracy Steven Liaros suggests cities as a space in which we can achieve ecological democracy. But doing so will require significant changes to the way we live in urban settlements.

Introduction

In Towards Ecological Democracy, Tim Hollo calls for the re-framing of the Greens political project around the principle that ‘everything is connected’. He argues that:

“We urgently need to articulate and build “ecological democracy” as something distinct [from social democracy and liberal democracy] – a radical political vision of deep interconnection and interdependence and of resilience in diversity. It is an enabling and nurturing politics for people and the planet, supporting people and communities to find their own way together.”

Green Agenda - Ecological Democracy - Girl - Spider WebThis article supports the call to reframe green politics and seeks to expand on Hollo’s suggestion that the concept of The Commons could be a guiding principle for an ecological democracy. Hollo draws on David Bollier and describes ‘The Commons’ as much more than a pasture open to all as suggested by Garrett Hardin in The Tragedy of the Commons. Instead, it is the combination of a resource, plus a community that shares that resource, plus the set of social protocols for managing the resource.

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The Oldest Game In Town

Scott Ludlam explores the current nature of our cities and provides a hopeful outlook for their future in “The oldest game in town”. This essay is the second of a series, the first of which, “Checkmate”, grapples with the implications of a never-ending growth economy. A short introduction from the Editors to “the oldest game in town” can be found here.

Take a short walk from our main railway station and you’ll pass into the Perth Cultural Centre, a space that for a fair while existed as an angular brick quadrangle linking the state library, museum and contemporary arts institute with the cheerful jumble of the Northbridge entertainment district. A few years ago the City commissioned an unusual transformation off to one side of this place: the sharp geometry of a bleak modernist pond was broken up and planted in with native reeds and paperbarks growing out between worn granite boulders. On a warm night after the rain, you’ll see members of the local frog community checking each other out on the margins of this re-imagined wetland. Even as the bustle of evening commuters flows past in a blur of conversation and studied attention to mobile devices, this place has a meditative quality to it. Pause here, briefly, and the city’s forgotten geography of seasonal lakes can be brought back into memory, even if you can’t recall their ancient names just yet. Continue reading →