Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Two inspiring & successful sustainability projects!

Sharing two inspiring projects! 
Both projects aim to demonstrate and create something that is beautiful and functional, creating results which please people and show that sustainability is achievable and attractive now.

One is in Tooting: a front garden restoration that takes into account affordability and biodiversity.
One is north London-based: an bamboo bicycle enterprise which is imaginative and practical.

Tooting Front Garden Restoration
The project has been a partnership between a housing association, residents, project leader and a professional team including Community Gardener Rose deFalbe. The intention was to carry out the restoration in a way that is participatory, affordable, adaptable, biodiverse and with zero environmental footprint. There's a full description of the project downloadable here.
Here's the result photographed earlier this week. 37 Manville Road - go and have a look as it's a beautiful sight!


In April the restoration was Commended at the Wandsworth Design Awards. Here's the team in front of their display with the Mayor of Wandsworth who gave out the awards.
Congratulations!


Bamboo Bicycle Club
Engineer James Marr has established this business designing cycle frames out of bamboo (imported at the moment) and hemp (grown in Yorkshire). All the details online here.

A unique element is that BBC sells no finished bikes at all: the new owners and riders make the frames and fit out the bikes themselves. James want to offer cycles that are sustainable, recyclable and designed collaboratively according to need.
As a consumer, the maker-rider is in charge and makes all the decisions. Each maker practices or learns new skills.

'His and hers' road bikes
Over 200 have been designed and built in all shapes and sizes (look at their Hall of Frames) - either from kits at home or on weekend courses where the output is a bamboo cycle frame that you then fit out with the drive train, wheels, handlebars, etc. Track bikes, tandems, balance bikes...and a new project in Africa where farmers will make their own bikes that can each carry 100kg.


Another practical BBC project now: school groups of 5 children are making bamboo BMX frames for shared use - fantastic teamworking and design & technology experience.

A vision for the future is that a family will plant bamboo on their urban plot. When the children are 8 they'll cut their materials in the garden to make their first bikes at home... a lovely image.
TTT met the Bamboo Bicycle Club at the London Permaculture Festival last Sunday, which we mentioned in our recent mailout.
It was a great scene of stalls, children playing, several hundred people chatting and engaging, good food and a demonstration garden - plus two dozen workshops to choose from.

We explored permaculture in our Growing Tooting grow-your-own workshops (for example in the 6th class and handout). While the concept covers far more than gardening, it is rooted in growing.

Permaculture teacher Patrick Whitfield described it like this: 
'Permaculture is a design system for human habitats which work with nature rather than against it. 
It is modelled on natural living systems, and makes use of both traditional skills and modern science'.
 
'Transition Towns' and 'Permaculture' have very similar approaches. There's a lot of shared history, research and ideas (plus some jargon which may not always help); both cover a huge international and diverse range of activities; both are practical and can-do. 

The hall of stalls at the Permaculture Festival on 31st July

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