The MarketTown gives us the chance to start anew; to buy & implement the most sustainable, proven, affordable technology available
"The Earth was here before us."
On 17 June 2015, something very different happened to the global conversation on the environment. The head of the largest religious organization in the world, the Pope of the Catholic Church's presented his encyclical on the environment:
It presented the bad news:
"The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish... Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years."
It explained why:
"The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology ... is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth's goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit."
It gave hope:
"Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start."
You don't have to be Catholic, or even a believer to acknowledge the truth. We are devouring our world and if we don't soon change how we live, we may find a world that is a lot less livable.
It has become fashionable for developers to promote their projects as environmentally sustainable. Some are no more than greenwash. Others try harder, but are then frustrated when they find that while the environmentalists laud them, the public shows little extra interest in buying what they have to offer.
The MarketTown will be a showcase of sustainability, but sustainability will not be a bragging point. In a sane world, all human projects should be sustainable. Never-the-less, as a a major capital project, with the first project expected to involve a budget of $2 billion or more, the MarketTown and its senior management team (SMT) will have the mandate to identify the best, affordable sustainable technology and implement it. The good news is that there are literally thousands of brilliant solutions out there already. They are in many cases struggling to find customers. The challenge for the SMT will be to sort through the offerings to identify the most appropriate, the most reliable, the most cost-effective since each proponent will earnestly believe theirs is the best solution - the world-saver.
Of course the biggest contribution to sustainable use of resources is taking 6,000 cars off the road for every 10,000 people.
Technology will play an important part. For example, in the California study, where water is a severe issue, the idea of all buildings having a commercial rooftop greenhouse was mooted. Harvest rainwater and store it, so that there is no dependence on outside sources. Grow commercial food on the rooftops, using solar panels and LED lighting to have harvests 52 weeks a year.
Purchasing is equally important. With 10,000 people, the MarketTown will operate a wholesale buying group to lower the cost of living for its members, but also giving it the clout to buy durable, repairable goods in packaging that is reuseable.
Building standards will call for non-toxic materials and a 175-year producer statement. People have to live somewhere, but make the homes durable and flexible, meaning they can be internally changed as peoples needs change over the decades.
If the land is suitable, and it is sufficient for a large greenbelt, a NZ MarketTown may have a double-barrier fence around the perimeter to enable the greenbelt to become host to native flora and fauna, keeping out the exotic predators that are wreaking such havoc on the native species. Of course, this will require careful design to separate family pets from the greenbelt as well.