Kelvinwright's Blog

postmodern thoughts

Greening cities to prevent the 2st century plague

When I first visited Madrid I remember marvelling at the garden next to the city’s Caixa Forum. In this hot, dry, grey concrete city, suffocating beneath the intense summer heat, here was a lush green garden, hanging off of a wall. Tourists were even photographing it, what would otherwise have been just another graffitied, grey wall.


In the week when we had world earth day, I came across an article in the New York Times of an ambitious project aimed at greening and cleaning Mexico City, one of the world’s most polluted cities.


If the first twenty years of the 20th century saw the major threat to human life of the mechanisation of warfare, one of the biggest threats during the first part of this century continues to be the environmental one, and the debate over how much is human-made. That the toxic smog that pollute our cities is human made is not open to debate – we’ve created this mess, and we need to do something about it. It is then a significant advance, as much as a relief to see projects such as these, the construction of a towering arch of 50,000 plants rising over a traffic-clogged avenue in a metropolis once called “Mexsicko City”.


Whilst Mexico continues to construct double decker motorways, environmentalists will say that the step is small, but not enough. Hopefully though, it can be a blueprint that will start the cleaning up of many of the world’s polluted cities. Of course, in the long term, any significant agreement is going to require governmental support and legislation from the world’s big polluters. Will they place long term green policies over short term economic growth, especially as many continue to fight the crisis? Will financial health continue to be placed above the health of the population? In the same way that the Ansari X-Prize was initiated to create commercial spacecraft, will green philanthropists do the same to create the postmodern Hanging Gardens of Babylon?


April 26, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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