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Paul Downton,  Melbourne

Cities are ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure.
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  • Paul Downton

    Paul Downton

    Ecocity pioneer, prize-winning architect, writer, international speaker, early advocate for action on climate. Based in Melbourne, Australia. Co-founder of Ecocity Design Institute. URBIS Board Member. Chief Consultant, Green World Solutions (Beijing). Chief Urban Planning Designer, C&P (Beijing) International Eco-Technology Institute. DeTao Master of Ecological Urban Design (Shanghai). Projects include keynote green buildings for Adelaide Zoo and ANU. Co-initiator and architect of Christie Walk. Founder of Urban Ecology Australia (1991) and Australia’s first community organisation focused on climate change (1989). Adjunct Assoc Prof, University of Adelaide. Doctorate in environmental studies. “An Australian icon of sustainable development". ‘Ecopolis: Architecture and Cities for a Changing Climate’ published 2009. Currently working on various books about ecocities.

    May 28, 2016

    Picture 9
    Common threads: connections among the ideas of Jane Jacobs and Elinor Ostrom, and their relevance to urban socio-ecology
    Paul Downton, Melbourne
    Johan Enqvist, Stockholm
    Sheila Foster, New York City
    Lisa Gansky, San Francisco
    Mathieu Hélie, Montréal
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Michelle Johnson, New York City
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca
    David Maddox, New York City
    Michael Mehaffy, Portland
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore
    Raul Pacheco-Vega, Aguascalientes
    Mary Rowe, New York City
    Alex Russ, Ithaca
    Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal
    Anne Trumble, Los Angeles
    Arjen Wals, Wageningen
    Abigail York, Tempe

    11 Comment(s)
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    May 15, 2016

    Victorian sky no words
    Ceci N’est Pas le Ciel: Biophilia, Design, and Illusions of Authenticity
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    A recent post by an online design-oriented magazine devoted to things environmental declared that it had been a good week for the environment and proceeded to list a number of initiatives and new products that were almost exclusively to do...

    4 Comment(s)
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    March 23, 2016

    Respect Graffiti_Bogota_2015_PhotoDavidMaddox(feature)
    Graffiti and street art can be controversial, but can also be a medium for voices of social change, protest, or expressions of community desire. What, how, and where are examples of graffiti as a positive force in communities?
    Pauline Bullen, Harare
    Paul Downton, Melbourne
    Emilio Fantin, Milan
    Ganzeer, Los Angeles
    Germán Gomez, Bogotá
    Sidd Joag, New York City
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul
    David Maddox, New York City
    Patrice Milillo, Los Angeles
    Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal

    23 Comment(s)
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    February 1, 2016

    Viaduc des arts street 30cm 72dpi
    Ecodesign is for Citizens and Nature, not for Consumers
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    A review of Ecodesign for Cities and Suburbs, by Jonathan Barnett and Larry Beasley. 2015. ISBN: 9781610913393. Island Press, Washington. 280 pages. Buy the book. This book has an unashamedly strong emphasis on the city of Vancouver as a model—a city...

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    January 20, 2016

    Save the environment_Bogota_2015_PhotoDavidMaddox
    Creative Place-Making—This is The Nature of Graffiti
    David Maddox, New York City
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town
    Paul Downton, Melbourne
    Emilio Fantin, Milan
    Germán Gomez, Bogotá
    Julie Goodness, Stockholm
    Mike Houck, Portland
    Todd Lester, Säo Paulo
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul
    Patrice Milillo, Los Angeles
    Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal

    Nature is all around us. Plants, animals, soil, air and water inhabit and animate our daily lives, whether you live in the country or in the city. We are invigorated by nature. We are inspired by its creatures, their beauty,...

    2 Comment(s)
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    December 14, 2015

    3
    Sowing the Seeds of Green Urbanism: ‘Spring is Here and the Time is Right for Planting in the Streets’
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    A review of The Revolutionary Urbanism of Street Farm: Eco-Anarchism, Architecture and Alternative Technology in the 1970s, by Stephen E. Hunt. 2014. ISBN 978-1-906477-44-8. Tangent Books, Bristol. 246 pages, including 16 pages of illustrations. Visions of cities draped in vegetation...

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    October 4, 2015

    14 Eden Project domes
    Why We Need Design Guidelines for Urban Non-Humans
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    Earlier this year I had the good fortune to be invited to speak at a remarkable ‘Global Conference’ in Chantilly, France. The title of the session I was to contribute to was translated into English as ‘An urbanism built on...

    1 Comment(s)
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    April 1, 2015

    SandCastlesWashingAwayPhoto--PaulDowntonFEATURE
    Signals and Snapshots from Semaphore: Musings on Design Guidelines for Urban Fractals
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    The fractal idea revisited in an attempt to make the concept clearer on a day-to-day, more visceral basis. In my first blog for TNOC I outlined my concept of an ‘urban fractal’ and noted my fascination with the idea that...

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    September 17, 2014

    Born to be Wild IMAGE DowntonFeature
    Born to be Wild (Sort of)
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    “Civilisation; it’s all about knives and forks.” —David Byrne As a child I was not nature-deprived. I lived in small towns and villages in rural Somerset in England, and enjoyed nature study in primary school but I know that I’ve never...

    6 Comment(s)
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    March 9, 2014

    Dull grey boring wall transformed by ‘commissioned’ graffiti for The People’s Market  at West Lakes Shore, South Australia. Photo: Paul Downton
    Graffiti on the Path and the Nature of Public Space
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    The nature of cities is inextricably tied to the nature of public space and this blog is about just a small part of that ‘nature’. It was inspired by what appeared to be graffiti on a public footpath that runs...

    4 Comment(s)
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    January 6, 2014

    Drawing by Paul Downton
    Should programs in architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture require a certain minimum level of learning about the fundamentals of ecology? Why?
    Paul Downton, Melbourne
    Barbara Deutsch, Washington, DC
    Martha Fajardo, Bogota
    Noboru Kawashima, Bogota
    Norbert Mueller, Erfurt
    Kaveh Samiei, Tehran

    25 Comment(s)
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    August 21, 2013

    Urban ‘renewal’ Swansea, South Wales 1977 Drawing: Paul Downton
    Form, Function, and Cultural Memory: Recalling the Nature of Cities
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    Yesterday upon the stair I met a man who wasn’t there He wasn’t there again today Oh, how I wish he’d go away        — William Hughes Mearns 1922 Learning to forget When the early settlers headed west...

    8 Comment(s)
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    March 31, 2013

    IMAGE 3 Downton TNOC2 Wheatfield
    Straw Polls, Dodos and the Value of Landscape
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    The premises on which we build our cities and construct civilisation, and the extent and means by which we include nature in our cities depends on what values we choose to adopt. Our capacity to engage with the processes of...

    9 Comment(s)
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    October 17, 2012

    South Village
    Neighborhoods and Urban Fractals—The Building Blocks of Sustainable Cities
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    Urbanisation is spreading across the face of the planet at an unprecedented rate. Most of it is opportunistic; ad hoc development and shanty towns rather than master plans. Virtually none of it, planned or otherwise, incorporates the elements of natural...

    7 Comment(s)
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