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5 Takes on Sustainable Local Economies

A significant component of sustainability is  developing and fostering strong local economies. Why? Well, people often conceptualize regional economies using economic base theory, of which one part is the idea of leakage. Basically, when people who live in a community spend money outside of their community or spend money with a business that takes money outside of their community, money “leaks” out of the area. Large retail chains and businesses owned by multi-national firms have high rates of leakage for local economies. Leakage also happens when people travel to another community and spend money there (i.e. tourism, but this helps bring in capital to the tourist destination). So, encouraging locally-owned businesses helps to stem leakage, keeps locally-earned dollars circulating within a community, and generally promotes prosperity and job-creation in the region. This is what makes it literally sustainable.

So what … Continue Reading

Planning Pool Original: Northeast Portland Tool Library

In January, Daniella shared how she and some colleagues incorporated a tool library into concept designs for the Britannia Community Centre. To follow up, we visited the Northeast Portland Tool Library for our latest Planning Pool Original. Read more…

Northeast Portland Tool Library from Planning Pool on Vimeo.

Marine Futures Explored With New Choice Visualization Tool

Photo courtesy of Lenfest Ocean Futures Project

How much fishing is too much, and what decisions can we make to secure the health of our marine ecosystems? The answer to these and other questions about managing our marine ecosystem have confounded policy makers for decades. A new interactive scenario exploration program being developed at the University of British Columbia just might be the tool they’re looking for.

Ocean Summits is an interactive decision making system that supports stakeholders of a specific marine ecosystem to play out scenarios that can help create consensus on key management issues. The system creates realistic-looking simulated marine ecosystems in which users must make environmental, social and economic choices about their marine environment. They can then compare the results of their new scenario … Continue Reading

Libraries aren’t just for books

Photo by Flickr user Landschaft

One of the great things about being a student is having the luxury of coming up with really fun ideas. Last semester, some classmates and I worked on a re-imagining of a Vancouver neighborhood around the Britannia Community Center (here’s a link to the project / sorry for the Flashtastrophe). One feature that we put into our design was the idea of a tool library.

Basically, a tool library is like a book library, except that rather than borrowing books, people can borrow ladders, lawn mowers, power tools, circular saws and other tools that people only use infrequently. Our group placed the hypothetical tool library in a light-industrial warehouse and paired it with a “Maker Shed” and … Continue Reading