The Need for 'Blue Urbanism'

In a world heavily composed of and reliant on water, how we treat our oceans should be a major aspect of the way we think about planning and living on this planet, according to Timothy Beatley.
April 22, 2011, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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Writing for Places one year after the start of a prolonged oil spill beneath the ocean of the Gulf of Mexico, Beatley calls for an ocean-minded "blue urbanism".

"If we are to tilt toward a sustainable world, we've got to show more than fleeting concern for marine habitats. In the words of oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle: "The world is blue." Oceans cover most of the earth's surface - 130,000 square miles - at an average depth of 2.5 miles, forming its largest life zone and serving as the primary regulator of planetary chemistry. They are an important source of protein for the world's almost seven billion people. Our environmental health and indeed our survival - our systems of food production, energy, transportation, temperature regulation, oxygen production, carbon sequestration and more -are dependent upon the earth's waters. [1]

As planners and designers, we need to take up the mantle of blue urbanism. Just as green urbanism challenges us to rethink sustainability at the city scale, blue urbanism asks us to re-imagine ourselves as citizens of a blue planet. How can we become better stewards of the world's oceans?"

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Published on Monday, April 18, 2011 in Places
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