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Archive for February, 2009

We’re hearing a lot about the end of suburbia right now.  Take this item in yesterday’s New York Times.   It leads with ideas that jibe with the return of survivalism that we recently noted.

But, as Alison Arieff goes on to say in her Times piece, plenty of positive re-imaginings of the suburbs are appearing to counterbalance these dystopian visions.

We EarthQuakers are particularly interested reinventing neighborliness — and how supposedly isolating information technology enables new levels of real-world social interaction on street-by-street level.

The cul-de-sac Commune group that Arieff mentions is doing that, but so is the Vermont-based Front Porch Forum and the Bay Area’s Playborhood, among others.

The San Francisco Chronicle ran a fascinating article on Monday about urban foraging — where people pick the fruit from city-owned trees that would otherwise be left to rot.   It mentions the wonderful Village Harvest, whose volunteers pick unwanted fruit from homeowners’ yards and give it to local food banks.

As the Chronicle headline puts it, efforts like these help us imagine that we can change “the way we live and eat, one fig at a time.”

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It’s like returning to the seventies of our pre-EarthQuaking youth.  Survivalism is back in the air.  Here’s an exemplary interview with Matthew Stein, author of When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability and Surviving the Long Emergency.

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