Category Archives: International Development

Miscellanea: clearing the favourites backlog

These articles and links caught my attention over the last while and have collected in my favourites folder. Time to deal with the link delivery backlog:

International development

A missionary-activist (aka ‘Tarzan agitator’) helping protect Amazonian tribes from oil and mining companies – from The Guardian.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation vs ‘Extreme humanitarianism’

Is aid doing Haiti more harm than good?

Gardian article: before you pay to volunteer abroad, think of the harm you might do.

Western vs Chinese aid: Which is better? – from Moneyweb

Good interactive graphic of the Corruption Index 2010

Losing our history:

Article chronicling the destruction of some of South Africa’s irreplaceable industrial heritage, through indifference and neglect.

A view on whether Christchurch’s iconic bell tower should be restored after the earthquake –  by Simon Jenkins

Detroit in Ruins – photographs by Yves Marchand and Romaine Meffre (also see this article: Detroit: the Ultimate Food Desert)

However see this grittily uplifting superbowl ad: Imported from Detroit

New thinking and projects in sustainability and design:

A treatment plant that converts sewerage to clean water, biogas energy and compost – by Amaresco in the US. (Expect to see more like this as cities realise that there needs to be a closed loop of resource use if we are ever going to be come sustainable)

Beyond food miles – from the Oil Drum.

Interview with John Egan on the importance of design

Article from Fast Company on roll-out of electric car charging stations

Also from Fast Company: The rise of the Aerotropolis

Civil and infrastructure engineering:

‘Civilised streets’ – A report from CABE (which has subsequently been shut down by the UK govt in a misguided attempt to save money)

Fantastic website on mini-roundabouts by someone who really understands his craft.

CSIR guide to Potholes

A guided tour of London’s sewer system

A Guide to South African Passes and Poorts. (More comprehensive than the Getaway book thats currently on sale)

Local:

An article in the Financial Mail that shares my scepticism on High Speed rail in South Africa. (Lets rather spend the money on urban rail)

Interview with Charles Taylor of Ballito

Nomkhubulwane – an Andries Botha elephant

The above two are from Comment from the Couch, a blog dedicated to hot-dipped galvanising.

Dennis Guichard – architectural and engineering photographer

Random:

Two articles you get when you google ‘design efficiency’: here and here. I always though the process of design could be efficient to varying degrees, hence the name of this blog, but I never considered actually trying to measure it, as they have done.

An incredibly smart guy who solved a Cypher Security Challenge. (He won a season ticket to Bletchley Park for his efforts…)

An ode to butter and butter making

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Miscellanea on Africa, development, PoMo and more

This from random links that I have ‘favourited’ over the last while and want recorded for future reference…

It looks like the world’s oil reserves have been deliberately overstated.

The ‘Green Agenda’ may be good for developed countries but perhaps counterproductive for developing countries.

A really good initaitive in Cape Town with the faith and business communities working together for the Common Good. (Can LIV be the catalyst for something similar in Durban?) Also 350 bible verses relating to ‘creation care’.

One of the results you get when you google ‘postmodern engineering’ (PoMo = postmodern)

A Times article on electric buses.

An interview with innovative American town planner Peter Calthorpe: The City of Tomorrow, together with his urban network concept.

An excellent primer on sustainability in the built environment: Playbook for Green Buildings and Neighborhoods.

What the industry wants – brief but perceptive thoughts from Seth Godin on how big business influences what we eat and our healthcare choices.

A link to Park-Tec because they have a picture of a security gate with great architectural desgn.

Singaporian design and sustainability consultancy I have worked with – CPG.

China is buying Africa, and Africa stands by while other Africans continue with self destructing their countries. Meanwhile young middle-class Westerners try and help – but does it?

The darker side of Dubai (I hope to elaborate on this at some stage).

A South African engineer with (I think) some of the same intentions as me.

Solar water disinfection – water treatment could not be lower tech…

An article on Scott Harrison, whom I have mentioned before and is someone you really should know.

A mobile phone based home energy management system.

Keeping the heat on big aid

The humanitarian aid industry is not getting it right either:

Oxfam admits it needs fixing;

It prolongs wars;

and politicians are using aid money for the wrong purposes.

How can we fix this?

Guardian’s new Global Health Blog

Great opening article – well done GSK…

Scrutinising ‘big aid’ in Haiti

The Lancet has the guts to raise the question: do the big aid organisations really have the needs of the people at heart – or are there other concerns: publicity, competition, politics? I heard the editor admirably defend her point of view on the radio. The article can be read here.

Its refeshing to read such a brave article – I think there is a lot of truth there… reading twitter of some people on the ground in Haiti seem to confirm it as well…

An Italian official weighs in as well.

Obviously perfection cannot be expected in situations as chaotic as that in Haiti and to balance it, here is a defense from UNdispatch.

The best way to save children’s lives in Africa

Clean water.

charity:water – 2009 in review

Scott Harrison and charity:water are doing good things in a fresh way. Unlike the big legacy charities they don’t rely on tugging the heartstrings to get people to support them – instead they are using creativity and new media to connect to people. I think it works because donor fatigue is real and the old way has led to just that. They also ensure 100% of public donations go to the end recipients which puts other charities in the shade. Scott also chose to support water supply as the target which is close to my heart. It is unfortunate that health issues especially AIDS gets all the attention and therefore money whereas water is seen as too mundane. (The organisation I am part of often has to link a water project to an AIDS project just to get funding for example.)

I first saw him speak soon after he had started when he gave a presentation at London’s Apple Store and I immediately became a fan.

Here is their 2009 review – I hope and pray their work continues to grow.