I want a balcony like this

This is on the Abercrombie & Kent Nile Cruiser – via Out and About in Africa.


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.


A worthy although incredibly ambitious plan.

SA Renewable Energy Links

Some links to various renewable energy funding initiatives, carbon credit summaries, etc:

DBSA Energy & Environmental Partnership Programme – For feasibility studies into renewable energy projects

IRP2 (Integrated Resource Plan 2) from the Dept of Energy – from the Perspective of Urban Sprout

Two overviews of carbon credits in South Africa by Safcor Panalpina and Bowman Gilfillan

(*check ‘The Energy Book’ for additional initiatives)

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?

We are not getting rail right in South Africa

Two articles from the FM caught my eye.

The first by David Williams shows that Transnet are just rubbish at providing a good service with their existing infrastructure and core business of freight rail; and the second shows big thinking on a new high speed Durban to Gauteng link.

On the high speed link: its a nice idea but the massive cost (10 x Gautrain as a high level estimate – R250bn) does not justify the benefit. For passengers there is the new R8bn King Shaka International Airport and for freight, clients are looking for reliability not speed. Given the lengthy customs and freight forwarding process at the port, shaving a few hours off the rail time is insignificant.


  1. Invest in maintaing and modernising the existing line
  2. Align the port, customs, container handling facilities & rail to provide an integrated & seamless logistics service from ship to door in Gauteng
  3. Invest in a high quality public transport system (light rail for Durban, Gautrain already in place on the other side) so people can easily get from city to airport.

Pretty sure all this can be done for a lot less.

(Text of articles below)

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Better street design

Some links:

Complete streets coalition

Living streets UK

Denver living streets