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Sustainable Midlands -- Retro-style / Retro-fitting

This project details the futures of more than 100 cities across the globe as they fight to overcome all the grave socio-environmental challenges of the 21st century. As part of this process, we highlight the inevitable demise of the global oil economy and the rise of shared transport in the city of Walsall, England.

Walsall, located in the West Midlands of England, has a rich history dating back to at least the 11th century when it was recorded in the Domesday Book. Originally a small market town focused on agriculture and leatherworking, Walsall experienced significant growth during the Industrial Revolution, becoming known for its manufacturing of saddles, chains, and other metal goods. Today, Walsall is a diverse urban center with a mix of historical landmarks, modern industry, and cultural attractions, embodying its evolution from a medieval market town to a bustling industrial hub and contemporary urban community.

In this scenario depicting Walsall's future, the inspiration comes from the past as it is retro-styled and retro-fitted toward greater sustainability.

FUTURE WALLSALL (by the Ecotopia 2121 team)

Retro-fitting Walsall with sustainable classic technologies over a decades long period could be an exciting endeavor yet rewarding endeavor. Here are five policies that the city authorities will slowly develop and enact as the 21st century unfolds:

1. Community Gardens and Allotments: Encourage citizens to reclaim vacant lots or unused spaces for community gardens. Utilize traditional gardening techniques like companion planting and permaculture to promote biodiversity and reduce the need for chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

2. Solar-Powered Streetlights: Install solar panels on existing streetlights to power them, reducing reliance on the grid and lowering energy costs.

3. Reviving Traditional Crafts: Encourage the revival of traditional crafts like pottery, woodworking, and blacksmithing. These crafts often use sustainable materials and techniques that have stood the test of time.

4. Faux Steampunk Bicycle / Tricycle Infrastructure: Invest in bicycle / tricycle / quadricycle lanes and cycle-sharing programs to promote pedal power as a premier sustainable mode of transportation.

5. Rainwater Harvesting: Retrofit buildings with rainwater harvesting systems to collect and store rainwater for irrigation, toilet flushing, and other non-potable uses.

By embracing these five creative ideas, the citizens of Walsall can transform their town into a thriving hub of sustainability while honoring its rich cultural heritage.


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