Blog Contributors

Craig Applegath

Michael Haggerty

Peter Howard

Raj Kottamasu

Must Read Books

Adapting Buildings and Cities for Climate Change - A 21st Century Survival Guide

by Sue Roaf, David Crichton, and Fergus Nicol


by Brian Walker and David Salt

Climate Wars, 

by Gwynne Dyer

The Vanishing Face of Gaia, 

by James Lovelock

Carbon Shift,

edited by Thomas Homer-Dixon

Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller,

by Jeff Rubin

Welcome To The Urban Revolution - How Cities Are Changing The World, 

by Jeb Brugmann


Resilience Science Blog by Resilience Alliance

HuffPost Green

Energy Bulletin: Website / blog regarding the peak in global energy supply.

Richard Heinberg's Museletters Blog

The Oil Drum: A website / blog providing peak oil related analysis's international campaign updates blog

RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists.

The Guardian Data Store


Competition Blogs

The Competition is now closed for judging and submitted qualifying blogs are now viewable in Competition Blogs

September 2009

Competition Update

Sep 19, 2009 1:49 PM
Craig Applegath

The Design Ideas Jury met yesterday and reviewed all of the competition entries. There were a number of very thoughtful and well executed entries. There were two winners and a number of honorable mentions determined by the Jury.

We will be posting the results of the competition this coming Thursday September 30th, the same day that they will be exhibited at the IDEX / Green Building Festival Exposition in Toronto from September 24 to 25.

 Thanks again to all of the contestants who submitted. Your efforts and ideas were appreciated!


Craig Applegath is a founding member and moderator of, and an Architect and Principal at Cohos Evamy Integratedesign in Toronto.

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ResilientCity Design Competition a Wrap!

Sep 2, 2009 9:25 PM
Craig Applegath

Thank you for your great responses!!!!

The first Design Ideas Competition is now a wrap, and we are starting to sort through the dozens on interesting and thoughful entries. It looks like all of the entrants put a lot of thought and passion into their submissions, and I can assure you that the jury will be putting an equal amount of care into reviewing and judging the responses.

The other good news is that the Green Building Festival in conjunction with IDEX will be hosting an exhibition of the 5 best entries at IDEX this year. For more information about the GBF/IDEX go to  

Thank you again for your interest, passion and commitment to creating more resilient cities!

Stay tuned for an update on the results.


Craig Applegath is a founding member and moderator of, and an Architect and Principal at Cohos Evamy Integratedesign in Toronto.

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July 2009

Choosing Your Starfish

Jul 6, 2009 9:54 PM
Craig Applegath

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of making a presentation at the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Festival of Architecture in Montreal. The theme of the conference was new visions for the future, and I set out to show how we might make our cities more resilient in the face of an unholy trinity: Climate Change, Peak Oil and Global Population Growth.

In preparing my talk it was clear that the most difficult thing about this topic is the magnitude of the problems. Indeed, once you have mapped them out, it’s hard to see solutions that are adequate.
I was rescued from this dilemma by a friend who told me the starfish story. It wonderfully captures the need for taking action, even in the face of overwhelming odds.

A woman vacationing on the west coast of Vancouver Island was walking down a deserted beach at sunset. She saw another woman in the distance, repeatedly bending down, picking things up, and throwing them into the water.

As she got closer, the first woman realized that the other woman was picking up starfish that had washed up on the beach. Puzzled, she asked her what she was doing.

“I'm saving these starfish. You see, it’s low tide right now, and if I don't throw them back, they'll die from lack of oxygen.”

“But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach!” said the first woman. “You can't possibly get to all of them. Can't you see that throwing them back can't possibly make a difference?”

The second woman smiled, picked up another starfish, threw it back, and replied, "Made a difference to that one!"

The problems posed by the combination of climate change, peak oil and population growth do indeed seem overwhelming, and it’s hard to imagine how we will deal with them. But as the starfish story points out, the difficulty of our situation should not prevent us from trying to make a difference.

So what should we be doing? Here are three suggestions:

1. Reduce our Energy Use:  Most of our environmental problems stem from too many people on the planet using too much energy – of all sorts, for all sorts of reasons. As planners, architects and engineers, our first priority must be to devise ways to significantly reduce the consumption of energy by buildings and cities. To accomplish this we should:

o Use materials and products that require less energy for their manufacture and construction.

o Design new buildings to be highly energy efficient.

o Find ways to re-clad existing buildings to be more energy efficient

o Increase the density of our urban neighbourhoods to reduce travel distance and use of cars

2. Plan and Design for Local Self-sufficiency and Re-localization:  The descent down the far side of the peak oil curve will mean that as oil prices rise, the globalization of trade will become less feasible [see Jeff Rubin’s new book: Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller  ]. It will be crucial for us to increase the future resiliency of our cities by re-localizing the production of food and manufacture of goods. For an idea of how we might do this have a look at Gordon Graff’s ideas for high-rise urban farming at

3. Design for Durability and Robustness:  Climate change is making itself felt, with ever- increasing numbers of category 4 and 5 weather events. [See the World Watch Institute’s latest report on this at Devastating Natural Disasters Continue Steady Rise  ]. As we move forward, we must assume that the standards and techniques we are now using against wind and water damage will soon be obsolete. We must foresee a time when buildings will need to deal with much more intense and energetic weather.

Although there are many other ways to make cities more resilient, these three are my picks, and they will also reduce the contribution of CO2 and related greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts. What would you suggest we do to deal with the un-holy trinity of Climate Change, Peak Oil and Global Population Growth.

Let me know by posting a comment on this blog.

Craig Applegath, Moderator

Craig is a founding member and moderator of, and an Architect and Principal at Cohos Evamy Integratedesign in Toronto.  See his full biography.


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May 2009

Welcome to!

May 4, 2009 8:01 AM
Craig Applegath

Welcome to! The idea for this website came from a burning question (sorry about the pun!) that kept coming up whenever my colleagues and I took out our much-used crystal ball and looked into the future: Given our unique roles, what are we doing to deal with the dangerously underestimated combination of Global Warming and Peak Oil?

After many conversations, many international Skype calls, a fair bit of soul-searching, and countless emails, the answer is finally taking shape—and we invite anyone in the design field (and specifically architects, engineers, landscape architects and urban planners) to join us on a very important journey.

It may seem a bit formal to have a mission, but we felt that we needed a clear idea of what we have to achieve. Namely, It’s to establish a clear, balanced and increasingly accepted message:

• That Global Warming and Peak Oil are real, and will have a life-altering impact on our way of life.

• That we will no longer have cheap oil to power our society, or provide many of the oil-based products that we take for granted.

• That over the next 20 years, starting without delay, we must re-build our wasteful high-carbon cities as resilient, low-carbon places to enjoy.

Following on from this, we have three goals:

• To highlight the combined challenge of Global Warming and Peak Oil, and the radical change this will bring to how we design buildings and plan cities.

• To stimulate a massive shift in thinking, leading to appropriately “resilient” design and building strategies. Somewhere on this page it would be good to have some blurb in a box about the Resilient City or, if that would be too long, a link.

• To compile a freely available set of planning and design resources — including web links, research references, and design exemplars.

We are at the beginning of an ambitious journey. But whatever we ultimately achieve, the journey itself will have made a difference.

One thing is for sure, though. We will only be successful if a wide range of design minds bring their ideas to the table—and the website shows how you can become involved in imagining, planning, and designing a new future.

We’re looking for a lively discussion about the what, how, when and why of creating the resilient cities that we so urgently need, and this will include:

• Your input to the urban planning and building design strategies that we are posting;

• Your comment on the transition strategies that will get us from a carbon-intensive addiction to a post-carbon world;

• Your ideas for post-carbon transportation and food production – essential components of the resilient city.

Whatever area of design you are in, you probably went into it because you wanted to make a difference. I don’t think any of us imagined the future that is now rushing towards us, but the need for our ideas could not be more pressing. We look forward to your suggestions and feedback. We also urge you to enter our Ideas Design Competition. Radical thinking welcome! Please see our Competition Page to find out more.

Craig Applegath, Moderator

Craig is a founding member and the moderator of, and an Architect and Principal at Cohos Evamy Integratedesign in Toronto. See his full biography.

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