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The anarchist urban ecosystem: A rethinking of the urban environment
By Nathan Revercomb


This series will attempt to roughly give some examples as to how the urban environment can be altered so that cities can not only sustain themselves but also become ecologically rich environs benefiting mankind and servicing nature. In order for us to do so, we must create radical shifts in the way we think about the vital needs of our civilization and follow the examples biology can give us. Many of these changes can be implemented right now and could be greatly supplemented and developed in an anarchist society and indeed some of these concepts and ideas can indeed form the basis of an anarchist revolution.

The modern cityscape is one that can be characterized as a concrete jungle or an ecological wasteland. Today’s cities are deserts and suck the life out of their surroundings. They are in their current state absolutely dependent and inefficient. From the anarchist perspective, they are abominations that serve as giant machines to centralize wealth and resources to unjustly keep but a minority of a few in a life of luxury. However, civilization, with cities as its pinnacle is not something most people would be willing to do away with so it is up to us to re-envision the way cities work. Hierarchy in my opinion, is the social reaction to scarcity and is further and greatly compounded by artificial scarcity which has been one of the great factors in capitalist praxis. Such modes of organization are incredibly inefficient and cannot be anything less than dangerous to civilization, mankind and the Earth. It has been said that all conflict stems from the juxtaposition of those that have and those that have not and it is precisely due to our inefficiency and waste that many if not MOST human conflicts arise. In order to do away with hierarchical domination, its inequalities, in-justices and its resulting poverty we need to remove not just those who have power over us from their ability to do so but we must also and simultaneously work to abolish the mechanisms that allow for and even require them to do so. By replacing artificial scarcity with a more naturalized abundance and efficiency we will have a much easier time in doing this and it will be far more successful.

WATER

Rain barrels, rain-fed cisterns and rain gardens are viable and constructive ways to address the problem of urban rainwater run-off and to put such water to productive uses


Water is probably the MOST important thing to the survival of any living thing and indeed it is vital to the sustainability of civilization itself. Without any doubt water issues should be paramount in any anarchist vision of the future. From the way we use water to the ways we protect it or clean it. Starting off there is a technology called a bioreactor which can “brew” human waste giving off methane and other flammable gas as well as fertilizer which can be very cheaply converted into compost. The gasses the are produced in such a reactor can be used to generate electricity and the waste water could then be put through a “living machine” which would utilize certain types of plants in an artificial wetland to clean it. When combining the two technologies, there would be the yields of fertilizer, clean water and power some of which would have to be used in the process itself but not all of it and what wasn’t used could go back into the city. Cities today are also very wasteful of water. Individual over-use of water is not the only aspect of this problem. Cities not only currently have a difficulty in dealing with rain water run-off but the current methods of dealing with such result in the loss of water for the urban environment. Rain water harvesting systems can be used to provide for the future urban agriculture systems we will require on both small (home) and large scales.