Front "moss" wall of Tokyo's Interior Design College of the Arts
I just finished reading Paul Hawken's Blessed Unrest: How the largest social movement in history is restoring grace, justice, and beauty to the world. It's a great eco-story. Read carefully and you'll see ties to safer cities.
We live in a community, not alone, and any sense of separateness that we harbor is an illusion. Sustainability is about stabilizing the current disruptive relationship between earth's most complex systems - human culture and the living world.
How might we do our part with SafeGrowth and CPTED/Design Out Crime?
I recently chatted with Lorraine Gamman, an innovative and leading proponent of design-out-crime based at London's Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Lorraine sent me a fascinating idea for streetscape greening that might reduce graffiti targets: covering graffiti-prone blank walls and non-descript facades with moss. (Lorraine has a forthcoming article on this in the fall 2009 issue of the CPTED Perspective newsletter).
Moss! The stuff we used to spray from sidewalks. Turns out moss absorbs carbon dioxide, requires little maintenance, grows easily, insulates buildings, and removes vulnerable graffiti surfaces. Best of all, if designed well it makes an environment attractive. Even "vandalized" moss grows back quick with very little help.
It turns out we may have been too hasty removing wall moss. As the photo above shows, Japanese tech savvy leads the way for getting this right. Check out this video of Eco-moss.
A beautiful streetscape, graffiti-free, ecologically-friendly! Hawken would be proud.