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David Hill's profile picture
Posts: 79

21 November 2017, 8:09 PM

Keeping you up-to-date with the Coursera mooc I'm doing through University of Toronto. You can find the complete page in my Bantam Theology series, with additional resources. 

The City and You: Find Your Best Place

Since Justin Trudeau gave the TPP the slip this week I decided to go Canadian and I have signed up to do this course through the University of Toronto.
Rev Rob Ferguson, the inner city Methodist chaplain in Christchurch, has signed up as well - anyone else want to join us and start a conversation about reconnecting with our cities and the Earth at the same time.
I will be posting reflective questions, instead of reflections, as I go on my new Bantam Theology page so please respond and engage, even if you don't sign up for the course.
Here's the link for the course: The City and You: Find Your Best Place


David Hill's profile picture
Posts: 79

21 November 2017, 8:12 PM

Cities are what we make them when we come together and share our ideas, our capital, our labour, our resources, our love. Richard Florida used the technical term "human capital externalities" to describe this.
I guess cities ultimately become ghost towns with the loss of "creative people". But ultimately we are all creative in our own way, we all have ideas, labour, skills, passions, resources to contribute, but we need each other to create something which is bigger than the sum of all of us.

David Hill's profile picture
Posts: 79

21 November 2017, 8:14 PM

If cities are just another biological system, perhaps we need some more biology in our cities (and I mean more variety, not just people.

How about some small chicken farms in the middle of the city (perhaps we could have sound proof chicken coops to shut the chooks up at night, if people are worried about roosters crowing at dawn).
Imagine walking through the green spaces in the city and stopping to look at chooks scratching around and strutting about in a chook park?
People ...could be employed to collect eggs, feed the chooks, clean out the cages or there might be lots of willing volunteers.
It could part of an organic farm, which grows the chook feed alongside vegetables, which could supply community cafes, where people meet to discuss creative and innovative ideas to live more sustainably.
Some of this is already happening, so why not build on it and link it altogether into one biological unit?

A post by David Hill was deleted

David Bell's profile picture
Posts: 1061

21 November 2017, 8:29 PM

This is interesting. In the Albany Village, rapidly being surrounded by apartment blocks, everyone loves the chickens which have been there for decades. But I have no idea who looks after them. But they are part of the village atmosphere. In the leafy suburb of Torbay someone set poisoned bait for birds because they didn't like the morning chorus. The opposite ends of the spectrum of human behaviours and likes/dislikes turned in action, positive and negative, couldn't be more apparent.

Liz's profile picture
Posts: 5

22 November 2017, 5:13 PM

Not everybody likes bold chickens invading the shops; droppings etc. Chooks that obliviously cross the main highway was also a major hazard hence the effort put in a few years back to take out the hens, roosters and feral cats.

David Hill's profile picture
Posts: 79

24 November 2017, 9:11 AM

Did we ask the native birds and species if we could build highways and suburban malls? Would we have the same concerns about native species on our roads or "invading" our malls?

Just a thought

Max Thomson's profile picture
Posts: 64

23 November 2017, 2:07 PM

I note that "Sustainable Cities and Communities" is the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 11 but I am not quite so sure about using chooks to achieve it.  I prefer the idea of vegetable gardens replacing grass berms and sustainable fish management in our seas and streams. Chooks are an invasive import. How would others feel about expanding the native Pukeko population so we could eat them (sustainably, of course)?

Liz's profile picture
Posts: 5

23 November 2017, 5:40 PM

Pukekos are very athletic, therefore sinewy,  tough meat. Early Maori did not eat the birds unless there was no alternative.

David Bell's profile picture
Posts: 1061

23 November 2017, 11:00 PM

Well, interesting perspectives. I await the reply from David Hill, bantam fancier. Meantime I think it would be fair to say chickens are actually part of the NZ eco-system now. Here's what one supporter wrote.

The debate about what constitutes diverse species in cities is part of what makes a city habitable. What gives humans the right to decide that their apparent well-being is more important than the rights of other sentient species? David Hill might also comment on animal well-being, especially chooks, from his recent University of Edinburgh course.

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