Thursday, July 24, 2014


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Limiting Noise

Excerpt from Charles Siegel's book Unplanning, chapter 7. I strongly recommend to visit Siegel's Preservation Institute for reading free e-books and other resources.

Noise is another telling example of the failure of growth. All through the nineteenth and twentieth century, the middle class tried to move to quieter neighborhoods by moving to lower density suburbs. Until World War I, they succeeded: from the walking city to the streetcar suburb, middle-class neighborhoods did become pleasanter and quieter. But during the twentieth century, so many new sources of noise appeared that modern suburbia is noisier than the much denser streetcar suburbs were one hundred years ago.

It should be obvious by now that the only way to reduce noise is by limiting its sources!

For example, cities and suburbs could cut their noise levels significantly by banning gasoline-powered gardening equipment. Electric edgers and electric chain saws work just as well, and there are always electrical outlets within reach on urban or suburban lots; there are also rechargeable battery-powered lawn mowers available. Some cities already have banned gasoline powered leaf blowers, because people refuse to put up with this new nuisance; the next step is to go back and get rid of the old nuisances that people accepted in the days when they thought less about the quality of life.

Some sources of noise can be banned at the municipal level, but we also need strict Federal standards to limit noise from motorcycles, garbage trucks, construction equipment, trucks with refrigeration equipment, and the like. Federal noise standards were developed in the 1970s, but they were never implemented, because the Reagan administration said they would slow economic growth: no doubt Reagan believed that people needed faster growth so they could afford to move to suburbia and get away from the city's noise.

A Norwegian suburb. A paradise of Reagan.

Likewise, if we want any quiet in our parks, we need to restrict the use of jet skis, snowmobiles, off-road vehicles and other motorized recreational equipment. Americans already spend too much time pushing buttons and getting instant gratification, and we would be better off with outdoor recreation that requires more physical effort, such as canoeing, sailing, hiking, and bicycling. Environmentalists have had some success in banning off-road vehicles, snowmobiles, and jet skis.

We would be better off with outdoor recreation that requires more physical effort, such as canoeing

Finally, if we want any quiet in either our cities or our countryside, we need quieter cars and trucks. Hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius, are much quieter than ordinary cars. Likewise, hybrid turbine buses reduce the noise and pollution from diesel buses dramatically, and we need similar technologies to replace conventional diesel trucks.

Vehicles are the single greatest source of noise in suburbs and cities. Noise is the number one reason that people give for wanting to live in lower density neighborhoods. Noise is also responsible for some of our worst suburban design - such as subdivisions surrounded by sound walls. There will be limits to the popularity of neotraditional neighborhoods until we do something to reduce traffic noise: many people will not want to live in denser neighborhoods if they have to listen to neighbors revving up their cars and motorcycles.

Many people will not want to live in denser neighborhoods if they have to listen to neighbors revving up their cars and motorcycles. Image: Basher Eyre

Noise is a clear example of the failure of growth. Through the nineteenth century, growth and new technology such as electric streetcars allowed people to escape from the cities to lower density neighborhoods that were quieter. During the twentieth century, new technology allowed people to escape to even lower density neighborhoods, but new technology also made these neighborhoods noisier. By now, it should be clear that political control of technology is needed to give us quiet neighborhoods or even a quiet countryside.

Even on the countryside cars have taken over

Friday, July 18, 2014


Kom over dette innlegget i hytteboka i dag, og bestemte meg for å legge det inn her. Det ble publisert i Oppland Arbeiderblad 7. august 2008. Dessverre har intet skjedd.

Oksbakken ligger på Totenåsen.


Vollene på Oksbakken ble etter sigende tilplantet med nåleskog fordi bekken mellom dem lå i nedslagsfeltet til Lensbygda Vannverk, og man slik ønsket å forhindre dyreansamlinger som kunne forurense bekken med tarmbakterier. Lensbygda Vannverk er forlengst nedlagt.

For vollen på østsiden av bekken er denne skogreisningen for så vidt grei, da skogen her vil skjule vegen og det ikke er hytter på denne siden. På den andre siden av bekken, mot hyttefeltet, bør vollen tilbakeføres før det er for sent.

Noen grunner til dette er:
  • Åpne kulturlandskap som bryter skoglandskapet er et særtrekk ved norsk natur, og skaper trivsel og variasjon for dyr, planter og mennesker.
  • Vollen vil være et minne om forgangne tider, da det bodde mennesker her langt ute på åsen.
  • Vollen ligger sentralt til i et hytteområde i vekst, og vil være et trivselsmoment.
  • De store dyreansamlingene som beiter på vollen er et hyggelig innslag, ikke minst for de yngste. Altfor mange barn har for lite kontakt med de tradisonelle husdyra våre.
  • Vinterstid er vollen en fin akebakke for barna.
  • Stedet har vært et samlingspunkt for å se til dyr på beite.
Deler av Oksbakksvollene. På andre sida av bekken har den tette planteskogen helt fått overtaket.

Det gamle gårdstunet på Oksbakken

Introvert Liberation, by Vera Bradova (Introvert frigjøring)

Let’s face it: extroverts have taken over. Highly represented among the egos who have pushed the excesses of modernity on the rest of us, they wage war on peace and quiet, war on silence, war on darkness. They push speed and razzle-dazzle, playing havoc with our senses. - Vera Bradova
Introduction in Norwegian:
Dette er en artikkel jeg første gang publiserte her på Permaliv i 2012, av Vera Bradova, en av mine gode alexandrinske venner og en av de kvinner jeg beundrer mest, med røtter i Ungarn. Det er nå tid for å hente den fram igjen, da Elin Ørjaseter nylig har publisert et flott bidrag om introversjon: Oppreising for de innadvendte (oppfølging her og her)

Hennes artikkel har fått mye oppmerksomhet, og min kommentar til artikkelen ble godt mottatt. Forståelsen for introversjon må styrkes, og vi introverte må få en mye tydeligere stemme i samfunnsdebatten. I dag opplever vi dessverre både å bli latterliggjort og sykeliggjort over en lav sko, og et introvert adferdsmønster er ikke på noen måte godtatt. På mange måter er vi våre dagers spedalske, dette på tross av at vi er i flertall i samfunnet.

Selv velger jeg å sammenligne oss introverte med laven på trærne, vi sykner hen og forsvinner når noe er galt i omgivelsene, likesom laven er det første som sykner og dør ved luftforurensning. Dette fordi vi har et mye sterkere utviklet sanseapparat enn de ekstroverte, en sanseopplevelse oppleves mangfoldige ganger sterkere av en introvert enn av en ekstrovert, på godt og ondt. I vår moderne verden dessverre stadig mer på ondt. Noe som reflekteres i psykiatrien.

Introverte er lik laven på trærne, vi sykner hen og forsvinner når noe er galt i omgivelsene. Foto: Mehmet Karatay

Bradova sin artikkel er personlig, opplysende og stimulerende, en inspirasjon til en introvert frigjøringskamp også i Norge.

Introduction in English:
I'm proud to re-post this excellent piece by Vera Bradova on my blog. It opened my eyes to why the earth is on the brink of collapse, the basic problem is extrovert people. Extroverts know no limits, and they feel no responsibility to fellow man and nature. These are the people who keep their neighbors awakened in night with loud music and parties, they fill up their gardens with disturbing lights, they drive fast and furious. They are the starchitects, our politicians and the leaders of the corporations. They know how to get all the attention, to outmaneuver the introverts, and worst of all, we are genetically programmed to vote for and hang around the extroverts. Only super-egos rule the world!

This in spite of that the extroverts are a minority. And as they have the definition power they try to label introversion as a sickness. We introverts should not tolerate this oppression anymore. It's time for the introverts to take over the world. We are the only hope for the future of humanity!

Originally published on Leaving Babylon.

Introvert Liberation
Introversion — along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness — is now a second class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. – Susan Cain
Remember the heady days when we non-smokers finally stood up for ourselves and our way in the world? Once we linked together in awareness, once we began to empower one another and to affirm our boundaries toward smokers and their inconsiderate, stinky, illness-promoting behaviors, the world changed. I believe we are now at another such momentous juncture: introverts rising!

For too long have we been relegated to second class molluscs in the extroverts’ oyster-world. They are the ones catered to, celebrated and accommodated; we, on the other hand, are mostly invisible, sometimes ridiculed, and always expected to adapt, to assimilate, to come out of our shells, to get better at extroverting so we can blend in.

But our day has arrived. We are half! We now know that introverts comprise slightly more than 50% of the population. The stats may even edge upwards as more introverts come out of the closet. We are not some small, socially impaired minority of wallflowers and geeky recluses. The socially impaired ones are the extroverts, if you ask me in my high dudgeon, who can’t seem to get that fast talking without pauses is a royal pain, who are oblivious to the needs of half of their fellows, who not only talk too much but say too little, listen poorly, and ignore signs of distress in those who would like to have a word in edgewise. And that’s only the beginning of my shit list. Say… wasn’t it reckless extroverts who gave us the 2008 financial collapse?

Just the other day, I realized who stole my beloved fireworks. When I was growing up, the magic of the swoosh and pop then the sudden bloom of color in the night sky never failed to take my breath away. Fast forward to America: the colors and shapes are even more magnificent, the bloom morphs from one color to another… what a delight. Until I get close, get battered by the cannonade of rat-a-tat-tat boom-flash-flash-flash-boom that sends birds, dogs, cats and introverts fleeing, if not for their lives, then for their sanity. Another lovely bit of my world, trampled by the heavy hooves of the extrovert herd.

Let’s face it: extroverts have taken over. Highly represented among the egos who have pushed the excesses of modernity on the rest of us, they wage war on peace and quiet, war on silence, war on darkness. They push speed and razzle-dazzle, playing havoc with our senses. And how much of the assault on nature is really carried forward by the extroverts’ overly ambitious and aggressive ways of dealing with the obstacles they encounter? How many problems of industrial civilization are due to the extroverts’ tendency to act now and think about it later, if at all? How much has privileging extroversion along with the relentless promotion of rapturous gregariousness and compulsory optimism cost us all in health, authenticity, and integrity?

Extroverts’ hunger for more and more stimulation is depriving the rest of us of our accustomed ways of gathering energy amidst tranquility, amidst solitude. They’ve been killing “our world,” and we won’t put up with it any more!

The Atlantic published an article in 2003 that garnered its author, Jonathan Rauch, more letters from readers than anything else he’s ever published. It provided the first spark.

Also interesting, the Top Ten Myths about Introverts.

A quick free test for introversion/extroversion that also pegs your Myers-Briggs type.

There are several books out worth reading, none heavily recommended, but each imparting an important message. Psychologist Laurie Helgoe went to the trouble of digging up the results of the best, most recent, randomized, large group studies identifying introversion. The first group came in at 50.7%, the next at 57%. Her book, Introvert Power, is worth checking out just for that chapter alone.

Quiet by Susan Cain contains lots of research, and a scary chapter on the cult of extroversion promoted by the likes of Tony Robbins seminars, the Harvard Business School, and evangelical megachurches. Yup, dontcha know, extroverts are God’s and capitalists’ favorite people!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vil kaptein Bongard forlate skuta?

Terje Bongard,
en dyktig kaptein.
Forlater han nå
det synkende skip
Jula 2013 var ei god tid, og jeg trodde det nye året ville bli en velsignelse. Dessverre har 2014 vært fulgt av katastrofe på katastrofe. Det begynte med at jeg et par dager ut i det nye året fikk en forferdelig knekk i ryggen, og ble liggende på teppet i stua i flere dager uten mulighet til å reise meg eller komme meg ned for å ta et bad. I løpet av året har det også blitt klart for meg at vi trolig vil måtte forlate "lommenabolaget" vårt. Tidlig på våren ble historiens viktigste forskningsprosjekt, MEDOSS, nøkkelen til vår sivilisasjons overlevelse, arrogant og respektløst avvist av Norges forskningsråd. I går mottok jeg en e-post fra Terje Bongard hvor han gir uttrykk for at han overveier å oppgi sitt prosjekt for å vie seg til familien. Jeg forstår ham så vel etter trøkken fra Norges forskningsråd og all den motbøren han ellers har møtt. Han har jo også blitt bestefar, og når jeg ser hvor mye bestefarkontakten betyr for mitt eget barn er det forståelig om han velger å prioritere denne rollen.

Kaptein Bongard forlater et synkende skip, Jorden. Fremskrittets tid er forbi og vi har begynt på den tunge vegen mot vår sivilisasjons endelikt. Som en flokk sauer uten hyrde kaster vi oss utfor stupet. Det var kun InnGruppe-Demokratiet (IGD) som kunne reddet oss. Ja visst, nye menneskelige sivilisasjoner vil reise seg om tusener av år, og etter menneskets tid vil vi bli etterfulgt av andre intelligente vesener på jorden. Men vår sivilisasjon vil svinne hen, og i følge John Michael Greer vil verdens befolkning flate ut på 200-300 millioner i løpet av de neste 200-300 år, gjennom store lidelser. Vi vil da igjen leve i primitive stammegrupper. Alternativet, som Terje Bongard tilbød oss, var et avansert og høyteknologisk stammesamfunn i samsvar med menneskets adferdsbiologi.

Dagens demokrati blir mer og mer likt et skuebrød, og det er kun de ureflekterte og/eller hjernevaskede som har troen på vårt nåværende liksomdemokrati. Det er også meningsløst med et demokrati som ikke inkluderer selveste eksistensgrunnlaget vårt!
Dessverre har ikke mennesket nedarvede adferdstrekk som gir oss evnen til å ta hensyn til eller ta inn over oss den globale miljøtrusselen, da det var de ubegrensede og grenseløse som ble våre forfedre.
Rett før jeg mottok den triste beskjeden fra Bongard hadde jeg postet en kommentar hos, som tilsvar til et brilliant svar av J.A. Arnfinsen til meg:
Takk for svar! Personlig tror jeg Terje Bongards InnGruppe-Demokrati (IGD) kan fange opp både det nære og det sentrale. Michel Bauwens snakker mye om å skape en partnerstat, men med IGD blir vi selv denne partnerstaten, det blir intet skille mellom oss og staten.

Nesten hver gang jeg presenterer IGD for noen reagerer de automatisk med å hevde at dette er en form for maoisme. Men det er det stikk motsatte, da fundamentet for IGD er små selvorganiserende inngrupper, hvor staten, demokratiet og beslutningsprosessene bygges nedenfra og opp.
The Commons is a regime for managing common-pool resources that eschews individual property rights and State control. It is a system of governance that relies on common property arrangements that tend to be Commonsself-organized and enforced in complex and sometimes idiosyncratic ways (which distinguish it from communism, a top-down, State-directed mode of governance whose historical record has been unimpressive). – David Bollier
Så jeg tror med deg at den raskeste veien til global bevissthet går gjennom det nære og personlige, med inngruppa som både personlig og politisk virkemiddel. Dessverre virker nok denne visjonen meget skremmende på mange i vårt individualiserte samfunn.

Inngruppa vil videre være et fremragende verktøy for å trene oss alle til å bli fremragende konfliktløsere istedenfor fremragende konkurrenter, slik vi blir det gjennom vårt markedsorienterte tankegods. Selv har jeg en lei tendens til å forverre en konflikt istedenfor å løse den, og kjenner meg komplett inkompetent.

Så gjenstår det store spørsmålet, hvordan skape entusiasme for IGD? Et spørsmål jeg grubler svært mye på.
Uten Bongard som kaptein vurderer jeg selv også å kaste inn årene. Jeg er ikke på noen måte skikket til å ta over føringen av skuta for Terje Bongard, jeg ønsket kun å gjøre mitt beste som mannskap. Er det noen der ute som kan ta på seg denne oppgaven? Den viktigste oppgaven i vår tid, en skjebnetid for vår sivilisasjons framtidige eksistens!

Er det noen der ute som kjenner seg kallet til å overta roret etter kaptein Bongard?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Answer to Michel Bauwens about Me

Michel Bauwens asked me some questions, I share my answer with my readers so you too can know a little more about me and my situation now.

Yes, my family were into wood working industry for five generations, and I've been exposed from dust since my teen ages. My father too, and he was even smoking for many years. Probably my genes were weaker, so I got a chronic inflammation and wanted to sell the factory when my father retired. Anyway, my brother runs it now, he doesn't like working but is good with data and marketing. I don't want to stay in an office, so I just drive some goods a couple of days a week now, so I'm not exposed to dust anymore. These are just fine trips, I bring my camera and make pictures for Wikimedia Commons, and have no stress.

I'm already 46 years old. But as I've no higher education I've no aspirations to make any new career, and I prefer to be with my family rather than attending any college. My only aspiration now is to do the little I can to give my daughters a safer world, ruled by the commons through IGD, where biophilia and permaculture is the norm.

As there are many in Norway longing for cooperative settlements I'm sure we someday can return to Norway if we leave. It's just that if I can't have peace of mind here I live now I don't want to settle in another suburban or corbusian setting again. I'm just so tired of it. And Steigan seems to be very happy with his life in Tolfa.

The only thing that worries me is the separation of my daughter and her grandfather, as she's extraordinary fond of her grandfather, and she asks every day about if we can visit him.

Kind regards,
Øyvind Holmstad
The only thing that holds me back is the strong relationship between my daughter and her grandfather. If we have to move to Tolfa I hope he will come to us rather than Spain, and we will of course visit them every summer.

It's really a pity that the whole of Norway is destroyed by modernist ideology, so that we are unable to live here. But there are so many young people here now dreaming of something better, so I've strong hopes I can bring my family back to Norway some day.

Also see my article Tolfa in Italy: A Future Hub for the Commons in Europe?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How Individual Health is Connected to Community Health

By Jay Walljasper from On the Commons. Published at P2P-Foundation here.

Public health and community health linked in three projects in the Twin Cities

There is growing recognition in the medical field that maintaining good health means more than taking care of yourself and getting regular medical check ups. Healthy living conditions and strong community cohesion foster healthy neighborhoods, while inequality, discrimination, crime, pollution, traffic, isolation, and a sense of powerlessness contribute to disease. It’s difficult to improve people’s overall health without addressing the social, economic and racial issues where they live.

The image is from Sørum Økogrend, Norway

Indeed, you can think of health as a commons in which we all have a stake in maintaining.

A book by Walljasper

In many low-income communities, for instance, residents make more visits to emergency rooms and participate less in preventive health programs. There is less access to health care and wellness services. Fewer people carry health insurance that pays for doctor visits, surgery and medication. Local stores stock less wholesome food and fewer exercise facilities are available. The stress from financial pressures and holding down two or three jobs can makes people more susceptible to disease, accidents and chemical dependency. The close social connections that have been shown to strengthen health are often missing because neighbors move frequently.

“Your zip code affects your health as much as your genetic code,” notes Mary Wheeler, program officer at the Twin Cities office of the Local Initiative Support Corporation, a national organization that helps communities working collaboratively on transformative solutions to their problems.
Indeed, you can think of health as a commons in which we all have a stake in maintaining.
“The social component of health is as important as the medical component,” Wheeler adds. “When you look at how much we are spending on health care in this country you can see that investing in community health can only help us.”

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Min kommentar til samtalen: Å kunne møtes i nærhet er menneskeverdets arnested

Lytt til den gripende samtalen med konfliktrådenes far Nils Christie hos Levevei:

Å kunne møtes i nærhet er menneskeverdets arnested

Jeg ble svært glad over Christies engasjement for småkommunene. Har selv hatt noe kontakt med Pål Steigan i det seinere, som har bosatt seg i Tolfa:

Han kan fortelle at i denne byen opplever han en unik nærhet, og å ta en uformell prat med ordføreren på plazaen over en kaffekopp er helt naturlig. Dette mener jeg har sammenheng med det tolvte alexandrinske mønster; COMMUNITY OF 7000:

Individuals have no effective voice in any community of more than 5000-10,000 persons.

Decentralize city governments in a way that gives local control to communities of 5,000 to 10,000 persons. As nearly as possible, use natural geographic and historical boundaries to mark these communities. Give each community the power to initiate, decide, and execute the affairs that concern it closely: land use, housing, maintenance, streets, parks, police, schooling, welfare, neighborhood services. – Christopher Alexander

Selv om det kanskje er noe sneversynt mener jeg personlig at de fleste konflikter har sitt opphav i det fysiske, i en mislykket arkitektur. Jeg mener at enten har formspråket og/eller mønsterspråket sviktet.

For ungdom som ikke fanges inn av nettverket er vegen kort til kriminalitet.

Arkitekturen har etter mitt syn tre hovedoppgaver:

A) Å bringe fred mellom mennesker.

B) Å bringe fred mellom mennesket og naturen.

C) Å bringe fred mellom mennesket og Gud.

Selv mener jeg alle disse tre punktene er interrelatert. Skaper ikke arkitekturen en emosjonell tilknytning til Gud, eller hva Alexander kaller "the I", finnes det heller ikke noe håp om nærhet til dine medmennesker, eller til naturen.

Den beste betegnelsen på alt dette lærte jeg nylig: nevro-ergometri.

Vårt samfunn ser mer og mer på mennesket som en maskin, og som del av et maskineri. Men mennesket er først og fremst biologiske og åndelige vesener.

Den beste konfliktløseren er derfor etter mitt syn arkitekturen.

Alexander opplevde dette med Eishin Campus, hvor skoleledelsen kuttet ut reglementet som følge av en harmoniserende arkitektur.

Inntil vi som samfunn når dit håper jeg virkelig konfliktrådet kan spille en avgjørende rolle som et møtested mellom mennesker, og ikke som en forlengelse av den modernistiske liberalismen og eksperttyrraniet!

BBC Documentary: A Farm for the Future

Saturday, July 5, 2014

En ny generasjon av unge kvinnelige grønnbloggere

Er rosabloggerne på veg ut, og ser vi en ny generasjon av unge kvinnelige grønnbloggere ta deres plass?

Inntil nylig var jeg ikke klar over denne underskogen av vakre, unge, kvinnelige grønnbloggere. De er ikke fanatiske miljøvernere, men opptatt av klær og design lik rosabloggerne, men hvor de lager sine egne vidunderlige kjoler av naturtekstiler og gjenbruk. Og de drømmer ikke om stor barbie-villa i suburbia, men om et lite halmhus i et fellesskap, i et natursamfunn eller en økolandsby. Hvor de kan ha en urtehage og praktisere permakultur. Jeg simpelthen elsker disse jentene!

Her er et lite utvalg grønnbloggere:

Mitt håp er at min egen datter en dag skal bli en grønnblogger. Blir hun rosablogger vil dette kjennes som en skuffelse, og jeg vil ha sviktet som far. Enn så lenge får jeg forsøke å påvirke henne så godt jeg kan i positiv retning, ved å ta henne med på turer etc. Dessverre har vi ikke noe natursamfunn vi kan flytte inn i, hvor hun virkelig kunne fått utvikle seg til en grønnalv.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Trafikkstøy skader helsen

(Ill. Quieter Cities of the Future av Tor Kihlmann m.fl.)

Trafikkstøy er det nest største miljøproblemet i EU, ifølge Verdens Helseorganisasjon, WHO. Etter luftforurensning, påvirker støy helsen mest. Trafikkstøy er i dag knyttet til stressrelaterte helseskader som hjerneslag og hjertesykdom. I tillegg kan ergrelse, søvnforstyrrelser, diabetes og depresjon ha sammenheng med støy.

Biler produserer like mye utvendig støy som de gjorde for 40 år siden, selv om tunge kjøretøy blitt noe roligere. Antallet personer som utsettes for støy i byer er fortsatt høyt.

En ny rapport viser hvordan negative helseeffekter av støy kan reduseres. Flere virkemidler er lettest å iverksette i tette byer.

Mange av de nødvendige tiltakene er ofte i tråd med det som skal til for å takle klimaendringene: som anskaffelse av stillegående offentlig transport, redusert hastighet og bruk av bygninger som effektive støyskjermer, gjennom god byplanlegging.

- Men lovgivningen for å beskytte innbyggerne mot helseskadelig støy er helt utilstrekkelig. Dagens metoder for å måle og beskrive utslipp av støy er ikke sett fra de utsatte innbyggernes synspunkt, sier professor emeritus Tor Kihlman ved anvendt akustikk ved Chalmers teknologiske universitet i Gøteborg.

Det fins ingen enkel, teknisk løsning for å løse problemet med trafikkstøy, hverken opphavet til støyen eller for å hindre støy fra å nå ørene. For å oppnå forbedringer er samordnede tiltak fra alle involverte parter nødvendig, men slik koordinering mangler i dag. Ansvarsfordelingen er uklar, sier Tor Kihlman.

Sist høst tok han og Wolfgang Kropp initiativ til et møte mellom internasjonal bilindustrien, universiteter og offentlige instanser i Innsbruck for å diskutere hvordan man kan oppnå bedre bymiljø.

Original artikkel her.

Trafikkstøy er ikke kun et problem i byene, men også på landsbygda, som her ved Grue i Hurdal. På bygda er det også langt flere rånåre enn i byen, med bassanlegg og fri eksos. Trafikken i Hurdal er voldsom sett opp mot den lille befolkningen. Dette skyldes at nærbutikken og grendeskolen er en saga blott, samt at innbyggerne ikke lenger arbeider på hjemstedet. Vegen er også altfor stor og utrivelig, den oppfordrer til fart.

Jeg har et lite prosjekt, nemlig å oppføre gabioner rundt gården Grue i en slik høyde at støyen kastes over takmønet. Regner ikke med støtte for dette, men denne artikkelen hos kan muligens bringe større forståelse?
Miljøstasjonen ved COOP i Hurdal, hver gang et glass knuses skjærer det i sjela. Ved å løse et miljøproblem skaper man et nytt, her helseskadelig støy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 Velkommen til de døde byer, hvis vi lar bilene dominere

Den tidligere bilfantasten Arnfinn Christensen har skrevet en av Norges beste artikler om urbanisme:

Velkommen til de døde byer, hvis vi lar bilene dominere

Personlig tror jeg Christensen har endret mening som en følge av mine kommentarer til hans bilentusiastiske artikler hos Der bilen dominerer dør menneskesjela. Det gjør meget godt å se at mitt engasjement nytter. Tidligere har jeg klart å inspirere programlederen av, J.A. Arnfinsen, til å bli alexandriner, en følger av Christopher Alexander. Nå ser det jammen også ut til at jeg har fått med meg Christensen i kampen mot bilismen, en av vår tids farligste ismer.

For min egen by Gjøvik har bilen frarøvet oss kontakten med Mjøsa, innlandets dronning. Vi verdsetter bilen høyere enn vår blå dronning!

Gjøvik har ofret innlandets dronning på bilens alter, eller kanskje skal vi si panser...

Dessverre har bilens dominans svekket livskvaliteten i hjørnet av mitt eget "lommenabolag", hvor plassen mellom husene er en såkalt "ikke-plass" eller "non-place", dominert av bilen og et anti-fraktalt, angstfremmende asfaltteppe.

Dette er bare trist...

Selv slektsgården min har bilen ødelagt, er det rart at jeg hater bilismen.

Det som skulle vært min slektsgård i Hurdal er innhyllet i trafikkstøy

Christensen fremhever i artikkelen den viktige urbanisten Jan Gehl, som er hovedansvarlig for at København er en av verdens mest menneskevennlige byer, hvor sykkelen, ikke bilen, har førsteprioritet.

Jahn Gehl har også skrevet klassikeren Livet mellem husene

Selv kjente jeg ikke til denne boka, så jeg vil takke Christensen for å ha gjort meg oppmerksom på den.

Bilen er Norges største skadedyr, og kampen mot bilens dominans vil utvilsomt bli vanskeligere enn kampen mot barkebillene i sin tid. Ikke minst fordi vi har gjort oss selv til slaver av dette monsteret. Bilen river simpelthen i filler livene våre!

Et godt sted å starte i kampen for en bilfri verden er

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tolfa in Italy: A Future Hub for the Commons in Europe?

Posted at the P2P-Blog on June 25, 2014.

Tolfa is a beautiful town in Italy, in the Tolfa Mountains, with 95 percent of its surrounding land owned as a commons by the people. Here’s a brand new video giving an overview of the place:

Tolfa is hosting the italian-norwegian study center, Centro studi italo-norvegese di Tolfa. The town also hosts the Norwegian writer and political activist Pål Steigan, who is running one of the best blogs about current Norwegian society and international affairs. He calls himself a communist, but I see him now as a commoner as he is supporting a kind of bottom up democratic model.
The Commons is a regime for managing common-pool resources that eschews individual property rights and State control. It is a system of governance that relies on common property arrangements that tend to be Commonsself-organized and enforced in complex and sometimes idiosyncratic ways (which distinguish it from communism, a top-down, State-directed mode of governance whose historical record has been unimpressive). – David Bollier
Model of a self-organized bottom-up society, where small cooperative groups are the foundation for the state as a whole. Every resilient system is organized this way.

What makes Tolfa unique is that 95 percent of the surrounding land is owned as a commons, the town is mostly consisting of a resilient traditional architecture of integration (there are a few anxiety-inducing corbusian apartment blocks at its outskirts), and it has a perfect population size for participating local democracy.
Individuals have no effective voice in any community of more than 5000-10,000 persons. 
Decentralize city governments in a way that gives local control to communities of 5,000 to 10,000 persons. As nearly as possible, use natural geographic and historical boundaries to mark these communities. Give each community the power to initiate, decide, and execute the affairs that concern it closely: land use, housing, maintenance, streets, parks, police, schooling, welfare, neighborhood services. – Christopher Alexander
From what I’ve understood the ongoing slow collapse of industrial society has hit Tolfa hard, making them open for new solutions. With the towns unique position this situation should be taken for an opportunity to turn something bad into something good, making Tolfa an example for the commons and cooperative solutions for Italy, Europe and the world.

I therefore encourage commoners and permaculturists all over Europe to turn their eyes to Tolfa. Seeing the vast meadows and greenery surrounding Tolfa in the above video, just imagining what possibilities there might be for food forests and permaculture. And imagining all the possibilities for cooperation as a result of the towns traditional street network.

Pål Steigan has told he has some ongoing initiatives for strengthening the local economy of Tolfa, from what I understand these are in a commons spirit. He might be a key person for transforming Tolfa into an inspiration and a hub for the commons movement in Europe.

Unfortunately the Wikipedia article covering Tolfa is miserable. The article covering my town was just as bad, but over the last months I made 40 photos for upgrading it. I hope someone can do the same for Tolfa?

This was a small introduction to Tolfa and the huge possibilities I think lay latent there for realizing the commons paradigm in Italy and Europe.

Tolfa, the future home of my family?


I might move to Tolfa to help Pål Steigan strengthening the commons there, and to find peace to finish my book. Steigan has been kind to offer help settling there. First I'll wait for the birth of my new daughter, who seems to be a copy of my first daughter Rebecca, and then we have to baptize her. If I by then not feel sure I can have peace to continue my mission from here, I'll bring my family to Italy. My daughter anyway looks like a mediterranean princess, and if they are half as fond of children there as they were in Prague, I'm sure she'll be welcomed as one as well.

A coming princess of the Tolfa Mountains?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Clash of Harmony

A building of a single color or without any color at all has color harmony, so H5 = 2. If different colors are used, one has to estimate how well the various hues blend to create an overall color harmony. Even with bright colors, a harmonious ensemble has H5 = 2. The departure from a unified color effect – something unbalanced, clashing, or garish – lowers H5 to zero. - Nikos A. Salingaros

The blue roof beside the Charles Bridge was something of the most annoying at my trip to Prague. It totally clashed with the enormous wholeness of the place.

Mala Strana, Prague. There's no blue roof here, the wholeness of the place is complete.

The notion of “life” in architecture is due to Alexander (3), who has worked very hard to achieve it in his own buildings (16, 17, 18). Our formulation attempts to codify some of Alexander’s results. More than just creating a utilitarian structure, mankind strives to approach the intrinsic qualities of biological forms in its traditional and vernacular architectures. This result is not obvious, because very few buildings actually copy living forms: the resemblance is obtained by raising L via the structural temperature and harmony.

Starting initially from a traditionalist point of view, Charles, the Prince of Wales has also discovered style-independent rules that raise the architectural life. He calls these his ten principles (10). Although the approach and details are different, these developments are supported both by Alexander’s results, and by the model of this paper. The links between biological and architectural life are now being recognized formally. We are witnessing a convergence of ideas coming from several different directions, and forming an entirely new approach to architecture.

One class of examples of artificial objects that mimic living forms is beautiful self-similar fractal curves. The design temperature T of fractal curves is very high; the harmony H is also very high because they are self-similar (any portion, when magnified by a fixed factor, looks exactly like the original form) (4). Therefore, they have a high degree of architectural life L . As is well-known, fractal pictures resembling natural objects provide excellent representations(4), and this property serves to support our model.

The connection between biological life and architecture arises from the thermodynamics of living forms. Life is the result of an enormous amount of purposeful complication. Biological organisms are marvelously connected on all different levels, and they are characterized by very high design temperature and harmony. The connective thought processes underlying cognition themselves mimic the thermodynamic and connective structures that are characteristic of living forms. This helps to explain our instinct to relate to forms having a high degree of architectural life.

The architectural temperature mimics the activity of life processes, which is highly organized and structured. It should not be surprising that living beings instinctively copy the intrinsic qualities of living systems in their own creations. How can humans put an image of life into a building? Apart from figurative icons and statues, we work with emotions: structures are carefully tailored to generate positive psychological and physiological responses. Far from merely being a plausible hypothesis, this model suggests that humans have a basic need to raise the architectural life of their environment. - Nikos A. Salingaros
I strongly recommend reading carefully the whole essay by my good friend professor Nikos A. Salingaros!

Life and Complexity in Architecture From a Thermodynamic Analogy

This illustration is added to the essay as published in A Theory of Architecture

The architecture by Vltava in Prague is clustered in the upper corner, while the architecture of the fjord city Oslo is on the bottom line

The new face of the fjord city Oslo, here is almost no life. The architecture is following the line between minimalism and deconstructivism, no traditional symmetries or patterns are to be found. An extreme expression of nihilism and anti-nature.

The architecture of the river city Prague is all clustering in the upper corner of the triangle, full of life. 

Only in the archipelago of Lofoten in Northern Norway I've experienced the same overwhelming wholeness as I did in Prague, as they are both an unfolding of the 15 geometric properties as nature unfolds through. Lofoten and Prague is the same thing, the same properties unfolding into an extreme wholeness, both making us in touch with the "I", or God.
Stemming from evidence-based design, neuroergonomics is a discipline that merges neuroscience and ergonomics in order to match design with human biological and psycho-neuro-immunological wellness. It scientifically upholds the call for a human-centred design by overhauling the user experience design, because it measures the real psycho-physical effects regardless of fashion, ideology, culture, or current use. - Stefano Serafini

Sunday, June 15, 2014

In Search of the Commons

Puplished at, USA, on June 10, 2014. Published at P2P-Foundation on June 7, 2014.

I have the pleasure to host Petros from Freelab from Lublin in Poland. He is travelling Norway in search of positive and inspirational commons projects of all kinds. People warned me he might be a fortune seeker, but I’ve come to learn he’s true, and not at least a very important evangelist of the commons. When I learned he has cooperated with international “stars” like David Bollier, already translating his new book Think Like a Commoner into Polish language, making it downloadable for free, I was amazed about his efforts. Yesterday he found the book Creating a Life Together by Diana Leafe Christian in my bookshelf, and he behaved like he had found a diamond, wanting to translate this book into Polish as well. It’s a big inspiration to have such a devoted commoner visiting you, as the market thought and individualism is about to suffocate Norway.

Petros visited me on the recommendation of Michel Bauwens, and he thought I had some interesting projects going on. I was sorry to disappoint him. My most important project is to set up a number of articles at, which I eventually hope to work into a book about a new ingroup society based on an idea by Terje Bongard. But I’m happy that I can offer him an excellent weather at his stay here.

Petros and my wife strolling in the nice weather

Me: You told me that you were a rich man with your own company in software and internet security, but that during the financial crisis you went bankrupt and lost everything, including your house and your wife. From what I understand this experience has changed your life dramatically, and eventually inspired you to devote your life to the worldwide commons project. Can you tell me more about this experience?

Petros: Actually I already had a plan to sell my company some day and to turn towards social activity. Many entrepreneurs share such dreams. In 2011 I became financially broke, but I did make it through this period of time thanks to my partner Natasha, who I do now live with. Then we decided to turn this situation into an opportunity.

Getting “through the viewing glass” into the out-of-the Matrix world we learned three fundamental things:
  1. One has to have a clear goal for one’s life. We didn’t want to leave Poland for search of a better life, but to stay here doing something good for our community. 
  2. One should not engage in any kind of criminal activity, so to keep the moral and personal integrity intact. 
  3. One should search for kindred spirits and cooperate with them, as no one will survive alone. 
The good thing about losing everything is that it forces you to become flexible and to search for new opportunities. Many people become stuck in life, and having money and a comfortable life keep you from taking chances.

Me: Can you tell a little about your community in Poland?

Petros: In September 2013 we joined a newly established urban community, known as the “Independent Social Center Cicha 4″ ( The goal of Cicha 4 is to provide space and facilities for all off-mainstream groups in Lublin, trying to develop freedom-oriented, noncommercial initiatives. This is 100% informal community, with no external financing, except from the member groups’ contribution. Our role was to support the adaptation and maintenance of the building, supervise it over the winter, as well as to help the community grow and stabilize. We achieved it with certain amount of personal struggle, and now the growing group of young people will take it over, leaving us free to follow our new projects.

Me: You mentioned there is a difference between your P2P (peer to peer) – approach and the one of Michel Bauwens. Can you specify this?

Petros: With Michel, as I see it, we are working on the same issues, but from opposite angles. P2P approach focuses on (loosely understood) the production area, only indirectly influencing social life beyond that. It says, sort of, “let’s make automobiles, or launch satellites, the better, more humane way”. Of course, if people change the way they interact in the production area, they consequently will change the way they live the rest of their lives.

My approach (we consider it “anarcho-positivism”) goes the opposite way. Beginning from the “ex-work” social life, we try to establish – for each given community – the way to fulfill its members’ needs. Some of them can be fulfilled through the community-managed consumption (traditional commons: water, wood, food); some – by the way of prosumption (distributed generation of electricity); some, finally, via P2P production and exchange of goods. However, to us, the primary factor is the desired structure of needs.

Of course, what we do at Freelab is much less advanced or expanded than what P2P Foundation does. I admire Michel’s energy and efficiency – we could use somebody like him in our anarchopositivist movement as well.

Me: The encapsulation of the former fishing commons in Norway is a disaster, as they are more and more held by a few companies and billionaires. There's a revolt against this tragedy among the coastal communities these days.

Before you arrived here you had been to the area of Flekkefjord in Southern Norway. I’m happy to learn that they have not yet managed to kill of the communal spirit of the old fishing communities. Can you please share your most important observations seen from a commons perspective?

Petros: I visited a couple old fishing places in Southern Norway and realized that the only part of the industry that is still alive is the angling trip organization. One of the old fishermen told me that now the biggest catch in his nets is always a fresh set of fishing hooks that the German anglers lose perpetually. “We do not buy hooks anymore.” he said. But this is not enough to save the traditional fishing in Norway. As long as there is no way for a fisherman to sell the catch directly; as long as local fish stores lose their market to networked hypermarkets; as long as the local community has no say about local pooled resources, there is no hope.

Photo: Øyvind Holmstad / Wikimedia Commons

To me, as a commoner, cooperatist and anarchopositivist, it is quite obvious that some sort of revolution is needed. Local resources should be returned to local communities. Fishermen’s cooperatives should be formed and should be given the right (and responsibility) to manage fishing areas, with the priority of rebuilding resources and keeping them sustainable & resilient. The fishing quota should be locally defined – with some help from scientific experts – and distributed. Most of the technological processes should be performed locally (food is considered local if it travels not more than 80 km between the producer and final consumer). Only highly processed products should leave local community areas.

Cooperatives should take over the whole vertical chain of production and distribution. This will keep money and management close to the source of goods – and to the people. This is the approach we applied in our concept of the industrial hemp reintroduction in Poland. And it works very well.

In this kind of revolution, money would flow, instead of blood. But I believe, as it concerns the most traditional and culturally important industry in Norway, it would be a really good way to spend some oil money to support local communities throughout the country.

Me: From my point of view all people will naturally become commoners if the architecture is right. I will quota a little piece of Christopher Alexander showing that he has a very strong P2P-approach:
My conclusion is that careful construction of the world, according to the principle that every center is made to be related to the true I of the maker, will result in a world which is practical, harmonious, functional. If this is true, astonishingly then, it would appear that the safest road to the creation of living structure is one in which people do what is most nearly in their hearts: that they make each part in such a way that it reflects their true feeling, in such a way that it makes them feel wholesome in themselves and is, in this sense, related in the deepest way to their own true I.

For someone educated in the 20th-century way of looking at the world, this is enigmatic, if not ridiculous. It means that a world constructed in the most personal and individual fashion, made by people who are searching deeply to follow the nature of their own true I, their own true selves, will be – in the most public, objective, and universal sense – a world which is functional, adequate and harmonious.

The enigma which arises, then, is that the process by which human beings create the world in their own image, gradually creates a living world, and this is – apparently – the best, and most efficient way in which a living world can be created. Of course, the phrase “in their own image” requires that it be the true self they are looking for; and implies that this larger process of building the world cannot be separated from each person’s personal search for the true self. — Christopher Alexander, The Luminous Ground, page 142
Here in Norway it is almost completely illegal to form the world in your own true image. We might call ourselves a free country, celebrating the 200-years anniversary for our constitution this year, but as we on a community level are not free to form our own environments, we are in my opinion not free at all, or at the best only half free. Do you agree that this freedom to form your own community physically is of the uttermost importance to creating a new realm of the commons?

Petros: On this issue I have mixed feelings. We are all interdependent, so the “absolute freedom” – especially in the space shaping – is dangerous. The Lockean concept of property “absolute, despotic domain over something” became the core of the market nightmare we are trying to awake from. However, as an anarchist, I fully support the position, that the state should not be allowed to intervene, at least as long as the local community can manage things. As David Bollier brilliantly points out, there are several levels of commons, and we have yet to develop ways of managing them all. Let’s consider water. There is an irrigation system (the common resource), managed by a community. But there is also a river, which is the source of water for several irrigation systems and which is a commons in itself. Then, we have the drainage basin, feeding the river, comprising also several various common-resource systems. They are all heavily interdependent. So it is a governance problem, how to distribute freedom (or its constraints) evenly – or justly.

David Bollier develops a very interesting concept, involving the state as a guardian of the commons. I am less enthusiastic about that. But I admit that the problem of interdependence is probably the biggest issue we face in the commons movement.

I want to add that Petros has not read Alexanders A Pattern Language. In it Alexander makes a system where the lower patterns are connected to patterns of higher order, just like the small creek is connected to the river, the lake and eventually the whole watershed. When a community follows the Pattern Language there’s no chance it will harm the larger community. If it harms the community they are applying anti-patterns, something that should not be allowed. In Alexander’s latest book, The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth, he shows how they used the Pattern Language to engage the whole school, teachers and students, to make a beautiful pattern language as the basis for the construction of the campus.

For further insight see the article “Peer-to-Peer Themes and Urban Priorities for the Self-organizing Society“, by Nikos A. Salingaros

Me: You have also been to Greece. As I see it their crisis has made them long and reach for the commons, while Norway’s wealth and self-confidence rather has made us leave the commons. In spite of Greece’s crisis, do you think Greece is heading for a better future than Norway in the long run?

Petros: Assuming we share the same meaning of the word “better”, I would say that close cooperation would benefit both sides. Greece is right now a bustling social laboratory, with hundreds, if not thousands of various initiatives – not just in the commons area. Studying them and learning from their successes (I am less interested in failures) would give an edge to Norwegian future initiatives. In Greece there is a growing theoretical reflection upon their grass-root experience. And they definitively could use some scholarship money in this area. If Norway can import so many goods, why not import some useful knowledge, for a change?

The bottom line is again – no society can thrive alone. As it was phrased by a Russian anarchist, Count Piotr Kropotkin: “Cooperative species thrive, uncooperative perish.”

Me: What are the plans for the rest of your journey throughout Norway?

Petros: I plan to stay in Norway till September, with occasional trip to Sweden, perhaps. Later, if my talk is accepted, I will also attend the conference “Enlightened Anarchism” in Lapland University, Rovaniemi, Finland. Until then, it all depends on funding available. My basic plan is to stay around Gjøvik for at least a couple weeks, getting involved in local community life (I plan to take part in certain “dugnad” activities). If I raise enough money, I will then head North, at least up to Trondheim. If I am extremely lucky in earning money, I would also like to see Tromsø and northern communities, before I leave.

But even if not this time, I already know I will return next year to continue my fascinating Norwegian adventure with the commons and grassroots communities.

Petros tent in my backyard

Follow Petros journey through Norway here.