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FORUM GUEST INVITATION : A book that changed my life

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When approached by Le Mauricien to write about a publication that changed my life, a few titles popped up, but interestingly most of them were from the same author, Nikos Salingaros. As a buoyant and new graduate from high school, and relieved to have left the pedantic world of high school behind, I was brimming with enthusiasm when I finally attended university to join the other avid learners of architecture….

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Speech to the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Fremantle Town Centre

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In the face of Climate Change, we need to widen the scope of our vision together, from our own homes here in Australia, to look at the problems our world is facing on a global scale. The challenges are many, and we have yet to forge a clear pathway of solutions together. Our world and our environment is a single organism: it is the very foundation of our being. And…

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The moral dilemma of political and cultural leadership: A call for action

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Mankind has a rich history in its wake. That history is a canvas depicting periods of tyranny alternating with peace, periods of suffering and collapse, and periods of triumphant glimpses of democracy. Through all those poignant eras, one cannot fail to notice the passion fuelling those men who waged a war for a greater cause; a passion borne of a common vision for humanity and the preservation of our future…

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A global plea for the survival of the Small Island Developing States

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A Speech on the occasion of the Global People’s Climate March, in Perth.   In the face of Climate Change, we need to widen the scope of our vision together, from our own homes here in Australia, to look at the problems our world is facing on a global scale. The challenges are many, and we have yet to forge a clear pathway of solutions together. Our world and our…

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Only Connect- A renewable energy future for Small Island Developing States

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This article is based on Zaheer’s keynote address this week to the United Nations Small Island Developing States Multi-Stakeholder & Partnership Dialogues on Sustainable Energy.   While the shift to renewable energy is becoming the obvious choice of the 21st century, as Small Island Developing States, we ourselves must shape our own energy future. As the energy industry impacts climate change, modern energy practices need to be carefully thought on…

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Power in Green: A new ethos and culture

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One of the common arguments against renewable energy is that of initial investment and in a frantic rush, one would tend to think that a large scale renewable project would provide the solution to our energy needs since it is a constant source of energy production. However, broadly, such a proposal would only be beneficial and make economic sense in the local short term. There are more sensible ways to…

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Brad Pettitt, Mayor of Fremantle, Australia : “Your long-term path to success will be based around enhancing what really makes you different

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A Mayor that is loved by its city; someone who loves what he does, cycles to work, promotes community exchange & societal values, and protects cultural heritage; it almost feels too good to be true! Brad Pettitt, Dean of the School Sustainability at Murdoch University & Mayor of the famous Fremantle Port City in Australia, shares with News on Sunday his philosophies oriented towards building a truly healthy and sustainable…

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Harmonising our energy and societal needs

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One would tend to think that a large scale, renewable project would provide the solution to our energy needs since it is a constant source of energy production. However, in a local context, such a proposal would only be beneficial and make economic sense in the local short term. Centralization of our energy production would imply tying all our investment in a singular energy resource. We would have to reconcile…

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Fighting King coal in Indian Ocean Paradise

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Mauritius is a teardrop in the Indian Ocean. Much like the Bahamas, Hawaii and Maldives, it is promoted as the ideal romantic, tropical retreat; blessed with pristine beaches and beautiful landscapes. Our small island is often featured as boasting the best resorts and hospitality on a global scale. Hence, it is of primordial importance to us to keep our star of an island shining bright. In an effort to acknowledge…

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Invasive Aesthetics: A manifesto for reviving Architectural Identity in developing nations

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We have entered an era of ‘modernization’, led by the Western world.  In our times of unprecedented demographic expansion, infrastructural development is racing to meet demand with supply. As architects and designers, we have been pressured to embrace consumerism. Globalization has been adopted as a solution to the problem.  Developing countries have equated economic prosperity and success to the adoption of ‘contemporary architecture’ in a bid to demonstrate leadership and…

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Rethinking our country’s planning: A need for a new urban form

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Mauritius is an island of promise and of prosperity, an island symbolising dreams of brighter tomorrows. But it is also an island that is fast drowning under the burden of whimsical economical faux-pas and infrastructural short-sightedness. Figures garnered by our bureau of statistics reveal that Mauritius harbours 2040 sq km of land and an existing population of 1,233,000. This equates to 604 inhabitants per sq km, thus projecting our small…

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Climate Crisis: A call to power down

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Addressing the National Energy Commission (NEC) on the 15th May 2013   My name is Zaheer Allam and I am known to many in different ways. I am someone’s son, someone’s brother and a friend to many. To scholars, I am a colleague and to stranger’s ears, I am an anonymous voice from the shadows who has been fighting to be heard. Today, I come to you, not as any…

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Exploring a plausible alternative to the current destructive energy consumption ethos in Mauritius.

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Human beings and every facet of human creation thrive on energy at its most quintessential level. And so have we watched with pride as our little island grew and flourished; as it carried the umbrella of independence and economic prosperity and as it embraced global development. However, this veneer of stability is perched on a precarious edge. As it stands, the future of energy production in Mauritius had been thrown…

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Breaking away from the culture of Ethical Dormancy. A wakeup call for utilitarian urban planning in Mauritius.

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We live in an era that is deprived of architectural knowledge and understanding. These flaws become flagrant through our erroneous concept of planning. Indeed, our perception of planning as being merely the application of design and architecture to individualized buildings in the specific context of their natural or urban environment, is close to atavistic. Buildings tend to overwhelm and even subjugate the surrounding natural habitat with no regard for consequences….

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The slow death of the Mauritian Architectural Identity: A call for regenerative Architecture.

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Architects and urban designers have a unique sense of ownership and responsibility in the way that our towns and villages emerge and take shape. With this change of infrastructure comes a change in the way we perceive ourselves and hence a change in our identity. The identity of a place and its relationship to the community matters since it is an intrinsic part of a community’s sense of belonging. Hence,…

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Sustainable Architecture: Utopia or Feasible Reality?

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ABSTRACT This paper delves into the current issues and limitations that outline the modern day architectural teaching and practice. It reveals the unfortunate flaws that arise from our selective and interpretative adoption of the concept of sustainable architecture. The numerous pitfalls in the theory and application of green architecture are brought to light and invites introspection and challenge. We expose our own inequities and question whether we are truly doing…

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21st century Architecture: the desertion of ethos and the promotion of irrationality?

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As a buoyant and new graduate from high school, and relieved to have left the pedantic world of high school behind, I was brimming with enthusiasm when I finally attended university to join the other avid learners of architecture. Architecture, to me, is poetry in motion and from any problem, emerged an assemblage of shapes that are discrete entities in themselves and yet intricately linked. The set up of the…

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Energy supply for a “sustainable” Mauritius: The implications of coal

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Throughout history, the demographic expansion has been correlated and enhanced by a steady growth in our energy production. The smooth running of our current industrial civilization is mostly, if not wholly, dependent on access to mass energy of various types. Should energy availability decline, one could expect serious repercussions on civilization and the human population it supports. In the case of Mauritius, the demographic explosion in urban and rural areas…

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Maurice Ile Durable: The “Coal-troversy”

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The Maurice Ile Durable (MID) campaign was set up by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and had for task of setting up a framework in place to integrate a ten year strategy and an Action Plan with particular focus on factors such as: Energy, Environment, Employment, Education and Equity. This initiative is being promoted in such a way as to reflect all governmental decisions to ensure a sustainable...
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