on October 7, 2015
The book was a little disappointing. It's a re-write of their earlier book, with some new material. The thing I keep looking for in the literature on Living Machines is some kind of prescription, "if the purpose of your machine is x, then assemble y, z, and w." But maybe it can't be done that way: maybe what the Todds were doing was just to find as many different organisms as they could, and mix them all together, hoping that the system would evolve in not too long a time into the thing that was wanted. Can't be called engineering that way, but maybe a new term is necessary for this technique.
BTW, the drawings in the book are excellent.
on April 6, 2004
While I find Dr. Todd's work inspiring, this time around I was disappointed by this particular book. There isn't much new in it since the 1985 publication of Bioshelters, Ocean Arks, and City Farming: Ecology as the Basis of Design. For example, Eco-Cities lifted at times the same paragraphs and sentences from Bioshelters when describing the Cape Cod Ark, the Margaret Mead sailing boat, the Lindisfarne Hamlet, and rooftop gardens.
If you haven't read the 1985 book, then I could see how Eco-Cities deserves a throrough reading. If you have read Bioshelters than I would not purchase the new book, Eco-Cities, but take a glance at it at your local library instead.
I'm currently trying to organize an association in Paris, France to build an apartment complex using the ideas found in both Bioshelters and Eco-Cities. But I'm finding it difficult to gather concrete examples, blueprints, or even contact numbers for architectural firms with the experience to do so. I'd like to encourage the folks at Ocean Arks International to publish a book like Eco-Cities but move past concepts and give us a technological guide for actually creating eco-cities.