Thursday, February 13, 2014

Heads of DC Water, DDOE, close Post-Oil City Workshops

For the first time in history, more than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. This new reality raises fundamental questions about water management, water and food security and urban food production. Given the history of urban spaces, soil and water pollution problems are prevalent. They also pose threats to meeting the water and food needs of urban populations as transporting food and water over long distances are inconsistent with the energy and mobility goals of the Post-Oil City and its high efficiency economy. The Post-Oil City must therefore adopt models for achieving water and food security that include reductions in the long-distance transportation, increased urban food production, improved water capture and reuse, and new solutions for an aging and outdated urban infrastructure.

Presented by CAUSES and the Goethe-Institut Washington, Post-Oil City: The History of the City’s Future is an international planning and landscape architecture exhibition that presents paradigms of traditional climate-sensitive construction from the past on display in the field of sustainable urban planning. The innovative solutions for the Post-Oil City were envisioned by architects, planners, designers and engineers from 10 different countries. Embedded within the exhibition were workshops and panels on topics shaping the Post-Oil City of the future including mobility, energy and functionality.

The final in this series of dialogue workshops, 
The City of the Future: Water & Food Security, will focus on Water & Food Security and will bring together a broad range of stakeholders to discuss how food and water needs can be met in the post oil era. Expert panelist include George S. Hawkins, General Manager, DC Water and Sewer Authority; Keith Anderson, Director, District Department of the Environment; Dr. Jill Auburn, National Program Leader, Division of Agricultural Systems, Institute of Food Production & Sustainability, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Dr. Thomas Schmidt, Minister Counselor, Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. 

Throughout the exhibit, presenters from federal and district government agencies and the private and non-profit sectors offered a broad range of stakeholder perspectives over a series of topical dialogues. The other workshops and dialogue conference hosted throughout the exhibit brought together speakers from the District Department of Transportation, the District Department of Housing and Community Development, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Volkswagen of America, TransSolar GMBH, the German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Alta Planning + Design and REHAU.  
Above: DHCD's Michael Kelly and
the Office of 
Planning's Harriet Tregoning

Food security is the need to provide a steady, dependable supply of highly nutritious food to every man, woman and child. Although it is the nation’s capital, within the bounds of Washington, D.C. exists a wide gap between those who have consistent access to safe and healthy food and those who do not. Unfortunately, there are many residents within the District of Columbia who do not have access to fresh and nutritious food; they live in food deserts. According to the Washington Post, 37.4 percent of the District’s households with children are unable to afford food, a rate among the highest in the country. These households are food insecure, which means having to skip meals, not having enough to eat on a daily basis. Residents of food deserts often are supplied by inexpensive fast food venues, resulting in food related health issues such as obesity and diabetes.

How will the food and water needs of this population be met in the Post-Oil City? The panel offered opportunities for learning and dialogue and will invite all participants to actively engage in the important task of meeting food and water needs in the Post-Oil City.

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