Hungary stops supplying gas to Ukraine and makes its own gas deal with Russia

Hungarian Spectrum

The news of the day is Hungary’s decision to stop the supply of gas to Ukraine despite its pledge to assist its beleaguered neighbor. Although the AFP news service assumes that the decision came after “threats from Moscow,” I have a different take on the matter. To make my case I have to go back a few weeks in time.

It is true that Russia was playing games with its gas supply to Poland and Romania, but Hungary was in no way affected by these Russian measures, most likely because of the cozy relationship that exists between Putin and Orbán. On the contrary, in the last few months large amounts of gas arrived in the country from Russia. Currently, the storage facilities are 60% full, and even larger amounts of natural gas will come from Russia in the next few months. Poland indeed had to temporarily stop its supply of gas to Ukraine on September 10…

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The Cranberries, Budapest, and Urbanism

What do “The Cranberries,”  Budapest and urbanism have in common? Well actually more then one would think.

“Oh, my life is changing everyday,

In every possible way.
And oh, my dreams, it’s never quite as it seems,
Never quite as it seems.” -The Cranberries, “Dreams”

The more I learn about urbanism, cities, and life within cities the more I realize that life isn’t stagnant. Cities like life are every changing, they meet the current needs of society. Yes, although “Dreams” by The Cranberries is more of a song associated with openness of love, this is also how I recently feel about Budapest. When you experience change in your life, such as a when I moved from the US to Budapest, you realize that it really never is as you could predict. Yet the beauty of unpredictably is it provides insight.

Budapest has provided me with insight not only into the complexities of understanding the association of people and place in urbanist studies, it also provided clarity into my personal relationship with the built environment. I have come to realize that when I gave up my inhibitions of trying to analyze all of the similarities and differences between cultural variations within Budapest and the US; in a sense, I started to understand more about how I fit within the context of Budapest. I can not change an environment to fit me, instead I must fit myself within the environment. That is the interesting thing about cities, we can find aspects of a city that are a direct reflection of our ideologies, and if you don’t we start to see how that environment impacts us physiologically.

I have started to realize that the aspects of cities that are the most intriguing are the aspects that aren’t necessarily analogous with our ritual lifestyle. I myself, am particularly interested in the organic development of cities. Living in Budapest, a city with such rich history is reflected within the streets, buildings and people whom occupy it. The development of the city shows the development of the “magyar” identity, an identity that is continuously “magyar” but also ever changing? The magyar identity is a dream to me, because it hasn’t been as it seems but yet it’s a beautiful mystery that I will continue to explore.

“And oh, my dreams,
It’s never quite as it seems,
‘Cause you’re a dream to me,
Dream to me.”

Urban Agriculture

The following post is a writeup created for “Magyar Urbanisztikai Tudásközpont Nonprofit Kft./Hungarian Urban Knowledge Centre (www.mut.hu)” providing case-study research surrounding the topic of sustainable city developments. 

Site Source: Sustainable Cities Collective

Article Title: Urban Agriculture- A Next Big Thing for Cities

Author: David Thorpe

David Thorpe petitions that urban agriculture and vertical farming are means to establishing more sustainable and innovative alternatives for improving metropolitan food security. David Thorpe analyzes the Sky Greens in Singapore as a case study to research the potential of vertical farms within urbanized environments. Vegetables are grown within towers that are approximately nine meters high and provide vegetable production while mitigating the usage of water, electricity and land that are typically association with food production. Singapore imports most of its food and this a way the city can become sustainable and self-sufficient through food production.

David also noted that today’s cities are unsustainable. He mentioned the reason for the collapse of past cities such as Jericho and Babylon were caused by environmental pressures. He questions the reader to discover how we can avoid having our current cities collapse as well? We need to understand how to utilize the potential of cities from further damaging the earth’s ecosystems. We need to start incorporating hydroponics, aeroponics and drip irrigation within our urban design and planning schemes. The possibility of using abandoned buildings for indoor growing strategies is one way to begin increasing the usage of vertical agriculture within cities. Obviously it’s critical to start analyzing potential solutions to creating more sustainable cities with the incorporation of urban agriculture.

Renewable Energy Toolkit

The following post is a writeup created for “Magyar Urbanisztikai Tudásközpont Nonprofit Kft./Hungarian Urban Knowledge Centre (www.mut.hu)” providing case-study research surrounding the topic of sustainable city developments. 

Site Source: Sustainable Cities Collective

Article Title: Renewable Energy Toolkit for Enterprises

Author: David Thorpe

The Renewable Energy Toolkit is an intention to encourage cities to transition into more sustainable  and low carbon forms of energy. The Toolkits specifically aids public, private, property owners, asset managers and investors to conceptualize the availability of individualized sustainable technologies and how they can be utilized to best fit their needs. The Chief Executive of the Institute for Sustainability, Ian Short stated, “Renewable energy will play a major role in helping the UK to fulfill its carbon reduction commitments, whilst at the same time addressing energy security in a world where current resources are becoming increasingly constrained.”

The Toolkit includes potential renewable and low carbon technologies such as; using wood as fuel, heat pumps (air and ground-source), low-lead hydropower, anaerobic digestion, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal systems, and wind power. The toolkit also analyzes the possible barriers in utilizing renewable energy sources from small-scale to medium scale urban projects. The toolkits uses case studies to breakdown the local supply chain of energy consumption, existing and future policies and finical constraints to establish the best possible solution to urban energy efficiency.

Crowdfunding + Urban Planning and Design

The following post is a writeup created for “Magyar Urbanisztikai Tudásközpont Nonprofit Kft./Hungarian Urban Knowledge Centre (www.mut.hu)” providing case-study research surrounding the topic of sustainable city developments. 

Site Source: The City Fix

Article Title: Friday Fun: You too can build a sustainable city through crowdfunding

Author: Ryan Schleeter

Crowdfunding is increasingly being utilized within the urban planning and design realm as a means to sponsor urban renewal projects.  Crowdfunding encourages citizen oriented design projects to raise money towards urban improvement projects such as; parks, gardens, and public spaces. To encourage sustainable results from crowdfunding local governments can sign up on citizinvestor.com, which is a platform that raises money for civic projects. An additional source for cities to establish their own platforms for crowdfunding is Citizinvestor Connect. This crowdfunding source allows citizens to voice their opinions about specific project ideas that could be utilized to establish more sustainable civic environments where they live.

The idea is that by allowing citizens to participate within the donation process of public projects, they create a more inclusive and sustainable urban planning process between citizens and governmental agencies. Although there are some pitfalls to crowdfunding; such as possible inaccessibility to citizens whom lack the ability to provide financial support. The many positive potentials for new capital to fund artistic and economic ventures is advantageous for many cities and countries. Crowdfunding can be utilized within a plethora of projects ranging from renewable energy technologies, to start-up ventures and real estate development. Crowdfunding will aid in meeting the needs of citizens by reimagining cities through a sustainable and inclusionary process.

Social Constructionism within Budapest

After living and working in Budapest for nearly a month I have started to breakdown the differences between my life within the US and my current life in Hungary. I have started to understand how social constructionism plays a major role in uncovering the ways in which individuals and groups perceive their present social reality. I also see social constructionism as an idea that people build their own lives and cultures within publics spaces. But how does this happen? People look at various forms of social phenomenas within their distinct cultural context based upon: created socialization, institutionalized, known or learned and in turn how that becomes tradition or habit to humans. City and culture are etymologically and historically linked. The public spaces are places of citizenship, polis, and places of politics. 

In a previous post I noted how I am particularly interested in how the development of a city around a non-automized plan creates a fundamental dimension within a social context that optimized opportunities for contact and meeting within both streets and public spaces. Ethnographically I have observed that within Budapest the culture of Hungarians can be reflected within its publics spaces, both from a historical contexts and a present day transformation of the city.

I lived in Budapest eight years ago and have drastically seen a difference in the occupation of public spaces and the reclamation of the Hungarian heritage post-communism. In Hungary, street names have been changed based upon historical events and political transformations. Sometime during the past eight years previous metro stops, street names, and avenues that once referenced Russian/Soviet names have transformed back to their previous Hungarian names. Obviously I am not Hungarian, however I think it’s a critical transformation to note as I feel like it’s a nationalist move to regain what is Hungarian. Within the US our culture is a culture of many. It is interesting to live within a mostly homogeneous population. I have begun to notice that culture identity is a very important symbol within the public realm of Budapest. I look forward to exploring more public spaces and understanding how the historical culture of Hungarians are in represented within Budapest.