John Robb presents T.H. Culhane's approach:
"He's exploring the limits of what can be done to create resilience within urban households -- from the depths of Cairo slums (one of the biggest cities on earth, where he lived for 6 years) to LA. One of his projects is an urban bio-digester (see the description of what Michael Yon calls "Gobar Gas" for more on this technique) to produce clean burning fuel. He's found that this system not only works within urban environments, it is very productive (up to 4x more productive than rural systems due to the volume/quality of food waste found in urban environments).
He's developed an approach to economic development in fast growing slums he likens to "urban farming.' Within this approach, infrastructure extended by a central authority is ignored (that approach seldom works in many locals since it immediately breaks down). Instead, it's built from scratch at the local level using:
* Simple Designs. * Low cost parts and/or easy to acquire parts. * DIY build-out.
In general, this new resilient infrastructure (via "urban farming") provides the following to those that participate:
* Lowered costs. * Quality of life improvement. * New sources of income.
This approach to local resilience will also work within developed environments that are in decay. However, there's a significant opportunity for our growing community to
1. radically improve the quality of the design/functionality of this grass roots infrastructure (to provide an organic DIY growth path towards a level of functionality and productivity that goes beyond subsistence approaches),
2. prototype community platforms (like micro-grids and other types of local platforms) that accelerate the build out of local production and local wealth creation, and
3. create global, open source networks that allow resilient communities (no matter where they are located) to share designs/improvements (to enable very rapid rates of innovation)." (http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2010/08/global-guerrilla-th-culhane-and-urban-resilience.html)