Amsterdam Announces Plan to Ban All Polluting Cars by 2030

May 8, 2019 by  
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On Thursday, the city of Amsterdam announced its plan to replace all gasoline and diesel-powered cars and motorcycles with electric vehicles by 2030. The plan is an attempt to address unhealthy and alarming rates of air pollution in the city due to high traffic. Currently, toxic air pollution in Amsterdam exceeds European Union standards. In 2018, the Dutch health council called on the government to develop a plan to address toxic amounts of nitrogen dioxide and particle matter, specifically in the congested cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Related: Lyft vows to help customers find electric vehicles with Green Mode “Pollution often is a silent killer and is one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam,” said Sharon Dijksma , the city’s traffic councilor. According to Dijksma, Amsterdam residents lose an average of one year off their life expectancy due to air pollution. The Dutch government’s goal is to replace all polluting cars, buses, boats and motorcycles with electric vehicles or hydrogen powered vehicles. The plan will be rolled out in phases over the next decade, including: By 2020: All cars built before 2005 will be banned from the city. By 2022: All polluting public buses and taxis will be banned. By 2025: All polluting boats and mopeds will also be banned. The city will also increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations in order to reach a total of at least 23,000. Although climate activists are mostly supportive of the initiative, some groups fear that this car ban will unfairly affect poor families who cannot afford electric vehicles. The loudest voice of dissent comes from the Rai Association, an automotive industry lobbying group, which argues that the ban will shut low income families out of the city. However, supporters argue that electric vehicles have become increasingly less expensive and that the price is expected to steadily decline over the next 11 years. The government also plans to use subsidies and parking permits to incentivize drivers to switch to cleaner cars. Via Ecowatch Image via Shutterstock

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A potato field is transformed into an award-winning communal home in the Netherlands

May 8, 2019 by  
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Amsterdam-based architectural firm bureau SLA and Utrecht-based ZakenMaker have transformed a one-hectare potato field in the rural area of Oosterwold Almere, the Netherlands into nine connected homes for a group of pioneers seeking a sustainable communal lifestyle. Initially, Frode Bolhuis had approached the architects to construct his dream home, but the very limited budget prompted him to ask eight of his like-minded friends to join to make the project possible. The nine homes—each 1,722 square feet in size—are all located under one roof in the Oosterwold Co-living Complex, a long rectangular building with a shared porch, landscape and vegetable garden. The client’s tight budget largely drove the design decisions behind Oosterwold Co-living Complex. Not only did the project morph into a co-living complex as a result of limited funds, but the architects also decided that only the exterior would be designed and left the design of the interiors up to families. Elevated off the ground for a reduced footprint and to allow residents to choose the location of the sewage system and water pipes, the rectilinear building extends nearly 330 feet in length and appears to float above the landscape. “The façade is designed to give maximum freedom of choice within an efficient building system,” explain the architects. “Each family received a plan for seven windows and doors, which can be placed in the façade. The space between the frames is vitrified with solid parts of glass without a frame. This creates an uncluttered but diverse façade. Oosterwold Co-living Complex demonstrates that it’s possible to achieve a convincing design within a tight budget and which, most importantly, manages to meet the expectations of nine different clients.” Related: How shared space makes four micro apartments in Japan seem much larger For a cost-effective solution to insulation, the architects built the floor, roof and adjoining walls out of hollow wooden cassettes that were then filled with insulating cellulose. Floor-to-ceiling windows open up to a long, communal porch that overlooks the shared landscape and vegetable garden. The windows also bring ample amounts of natural light indoors while the roof overhang helps block unwanted solar gain. The Oosterwold Co-living Complex won the Frame Awards 2019 in the category Co-living Complex of the Year. + bureau SLA + ZakenMaker Images by Filip Dujardin

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A potato field is transformed into an award-winning communal home in the Netherlands

MVRDV to transform an Amsterdam office complex into a green residential zone

January 4, 2019 by  
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In response to Amsterdam’s increasing housing demands, prolific Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has designed Westerpark West, a sustainable proposal to transform the former ING office complex into a new residential zone flush with green space. Located in the Amsterdam Brettenzone, directly west of the city’s popular Westerpark, MVRDV’s master plan envisions a neighborhood of approximately 750 homes that will range in size, building typology and price. Westerpark West will also follow an “innovative energy master plan” that combines district heating with seasonal thermal energy storage. Spanning an area of 70,000 square meters, the Westerpark West master plan will include twelve buildings, five of which will be designed by MVRDV. To reconnect the isolated area to its surroundings, the architects will work with London-based landscape architecture firm Gustafson Porter + Bowman to extend the landscape of the Westerpark onto the site and align the plot structure with the street patterns found to the south. MVRDV has also enlisted architecture firms TANK, Blauw, KRFT, Studio Maks, and DoepelStrijkers to design the architecture of Westerpark West. A number of existing office buildings on site will also be transformed into comfortable, energy-efficient housing. An abundance of outdoor green space will tie together the buildings and include front gardens and loggias as well as balcony gardens and roof terraces. The master plan also includes catering facilities, a child daycare center, as well as three underground parking garages with charging points and car sharing. Related: Shipping container village for startups pops up in Amsterdam “Amsterdam urgently needs housing in all sorts of sizes and price ranges, for both purchase and rental,” says Nathalie de Vries, co-founder of MVRDV. “Given the large number of homes that this project adds to Amsterdam-West, we have focused entirely on architectural diversity. The public space will be green and closely connect with the Westerpark. The combination of park and urbanity is unique to Amsterdam. Where else can you live in a park in the middle of the city?” + MVRDV Images © CIIID

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An urban farm and restaurant flourishes in Utrechts circular pavilion

July 27, 2018 by  
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A new restaurant celebrating sustainability has opened in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Designed by Dutch architecture firm cezeped , The Green House is a “circular” pavilion that houses a restaurant, urban farm and meeting center. Created as part of an initiative by Strukton Ballast Nedam and Albron, the experimental and temporary venue follows eco-friendly principles and features modular components so that it can be dismantled and moved to a new location in the future. The Green House was born from a larger project that saw cepezed transform the former Knoopkazerne barracks on Croeselaan into a modern government office. Next to the office building was a vacant space that wouldn’t see development for the next 15 years; the developers asked the architects to create a temporary design that could reactivate that leftover lot. With the project’s relatively short lifespan in mind, the architects crafted a design based on the “principles of circularity ” to ensure that the building could be rebuilt elsewhere in 15 years. Related: Sustainable ‘circular economy’ principles inform Amsterdam’s flexible Circl pavilion Modularity and reusability are at the heart of The Green House, a two-story pavilion with a removable steel frame. “The dimensions are derived from those of the smoke glass facade panels of the former Knoopkazerne; these have been re-used for the second skin and the greenhouse of the pavilion,” the architects explained. “The circularity of the building also lies in the choice of the right floor in the right place. Street clinkers from an old quay in Tiel replace the classic ground floor that has been poured. They are located on a compacted sand bed with underfloor heating.” Related: Vertical Gardening 101 The first floor was constructed from prefabricated and recyclable timber elements, while the roof is sheathed in a lightweight and perforated steel sheet filled with insulation and topped with solar panels. The glass curtain wall lets in plenty of natural light so that artificial lighting is minimized. The restaurant occupies the ground floor, while the meeting rooms and the 80-square-meter vertical farming greenhouse are located upstairs. Restaurant patrons can see glimpses of the greenhouse from below and also enjoy views of an indoor green wall. + cezeped Images by Lucas van der Wee/cepezed

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An urban farm and restaurant flourishes in Utrechts circular pavilion

‘Plastic Free Trust Mark’ helps customers dodge plastic packaging

May 28, 2018 by  
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New labeling will assist shoppers in buying food  and drinks that aren’t packaged in plastic . Campaign group A Plastic Planet is behind what’s called the Plastic Free Trust Mark, adopted thus far by some supermarket chains and a tea company. The campaigners are hoping that the labeling will inspire more retailers to jump on the plastic-free bandwagon. The Plastic Free Trust Mark has been launched to support retailers which have made pledges to phase out plastic packaging. Early adopters are Tea brand @teapigs , Dutch supermarket chain @Ekoplaza and @IcelandFoods https://t.co/wmbTqQybMF — A Plastic Planet (@aplastic_planet) May 17, 2018 Sometimes it’s obvious that the food item you’re about to buy is wrapped in plastic — other times, not so much. For example, the discovery that most of the tea bags in Britain contained plastic shocked consumers. A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland told The Guardian , “Our trust mark cuts through the confusion of symbols and labels and tells you just one thing — this packaging is plastic-free and therefore guilt-free.” The new Plastic Free Trust Mark could help shoppers discern whether or not there’s plastic in packaging with a quick glance. According to U.K.-based tea brand Teapigs , one of the early adopters of the new labels, there are several alternative materials to use in accredited packaging: glass, metal, wood pulp, compostable biomaterials  and carton board. Sutherland said she hopes the move helps slash plastic waste , saying, “Finally shoppers can be part of the solution, not the problem.” Related: First plastic-free supermarket aisle opens in Amsterdam Along with Teapigs, U.K. grocery store chain Iceland is adopting the label and plans to roll it out this month on some of their own label products. They’ve already set a goal to remove plastic packaging from their label products by 2023 . Iceland managing director Richard Walker told the Guardian, “With the grocery retail sector accounting for more than 40 percent of plastic packaging in the U.K., it’s high time that Britain’s supermarkets came together to take a lead on this issue.” Netherlands-based grocery store chain Ekoplaza is also introducing the label in 74 outlets. Earlier this year, the company launched the world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle at an Amsterdam location. + A Plastic Planet Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos

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‘Plastic Free Trust Mark’ helps customers dodge plastic packaging

Sustainable circular economy principles inform Amsterdams flexible Circl pavilion

April 10, 2018 by  
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Interdisciplinary design studio DoepelStrijkers designed the interiors of the Circl pavilion, a sustainably minded space founded on the principles of the circular and inclusive economy. Located on the lower floors of Dutch banking group ABN AMRO’s headquarters in Amsterdam, the Circl pavilion emphasizes reusability throughout, from material choice to spatial design. Thanks to multifunctional and movable furnishings, the interior can be adapted for a variety of functions including a day care, performance venue, meetings, indoor market, exhibitions, or film screenings. Open to the public, the Circl pavilion can be tailored for different uses with the rearrangement of its movable walls that are remotely operated with the push of a button. The movable partitions are built of recycled aluminum and expanded metal mesh layered with recycled denim jeans for acoustic insulation. Similar examples of reuse and recycling can be seen throughout the interior. The textile plaster on the basement walls for instance, were made with recycled ABN AMRO business clothing. Select furnishings were sourced from ABN AMRO’s storage, while others were built from recycled materials and are 100% recyclable. Related: World’s first circular-economy business park mimics nature to achieve sustainability “The challenge for us as an office lies in translating our sustainable ambition into objects and spaces that transcend the traditional image of sustainable design,” wrote DoepelStrijkers. “We search for a spatial translation of sustainability criteria into an image that does not directly refer to reuse for example, but rather by incorporating the positive attributes of sustainable building principles into objects, spaces and buildings that reflect our contemporary design idiom.” + DoepelStrijkers Via Dezeen Images by Peter Tijhuis

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This prefab floating house in Amsterdam was inspired by Japanese tatami rooms

April 2, 2018 by  
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If you’re strolling through Amsterdam and notice a houseboat with a design that doesn’t match the surrounding architecture, you’ve probably found this prefab floating house with an interior inspired by Japanese design. Architect Julius Taminiau drew inspiration from tatami rooms to create a home for himself and his family, and he introduced various space-saving features to make it comfortable and practical. The floating house was constructed in the town of Hardenberg, over 62 miles (100 kilometers) away. It was then sailed over the IJsselmeer to its final destination. “I was looking for a place where we could build a family house with a relatively small budget,” said Taminiau. “This was very difficult as housing prices are increasing very abruptly in Amsterdam, so this houseboat was a perfect match.” Related: Rusting 1950s cargo ship transformed into a stunning modern floating home Taminiau utilized a tatami grid in order to standardize the design and reduce waste. The external cladding also references tatami mats and has a reflective finish that lets it discreetly reflect the water. The house has two levels, with the lower one located partly below the water line. This level houses the master bedroom with en-suite bathroom and two smaller bedrooms. The main living areas occupy the upper floor, where the occupants can enjoy views of the surroundings. A double-height space near the main entrance functions as an office space, but can easily be converted into a guest bedroom. An open staircase leads to the rooftop deck , which is partly outfitted with solar panels. + Julius Taminiau Architects Via Dezeen

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Check out this Amsterdam house created with trash and items from eBay

March 21, 2018 by  
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Garbage doesn’t need to simply be garbage; it can be used to build new things. At least, that’s what Frank Alsema has done. Profiled by Gizmodo, Alsema is a retired TV producer in the Netherlands who’s been fashioning his home out of garbage and other items he discovered on eBay. He calls the house Palais Récup, or Palace Recover, and he’s turned it into a laboratory for sustainable living. Alsema began his project in 2013, gathering materials he thought were beautiful and then asking an architect, John Zondag , to design a home around them. Over the years, Palais Récup has become a testing ground for urban green living. Alsema not only employs recycled materials  to construct the house, but also works to reuse energy , food scraps, and rainwater . (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Posted by Palais Récup on  Monday, May 15, 2017 Related: Colorful People’s Pavilion in Eindhoven is made from 100% borrowed materials According to Gizmodo, Alsema estimates around 60 percent of the items in Palais Récup are from eBay, including a 19th-century cupboard. A large spiral staircase originally came from a secondhand car shop. Zondag’s website says the house also contains slate from a church roof, a curtain wall comprised of natural stone via a bankrupt estate, and antique interior doors. Solar panels , a central heating pellet stove, green roofs , a heat sink, and “very high insulation values” are also among the home’s features. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Posted by Palais Récup on  Thursday, February 2, 2017 Palais Récup is a work in progress: some rooms have yet to be finished. But this project is just one of Alsema’s and the nearby community’s efforts to foster circular living. Alsema is helping to create a complex of houses on a lot close by for people who aim to live sustainably. About a mile away, another community of people resides in an old shipyard, attempting to clean polluted soil in the area with plants. Alsema believes that “as we want to change the world…we have to do something, and we have to do it quick…And for that we need a lot of citizens who are going to hack the system, play with the system…If I can do it in Amsterdam North, you can do it. And we can do it together. And we need this system change to create a circular city and create a better world.” + Palais Récup Via Gizmodo Image via Palais Récup Facebook

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Check out this Amsterdam house created with trash and items from eBay

Researchers discover a completely new ocean zone swimming with new species

March 21, 2018 by  
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After six years of researching the uncharted depths of coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea, scientists have discovered an entirely new ocean zone called the rariphotic zone. This column of water sits 130 to 490 feet below the sea surface, where it is too dark for photosynthesis, but above the dark fathoms of the aphotic zone . Even though photosynthetic reef building isn’t happening here, the newly-designated zone is anything but barren – read on for a first glimpse at the life below. Scientists found 4,436 individual fish around Curacao Island over 80 dives – and so far they’ve named 30 new species and identified six new genera of rariphotic specialists. There will be plenty more to come, as a fifth of the fish that the researchers saw have never been identified before. The research indicates that life can exist in depths far lower than we ever thought before. Related: Scientists discover a 600-mile-long coral reef in the most unlikely place “Reef ecosystems just below the mesophotic are globally underexplored, and the conventional view based on the few studies that mention them was that mesophotic ecosystems transition directly into those of the deep sea,” said Carole Baldwin , lead researcher and director of the Smithsonian’s Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). “Our study reveals a previously unrecognized zone comprising reef vs. deep-sea fishes that links mesophotic and deep-sea ecosystems.” The research was published this week in the journal Nature . + Nature Via IFLScience Images via Nature

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Blackened timber cottage with solar replaces a decayed brick home

November 27, 2017 by  
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An old and decayed brick house north of Amsterdam has transformed into a modern solar-powered dwelling that stands out from its neighbors, while respecting the local vernacular. Dutch firm Chris Collaris Architects completed the renovated home, cladding the facade and asymmetric gabled roof entirely with blackened pinewood to achieve a minimalist look. Passive solar principles guided the redesign, called House MM, which features black solar panels, high-density insulation, recycled materials, double-sealed windows, and an emphasis on natural lighting. House MM offers a rather limited floor area of 60 square meters, but the redesign of the interior gives it a much more spacious feeling than its brick predecessor. Tall ceilings, white walls, and an abundance of natural light create the illusion of space. Materials salvaged from the old house punctuate the interior, like the repurposed roof tiles and timber flooring seen in the garden and the brick walls found throughout the new home. Related: Rusting 1950s cargo ship transformed into a stunning modern floating home Despite its two-story appearance, the home includes three floors thanks to the addition of a mezzanine . “The roof lines were bound to restricted heights. By cantilevering the lower parts outside the main building volume, the upper level of the house increases,” wrote the architects. “A house with a high ceiling on every floor level and an extra attic is the result of this design feature. The extra win is a dry walk along the North facade while walking underneath the cantilevering roof part towards the entrance.” + Chris Collaris Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Tim van de Velde

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