One in four of world’s largest cities under water stress

February 15, 2018 by  
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Cape Town, South Africa is rapidly approaching what has been called “Day Zero,” the moment when the diverse metropolitan area of nearly 4 million runs out of clean drinking water . While Cape Town has taken drastic measures to conserve water , it is simply not enough to avoid the imminent crisis. And now, as government and residents prepare for the worst, it’s important to understand which other major cities around the world are also at risk. Lack of water is truly a global problem; one in four of the world’s largest cities are currently under “water stress,” with that number expected to rise due to climate change, human activity, and population growth. Water shortages have the potential to aggravate already unstable political and economic conditions, which is of particular concern in cities such as Cairo . Currently confronting violent extremism and managing ongoing political tension, Egypt is also rated by the World Health Organization as ranking high among middle-income countries on the number of deaths related to water pollution. This is tied to increasing pollution in the Nile River. The United Nations estimates that Egypt will suffer critical water shortages by 2025, exacerbating the potential for conflict. Similarly, São Paulo and Moscow are plagued by pollution due to poor public policy decisions. Fortunately, this means that the problem may be fixable, however entrenched it might be. Related: Venice’s canals go dry following weeks without rain Coastal cities like Jakarta and Miami are facing unique water problems as both attempt to pull freshwater from aquifers. Due to lack of public access to piped water, residents of Jakarta have dug illegal wells, draining the underlying aquifer and actually causing the land to sink. As a result, about 40 percent of Jakarta now lies below sea level. While Miami may not be sinking, its freshwater reserves are suffering from seawater contamination as a result of rapid sea level rise and wetland habitat destruction. Even cities like London are facing a water-scarce future, with severe shortages expected by 2040. Governments can make the necessary policy changes to solve this problem, but they must act quickly. The water crisis is already upon us in many cities. Via BBC News Images via Depositphotos (1) (2)

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One in four of world’s largest cities under water stress

Metal-clad Treehouse for "no-commute lifestyles" mimics Portlands forests

February 15, 2018 by  
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With projects like LEVER Architecture’s recently completed Treehouse, it’s little wonder Portland, Ore. scores high marks for livability and sustainability. Located on the Marquam Hill campus of the Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU), Treehouse caters to those interested in a “live/work/no-commute lifestyle”. Designed for mixed use , the seven-story houses 69 apartment units as well as retail on the ground floor. Taking cues from the forest, Treehouse is wrapped in a textured metal skin that mimics the color and form of tree trunks. The facade’s consistent texture and pattern give the building a dynamic depth and appearance that changes throughout the day. “The design bridges the urban and topographical qualities of the campus by placing the building as an “in the round” object in the forest,” wrote the architects. “Instead of cutting into the hill, the building form is carved to follow the landscape. A continuous carved building skin is achieved by eliminating the expression of floor levels by incorporating all expansion joints into the custom window surrounds.” Related: Nation’s tallest timber building to rise in Portland The apartment units are clustered around a compact central core housing the stairs and elevator. Glazing can be found on all sides of the irregular octagonal building and maximize daylight into the studio and one-bedroom units. A rain garden landscape and deck on the lower level handles all stormwater runoff. + LEVER Architecture Via ArchDaily Images via LEVER Architecture

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Metal-clad Treehouse for "no-commute lifestyles" mimics Portlands forests

South Africa declares national disaster amid water crisis

February 14, 2018 by  
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South Africa’s has declared a national disaster over the country’s devastating drought . Although Cape Town has pushed back day zero – the day that the city runs out of water – until June 4, the country re-assessed the magnitude of the drought and determined that it has reached disaster proportions. Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’gQyO9-pJQGFviQfJxV_bFA’,sig:’ZFbITQcOBf5-Gis86VmKk0R1VwsYtyop1Ko3KaFtFK4=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’917662626′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); A drought triggered by El Nino and driven by climate change has ravaged parts of the country, with the city of Cape Town, home to over 4 million, facing a water shortage that will require residents to line up to obtain water rations. Related: Cape Town’s water pipes could run dry by April Water consumption in South Africa has declined by about 139 million gallons per day thanks to residents who have worked hard to reduce usage. Residents are asked to use just 13 gallons of water a day. The hospitality industry has also gotten into the fight by asking hotel guests to keep showers under 2 minutes, and restaurants have stopped using linens and glassware to help reduce laundry needs. Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’rTDF3ifzRwdZBuD23l-WlQ’,sig:’DZkRSoj0MiowFTKTU535y179iz34k_oHqiagdJUDbLc=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’917662584′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); Even still, on June 4, residents will need to line up at military-guarded locations to obtain water rations. There are also fears that the ongoing drought could harm the country’s industrial and agricultural output. Declaring the situation a national disaster allows the central government to take over relief efforts, which also means more money is available to address it. Via Reuters Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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South Africa declares national disaster amid water crisis

You can now explore all 19 of South Africa’s National Parks on Google Maps

November 3, 2017 by  
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Have you ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela , track cheetahs on foot , or stroll with elephants — and other exotic creatures — in South Africa ? Well, here’s your chance. Thanks to the efforts of over 200 volunteers, now you can use Google Maps to explore 19 National Parks, 17 nature reserves, and many other sites of natural, cultural and historical significance in South Africa. More than 200 nature-loving South Africans volunteered to map out parts of the country they call home. Many of the helpers were rangers and guides with SANParks , CapeNature and KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife . Others were just good Samaritans, tech enthusiasts and avid hikers who want to make a difference. Over the span of twelve months, the volunteers trekked over 50,000km to establish 232 points of interest. Said Magdalena Filak, Program Manager for Google, “The hundreds of volunteers who helped along the way proved to be truly passionate about showing the best of South Africa through their participation in the loan program.” The Google Street View Camera Loan program encourages anyone to borrow the 360-degree camera technology to help the planet . Reportedly, this is the first time Google has partnered with a third-party for the program. Drive South Africa played a big role in coordinating the volunteers . Andre Van Kets, an outdoor enthusiast and the founder of the Cape Town -based company, explained the technology: “The Trekker camera is a 22kg custom-made backpack fitted with 15 cameras pointing in all directions. The on-board technology plots the camera’s exact location on the trail. While recording, the camera takes a 360-degree photo every two-seconds. It’s basically the off-road equivalent of Google’s Street View cars.” Kets added that he saw “potential in this technology to showcase South Africa to travellers around the globe” when he applied. Related: Thousands of plastic bottles transformed into an inspiring tower of hope in South Africa In addition to mapping over two hundred points of interest, volunteers mapped eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Users can also see Mapungubwe Hill , which is home to an ancient African civilization, the Richtersveld that is known for its incredible moonscapes, and iSimangaliso Wetland Park , South Africa’s oldest UNESCO site which serves as a critical habitat for many species . The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Dennis Wood of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said, “As the proud conservation authority for KwaZulu-Natal, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife are excited to be partnered with Google’ new initiative in exposing our trails on this global platform that we believe will engage our prospective guests to “Take time to Discover” our province’s rich natural beauty and conservation wildlife heritage.” + Google Street View Loan Program Images via Google Maps

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You can now explore all 19 of South Africa’s National Parks on Google Maps

Barbara Wildenboer repurposes books into complex works of art

March 12, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Barbara Wildenboer repurposes books into complex works of art Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Art , Artist , barbara wildenboer , Cape Town , michaelis school of fine art , oliewenhuis , repurposed , repurposed books , south african , the lotus eaters , university of capetown , wildenboer

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Barbara Wildenboer repurposes books into complex works of art

Spiky Sea Urchin-Inspired Hydroelectric House Converts Wave Energy into Electricity

September 17, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Spiky Sea Urchin-Inspired Hydroelectric House Converts Wave Energy into Electricity Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aluminum structure , Cape Town , electromagnetic turbine system , futuristic architecture , house concept , hydroelectric house , Hydroelectric Tidal House , Llandudno , margot krasojevic , South Africa

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Spiky Sea Urchin-Inspired Hydroelectric House Converts Wave Energy into Electricity

Leonardo DiCaprio Named UN Messenger of Peace

September 17, 2014 by  
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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon just named Leonardo DiCaprio a United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change. The Academy Award-nominated actor and committed environmental activist joins 11 others in the role, including Stevie Wonder, primatologist Jane Goodall, author Paulo Coelho, and fellow actors Michael Douglas, Charlize Theron and George Clooney. DiCaprio’s first engagement as a Messenger will be to address the UN Climate Summit in New York on 23 September, 2014. Read the rest of Leonardo DiCaprio Named UN Messenger of Peace Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: celebrities , Climate Change , global warming , Leonardo DiCaprio , Leonardo DiCaprio named UN Messenger of Peace , New York. , Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon , un climate summit , United Nations , United Nations Messenger of Peace

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Leonardo DiCaprio Named UN Messenger of Peace

Vo Trong Nghia Unveils Lovely Low-Cost Housing Made from Locally Sourced Palm Trees

September 17, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Vo Trong Nghia Unveils Lovely Low-Cost Housing Made from Locally Sourced Palm Trees Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: affordable housing , locally sourced building material , low income housing , palm tree house , passive house , passive sustainability , Polycarbonate Panels , social housing , steel frame , Vietnam housing , Vo Trong Nghia Architects

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Vo Trong Nghia Unveils Lovely Low-Cost Housing Made from Locally Sourced Palm Trees

GROWbag: Upcycled Billboard Gardening for Any Garden, Balcony, Driveway or Roof

March 24, 2014 by  
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GROWbag is a unique outdoor planter that offers an easy and attractive way to grow your own vegetables, herbs, plants and succulents regardless of the size of the garden, balcony, driveway or wall and roof space. We have taken old billboard vinyl skins that would normally be thrown away and converted them into our own unique planters. This recycled vinyl is highly durable and incredibly long lasting – which makes it the perfect material for our GROWbags! Each GROWbag is handmade in Cape Town by skilled producers who pride themselves with quality work and ethics – empowering their staff members and creating jobs. + GROWbag The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: adaptive reuse , billboard garden bag , billboard planters , Cape Town , GROWbag , GROWbags , reader submitted content , Recycled Materials , repurposed materials , rooftop gardening , South Africa , urban gardening        

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GROWbag: Upcycled Billboard Gardening for Any Garden, Balcony, Driveway or Roof

Top 10 Green Products from Design Indaba 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa

March 14, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Top 10 Green Products from Design Indaba 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Cape Town , design events , Design Indaba , Design Indaba Expo , eco design , eco-fashion , global challenges , green bag , green design , green design exhibition , green gadgets , green products , Recycled Materials , South Africa , sustainable design , sustainable style        

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