CRA proposes reconfigurable roads and a floating garden to revitalize Luganos waterfront

January 21, 2020 by  
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Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) and Mobility in Chain (MiC) have unveiled a technologically savvy plan to better connect the Swiss city of Lugano with the beautiful Lugano Lake. Informed by studies on mobile and traffic data, the proposed regeneration of the waterfront will introduce dynamic public spaces that can take over parts of the roads, which can be reconfigured with zero, one or two lanes at different times of the day. This new, reconfigurable road system would be combined with smart signage, responsible street furniture and even renewable energy-generating infrastructure to facilitate a greener and more pedestrian-friendly environment. Currently, Lugano suffers from a disconnect to its lake due to a busy thoroughfare along the waterfront. To visually and physically provide pedestrians with better connections to the lake, the architects propose overhauling this main traffic artery with the addition of a dynamic road system that can turn sections of the street into pedestrian-only public spaces, such as playgrounds, a basketball court or other social gathering areas. At the same time, the intervention aims to preserve the historical value of the lakefront as designed by Pasquale Lucchini in 1863. Related: CRA grows a sustainable pavilion out of mushrooms in just 6 weeks The architects have also proposed a floating, rotating island for the lake that would be accessible to the public via a series of boardwalks. A garden would be planted on the floating island to highlight and preserve the biodiversity and native flora of Lake Lugano. The dynamic waterfront would also includes smart signage, responsive street furniture, heat-absorbing renewable energy technology and a series of mobility hubs that promote shared transit. “Lugano is committed in redesigning the front lake and the city center for the future citizens, focusing on a growing attention to dynamic public spaces , the coexistence of different mobility vectors, the development of green areas, the role of the water in city life, the impact of the landscape and much more,” said Marco Borradori, mayor of Lugano. “The path began in 2018, when the municipality went public with its vision and objectives, identifying innovation as one of the key points for urban development. The next step will hopefully be an open competition to create a new masterplan for the city of tomorrow. Our wish is that the vision could soon take the form of a realized project.” + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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CRA proposes reconfigurable roads and a floating garden to revitalize Luganos waterfront

China plans to phase out single-use plastics by 2025

January 21, 2020 by  
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As the world’s most populous country, with close to 1.5 billion denizens, China also produces the largest quantity of plastic . In fact, the University of Oxford-based publication Our World In Data (OWID) has documented China’s plastic production rate at 60 million tons per year. To mitigate the resulting plastic pollution , the Chinese government is set to enact a plastic ban, phasing out the production and use of several single-use plastic items by 2025, thanks to a detailed policy directive and timeline from the country’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Three avenues are currently available for plastic waste disposal: recycling , incinerating or discarding. Only an estimated 20% of global plastic waste is recycled, 25% incinerated and a whopping 55% is discarded, according to OWID. The more shocking statistic is that only 9% of 5.8 billion tons of plastic no longer in use has been recycled since 1950. Related: Ireland plans to ban single-use plastics Interestingly, of all the regions across the globe where mismanaged plastic is prevalent, East Asia and the Pacific alarmingly outrank all regions at 60%, followed distantly by South Asia at 11%, Sub-Saharan Africa at 8.9%, the Middle East and North Africa at 8.3%, Latin America and the Caribbean at 7.2%, Europe and Central Asia at 3.6% and North America at 0.9%. Discarded plastic accumulates in landfills, but some also enters the oceans, threatening marine life and ecosystems. OWID explained, “Mismanaged plastic waste eventually enters the ocean via inland waterways, wastewater outflows and transport by wind or tides.” Thus, China’s new initiative to curtail single-use plastic production might help substantially in solving the Pacific regions’, and by extension the planet’s, crisis with plastic waste. The plastic ban calls for several components, including a ban on China’s production and sale of plastic bags that are less than 0.025 mm thick; a ban on plastic bags in major cities before 20201, then all cities and towns by 2022 and all produce vendors by 2025; a ban on single-use straws in restaurants before 2021, and a reduction of single-use plastic items by 30% in restaurants by 2021; a phase-out of plastic packaging in China’s postal service; and a ban on single-use plastic items in hotels by 2025. Via BBC , EcoWatch and Our World In Data (OWID) Image via Lennard Kollossa

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China plans to phase out single-use plastics by 2025

CRA grows a sustainable pavilion out of mushrooms in just 6 weeks

April 17, 2019 by  
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Could the houses of the future be grown from mushrooms? Italian architectural firm Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) broaches this question with The Circular Garden, a sustainable pavilion made of mushrooms that — true to the project name — was grown out of the soil in six weeks and will return back to the soil at the end of its lifecycle. Created in partnership with global energy company Eni, the mushroom structure was on display at Milan Design Week 2019’s Fuorisalone at Brera’s Orto Botanico, the city’s botanical garden. The Circular Garden is constructed from mycelium, the fibrous root of mushrooms , which was grown in the two months before the debut of the pavilion. With help from leading mycology experts, such as the Dutch Krown.Bio lab, CRA injected spores into organic material to start the growth process and then shaped the material into a series of 60 self-supporting, 4-meter-tall arches that add up to a record 1-kilometer-long mycelium. The design of self-supporting arches was inspired by the works of renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, who famously used the “inverted catenary” method in his design of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. “Nature is a much smarter architect than us,” said Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab. “As we continue our collective quest for a more responsive ‘living’ architecture, we will increasingly blur the boundaries between the worlds of the natural and the artificial. What if tomorrow we might be able to program matter to ‘grow a house’ like a plant? Milan’s amazing botanical garden , in the center of the city, seemed the ideal place for such an experiment.” Related: Paris has a new underground — a massive farm for mushrooms and veggies Visitors are invited to explore the Circular Garden, whose arches form four architectural “open rooms” in the garden. While most temporary exhibition pavilions generate large amounts of waste, CRA’s pavilion is largely biodegradable and its elements will be reused; the mushrooms, ropes and wood chips that make up the structure will be shredded and returned to the earth, and the small metal elements will be recycled. The installation is part of the INTERNI Human Spaces exhibition and is open to the public from April 9 to 19, 2019. + Carlo Ratti Associati Photography by Marco Beck Peccoz via Carlo Ratti Associati

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CRA grows a sustainable pavilion out of mushrooms in just 6 weeks

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