South Korea is building a $10 billion agriculture city in Egypt

August 18, 2017 by  
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Within six months, 311,400 acres of land in Egypt will be transformed into an agriculture city. The $10 billion deal was signed on Tuesday by Egypt and the Korea-Arab Society (KAS). The project will feature 50,000 smart greenhouses in addition to a number of seawater desalination and solar power plants. Arab Finance reports that the protocol was signed by the General Authority for Reconstruction Projects and Agricultural Development, an affiliate to the Egyptian Agriculture Ministry, and the Korea-Arab Society, which is represented by the Korean Arab Company for Economic and Cultural Consultancy. At a press conference, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said that the city will be located in the southeast part of the Qattara Depression, which is northwest of Egypt . The entire project will be overseen by Korean experts and it will be built within six months, Ismail added. The latest technologies will be incorporated to ensure that the development is as eco-friendly and efficient as possible. Related: South Korea’s President adopts rescue puppy, saving it from the dog meat trade In addition to constructing smart greenhouses, seawater desalination plants, and solar power plants, the city will grow food and cultivate stevia — a plant which serves as a healthy alternative sweetener. Though little else is presently known about the integrated agriculture city, the project signifies the growing relationship between Egypt and South Korea. Via Arab Finance Images via Pixabay

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South Korea is building a $10 billion agriculture city in Egypt

South Australia to build world’s biggest single-tower solar thermal plant

August 16, 2017 by  
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South Australia is going big again — as in world-beating big. Last month the state government signed a deal with Tesla to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery storage facility. Now State Premier Jay Weatherill has announced plans to construct the world’s biggest single-tower solar thermal plant outside the city of Port Augusta — the 150 megawatt  Aurora Solar Energy Project . The AUD $650 million (US $512 million) plant will start construction in 2018 and be fully operational in 2020 — supplying 100 percent of the government’s energy needs. The project will deliver more than 700 jobs with local worker requirements. Related: Australia announces massive $1B solar farm with the world’s largest battery The 20-year contract to build and manage the Aurora plant was awarded to California-based  SolarReserve . The company’s $1 billion Crescent Dunes facility in Nevada was shut down for eight months due to structural fault. The Nevada facility was the first to use molten salt technology to store energy as heat — allowing for day and night operation. The South Australia facility will also use molten salt technology. “This will make a difference in the South Australia energy market,” said South Australian senator Nick Xenophon. “It will secure the grid and mean more baseload power than intermittent power.” + Aurora Solar Energy Project Via New Atlas Image via SolarReserve

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South Australia to build world’s biggest single-tower solar thermal plant

New Orleans doesn’t need a hurricane to be inundated with water

August 11, 2017 by  
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Almost $15 billion went towards flood protection in New Orleans in the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. But the city once again battled flooding this week – with no hurricane in sight. Several feet of water covered much of the city’s central area as the pump system was overwhelmed. The crisis prompted Governor John Bel Edwards to declare a state of emergency. A heavy storm battered New Orleans this past weekend: in four hours, around nine inches of rain fell, leaving parts of the city flooded. And the city’s drainage system failed to manage the deluge. According to CNN, 16 of the city’s 121 pumps failed, and the overworked system struggled to keep up. The situation worsened as the week went on as a Wednesday fire hit a turbine that powers pumping stations. The governor’s state of emergency declaration pointed to the malfunction of the New Orleans Sewage and Water Board’s power plant, which houses generators that power the pumps. Related: New Orleans’ $14.5 billion rebuilt levees won’t fight a Category 5 hurricane With more rain in the forecast in upcoming days, schools were closed Friday. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for the resignation of four officials, including the municipal water utility’s director and top engineer, and the public works department’s director. It took 14 hours to drain several feet of water in areas of the city. City records reveal 200 “life-threatening” emergency calls. City residents watched the flood with worry. Local Ronald Williams – who told The Washington Post he finally returned home after Hurricane Katrina just seven months ago – said, “I came home because I believed what they said about the new system and that it was supposed to be the best in the world. But now it seems if we get hit by another Katrina, the city will be gone.” Via The Washington Post and CNN Images via David Fischer on Facebook and screenshot

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New Orleans doesn’t need a hurricane to be inundated with water

Worlds largest bike parking garage opens in the Netherlands

August 11, 2017 by  
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Good news for cyclists in the Netherlands — which, to be honest, is pretty much everyone. The country just unveiled the world’s largest bike parking garage ! By the end of 2018 the 184,000-square-foot facility beneath Utrecht’s central train station will be able to hold 12,500 parked bikes. For years, bicycle enthusiasts have been urging the government to update its parking infrastructure . Martijn van Es, the spokesman for the Dutch cycling organization Fietsersbond, says the country could do much more to accommodate the growing volume of cyclists . He said, “They have been talking about updating the city since 1989. The infrastructure hasn’t changed enough. And there are a lot more cyclists today than there were, [and much of the infrastructure] was built in the 1980s.” Van Es has a point. Bicycles outnumber people in the Netherlands , and the average citizen cycles more than 600 miles a year. Additionally, over one-fourth of the population bikes to work. It’s because of this that parking garages such as the one in development are in high demand. Related: The Netherlands is converting prisons into homes for refugees The Guardian reports that the Utrecht train station is an ideal location for the parking garage, as 40 percent of commuters who arrive there do so by riding a bike. And, according to Tatjana Stenfert, the project manager at Utrecht station’s square, even more bike parking will be added to the area in the future. She said, “We will have 12,500 places by the end of 2018. But then we will have to do some research and find more places for the bikes . It never stops. I look around and everyone is trying hard to find spaces – trying hard and fast.” + CU2030 Via The Guardian , Curbed Images via CU2030

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Worlds largest bike parking garage opens in the Netherlands

Trees to grow on the balconies of Pendas timber high-rise in Toronto

August 3, 2017 by  
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A new kind of “vertical forest” has been envisioned for Toronto where trees would grow on every balcony. Architecture firm Penda teamed up with Canadian company Timber to design the Toronto Tree Tower, an 18-story mixed-use tower covered in greenery and built of cross-laminated timber. The large and modular balconies are staggered to look like branches of a tree and to optimize views for every resident. Designed to appear as a giant tree in the city, the Toronto Tree Tower is covered in plants and greenery and clad in wooden facade panels. The tower’s modular cross-laminated timber units would be prefabricated and assembled off-site, and then transported and stacked around the building’s trunk-like central core. The building would comprise 4,500 square meters of apartments as well as a cafe, children’s daycare center, and community workshops. Related: China’s first vertical forest is rising in Nanjing “Our cities are a assembly of steel, concrete and glass,” said Penda partner Chris Precht, according to Dezeen . “If you walk through the city and suddenly see a tower made of wood and plants, it will create an interesting contrast. The warm, natural appearance of wood and the plants growing on its facade bring the building to life and that could be a model for environmental friendly developments and sustainable extensions of our urban landscape.” + Penda Via Dezeen

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Trees to grow on the balconies of Pendas timber high-rise in Toronto

New light-filled learning center celebrates the food history in one of Denmarks oldest towns

August 3, 2017 by  
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Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter just won a competition to design a new cultural center for one of the oldest settlements in Denmark . The winning proposal, called Kornets Hus (“Grain House”), will be an activity-based learning center in Hjørring focused on the importance of grain to Jutland—a region believed to have been populated 10,000 years ago. Kornets Hus will be of a minimalist and modern design built largely from brick and timber that takes inspiration from the region’s diverse landscapes, folk culture, and agricultural heritage. Commissioned by Realdania , the L-shaped 680-square-meter Kornets Hus is set on a site with an existing farm and bakery. The learning center will offer visitors as well as locals and employees engaging educational experiences about the region’s rich food and farming culture. In addition to educational and exhibition spaces, the building will also include a cafe, store, and offices. Related: Norwegian Mountaineering Centre mimics a dramatic snow-covered mountain The building features a simple and flexible plan to accommodate a wide variety of activities. Two brick-clad light wells , reminiscent of baker kilns, bookend the structure’s two ends. Skylights and large windows also help maximize access to natural light . Glazing on the west facade frame views of wheat fields and connect to an outdoor terrace. A large bread oven forms the heart of the public spaces. + Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter Images via Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

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New light-filled learning center celebrates the food history in one of Denmarks oldest towns

Self-driving cars are hitting Atlanta this September

August 2, 2017 by  
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Atlanta’s roads are about to enter the future as driverless cars start hitting the streets. Georgia Tech, the City of Atlanta and City Hall joined to launch a test that will help open up the city to autonomous traffic. Self-driving cars will head down a “smart corridor” in Atlanta, guided by a network of Wi-Fi, GPS, sensors and other smart transmitters on September 14. The test run will take place on Atlanta’s North Avenue down a mile-and-a-half stretch of carefully managed roadway. Of course, there will be a human in place to take over in case the technology doesn’t live up to expectations. Atlanta is testing the technology as part of the Safer Roads Challenge , and they are just the third city in the world to do so. Related: Uber rolls out autonomous cars in Arizona The technology isn’t the only obstacle holding back autonomous cars. Questions about who is liable in a crash, what happens if a guidance system is hacked and how to handle the transition period where there are still drivers trying to navigate streets full of autonomous vehicles. Still, it’s exciting to see the technology marching forward . It may be only a matter of time before self-driving cars become the norm rather than the exception. Via Curbed and Atlanta Magazine Images via Unsplash and Google

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Self-driving cars are hitting Atlanta this September

Honolulu is the first US city to ban using your phone while crossing the street

July 31, 2017 by  
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Most people think they can walk and text, but statistics prove otherwise. Between 2015 and 2016, for instance, there was a 10 percent spike in pedestrian fatalities in the United States, likely due to the number of people walking while distracted by their phones. It’s because of this that Honolulu, Hawaii, recently passed legislation that targets  texters and other “smartphone zombies” as they step off the curb. On Thursday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed the “Distracted Walking Law” which is the first law of its type to be passed in the U.S. Reuters reports that it passed 7-2 earlier this month by the city council. Said Caldwell, “We hold the unfortunate distinction of being a major city with more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly our seniors, than almost any other city in the country .” The law will go into effect on October 25, at which time the Honolulu Police Department will begin handing out fines. First-time offenders will receive a $15-$35 fine, second time violates within the same year will be fined $35-$75, and those who are caught a third time will be charged $75-$99. People making calls for emergency services are exempt from the ban. According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser , police will implement a three-month training and warning period until the law goes into effect. Related: This Clothing Staple Lets You Make Simple Gestures to Send a Text Maureen Vogel, a spokeswoman for the council, applauded the initiative. She said during a phone interview, “ Cell phones are not just pervading our roadways but pervading our sidewalks too.” Opponents, on the other hand, argue that it “infringes on personal freedom and amounts to government overreach.” Nonetheless, it is expected that the law will result in improved public safety — and that is applaudable. Via Reuters Images via Deposit Photos and  Pixabay

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Honolulu is the first US city to ban using your phone while crossing the street

Luscious eco-resort design in China inspired by the Silk Road

July 26, 2017 by  
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An existing native village in China is being transformed into a modern eco-resort that offers a variety of activities and spaces. Architects Jean Pierre HEIM and Carolyn HEIM of HEIMdesign approached the redesign of Sasseur eco-tourist village using “One Belt, One Road” development strategy that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among China and the rest of the world. The project will be implemented near the city of Chongqing– starting point of the Silk Road economic belt and the hub of a 21st century maritime Silk Road that connects the Chinese interior with the rest of the world. Taking advantage of the existing topography and incorporating an element of feng shui, the team divided the various buildings and facilities into categories like housing, entertainment, art etc. Related: Earthquake-Resistant Eco Village Wins Christchurch’s Breathe Competition The design combines traditional and contemporary elements, with references to the silk industry and raw silk production. The silk thread and the cocoon, the Mulberry tree and silk production in Chongqing are the inspirational elements for this project. The main idea was to keep the existing forms of the villages and existing homes and give a modern contemporary makeover. Included are a multi-media center, wellness and spa facilities , art galleries , green homes, a hotel and childcare facilities. + HEIMdesign

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Beached whale appears in Paris, stunning tourists and residents

July 26, 2017 by  
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Imagine strolling along the Seine river in Paris, hand-in-hand with a partner when all of a sudden, you glimpse a beached whale stranded on the shore. Without a doubt, the scene would inspire distress. However, this is exactly the reaction the Captain Boomer Collective was on a mission to evoke. You see, the 17-meter (55-foot) “whale” isn’t actually a marine mammal; rather, it is an art installation which was installed overnight to raise awareness about humanity’s detrimental impact on the environment. The Belgian artist collective installed the whale along the Seine river overnight. It’s unnervingly realistic – and they event went so far as to simulate the smell of a dead sperm whale . In the morning they cordoned the whale off from the public while “forensic scientists” set about studying it. The team wrote on their website , “We place the statue on the beach during the night and prepare bleeding and smell. In the morning the carcass is fenced, to keep people at a distance. We create of circle of about seven meters around the statue. Within this perimeter, the beaching is a true fact. The actors within the fence never drop their cover. They are scientific and official figures of a fictitious organization, the North Sea Whale Association.” Understandably, members of the public believed it to be real upon first viewing it. One Paris resident told the press, “It makes me very sad because for an animal like this to leave the Atlantic to end up here means that there is a problem […] I think it might be our fault.” Related: 337 whales beached in largest stranding event ever – and no one knows why The Mirror reports that the project ultimately aims to raise awareness about humanity’s impact on the environment , including the fact that humans are adversely affecting wildlife with plastic pollution and are overfishing the oceans. Additionally, the team sought to raise awareness about the sperm whale, which is now classified as a vulnerable species due to the impact of commercial whaling. While it is unlikely a sperm whale would ever make it way up the Seine river, the installation isn’t too far off in its depiction – whales are regularly found beached in the North Sea, as IFLScience points out. In fact, Rob Deaville, the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme project manager, says that during a regular year, it is not uncommon for at least two to five sperm whales to strand themselves in the UK alone. Hopefully, this project gives humanity the abrupt wake-up call it needs. + Captain Boomer Collective Via IFLScience , The Mirror Images via Stéphanie Basquin, Julien Kerduff

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