Spectacular installation in London turns scaffolding planks into sculpture

October 4, 2019 by  
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In the most ambitious of British Land’s Landmark installations to date, internationally renowned British designer Paul Cocksedge has transformed more than a thousand scaffolding planks into a large-scale structure with undulating curves. Named Please Be Seated, the installation provides Broadgate, London’s largest pedestrianized neighborhood, with a beautiful piece of art that doubles as seating. The art piece was created in collaboration with Essex-based, high-end interiors company White & White as part of the 2019 London Design Festival. Located at Finsbury Avenue Square, the Please Be Seated landmark project is a physical representation of the community’s changing rhythms. The curvaceous, wooden structure spans 15.5 meters across, while its curves reach a peak height of 3.4 meters, high enough for people to walk under and comfortably rest against when sitting or lounging. The installation was constructed from 1,151 reused scaffolding planks bent into three ribbon-like concentric circles. Related: Artist suspends a giant cube filled with images of ocean plastic inside a London museum “Every single aspect of the installation is tailored to its environment as well as the function it serves,” Cocksedge said in a press statement. “The curves raise up to create backrests and places to sit, as well as space for people to walk under or pause and find some shade. It walks the line between a craft object and a design solution. It occupies the square without blocking it.” Supported by Broadgate and British Land, Please Be Seated was presented to the public on September 14, 2019 in parallel to the London Design Festival . An exhibition of Cocksedge’s work that was displayed at Broadgate’s The Space | 3FA also showed the process behind creating Please Be Seated. The installation will remain in place until October 11, 2019. + Paul Cocksedge Photography by Mark Cocksedge via Paul Cocksedge

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Spectacular installation in London turns scaffolding planks into sculpture

Get away from the urban chaos in one of these 8 amazing eco-friendly treehouses

September 24, 2019 by  
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Imagine just for a moment waking up to the chirpy birdcall and the crisp sounds of rustling leaves coming from the surrounding tree canopy.  The rest of your day can be spent exploring the deepest part of the Costa Rican rainforest or strolling along pristine coastal waters. You might just want to sleep in and enjoy a mid-morning yoga class, too. Although all of this may seem too good to be true, it’s not. This is life within the rainforest sanctuary known as the Finca Bellavista community. Located in the southern region of Costa Rica, this idyllic sustainable community offers ecotourists their choice of eight amazing eco-friendly treehouse retreats. Casa Tamandua Entrenched in lush vegetation, the three-level Casa Tamandua offers family-style lodging high up in the tree canopy. The solar-powered treehouse has two bedrooms plus a cool sleeping loft. The main living area offers ample space to enjoy the great outdoors, but for those looking to really immerse themselves in nature, the place to be is swinging on the dual hammocks hanging on the spacious decks. Related: 9 treehouses you can actually rent for an off-the-ground getaway Fila Tortuga For those looking for a serene off-grid respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Fila Tortuga is calling your name. The one bedroom treehouse sits high up in the canopy, surrounded by vegetation. Although it has no electricity, it comes with all of the basics, including a well-equipped kitchenette. There is plenty of indoor living space, but at the heart of the treehouse is the large balcony with plenty of room to watch the amazing wildlife. Cabina Colibri Get back to the basics with this lovely studio treehouse that offers the glorious delight of off-grid simplicity. The Cabina Colibri offers a quiet treehouse stay, complete with a furnished balcony with outdoor dining space to enjoy the daily sightings of the wildlife among the rusting of the tree leaves. El Castillo Mastate El Castillo Mastate stays true to its name by offering guests a castle in the sky. Reached by a fun plankway, the two-story treehouse is another great family-oriented retreat. The treehouse features three bedrooms with Queen-sized beds, two bathrooms, plus a fully-equipped kitchen and large dining table that seats up to eight people. Although, the large open-air deck is the perfect place for dining al fresco while listening to the birds and other wildlife. Solar-powered electricity provides enough charge for lights, refrigeration, phones, etc. Casa Estrella With its robust all-wood interior, including exposed wooden beams, this two bedroom, 1.5 bathroom treehouse is like a tiny wooden cabin in the sky. Along with a spacious living and dining area, the solar-powered treehouse comes with furnished balconies and canopy views that offers the best in wildlife viewing. As the closest treehouse to basecamp, Casa Estrella is especially suited for those who are looking for a getaway, but not one that’s not so far from civilization. Casa de Tigre This studio-style treehouse offers a beautiful stay for anyone wanting to explore the Costa Rican jungle. Tucked into the vegetation, this cabin sits high off the ground, but is accessible via a small ramp. It even has its own trail leading to an adjacent river. With a large-open air balcony and screen-in windows on every wall, it’s perfect for getting in tune with the surrounding nature. Casa de Leon This three-level treehouse is a perfect location for anyone wanting to truly go off-grid with a large group. Casa de Leon sleeps ten, spread out between two bedrooms and a loft. And although there is no electricity in the off-grid treehouse, there is a well-equipped kitchenette with everything needed to whip up tasty meals. La Torreluna Reached by a stairway leading up from the landscape, La Torreluna treehouse is a perfect escape for a small family. The treehouse offers one queen bed and two twin beds, along with a bathroom. Although there is no electricity, families can spend their time bonding as they hike through the large network of hiking trails that lead to some seriously breathtaking views. Along with a vast choice of amazing eco-friendly treehouses to choose from, Finca Bellavista offers an incredible chance to explore the Costa Rican jungle. In addition to wildlife viewing, hiking, mountain biking, etc., the community offers complimentary daily yoga classes with reservations secured. Fresh organic produce is grown on site at their expansive gardens. Guests can also enjoy spending time at the camp’s community center which provides internet service, happy hour gatherings, games, etc. + Finca Bellavista Images via Finca Bellavista

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Get away from the urban chaos in one of these 8 amazing eco-friendly treehouses

For 2019, the 10 worst cities for air quality are in California and Arizona

September 24, 2019 by  
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Since the enactment of the Clean Air Act in 1970, there has been growing awareness for the importance of good air quality in American cities. Air quality plays a significant role with health and sustainable living. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recognizes this, which is why for the 2019 American Fitness Index rankings, the ACSM added air quality as an environmental indicator of a city’s health. According to its findings, these are the 10 cities in the U.S. with the worst air quality. The annual Fitness Index assesses 100 of the United States’ largest metropolitan areas. The cities are evaluated, then ranked from the highest score to the lowest score. The index is a helpful tool to compare the air quality of these 100 cities. It does so by considering the healthy behaviors of a city’s residents, the population of residents with chronic diseases as well as the community’s infrastructure. In turn, the rankings provide insight on air quality safety that can helpfully instruct a city’s policy makers, infrastructure management and governmental direction. Related: Almost all U.S. national parks have polluted air According to the 2019 Fitness Index, these are the 10 worst metropolitan areas with bad air quality, or air pollution . They each have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution: Long Beach, California Los Angeles, California Gilbert, Arizona Phoenix, Arizona Scottsdale, Arizona Chandler, Arizona Mesa, Arizona Glendale, Arizona Riverside, California Bakersfield, California What determines air quality? Geography and weather are the natural agents influencing air quality. But man-made elements — including vehicular use plus industrial emissions — especially affect air quality. In fact, two of the most common pollutants are ozone and particles, like soot from wildfires. Exposure to pollutants and airborne toxins predisposes a given area or region’s population to ailments. These include cardiovascular harm (heart disease and stroke), shortness of breath, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, wheezing, coughing, susceptibility to infections, even allergies — all of which can be influenced and impacted by air pollution. Annual rankings indicate a consistent monitoring of air quality, which is a positive takeaway. This type of monitoring can inform agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ), so that key safeguards and their enforcement can be put in place. + American Fitness Index Image via Florian Lehmuth

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For 2019, the 10 worst cities for air quality are in California and Arizona

For 2019, the 10 worst cities for air quality are in California and Arizona

September 24, 2019 by  
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Since the enactment of the Clean Air Act in 1970, there has been growing awareness for the importance of good air quality in American cities. Air quality plays a significant role with health and sustainable living. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recognizes this, which is why for the 2019 American Fitness Index rankings, the ACSM added air quality as an environmental indicator of a city’s health. According to its findings, these are the 10 cities in the U.S. with the worst air quality. The annual Fitness Index assesses 100 of the United States’ largest metropolitan areas. The cities are evaluated, then ranked from the highest score to the lowest score. The index is a helpful tool to compare the air quality of these 100 cities. It does so by considering the healthy behaviors of a city’s residents, the population of residents with chronic diseases as well as the community’s infrastructure. In turn, the rankings provide insight on air quality safety that can helpfully instruct a city’s policy makers, infrastructure management and governmental direction. Related: Almost all U.S. national parks have polluted air According to the 2019 Fitness Index, these are the 10 worst metropolitan areas with bad air quality, or air pollution . They each have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution: Long Beach, California Los Angeles, California Gilbert, Arizona Phoenix, Arizona Scottsdale, Arizona Chandler, Arizona Mesa, Arizona Glendale, Arizona Riverside, California Bakersfield, California What determines air quality? Geography and weather are the natural agents influencing air quality. But man-made elements — including vehicular use plus industrial emissions — especially affect air quality. In fact, two of the most common pollutants are ozone and particles, like soot from wildfires. Exposure to pollutants and airborne toxins predisposes a given area or region’s population to ailments. These include cardiovascular harm (heart disease and stroke), shortness of breath, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, wheezing, coughing, susceptibility to infections, even allergies — all of which can be influenced and impacted by air pollution. Annual rankings indicate a consistent monitoring of air quality, which is a positive takeaway. This type of monitoring can inform agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ), so that key safeguards and their enforcement can be put in place. + American Fitness Index Image via Florian Lehmuth

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For 2019, the 10 worst cities for air quality are in California and Arizona

Canadas largest shipping container market welcomes crowds in Toronto

September 12, 2019 by  
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The people of Toronto are enjoying the country’s largest shipping container market, courtesy of local firm LGA Architectural Partners . Located on a two-block, 2.4 acre site, the Stackt market is comprised of various repurposed shipping containers, configured to make the most of the space in order to create a vibrant market area that serves as a community hub. The project is located at Bathurst and Front Streets. The lot is slated to be converted into a public park in the future, but in the meantime, LGA Architectural Partners collaborated with the local council to utilize the space to build the temporary market. Accordingly, the shipping container project had to be designed to not only serve as a community-centered public space but also in a way that it could be dismantled and installed in another area in the future. Related: Repurposed shipping containers turned into solar-powered Cycle Hubs The design of the Stackt market was focused on creating a welcoming social hub for the community. The multiple repurposed shipping containers are strategically stacked to create an open, light-filled market punctuated with several open-air courtyards. The ground level is comprised of a network of detached buildings with single- and double-height interiors that house a number of retail shops as well separate containers that have been installed with the basic utilities needed to support the businesses, such as heating and cooling systems, water infrastructure and more. The top containers are arranged in grid-like formations to create side passageways and courtyards that can be used for cultural events. The third story of containers are arranged in a staggered design that adds a unique, eye-catching dynamic to the marketplace. The market contains anchor and pop-up stores as well as several food and beverage spots, including an onsite brewery . All of the storefronts have a uniform design to create a cohesive look to the market and reduce visual clutter. While some of the stores are permanent, pop-up spaces will change with the seasons. According to Janna Levitt, partner at LGA Architectural Partners, the prime focus of the shipping container project was to create a lively space that currently meets the needs of this community and possibly another one down the road without leaving a permanent impact on the landscape . “As our world becomes more digital, retailers are looking for unique physical spaces and experiential opportunities for their customers,” Levitt said. “Shipping containers suggest an unusual and immersive retail experience while also offering a practical and sustainable building solution. Their inherent modularity means that the project can be disassembled and deployed elsewhere to create future Stackt developments, while leaving the site unscathed.” + LGA Architectural Partners Photography via Industryous Photography

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Canadas largest shipping container market welcomes crowds in Toronto

Green-roofed community center champions sustainable design in London

August 27, 2019 by  
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In the heart of London , the Phoenix Garden — an acclaimed refuge for urban wildlife and greenery — has gained an award-winning beacon for sustainable design. Local architecture practice OFFICE SIAN Architecture + Design designed the Phoenix Garden Community Center to improve accessibility to the park, which is open to the public and commonly used by visitors for a variety of events ranging from student field trips to weddings. In addition to a thriving green roof and a highly contextual design, the new building also features durable, super-insulating materials and air-source heat pumps. Located in London’s Soho area a few meters from Covent Garden and Leicester Square, the 120-square-meter Phoenix Garden Community Center and the adjoining garden were conceived as a green retreat from the stresses of London’s West End. Although the park is just a third of an acre in size, the community garden has become very popular for both residents and urban wildlife alike. In deference to the landscape, the community center was constructed with natural materials, from the timber doors and walls of brick that match the existing low garden walls to the large white limestone lettering that announces the building’s presence and matches the style of the nearby St. Giles Church. Related: IKEA teams up with London artists to upcycle old furniture into funky abodes for birds, bees and bats Because the two-story building would be the first purpose-built, new-build community center in central London for generations, the client, the Phoenix Garden Trust, thought it especially important that the building promote the garden’s values of sustainability. To that end, the architects created a “super-insulating” envelope made from durable materials and topped the structure with a green roof that increases the landscaped area of the garden by 90 square meters. In addition to air-source heat pumps, the building reuses collected rainwater for irrigation. “The design was developed from an early concept of ‘garden walls’ as a metaphor for ideas of enclosure, secrecy and boundaries,” the architects explained. Glazed timber-framed doors fold open to merge the indoor spaces with the outdoor garden. Brick was also used to line the interior floors to blur the boundary between indoors and out. + OFFICE SIAN Architecture + Design Photography by Richard Chivers via OFFICE SIAN Architecture + Design

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Green-roofed community center champions sustainable design in London

8 Ways to Inspire Reuse in Your Community

August 21, 2019 by  
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Reduce, reuse, recycle. For years, we’ve heard that environmental mantra. … The post 8 Ways to Inspire Reuse in Your Community appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Indian cafe offers food for trash, then turns the waste into roads

July 29, 2019 by  
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The city of Ambikapur in India’s Chhattisgarh state is launching a “garbage cafe” where anyone can eat healthy meals in exchange for collecting trash. The cafe will be centrally located in the city’s busiest bus terminal and is owned by the Municipal Corporation. Although such cafes exist in other cities around the world, the plastic trash collected for Ambikapur’s cafe is unique, because it will go directly into asphalt to pave the city’s roads. The practice of melting plastic and incorporating it into paving materials is not new in India. In fact, the government mandated that all urban areas utilize plastic waste in their roads in 2015, but most have yet to follow orders. The city of Ambikapur has one such road so far, and there are an estimated 100,000 kilometers of plastic roads throughout India . The innovative chemical process is led by professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan, but it has also been replicated and modified by engineers around the world, including the plastic-producing giant Dow Chemical . “At the end of the day, plastic is a great product. It lasts for long, which is a problem if it’s a waste product, but not a problem if we want it to last,” said engineer Toby McCartney, whose company produces recycled plastic pellets that are mixed into roads. According to McCartney, plastic roads last three times longer than conventional roads and need less maintenance. They are more resistant to flooding and less likely to get potholes. McCartney also promises his prototype does not break down into microplastics or enter ecosystems. With an initial budget of just about $7,000 USD, the cafe is a triple-win for the government’s goals to address food insecurity , clean up the roads and improve infrastructure. Via Vice Image via Rajesh Balouria

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Indian cafe offers food for trash, then turns the waste into roads

Giant totems in Poland warn against climate change catastrophe

July 18, 2019 by  
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In the heart of Pozna?, Poland, artist Alicja Bia?a and architect Iwo Borkowicz have installed Totemy , a series of giant sculptures designed to raise awareness about climate change and environmental issues. Located beneath the MVRDV -design Baltyk building, the massive totems derive their bold patterns, vibrant colors and shapes from statistics on pressing environmental topics, from deforestation to air pollution to plastic production. Each sculpture features a QR code that passersby can scan to access a website explaining the meaning behind each sculpture. Measuring nearly 30 feet tall in height, each timber Totemy sculpture was constructed and painted by hand by Bia?a with help from local wood workers and community members. During the design process, Bia?a opened her workshop to the public for weekly open studios where the community could contribute their ideas to the project. Given the amount of community involvement, the sculpture location beneath the Baltyk building was fitting: the building, which was formerly a cinema , had long served as a place where people would gather to discuss political ideas. Related: Daniel Libeskind unveils climate change-inspired sculptures at Paleis Het Loo “The two designers aimed to use public space as a direct confrontation with facts and statistics, able to reach a wider public than would typically be afforded by museums, galleries and conventional art spaces,” the Totemy press release noted. “We wanted to address the public at large and at an everyday level,” Bia?a explained. “Passersby on the street and tram will catch out of the corner of their eye a flash of strong colors and be reminded of the current state of our world.” The popularity of the Totemy project in Poland has garnered interest in other cities and abroad. Bia?a and Borkowicz plan to take the concept to other countries to spur dialogue about climate change and environmental issues. + Totemy Images via Alicja Bia?a

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Giant totems in Poland warn against climate change catastrophe

Study shows reusable menstrual cups are safe and just as effective as tampons, pads

July 18, 2019 by  
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Reusable menstrual cups have been around for decades, but they are just starting to pick up in popularity. Most people can’t shake their familiar comfort with tampons and pads, but a new study indicates that the cup is just as effective as the disposables and has no health risks. If you can get past the learning curve and “ick” factor, the menstrual cup is one of the easiest and most sustainable options for your period. Reusable cups are typically made from silicone or rubber and are inserted into the vagina. The cup stays put via suction against the vaginal walls. A finger must be inserted to break the suction, and then the user removes the cup, empties its contents, washes it and reinserts it. It can stay for up to 12 hours. The initial cost of cups might seem expensive, around $40 USD, but they last up to 10 years. Related: 5 eco-friendly menstrual products that also protect women’s health The study in The Lancet Public Health used data from more than 3,000 people around the world and proved that the cup is safe and effective. Not only are there no associated health risks, including vaginal infection or discharge, but the cups are light, compact and easy to travel with. Once you get past the initial sticker price, cups are one of the most affordable options and could be helpful for people in poor and rural communities. “People in non-profits assume that [the cups are] not suitable,” said Mandu Reid, founder of The Cup Effect , which trains people how to use cup. “That’s based on presumptions about these women’s preferences. That they wouldn’t like them because they have to be inserted or because they don’t want to touch their own menstrual blood.” There is certainly an “ick” factor to get past and some challenges in areas with limited access to clean water ; however, the study found that 73 percent of first-time users expressed a willingness to continue using it. + The Lancet Public Health Via NPR Image via Shutterstock

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Study shows reusable menstrual cups are safe and just as effective as tampons, pads

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