The Great American Rail-Trail to offer bike access from coast to coast

January 6, 2021 by  
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People have turned toward outdoor exercise as a way to keep fit, lift spirits and fight the monotony of a pandemic. Now, new and veteran outdoor athletes have something exciting to train for: the cross-country Great American Rail-Trail, which will one day let people bike or hike from Washington state to Washington, D.C. The Great American Rail Trail is a project of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), which was founded in 1986. Back then, a few out-of-service railroad corridors had been converted into usable trails . Today, the U.S. has more than 24,000 miles of rail-trails. The Great American Rail-Trail project requires another 8,000 miles to connect existing trails. Related: How to make American cities bike-friendly The plan is for the trail to traverse Washington state, the top of Idaho and part of western Montana, then cross the whole of Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa. It will travel through the top of Illinois, then cross Indiana, Ohio and small sections of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland before ending in Washington, D.C. The route will cover more than 3,700 miles. With 50 million people living within 50 miles of the route, planners expect it to get a lot of use. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has raised more than $4 million in public and private funds to complete the massive trail. “This year has proven how vital projects like the Great American Rail-Trail are to the country. Millions of people have found their way outside on trails as a way to cope with the pandemic,” said Ryan Chao, president of RTC. “As the Great American Rail-Trail connects more towns, cities, states and regions, this infrastructure serves as the backbone of resilient communities, while uniting us around a bold, ambitious and impactful vision.” When complete, the Great American Rail-Trail will join other ambitious thoroughfares around the world. The EuroVelo 6 route travels 2,765 miles through 10 European countries between the Black Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Last year, the Great North Trail opened in the U.K. and allows hikers and bikers to travel from northern England’s Peak District to the northeastern tip of Scotland. + Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Image via Pam Patterson

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What 8 indoor ag companies plan for 2021

January 6, 2021 by  
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What 8 indoor ag companies plan for 2021 Jesse Klein Wed, 01/06/2021 – 01:30 When the pandemic exposed major issues with our lengthy food supply chain — in the form of shipment delays and inadequate demand forecasting — local vertical farms and indoor growing operations (aka controlled environment greenhouses in urban or rural locations) were called upon to fill in the gaps in a way that was unprecedented. With 2020 in the history books and hopes for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic rising, these companies seek to build on their newfound momentum in 2021. With revenue for vertical farming alone estimated at just $212.4 million in 2019, one forecast calls for the industry to hit $1.38 billion by 2027, a compound annual growth rate of 26.2 percent from 2021 to 2027. Here are what eight leaders in vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture are planning in the year ahead. The list is presented alphabetically and represents a slice of the marketplace activity cropping up in late 2020. AeroFarms The Aerofarms facility in Jersey City, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Aerofarms AeroFarms’ four New Jersey vertical farms produced 2 million pounds of produce in 2020. And this year that number likely will skyrocket with the company’s April announcement of construction on a 90,000-square-foot indoor vertical farm in Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest vertical farm. In 2021, Aerofarms is taking on the issue of food waste more explicitly. It invested in Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) to help understand and prevent lettuce discoloration, experiment with ways to increase lettuce yield and level up leaf quality. AppHarvest  AppHarvest’s farm in Morehead, Kentucky. Photo courtesy of AppHarvest Appalachian company AppHarvest has launched three controlled environment greenhouses in Kentucky. It chose the state specifically because it’s within a day’s drive of 70 percent of the U.S. population. In early 2021, AppHarvest will harvest its first crop of tomatoes, a move meant to help reduce reliance and emissions from imported tomatoes. In 2019, 60 percent of America’s tomatoes were imported. The facilities use a closed-loop system that runs entirely off recycled rainwater to eliminate agricultural runoff and reduce water usage. Bowery Farming Bowery Farming’s second farm in Kearny, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Bowery Farming Bowery Farming, based in New York City, plans to invest its 600 percent increase in sales last year into a new vertical farm in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 2021. By working with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Governor’s Action Team, Bowery is turning an arid industrial site into 8.7 acres of modern farmland that also should help the economic recovery of the area. Bethlehem once was a thriving steel town with Bethlehem Steel Corporation once employing around 60 percent of the local workforce at its peak before shutting down in 1998 . Since then, the city has had to transition into different sectors. Bowery Farming hopes to be part of that evolution. Its farm will create 70 jobs and feature LED lighting, recapture water from the plants using a water transpiration system and collect data on a massive scale to inform future farming choices.  BrightFarms This BrightFarms greenhouse produces more than two million pounds of leafy salad greens per year. Photo courtesy of BrightFarms With $100 million in new funding raised in 2020, BrightFarms plans to construct greenhouses in every major market by 2025. This year marks the start of that journey with the construction of two new facilities in North Carolina and Massachusetts.  Both farms will be six to seven acres, or almost double the company’s current facilities in Ohio, Illinois and Virginia. In 2021, BrightFarm, which makes its headquarters in Irvington, New York, also plans to roll out its proprietary AI System, Bright OS, which will use machine learning and analytics to make operations from seed to shelf more efficient.   Gotham Greens Gotham Greens operates a network of greenhouses across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New England, Mountain West and beyond. Photo courtesy of Gotham Greens Gotham Greens has been at the forefront of urban farming for over a decade. After starting in New York and expanding across the northeast, 2021 will be the year Gotham tries to take over the rest of the country. As the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered so many businesses, Gotham Greens was able to expand into Aurora, Colorado , just outside of Denver. The Colorado location is Gotham’s eighth greenhouse. It also expanded to Baltimore. Finally, in December, the company announced an $87 million funding round. The funding will support Gotham Greens products in Whole Foods Market, Albertsons Companies, Meijer, Target, King Soopers, Harris Teeter, ShopRite and Sprouts. Infarm An Infarm installation at French retailer, Metro. Photo courtesy of Infarm In 2021, Infarm is hopping on a hot industry trend — bringing the vertical farm to the grocery store. In late December, the Berlin-based company announced a partnership with Sumitomo, a Japanese company that owns Summit Store, one of Tokyo’s leading supermarket chains. The partnership will bring Infarm’s modular vertical farm directly to grocery stores. With this move, Infarm is expanding on its in-store strategy first experimented with Kroger in Berlin in 2020. Brick Street Farms also partnered last year with Publix to bring its vertical farms closer to the consumer. Infarm will install its first farm at Summit’s Gotanno location and products are scheduled to be ready for sale at the end of January. Kalera Kalera’s new farm in Houston will be the largest such facility in Texas. Photo courtesy of Kalera Kalera also plans a rapid expansion in 2021. The Orlando-based vertical farm company is pushing into Atlanta , Denver and Houston this year. This will be the company’s third, fourth and fifth farms and the first ones outside Florida. The Houston facilities will be the largest vertical farm in Texas while the Atlanta location will be the highest production volume vertical farm in the Southeast. The Atlanta one will be more than double the size of the company’s Orlando facilities — able to produce 11 million heads of lettuce. And in December Kalera announced it is expanding into the Pacific Northwest in Seattle. These new facilities will help Kalera support partnerships with grocers and restaurants in the area. Plenty Most vertical farms, including Plenty, have initially focused on leafy greens like kale. Photo courtesy of Plenty Plenty , based in San Francisco, had an eventful final quarter of 2020 and is riding that momentum into 2021. In August, the indoor farming company announced a partnership with Albertsons to expand into more than 430 stores in Southern California. It followed up that move in October with a $140 million funding round led by Softbank and a historic partnership with Driscoll’s to give consumers fresh sweet strawberries year-round. This year, Plenty plans to begin construction on the world largest output vertical farm in Compton, California. Upon completion, the farm will be the size of a big box retail store and will grow over 700 acres of leafy green crops. Topics Food & Agriculture Food Systems Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Sunderlands riverfront to house UKs first carbon-neutral community

November 5, 2020 by  
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Northern England’s post-industrial port city of Sunderland will soon welcome a major riverside regeneration as part of an eco-friendly masterplan designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects and Proctor & Matthews Architects . Developed for Sunderland City Council and developers Igloo Regeneration, the urban revitalization project will transform a 33.2-hectare site on both sides of the River Wear into the country’s first carbon-neutral urban quarter.  Designed to “reinvent the heart of Sunderland,” the masterplan design will include 1,000 new energy-efficient homes in four mixed-use residential neighborhoods for a population of 2,500. Each neighborhood will have a distinctive character and feature a mix of three housing types inspired by local and regional antecedents, from the iconic Sunderland cottage to the Wearside maisonettes. The masterplan also includes 1 million square feet of office space in a new central business district that’s expected to provide up to 10,000 new jobs. Related: PAU unveils carbon-neutral Sunnyside Yard masterplan in NYC The five urban districts — Vaux, Sheepfolds, Farringdon Row, Heart of the City and Ayre’s Quay — will be connected by a new Riverside Park that will be the main focal point of the development and account for approximately half of the project’s total site area. St. Mary’s Boulevard will also be upgraded to better connect the riverside to the city through the park, while new bridges will strengthen connections between the communities on both sides of the river. Cultural highlights will include the Culture House, a state-of-the-art library and community hub, as well as a new arts center, by Flanagan Lawrence, to be housed within a renovated 1907 fire station. “The masterplan aims to maximise the drama of ‘living on the edge’, with views of the river, the gorge and abundant green space,” the architects explained. “The restoration and re-invention of a built edge on the cliff tops overlooking the river will create a signature silhouette for the city.” Renewables and smart energy networks will be promoted throughout the masterplan to help achieve the project’s carbon-neutral status. + FaulknerBrowns Architects Images via FaulknerBrowns Architects

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A telework transition won’t slash emissions unless we make car-free lifestyles viable

October 20, 2020 by  
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A telework transition won’t slash emissions unless we make car-free lifestyles viable Hannah Budnitz Tue, 10/20/2020 – 00:02 Even before the pandemic, the proportion of people working from home was slowly but steadily increasing. But COVID-19 has put the practice into hyperdrive. Down from an April peak of about 47 percent in the United Kingdom, recent reports suggest that 20 percent of those in employment still work exclusively from home, with many more continuing to do so at least some of the time. The benefits of reduced office costs — and the realization that staff are actually fairly productive at home — has led to many big tech firms encouraging their employees to keep working from home, perhaps indefinitely. Up to 90 percentof those who have worked from home during the pandemic are reportedly converts to “telecommuting,” preferring to continue remote working at least some of the time. These are only some of the bigger signs that many workers may be giving up the real commute for good, while others are expected to commute much less often. Up to 90% of those who have worked from home during the pandemic are reportedly converts to ‘telecommuting,’ preferring to continue remote working at least some of the time. So, is this seismic shift in our work culture good news for the environment? Does less commuting mean less traffic and so, less carbon emissions? Well, despite satellite images revealing rapid reductions in air pollution during lockdowns around the world, more people switching to telecommuting for good does not necessarily equate to lower carbon emissions from transport. Our research revealed that although telecommuters travel to work less frequently, they have a tendency to travel more often for other reasons. Google searches for ‘telecommuting’ in the UK, 2016-2020 How travel patterns compare We analyzed just under 1 million trips using all modes of transport recorded in travel logs filled in by over 50,000 working people in England between 2009 and 2016, as part of the government’s annual National Travel Survey . We found that those who said they usually worked from home at least once a week made 19 trips per week on average — just one fewer than regular commuters. Instead of going to work, they were more likely to take the children to school, give lifts to friends or family, do the shopping and run other errands. They also used the time saved from commuting to enjoy leisure activities more often than their regularly commuting counterparts, perhaps going to a café or a yoga class. These trips weren’t necessarily all by car, but most were. Studies found that those who work from home tend to live further away from their employer, and so clock up more mileage when they do travel to work. Previous studies have found that those who work from home also tend to live further away from their employer, and so clock up more mileage when they do travel to work. Regular telecommuters are more likely to live in smaller towns and suburbs, rather than city centers. In the U.K., such places are often car-dependent, lacking local public transport services and basic amenities within walking or cycling distance. Some of these towns and suburbs have train lines into the city, and pre-pandemic, some part-time telecommuters were likely to use the train when they did venture into work. Our research found that working remotely and commuting by train were the only two means of accessing work that were increasing in England outside of London. But most commuters still drive, and COVID-19 has meant that a fear of long stints on public transport prevent this changing any time soon. The 15-minute suburb The pandemic has accelerated not just the transition to telecommuting, but also the rush to buy homes with gardens outside of dense, urban areas and further from the head office. While the lifestyle benefits may be clear, the places people are moving to also will be further from the range of shops and services in city centers. It’s no wonder that people in the hospitality and retail sector, whose business models depend on office workers, are concerned . The ’15-minute city’ plan, where people can meet their basic needs without walking more than 15 minutes from home, also could work for towns and suburbs. High streets in smaller towns, cities and suburbs are reported to be performing rather better. Is it because they’re being visited by all the additional people working from home? If so, are there enough of these places, and are they located so that people can walk there? Do they have all the amenities that people need? Perhaps the ” 15-minute city ” plan, championed by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, where people can meet their basic needs without walking more than 15 minutes from home, also could work for towns and suburbs. Reorienting life around local amenities could help permanently reduce transport emissions.  Clem Onojeghuo/Unsplash ,  CC BY-SA If increased telecommuting and reduced transport emissions is to be a silver lining of the pandemic, then our research shows that transport and land use planners need to focus more on ensuring schools, shops, parks and community and leisure centers are accessible by foot or bike for locals. Telecommuters, especially those working exclusively from home, may not have to worry about switching to a car-free commute, but if anything, they will need even more help in building a car-free lifestyle. Pull Quote Up to 90% of those who have worked from home during the pandemic are reportedly converts to ‘telecommuting,’ preferring to continue remote working at least some of the time. Studies found that those who work from home tend to live further away from their employer, and so clock up more mileage when they do travel to work. The ’15-minute city’ plan, where people can meet their basic needs without walking more than 15 minutes from home, also could work for towns and suburbs. Contributors Emmanouil Tranos Lee Chapman Topics Transportation & Mobility The Conversation Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Is working from home sustainable? Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash Close Authorship

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A telework transition won’t slash emissions unless we make car-free lifestyles viable

UK plans to be powered entirely by offshore wind turbines by 2030

October 12, 2020 by  
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U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson has affirmed government plans to ensure that the entire country is powered by offshore wind energy by 2030. Speaking at a virtual conservative party meeting, he reiterated his promise, saying that renewable energy will be used to power all homes in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales by the end of the decade. “Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle , the whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands,” Johnson said. Related: One-quarter of UK mammals face threat of extinction To fulfill this ambitious plan, the U.K. government will be required to generate at least 40GW of energy with its offshore wind turbines. In 2019, the government had committed to generating 30GW via wind energy. Johnson promised to increase that to 40GW following a party victory in December 2019 elections. While the plan to generate 100% green energy for the U.K. is positive news, the project faces various challenges. The pandemic has caused financial difficulties, but Johnson assured conference viewers that the government will invest £160 million ($207 million) to develop improved turbines to meet the goal. Johnson said the government will also deploy floating turbines to generate at least 1GW of offshore wind energy . “The government has raised the ambition for offshore wind and renewables , and our industry is ready to meet the challenge,” Hugh McNeal, CEO of trade association RenewableUK, said. According to an analysis done by Aurora Energy Research , almost £50 billion ($64.8 billion) will be required to generate 40GW of wind energy. The U.K. currently has about 10GW of offshore wind power. The analysis also shows that the government will have to install an average of 260 turbines per year over five years to meet the target. Via Engadget Image via Thomas G.

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West 8 and Studio 44 win Tuchkov Buyan Park competition in St. Petersburg

October 12, 2020 by  
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Rotterdam-based West 8 and Saint Petersburg-based Studio 44 have won an international competition with their design for the Tuchkov Buyan Park, a new proposed waterfront park in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Over 200 teams from 50 countries applied for participation in the competition. A shortlist of eight participants were selected, including Studio 44 and West 8; a team led by Agence Ter and Philippe Rahm architectes; Bjarke Ingels Group with BuroHappold NYC; JV Vogt and Herzog & de Meuron with ARUP; Kengo Kuma and Associates with Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture; and a team led by Michel Desvigne Paysagiste and Meganom. The JV Vogt and Herzog & de Meuron team and local firm Khvoya were selected as finalists. Developed on behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation, the international competition for the Tuchkov Buyan Park in Saint Petersburg sought a design for the city’s first park with direct river access in the city’s Petrograd region. The park, which would be within walking distance of key city landmarks such as the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Rostral Columns of Vasilievsky Island, would also link the city’s green spaces with an unbroken pedestrian route . Related: Former railway yard to receive a green transformation in St. Petersburg The winning proposal by West 8 and Studio 44 conceptualizes a contemporary park with strong sculptural landscaping to not only create a buffer from the urban fabric but also provide protection from the wind and direct sightlines. In addition to sculpted topography, the Tuchkov Buyan Park comprises 12 new biotopes including a boreal forest, a mixed forest, the waterside, the park area and the Orangery to create shelter and nesting opportunities for local fauna. Year-round programming would also be provided so that visitors can enjoy the park in all seasons.  To reduce the park’s environmental footprint, energy-efficient LEDs will be used for outdoor lighting. Solar panels mounted on building roofs would also offset energy needs, while a rainwater management system that collects, transports and filters rainwater is proposed for landscape irrigation purposes. + West 8 + Studio 44 Images via Strelka KB

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Simple, sustainable DIY Halloween decor

October 12, 2020 by  
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Fall has arrived, and the holiday season is right around the corner, making for the perfect time to get creative with Mission Fall Decor 2020. While you might find inspiration walking through the local home improvement or craft store, dedicating yourself to DIY decor saves you money, adds a personal sense of accomplishment and presents the opportunity to recycle or select materials that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly. Use products of the season  Autumn is the season for apple and pumpkin  everything, which launches a starting point for your seasonal decorating. Select glass bowls to fill with apples or gourds for an easy table centerpiece. Similarly, carve out the tops of apples or pumpkins and place a candle inside. To fill the house with the smell of cinnamon and apples, cube or slice an apple, add a cinnamon stick and some nutmeg and top with water. Allow the mixture to simmer on the stove, and keep an eye on the water level so it doesn’t boil dry. Related: DIY fall decor using upcycled items from thrift stores To add a cozy feel, grab a flannel blanket and drape it over a hay bale near the door to welcome guests. Top with a few pumpkins and give it a backdrop of corn stalks. After the season, everything except the blanket can go into the compost pile. Now with your scene set, put on your crafty hat for some additional decorations easily made from home-sourced supplies. Twig wreath Walk into a craft store this time of year, and you’ll likely see an assortment of wreaths, including a basic design with nothing more than twigs glued together. Instead of doling out the cash, make your own using  natural materials . Bundle up the kids and head out for a stick-collection party. With your selections back home, scrape the sticks free of moss and dirt. Overlap them and adhere with a hot glue gun, creating a circle as you work. After completing the first layer, add additional layers for depth. Once the twigs are securely attached, you can keep the ultra-natural look or spraypaint the wreath black or even orange for a bolder display. Add a burlap bow, or glue berries, mini pumpkins or dried apples on if you desire. You can check out this tutorial from  Ernest Home Co.  for more guidance. Metal Jack-O-Lantern luminaries Of course, a very popular fall holiday inspires specific witchy and graveyard appeal. To get started on your Halloween Decor 2020, hang luminaries with a Halloween theme, or use them to line a walkway up the driveway or through the garden. To make, select clean, dry cans from the waste pile and remove the lids. Watch for sharp edges. Depending on the look you want, you can use anything from a large coffee can down to a tuna can (although the latter might work better with a floating candle). Spray-paint your cans black or orange. Use the opposite color of poster board to cut out a variety of facial features such as eyes, noses and mouths. Cut up those thin marketing magnets that seem to accumulate from mailings and the front of phone books, then glue a piece to the back of each poster board cutout. You can then mix and match the faces to the front of the cans. Using a drill, create holes around the can in a random pattern. This will allow light to glow through. Place a candle or LED light inside the can so you can enjoy spooky or funny Jack-O-Lantern faces during the day and luminaries when the sun goes down. Visit  Fun Cheap or Free  for a peek at what the end product will look like. Fabric pumpkins Small, large, orange, cream or black fabric pumpkins are easy to make by recycling fabric you already have around the house. Dig through your sewing box for a basic needle with a large eye. Use whatever thread, string, yarn, ribbon or jute you already have. If using a piece of fabric, start by creating two panels and connecting them on two sides. A shortcut and wonderful way to upcycle is to use a shirt, sweater or sweatshirt for the fabric. With either source of material, roughly gather and sew closed the bottom of the pumpkin. The gathering technique helps to form the rounded bottom. Next, stuff the pumpkins with other discarded clothing, fabric, cotton, newspaper or any other material you’d like to reuse. Gather the fabric around the top of the pumpkin, cutting off the rest of the shirt parts if needed, and tie off with burlap strips or jute. You can make these pumpkins in a variety of sizes for a display. Reclaimed wood-painted blocks and signs If you enjoy  wood crafts, you likely have an assortment of wood pieces laying around just waiting for the right project to match. Use or create blocks out of 1x1s or 4x4s. Paint them using freehand techniques or stencils. You could also use a wood burner or router to sculpt a design. For longer boards, make some ghoulish signs to greet, or deter, your guests. Guide them towards the warm cookies in the kitchen or the scary graveyard in the front yard. Bat Mobile No, this isn’t a Batmobile, but a mobile, like the decorations that hang above a baby’s crib. To make, simply create bat cutouts from poster board or cardboard. Spray-paint them black and attach them in a series of heights using string or yarn. Attach the top of each strip to a round hoop, then add strings that connect the hoop to a central hook for hanging. Images via Pexels and Shutterstock

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ON-A wants to renature Barcelona by greening the Camp Nou stadium

August 26, 2020 by  
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In a bid to bring greater green space to Barcelona, local architecture firm ON-A has proposed converting the city’s Camp Nou football stadium into a 26-hectare forested park. Dubbed Nou Parc, the design blankets the Camp Nou stadium and surrounding facilities with an undulating green roof strong enough to support a forest of trees. The architects estimate that the resulting park space could produce 15,000 kilograms of oxygen per day and absorb 25,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide daily. Opened in 1957 as the home stadium of FC Barcelona, the 99,354-seat Camp Nou football stadium is the largest stadium in Spain and Europe. According to the architects, less than 10% of the stadium grounds have been allocated to green space, which results in an urban heat island effect and also creates a divide between the neighborhood of Les Corts from the University Area. When the stadium is not in use for sports events or private functions, the massive area is typically disused.  Related: ZHA gets the green light for world’s first all-timber soccer stadium in England The Nou Parc proposal aims to bring greater functionality to Camp Nou with a publicly accessible green and leisure space that would not only better link the nearby neighborhoods but also improve urban air quality . The new park would be created in collaboration with tech company Verdtical so that the undulating green roof blanketing the buildings would be controlled by sensors and artificial intelligence capable of minimizing water consumption. Rainwater would also be collected and stored in two onsite lakes for irrigation of the park.  “Renaturing cities and gaining quality space for citizens is no longer just an interesting idea, it is a necessity,” said Jordi Fernández, co-founder of ON-A Architecture. “We are aware that cities must be re-naturalized, and that green provides unquestionable benefits for health, but the issue is not only green, the debate revolves around blue as well: the water . We cannot be green if that implies an excessive use of resources. The technology for the control of water consumption has come a long way and allows us to innovate and optimize green areas in urban spaces.” + ON-A Images via ON-A

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Proposed UK law pushes accountability for Amazon products

August 26, 2020 by  
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People around the world have watched with increasing horror as Amazon forest destruction has accelerated in recent years. Now,  U.K.  officials have proposed a law to make large companies operating within the U.K. comply with environmental laws and show where their products originate.  The new law would cover  soy , rubber, cocoa, palm oil and other commodities. According to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) survey, 67% of British consumers want more government oversight on companies, and 81% think businesses should be more transparent about product origin. Related: Indigenous Amazon communities use tech to protect the forest “This consultation is a welcome first step in the fight to tackle the loss of our planet’s irreplaceable natural wonders such as the Amazon and in the pursuit of supply chains free from products that contribute to deforestation ,” said Ruth Chambers from the Greener UK coalition. Additionally, this law could require businesses to publish purchasing details for commodities like soy and  palm oil , to prove the resources were produced following local laws protecting natural ecosystems. Failure to do so would incur fines. Critics say the plan needs ironing out, especially regarding details on penalties. Though delayed, the COP26 climate conference will occur in Glasgow in 2021. In the meantime, the U.K. works to show international leadership on environmental and climate concerns, including deforestation. About 10% of the world’s known species make their home in the  Amazon , which is the largest rainforest and river basin in the world. Already 20% of the Amazon biome has disappeared, and matters are getting worse. At the current rate of deforestation, WWF estimates that more than a quarter of the Amazon biome will be treeless by 2030. The new U.K.  law  remains in the planning stage. Emphasizing the law’s significance, Chambers said, “The evidence linking deforestation with climate change, biodiversity loss and the spread of zoonotic diseases is compelling. A new law is an important part of the solution and is urgently needed.” Via BBC and WWF Image via Pexels

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Proposed UK law pushes accountability for Amazon products

FaulknerBrowns Architects proposes to reinvigorate a Victorian villa

August 25, 2020 by  
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International architectural practice FaulknerBrowns Architects has submitted a proposal to England’s Newcastle City Council for sensitively preserving the Ashfield Towers — a magnificent, Victorian villa — by transforming the grounds into a contemporary residential development. Located in the affluent Gosforth district in Newcastle upon Tyne, FaulknerBrowns’ Ashfield Towers proposal calls for a mix of residential typologies housed within the restored Victorian villa along with a renovated late 19th century coach house and new, contemporary buildings. Originally built as a private residence, Ashfield Towers has been previously adapted into a workplace and most recently as the school building for the Westfield School for Girls. In 2018, Union Property purchased the 1.4 acre site to allow the school to consolidate its estate to its senior site. The Westfield School for Girls bid farewell to Ashfield Towers in the summer of 2019. Related: This tiny Victorian cottage on a wildflower meadow belongs in a fairytale Working closely with the local planning authority as well as conservation , landscape and urban design officers, FaulknerBrowns created a site-sensitive proposal that includes seven apartments within the Victorian villa, a single dwelling inside the renovated, late 19th century coach house and three new homes and three new apartments in the contemporary new buildings. The new construction would feature pre-cast concrete elements and hand-molded bricks to complement the mix of existing honed and chiseled stone, while the new color palette of light blue and peach tones take cues from the conservation area and complement the existing yellow sandstone of the original buildings. “Ashfield Towers has given us a fantastic opportunity to revive a beautiful piece of Gosforth’s heritage, returning the site to its original, residential use,” explained Jane Redmond, associate at FaulknerBrowns. “The rich context of the conservation area continues through to the proposed shared gardens while the new architectural elements are inspired by the language of their Victorian neighbour, but with a restrained form and simple material palette that brings forward a varied mix of elegant new homes.” + FaulknerBrowns Architects Images via FaulknerBrowns Architects

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