China plans to build nearly 300 new eco-cities

September 5, 2017 by  
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China broke ground on a 40,000-tree-filled Forest City earlier this summer – but apparently one isn’t enough. The country, infamous for their environmental pollution , plans to construct 285 eco-cities , according to Forbes. But what exactly an eco-city constitutes – and the standards to which it will be held – is still in question. Individual buildings can be held up against LEED standards, or even China’s Three Star system. But Forbes pointed out there’s no such criteria for entire cities . The publication quoted Austin Williams, Jiaotong-Liverpool University professor and author of a book on eco-cities, who said, “There is no definition of an eco-city, which makes them incredibly easy to invent.” Related: China plans its first “Forest City” to fight air pollution The country has urbanized more rapidly than any other country in history. In the last 30 years, more people than America’s entire population have moved to urban areas of China. The country has prioritized development over the environment in many cases, with dangerous air quality found in 90 percent of cities. According to Forbes, as the public has become educated about the pollution, environmental conditions in the country could pose the largest destabilizing force to the Communist Party. Will China’s eco-cities recycle , be powered by renewable energy , produce less carbon emissions , and be built with energy-efficient structures – a few hallmarks we might expect in an eco-city? Williams said, “In the West, eco-cities are supposed to save the world; in China they are simply meant to provide a decent quality of urban environment…China’s eco-cities are simply intended to be much-needed urban improvements and infrastructural development with an eco-prefix.” 80 percent of prefectural-level cities are estimated to have at least one eco-city in the works. One estimate suggests in the near future, more than 50 percent of new urban developments in China will be labeled green, smart, low-carbon, or eco. It remains to be seen whether these eco-cities will genuinely benefit China’s environment – and the people who live in them. Via Forbes Images via Stefano Boeri Architetti

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China plans to build nearly 300 new eco-cities

Zipline drones deliver life-saving medical supplies in under an hour

September 5, 2017 by  
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83% of rural Africans lack access to critical healthcare services – and delivering emergency supplies is often difficult or impossible due to ailing infrastructure. Zipline is changing that with the world’s first commercial medical delivery drones . A single drone can deliver up to 500 life-saving packages of medical supplies to remote areas in 24 hours. The project, which was just awarded a 2017 INDEX: Award , is a collaboration between Zipline and the Rwandan Government. The service is designed to deliver medical products to any area of Rwanda within 15-35 minutes – no matter how remote. Related: 5 brilliant designs that will change the world in 2017 To activate the system, health workers only need to text an order, which goes to a centralized distribution center. Once the order is put in motion, a drone is dispatched to the area, dropping the ordered items by parachute with a high degree of precision. According to the startup’s website, a single Zipline drone can carry up to 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) for up to 150 kilometers (93 miles), making up to 500 deliveries in one day – even in extreme weather conditions. In early 2017 Zipline began delivering blood to over 20 blood transfusion facilities in western Rwanda, and the project is set to begin service in Tanzania with 120 drones and more than 1,000 clinics. + Fly Zipline + INDEX: AWARD 2017

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Scientists develop tiny robots that drill into cancer cells to kill them

September 5, 2017 by  
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Tiny new robots are proving to be life-saving tools in the fight against cancer. As first reported in the journal Nature , scientists at Durham University in England, in collaboration with researchers at Rice and North Carolina Universities in the United States, have developed nanomachines that are capable of drilling into cancer cells, killing them within minutes. These light-activated nanobots, the size of a molecule, move so rapidly that they can burrow through cell linings of cancer. The researchers found that in order for the nanomachines to function effectively, they need to spin two to three million times per second in order to not be inhibited by objects (or what is known as Brownian motion, or the erratic movement of tiny particles in fluid.) When triggered by ultraviolet light, the nanobots begin to spin, allowing them to cut through cancer cells either to destroy the cell or create space for the delivery of beneficial drugs. “These nanomachines are so small that we could park 50,000 of them across the diameter of a human hair, yet they have the targeting and actuating components combined in that diminutive package to make molecular machines a reality for treating disease,” said Dr. James Tour of Rice University. “For many years I never had envisioned the nanomachines being used medically, I though they were way too small, because they are much much smaller than a cell, but now this work has really changed my thoughts.” Related: Nanotech Robots Travel Through Blood to Turn Off Tumor Cells According to Dr. Robert Pal of Durham University, these micro cancer slayers may be well suited to target those cancers that are resistant to existing chemotherapy. “Once developed, this approach could provide a potential step change in non-invasive cancer treatment and greatly improve survival rates and patient welfare globally,” said Pal. After initial experiments on microorganisms and small fish are completed, the team will advance to rodent subjects, then eventually clinical trials on humans if prior results are positive. Via Yahoo News Images via Dr. Robert Pal/Durham University and Tour Group/Rice University

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This urban tree cleans as much polluted air as an entire forest

June 26, 2017 by  
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Air pollution might be invisible, but it results in 7 million premature deaths each year. Fortunately, there’s a solution – the CityTree is a high-tech green wall that scrubs the air of harmful particulates – and it has as much air-purifying power as 275 urban trees. As you might have guessed, the CityTree isn’t really a tree . Instead, it’s a moss culture. Zhengliang Wu, co-founder of Green City Solutions said: “Moss cultures have a much larger leaf surface area than any other plant. That means we can capture more pollutants .” The CityTree is under 4 meters tall, approximately 3 meters wide and 2.19 meters deep. Two versions are available – one with or without a bench – and a display is included for information or advertising. Due to the huge surface area of moss installed, each tree can remove dust, nitrogen dioxide and ozone gases from the air. Additionally, the installations are fully autonomous, as solar panels provide electricity and collected rainwater is filtered into a reservoir where it is pumped into the soil. Related: Air pollution is the leading environmental cause of death worldwide The invention also has WiFi sensors which measure the soil humidity, temperature and water quality. “We also have pollution sensors inside the installation, which help monitor the local air quality and tell us how efficient the tree is.” said Wu. Every day, a CityTree can absorb around 250 grams of particulate matter. Over the length of an entire year, the invention can remove 240 metric tons of C02. Green City Solutions seeks to one day install CityTrees in major cities around the world – but they presently faces bureaucratic challenges. Said Wu, “We were installing them (the CityTrees) in Modena, Italy, and everything was planned and arranged, but now the city is hesitant about the places we can install because of security reasons.” Regardless, the company will persist and already has plans to introduce the invention to India , where air pollution has reached dangerous levels in certain locations. So far, 20 CityTrees have been successfully installed in major cities around the world – including Oslo, Paris, Brussels and Hong Kong. Costing about $25,000 each, they are a big investment – but one deemed to be worthwhile as they clean the air of harmful contaminants. + Green City Solutions Via CNN Images via Green City Solutions

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INFOGRAPHIC: 10 of the most energy-efficient cities around the world

September 15, 2015 by  
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Cities are fantastic hubs of innovation and culture, but they also consume a lot of natural resources. Luckily, some urban centers are working hard to reduce their environmental footprint and are setting an example for greener, more energy-efficient living. HalfPrice.com.au rounds up 10 of the world’s most energy-efficient cities as well as each city’s innovative green initiatives and future plans. From Reykjavik’s use of renewable hydropower and geothermal energy to San Francisco’s impressive recycling strategies, this infographic is packed with inspiring trivia about some of the top metropolises from around the globe. Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: 10 of the most energy-efficient cities around the world

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Seattle will embarrass and fine residents who don’t compost

January 29, 2015 by  
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In Seattle, there is now a big difference between trash and food. A new city law makes it illegal to toss out your leftovers and food scraps with the rest of your garbage. Effective this July, city residents will be penalized with a fine if they fail to separate their trash. City officials enacted the law on January 1 but Seattle residents won’t be fined for the offense until July 1. That doesn’t mean they won’t have an incentive to change their ways in the meantime. Until the fine goes into effect, sanitation workers will place a giant red tag on any garbage bags that appear to contain food waste . This is intended in part to remind folks of the new rules, but if residents feel a little embarrassment at the same time, all the better. Read the rest of Seattle will embarrass and fine residents who don’t compost Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Climate Change , compost , composting , fine , food waste , garbage , global warming , green , green city , greenhouse gas , landfill , law , laws , methane , recycling , Seattle , trash , washington , waste collection

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Seattle will embarrass and fine residents who don’t compost

Cisco and Amsterdam’s plan to make a green city smart

April 14, 2014 by  
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What happens when one of the world’s greener, smarter cities meets the hyper-connected world? We’re about to find out.

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Dubai’s Sustainable City Will be Powered by 600,000 Square Feet of Solar Cells

June 13, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Dubai’s Sustainable City Will be Powered by 600,000 Square Feet of Solar Cells Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: architecture competition , Baharash Architecture , city master plan , dubai , Dubai Architecture , Dubai Sustainable City , green city , Stringa Planning Studio , sustainable city , sustainable city development        

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Dubai’s Sustainable City Will be Powered by 600,000 Square Feet of Solar Cells

London’s 2012 Olympic Village to be Transformed into Affordable Housing Units

June 13, 2013 by  
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The greenest building is the one that’s already standing, and this week London officials announced that the buildings from the 2012 Olympic Village will be transformed into rental units, and many of them will be reserved for low-income housing. It has just been announced that the Olympic Village in London will be getting a face-lift to accommodate a new neighborhood, which London is calling the East Village. The East Village will have 2,818 brand new homes to be rented for this summer, and 1,379 of these homes will go to low-income Londoners. This is a great solution for London, since the city’s housing shortage was intensified by the global recession in 2007. Read the rest of London’s 2012 Olympic Village to be Transformed into Affordable Housing Units Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: affordable housing , Delancey , East Village , Get Living London , London , London 2012 Games , low income housing , olympic village , olympics , Qatari Diar        

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UC San Diego Develops a Firefighting Robot Capable of Creating 3D Images

June 13, 2013 by  
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Summer is here, and for many parts of the western United States that means fire season has officially begun. Scores of firefighters have already been battling blazes across the country. First responders could soon have an innovative new tool that can go where no human feet dare tread. Researchers at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering have developed a Segway-like robot that is capable of exploring areas and taking thermal data to paint a 3D image. Using a pair of on-board RGB cameras, the machine can create virtual reality images in real time to assist firefighters. Read the rest of UC San Diego Develops a Firefighting Robot Capable of Creating 3D Images Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: conference on robotics and automation , firerfighter , first responder , Hong Kong , Jacobs School of Engineering , national science foundation robotics initiative , san diego fire rescue department , segway , thomas bewley , UC San Diego , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign        

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