Guide to sustainable winter activities

December 3, 2018 by  
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Just because the temperature plummets and the daylight runs short doesn’t mean your bustling days need to end. Instead of hibernating like a bear, wearing pajamas and watching Netflix day after day, put some fun on the schedule and look forward to a winter full of activities. Of course, consumption and waste are always a consideration here at Inhabitat so here’s our top choices for the best eco-friendly, sustainable activities for your winter calendar. Snow play Those who love winter often anticipate the arrival of snow. Even those who long for summer have to admit that there is much fun to be had in the snow. Besides the obvious snowboarding and skiing, think local. Drag a sled up and down a hill for the afternoon and follow it up with hot cocoa or cider back at home. Take those cross-country skis off the wall and head to a nearby field or back-country road. Make, rent, or purchase some snowshoes for an invigorating experience. No discussion of snow would be complete without recommending you build a snowman and enjoy the mandatory snowball fight that comes with it. Alternately, build an igloo or snow cave. If you’re really adventurous you could even camp out in it! Get into nature Many outdoor activities can roll over from fall into winter. If the weather is not too severe, keep up your nature hikes and monitor the changes in the landscape throughout the season. While you’re out, look for supplies that you could use in crafts, such as pine cones, leaves, rocks, curved bark, acorns, or colorful berries. In fact, make it a challenge with a scavenger hunt or look up geocaching in your area and see if you can find the prize. Have a picnic Yes, you can. Of course you can. Why not? Replace the summer Chablis with a thermos of heated goodness. Bring along some hearty favorites and a thick blanket or pop-up tent. Find cover at a nearby park and watch the river rush by or the birds forage for food. Have a war For those mild-weather regions or even those with snow on the ground, grab the kids or a group of friends and head to the woods for a paintball war. Just be sure to wear eye protection and choose eco-friendly paints for you guns. Of course, you can recreate the same fun at home with rubber band guns and they are even easy to make yourself with any shape of wood and a clothespin mounted on top to fire the rubber bands. Baking party As soon as the days begin to shorten, the baked goods are in high demand. Instead of spending hours alone in the kitchen, why not make it a party? Invite over a few friends and pool ingredients to maximize the eco-friendly advantages of bulk foods, reduced packaging, and minimal waste. At the end of the day you’ll each have a variety of baked goods to take to your family or give as gifts. Travel by train There’s something about traveling by train that is timeless and serene. Of course, it’s also nice that it’s one of the most earth-friendly forms of transport. So whether you’re traveling to reach a destination or simply to take a scenic tour, hop aboard the train as your first option. Local events Communities organize events during every season and winter is no exception. Check the local online pages and printed newspapers for sustainable events in your area. These might include taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or attending a tree lighting ceremony, fundraising event, or salmon education walk. Volunteer Wintertime is a rough season for the homeless and less fortunate. Take some time to help out at a soup kitchen or local food bank and feel good about your contribution. Craft party For an indoor activity, invite over some friends or plan a party for your kids. You can make any number of things as a group including wreaths, blankets, quilts, pick-me-up cards for seniors or veterans, etc. For the kids, make Play-doh, Flubber, fingerpaints, or paper snowflakes. Donate them if you like or use them as gifts during the holidays and beyond. Build a birdhouse Your feathered friends will enjoy a warm place to sleep too. Get together with friends and make birdhouses for your backyard sanctuary. Visit the library The library is a great place to spend a soggy winter afternoon. Learn something new or just enjoy some quiet time. Indoor herb garden Many plants will grow indoors, even during the winter. Take pleasure in planting an herb garden and watch it grow while you enjoy fresh herbs year round. Take an adventure There’s no need to wait for summer for your next adventure. Instead, hunt down eco-friendly winter options around you. Go ice skating on the lake, visit the local reindeer farm, or experience your first dog sled ride. Winter is waiting. Go get it! Images via Shutterstock, Andrew Ly , Ethan Hu , lukasbieri , rawpixel , skeeze , jill111 , Michael Mroczek , Susan Yin , pintando la luz

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Guide to sustainable winter activities

Veteran carpenter builds gorgeous tiny home that boasts impressive wood working and screened-in porch

December 3, 2018 by  
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Working in woodworking since he was 15 years old, Maine native Vince Marzilli knows a thing or two about carpentry. The Maine-native has now parlayed his wood crafting talents into the tiny home construction business, and the results are stunning. Clad in cedar shingles with an all-wood interior and inviting screened-in porch, Marzilli’s first tiny home, the Cumberland, gives off a soothing cabin-in-the-woods feel. Built on a custom wheeled trailer , the Cumberland is 15 feet long, clad in a mix of cedar shingles and black siding. The home’s screened-in front entrance is perhaps the first thing to stand out among the beautiful tiny home’s design. A short three steps leads into the warm space, complete with a small dinette set to enjoy a morning cup of coffee or late night glass of wine with friends. Related: Enjoy a mint julep on this tiny farmhouse’s charming front porch On the interior, Marzilli’s wood working talents are evident at just about every angle. The wood-clad living space boast a variety of wooden hues and grains, emitting a warm, soothing aesthetic. Poplar was the wood of choice for much of the interior, including the ceilings, whose Poplar planks contrast nicely with White Ash rafters and beams. The wooden interior is flooded with natural light thanks to an abundance of large windows. The living space includes the seating area of the screened in porch, and a large kitchen with custom-made cabinets, doors and drawer fronts. Adjacent to the kitchen is another seating/dining area with an expandable dining table with two removable leaves that allows space for up to four people. The bedroom is located on a sleeping loft , which is accessed by ladder. The space is large enough for a queen size bed and also features a large skylight for stargazing before drifting off to sleep. + Evergreen Tiny Homes and Custom Woodworking Via Tiny House Talk Images via Evergreen Tiny Homes and Custom Woodworking

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James Whitaker unveils modular prefab home system that can be ‘daisy-chained together’

December 3, 2018 by  
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From crystalline-inspired homes to funky cargotecture office spaces , James Whitaker ‘s unique shipping container designs have taken the world by storm. However, the prolific architect is now branching out to design modular homes that not only add more versatility to home design, but can withstand various climates. Whitaker has just unveiled the Anywhere House, a lakeside residence comprised of multiple prefabricated modular units . Slated for completion in 2019, the home will be the first property built using Whitaker’s prefabricated modular system. Known for his unique designs that include building with shipping containers, Whitaker has now developed his own prefabricated modular system , which can be used for a number of purposes. After receiving numerous requests to build the “starburst home” design in various regions, Whitaker realized that he needed to develop a new system that could be adapted to different climates. His new prefab modular system’s resilience will be tested with the Anywhere Home, which will be built lakeside in Alberta, Canada. Related: Starburst shipping container home to rise in the California desert The Anywhere Home will contain a number of separate volumes, either clad in patinated steel, or finished in stainless steel. On the interior, timber paneling will be used on the walls and ceilings and marble flooring will run throughout the living space. Large sliding glass doors and multiple windows will flood the interior with natural light. The design of the modular structure is meant to offer optimal flexibility and versatility. The modular system is comprised of individual, but connected volumes that differ in shape and size. The units would be adjoined through two or more openings or closed off to  be used as a singular space. The modules range in size from one to two levels and have slanted roofs that jut out at various angles. According to the architect, his inspiration for the home design was to create a design that could withstand various climates, but also provide a unique design that could be configured depending on the use. The modular prefab system could be adapted into a home, a hotel, social center, etc.  The Anywhere house will feature modules that are fabricated off site and small enough to be easily transported. + James Whitaker Via Dezeen All renders and drawings by Whitaker Studio

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James Whitaker unveils modular prefab home system that can be ‘daisy-chained together’

Get ready for an adventure with this ultimate checklist of backpacking essentials

September 17, 2018 by  
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Lace up your hiking boots and trod into places inaccessible via horse, quad or car. Backpacking allows you to explore the outdoors while enjoying a little distance from the crowds squished together at the state campgrounds. There’s just something about planning for and carrying all the supplies you need for backwoods camping that is empowering and exciting. Once you’ve decided to give backpacking a try, make sure you’ve got the essentials covered. You will find that you can survive with very few comforts while backpacking, but there are some “must-haves” on the list. Here’s a backpacking checklist to ensure a successful start to your adventure! Sleeping and Camp Supplies Backpack — Choose a bag with either an internal or external frame, with the capacity to hold your necessities. Aim for the size that will hold the maximum weight you’re comfortable carrying, even though the goal will always be to avoid filling it completely. The capacity is measured in liters, so look for indicators like 60L or 90L in the product description. It’s best to get fitted by a professional at an outfitter such as REI for the most comfortable experience with your backpack. A 45L is adequate for overnight trips, while a 60L will meet the needs of most multi-day trips. Sleeping bag — Be sure to bring one rated for your weather conditions to ensure that you stay warm and dry. Also consider the weight and packability of the sleeping bag you choose. Roll pad or inflatable backpacking mattress — This is a welcome addition for both comfort and insulation from the cold ground. Tent — This is optional but recommended for protection from bugs and other critters that scurry in the night as well as rain. Some backpackers opt for a hammock instead of a tent . If this is your plan, seek out a lightweight one with a bug net and sturdy straps. Backpacker’s pillow — This is a comfort item. A rolled-up sweatshirt will do the job if needed. Related: Six tents perfect for camping this summer Cooking and Food Supplies Cookstove and fuel — These are lightweight and offer different gas options. A JetBoil or similar device quickly boils water (in less than two minutes) for your morning brew, oatmeal or dehydrated chicken fettuccine. White gas stoves work well at lower temperatures, and gas is easy to find. There are now stoves that heat with sticks and pine cones with the added luxury of a recharging attachment for electronics , too. Any variety will do the job. Just make sure you have the right gas and give it a trial run at home before you go. Food — The lightest and easiest food for backpacking is the pre-packaged, easy-to-find dehydrated meals such as Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry or AlpineAire. However, these meals are typically high in salt and can lead to dehydration and puffiness. In my opinion, most of them are only moderately palatable. There are harder-to-find brands, like Food for the Sole, that offer a shorter shelf life but higher quality ingredients and less processing. Because they are cooked in their own bags with the addition of only water, dehydrated meals eliminate the need for pots, pans or additional ingredients. They are a great place to start, but with a little experience, you’ll soon find many alternatives to add to your cooking repertoire. In addition to dehydrated meals, pack snacks with high protein and a combination of carbs and sugar, such as trail mix or protein bars. Jerky, dried fruit and durable fig bars are other good options. Supplies — Pack a pot and/or skillet for cooking and a cup, a plate and silverware for dining. Related: Camping kitchen checklist Water Supplies Access to water is the most essential portion of your planning process. If you are hiking along a river or will camp at a lake, you can plan to sterilize water. Otherwise, you will need to pack in all of your water. The average person will use around one liter of water per hour of hiking. Plus, meals require a lot more water than you might realize. With the weight of water coming in around 2.20 pounds per liter, you can easily tack 10 pounds onto your pack weight. It is essential to map out your water sources and plan accordingly. Water filtration system, Steripen or iodine (affects taste and is really only used for emergency situations) — These items ensure the water you drink is safe. Water bladder (2L or 3L) and collapsible water bottles — Each item will make it more convenient and efficient to grab a drink of water. Clothing Supplies Moisture is not your friend on the trail, so select your clothing carefully. When choosing clothing for your outdoor adventures, consider fabric performance. Avoid cotton, because it does not have good wicking abilities. Instead, pack wool-blend socks, shirts and long Johns. Opt for polyester/nylon options that wick away sweat and dry quickly. Depending on the weather, you can expect to bring several articles of clothing: at least two pairs of socks, underwear, shorts or convertible pants, long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, a jacket or sweater, rain gear, lightweight sandals, sturdy trail shoes or boots and a stocking cap, neck gaiter and gloves if necessary. Safety Supplies Map and compass — Make sure you know where you’re headed. Leave your itinerary with someone at home and avoid backpacking alone. For an added level of safety, consider a portable GPS device such as the SPOT or Garmin eTrex. Multi-tool or Knife — It’s amazing how handy a multi-tool can be thanks to having small screwdrivers, pliers, an opener and a knife in one small device. Paracord — This can be used for a clothesline, to make repairs, to hang a hammock or anything else for which you would generally use rope. Matches — A lighter is great, but also bring some waterproof matches. You can make your own by dipping strike-anywhere matches in melted wax. Store in a small mint tin. Flint and steel — Once you learn to use it, the flint and steel works great for backpacking and is also a basic survival supply. Bring a few cotton balls rolled in petroleum jelly or melted wax for an easy fire starter. First-aid kit — Include ibuprofen for sprains and stings, Benadryl for allergic reactions, bandages, gauze, tape, tongue depressors (they can be used as a small splint) and moleskin for blisters. Bathroom items — Don’t forget to pack toilet paper, hand sanitizer, medications, a toothbrush, deodorant and feminine hygiene products. Light trowel — This is helpful for burying waste (6-8 inches deep at least 200 feet from any water source), and bring a resealable bag to carry out garbage at the end of your trip. Camp soap (biodegradable) — This can be used to wash your body, hair, dishes and more. Other essential items include several pieces that can come in handy for safety reasons: a flashlight or headlamp, bug spray, sunscreen , sunglasses and/or a hat, lip balm, heavy-duty tape for repairs, a needle and thread, pen and paper, a small amount of cash, personal identification, a backcountry access permit (if needed) and trekking poles (optional). Related: 4 must-have camping essentials Packing Tips With each item you pack, think about weight and size. Focus on putting the heaviest items at hip level with lighter supplies above and below it. Although many packs are set up for the sleeping bag at the bottom, we recommend putting it into a waterproof bag in case your water bladder leaks (we’ve seen it happen too many times!). Alternatively, pack your sleeping bag at the top of your backpack. Also look for ways you can minimize the size of supplies, such as wrapping the paracord around the bug spray container or taking tape wrapped around the tongue depressors. Use compression sacks to reduce the size of clothing and your sleeping bag. Place first-aid or food items in resealable bags, which can be used as a garbage bag on the trail. Once you’ve worked your way through this backpacking supply checklist, you should have everything you need to head out and enjoy the backcountry. Images via Ted Bryan Yu , Wilson Ye , Kevin Schmid , Colton Strickland , Emma Van Sant , Simon Migaj and Josiah Weiss

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Get ready for an adventure with this ultimate checklist of backpacking essentials

SLA unveils year-round ski slope to cap Copenhagens massive trash incinerator

January 4, 2018 by  
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Architecture firm SLA has unveiled final designs for the much-anticipated park and ski slope that will top the currently operational Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant in Copenhagen, Denmark. BIG , which masterplanned the incredible project, is also behind some of the ski slope designs. The all-weather green roof will be open throughout the year with a variety of programming from hiking trails and climbing walls to ski slopes and viewing platform for taking in the city skyline. The 170,000-square-foot park is essentially a massive green roof , a plant-covered building system that SLA has won numerous accolades for, including the 2017 Scandinavian Green Roof Award for Copenhagen’s Mærsk Tower and SUND Nature Park. Challenges for the Amager Bakke’s multipurpose green roof include steep slopes, safety concerns, and the facility’s byproduct heat that can reach as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit in certain areas. “The project to create an attractive and green activity rooftop park on top of Amager Bakke has been very challenging,” said SLA partner Rasmus Astrup, according to ArchDaily . “Not only because of the extreme natural – and unnatural – conditions of the site and the rooftop itself, which put severe stress on plants, trees and landscape . But also because we’ve had to ensure that the rooftop’s many activities are realized in an accessible, intuitive and inviting manner. The goal is to ensure that Amager Bakke will become an eventful recreational public space with a strong aesthetic and sensuous city nature that gives value for all Copenhageners – all year round.” Related: Denmark fires up its Copenhill power plant, with ski slopes set to open next year The rooftop park is designed to become a lush environment welcoming to a great diversity of flora and fauna. Visitors will also be able to help seed the park with seed bombs . Construction has broken ground on the Amager Bakke Rooftop Park, which is slated for completion in September 2018. + SLA Via ArchDaily Images via SLA , except where noted

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SLA unveils year-round ski slope to cap Copenhagens massive trash incinerator

6 ways to make your life more "Hygge" – the Danish secret to happiness

December 26, 2017 by  
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Unless you are from Denmark or Norway, the concept of “hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah) was likely foreign to you until the past few years when this idea of “cozying around” began gaining serious traction. In this big, loud, harsh world, many of us desire a return to good company, simple pleasures, and mindfulness in the moment, and hygge embodies these ideas and more. We’re sharing six ways to help you create this restorative state of mind beloved for centuries in Denmark (by way of Norway ). Image © @quizzically_yours 1. Host a low-key and intimate get-together Small hang-outs with friends are an ideal hygge-promoting gathering. Hygge get-togethers aren’t pretentious: think board game night , card night, or a bagel brunch in the comfort of your own home. The focus of these gatherings is on togetherness, not on spending five hours baking fussy hors d’oeuvres or desserts, so they are perfect for throwing together at a moment’s notice and are super potluck-friendly . An event that gets people absorbed in each other’s company and a low-tech activity that encourages them to detach from their phones is definitely high on the hygge scale. Linked to the concept of hygge is an appreciation of the outdoors, and Danes are known for prizing their open-air time from a young age: babies in Denmark and all over Scandinavia even take their naps outside . Take your gathering outdoors (weather permitting) to bring together the best of both worlds: huddling around an outdoor fire pit definitely fits the bill as does taking a dip in a hot tub. Image © Maria via Unsplash 2. Or make your own solo hygge experience Although hygge is often associated with cozy, candlelit get-togethers with dear friends, you can create your own hygge vibe when you are by yourself. Fredagsmys , a word from Denmark’s Nordic neighbor Sweden , is an actual term used for curling up indoors on a Friday night. So watch a movie, sit on the sofa, or make yourself some hot chocolate or tea and relax with a book (perhaps in front of a fire). Hygge is focused on the idea of enjoying and being aware of simple moments and experiences, so everything doesn’t have to be “just so”: partaking in a free flowing  yoga  practice or a nourishing  soup making  session applies. Image © Alisa Anton via Unsplash 3. Create hygge-friendly spaces in your home While it may be tempting to get caught up in the hygge-buying fever and feel the desire to suddenly possess a plethora of knit throws, cushy pillows, an array of scented candles, and more items, there’s no financial obligation required for creating a warm, comfortable, friendly space. Putting your favorite vintage and reclaimed  knickknacks on display creates a sociable, lived-in vibe. Ditto for items picked up during memorable vacations and roadtrips. If you have a home with large open spaces, consider arranging the furniture that you already own in configurations that encourage intimate tête à têtes. Even a small side table or an ottoman can be a place to gather around, set down your mug, or put your feet up. Interior designer Dani Arps for TaskRabbit suggests, “Texture and natural materials always add warmth; think chunky or nubby blankets stored in a mesh basket that sits next to a reclaimed coffee table.” Related: DIY Meditation Temple Built from Salvaged Materials Photo © Aaron Burden via Unsplash 4. Make space for quiet/meditation Mindfulness and gratitude are definitely components of a hygge mentality, and they dovetail nicely with many people’s goals of having a regular meditation practice. If sitting cross-legged and reciting a mantra isn’t your cup of tea, then consider making your cup of tea the meditation itself. Give yourself permission to really savor and enjoy your morning beverage  without feeling the need to check social media. Or take an invigorating walk with your dog by your side, soak in the tub , journal or even make a phone call to a friend or family member who you can’t connect with in person-these all align with the idea of creating a soothing and reflective practice. Since mindfulness is the goal, avoid multitasking while you are doing whatever activity you choose. Image via Inhabitots 5. Make comforting and nourishing food and drink If you were to scan Instagram, many of the images hashtagged with hygge would start to resemble each other: hands around a warm mug of something, a table laid out with humble but hearty fare, like this mushroom quinoa risotto , a bowl of oatmeal, or fruit and nut-studded granola. Another central tenet in Danish culture is spending time with family , so pulling out a favorite recipe that has been shared over generations for a family gathering is a great way to honor tradition (not to mention the fact that commonly beloved food seems to have a way of smoothing over many family riffs). A super hygge-friendly activity: create an intimate  multigenerational family cooking class with a matriarch or patriarch of the family teaching the younger set how to make a traditional family dish. A few other ideas to get you started include apple cider served in apple cups , a homemade vegan nutella-like spread , one pot sun-dried tomato and basil pasta , and a decadent vegan chocolate cake made with veggies . Image © Antonia Bukowska via Unsplash 6. Put hygge concepts to work year-round Although the idea of cozying around a fire or snuggled up on the couch with our favorites makes winter the season most associated with hygge, the concept of hygge can be employed throughout the year. After all, hygge is a mindset for making “ essential and mundane tasks dignified, joyful, and beautiful ”. To that end, going for a midsummer midnight swim, having a backyard BBQ with a few friends, taking a hike in the spring rain, or organizing a pumpkin picking and carving session could all embody this mind/body/soul-nourishing concept. Lead image ©  Worthy of Elegance via Unsplash

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6 ways to make your life more "Hygge" – the Danish secret to happiness

You can now explore all 19 of South Africa’s National Parks on Google Maps

November 3, 2017 by  
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Have you ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela , track cheetahs on foot , or stroll with elephants — and other exotic creatures — in South Africa ? Well, here’s your chance. Thanks to the efforts of over 200 volunteers, now you can use Google Maps to explore 19 National Parks, 17 nature reserves, and many other sites of natural, cultural and historical significance in South Africa. More than 200 nature-loving South Africans volunteered to map out parts of the country they call home. Many of the helpers were rangers and guides with SANParks , CapeNature and KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife . Others were just good Samaritans, tech enthusiasts and avid hikers who want to make a difference. Over the span of twelve months, the volunteers trekked over 50,000km to establish 232 points of interest. Said Magdalena Filak, Program Manager for Google, “The hundreds of volunteers who helped along the way proved to be truly passionate about showing the best of South Africa through their participation in the loan program.” The Google Street View Camera Loan program encourages anyone to borrow the 360-degree camera technology to help the planet . Reportedly, this is the first time Google has partnered with a third-party for the program. Drive South Africa played a big role in coordinating the volunteers . Andre Van Kets, an outdoor enthusiast and the founder of the Cape Town -based company, explained the technology: “The Trekker camera is a 22kg custom-made backpack fitted with 15 cameras pointing in all directions. The on-board technology plots the camera’s exact location on the trail. While recording, the camera takes a 360-degree photo every two-seconds. It’s basically the off-road equivalent of Google’s Street View cars.” Kets added that he saw “potential in this technology to showcase South Africa to travellers around the globe” when he applied. Related: Thousands of plastic bottles transformed into an inspiring tower of hope in South Africa In addition to mapping over two hundred points of interest, volunteers mapped eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Users can also see Mapungubwe Hill , which is home to an ancient African civilization, the Richtersveld that is known for its incredible moonscapes, and iSimangaliso Wetland Park , South Africa’s oldest UNESCO site which serves as a critical habitat for many species . The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Dennis Wood of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said, “As the proud conservation authority for KwaZulu-Natal, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife are excited to be partnered with Google’ new initiative in exposing our trails on this global platform that we believe will engage our prospective guests to “Take time to Discover” our province’s rich natural beauty and conservation wildlife heritage.” + Google Street View Loan Program Images via Google Maps

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You can now explore all 19 of South Africa’s National Parks on Google Maps

You can now explore all 19 of South Africa’s National Parks on Google Maps

November 3, 2017 by  
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Have you ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela , track cheetahs on foot , or stroll with elephants — and other exotic creatures — in South Africa ? Well, here’s your chance. Thanks to the efforts of over 200 volunteers, now you can use Google Maps to explore 19 National Parks, 17 nature reserves, and many other sites of natural, cultural and historical significance in South Africa. More than 200 nature-loving South Africans volunteered to map out parts of the country they call home. Many of the helpers were rangers and guides with SANParks , CapeNature and KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife . Others were just good Samaritans, tech enthusiasts and avid hikers who want to make a difference. Over the span of twelve months, the volunteers trekked over 50,000km to establish 232 points of interest. Said Magdalena Filak, Program Manager for Google, “The hundreds of volunteers who helped along the way proved to be truly passionate about showing the best of South Africa through their participation in the loan program.” The Google Street View Camera Loan program encourages anyone to borrow the 360-degree camera technology to help the planet . Reportedly, this is the first time Google has partnered with a third-party for the program. Drive South Africa played a big role in coordinating the volunteers . Andre Van Kets, an outdoor enthusiast and the founder of the Cape Town -based company, explained the technology: “The Trekker camera is a 22kg custom-made backpack fitted with 15 cameras pointing in all directions. The on-board technology plots the camera’s exact location on the trail. While recording, the camera takes a 360-degree photo every two-seconds. It’s basically the off-road equivalent of Google’s Street View cars.” Kets added that he saw “potential in this technology to showcase South Africa to travellers around the globe” when he applied. Related: Thousands of plastic bottles transformed into an inspiring tower of hope in South Africa In addition to mapping over two hundred points of interest, volunteers mapped eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Users can also see Mapungubwe Hill , which is home to an ancient African civilization, the Richtersveld that is known for its incredible moonscapes, and iSimangaliso Wetland Park , South Africa’s oldest UNESCO site which serves as a critical habitat for many species . The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Dennis Wood of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said, “As the proud conservation authority for KwaZulu-Natal, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife are excited to be partnered with Google’ new initiative in exposing our trails on this global platform that we believe will engage our prospective guests to “Take time to Discover” our province’s rich natural beauty and conservation wildlife heritage.” + Google Street View Loan Program Images via Google Maps

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You can now explore all 19 of South Africa’s National Parks on Google Maps

The world’s longest hiking trail is officially open

September 8, 2017 by  
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The Great Trail in Canada is aptly named – it’s now the longest hiking trail in the world at 14,864 miles. It was built over the last 25 years, snaking through 13 provinces and territories. The trail, which is comprised of over 400 individual paths, just officially opened at the end of August. Canada’s Great Trail winds from Saint John’s in Newfoundland to Victoria in British Columbia, with a loop up through the Northwest Territories and Yukon to the Arctic Ocean. It’s not limited to hiking – explorers traversing the trail can snowmobile, bike, ride horses, or cross-country ski through some parts of the route. 26 percent actually crosses water, so a canoe or kayak is necessary to cross some portions. No cars are allowed. An estimated four out of five Canadians reside within 30 minutes of part of the trail. Related: World’s longest car-free trail stretching 15,000 miles to open next year in Canada Local areas maintain the smaller trails that come together to form The Great Trail, described as “truly a gift from Canadians to Canadians” by the nonprofit Trans Canada Trail, the organization that has overseen its development. The Great Trail has also been termed the largest volunteer project in the country’s history. According to Trans Canada Trail, The Great Trail promotes conservation and healthy living, and it is expected to stimulate tourism and create jobs. The group calls it a national legacy for future generations. Users will be treated to sweeping views of mountains, plains, frozen tundra, coastal islands, urban areas, and lakes throughout the country. The longest section of the trail, which passes right through major cities like Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Winnipeg, is in Ontario, where it rambles around the Great Lakes. If this sounds as good to you as it does to us, you can locate a portion of the trail near you on this interactive map or via The Great Trail app (available for iOS and Android ). + The Great Trail Via Mother Nature Network Images via The Great Trail ( 1 , 2 )

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The world’s longest hiking trail is officially open

MVRDV unveils plans for the biggest urban development project in Scandinavia

September 8, 2017 by  
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MVRDV and BSK Arkitekter have grand plans for Gothenburg, Sweden. The two architecture firms just unveiled Magasin 113, a proposed transformation and extension of an existing waterfront warehouse in Gothenburg’s future Frihamnen RiverCity —the largest urban development project in Scandinavia. Once renovated and expanded, the multistory warehouse will offer 16,500 square meters of office space, an art center, pop-up spaces, a cafe, tourist information, retail, restaurants, and studios. Magazine 113 is one of the few remaining historic warehouses in the area. The mixed-use adaptive reuse project blends old and new, and will serve as a public hub for a livable neighborhood. The interior is organized into zones and connected via large freight elevators as well as a family of different types of stairs. An outdoor staircase on the waterfront -facing facade connects the different loading balconies with the main public plaza. The architects plan to expand the concrete building’s footprint with the addition of three new levels of timber-framed floors above. A new public space will join the existing structure and new extension, visually uniting the two and attracting public activity from outside. The original brick facade and interiors will be restored, repaired, and displayed beneath a glazed facade to show off Magazine 113’s industrial heritage. The glazed facade that wraps around the existing concrete warehouse and new timber-framed extension provides insulation and a protective “raincoat.” “This will add an exciting blend of a building that is ‘old’ and new, raw and smooth, and solid and transparent at the same time,” wrote MVRDV. Related: The Sax: MVRDV unveils plans for a ‘vertical city’ in Rotterdam “Magasin 113’s location will become a public node through its close connections to other public spaces in the area,” added the architects. “Combined with the nearby park and pool, it aims to attract a wide range of tenants and services, which in turn will help to create an inviting and desirable neighbourhood.” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV unveils plans for the biggest urban development project in Scandinavia

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