Atlanta makes rainbow crosswalks permanent as a symbol of unity

June 15, 2017 by  
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A vibrant visual symbol of pride will remain a permanent part of the urban fabric in Atlanta , Georgia. For Atlanta Pride Week 2015, rainbow crosswalks were installed at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, and this week on the anniversary of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, Mayor Kasim Reed made the colorful crosswalks permanent. The intersection of Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street in Atlanta’s Midtown is considered a hub for the LGBTQ community in the city, so Reed said it was fitting the location should feature the rainbow flag. He announced the decision one year after the shooting in Orlando, Florida in which 49 people lost their lives. Related: 12 comfort dogs dispatched to grief-stricken Orlando Reed said in a statement, “For the past year, Atlanta has grieved alongside Orlando . Our city has rallied around our LGBT community, and we have not shied from demonstrating our unity and solidarity. And with this spirit, I cannot think of a more important time to reaffirm our unwavering and unqualified support for our LGBTQ residents…We must never forget that love defeats hate, and light defeats the darkness.” Over 22,200 people to date have signed a petition requesting the city make the rainbow crosswalks permanent. Advocate Sarah Rose, who started the petition, said the community has been vocal about their desire to keep the rainbow crosswalks in place. Reed said symbols of unity matter, and he would keep the crosswalks year-round “in recognition of the outstanding and ongoing contributions of Atlanta’s LGBTQ community to our city.” Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell , who’s currently campaigning for the role of mayor in the 2017 election, told local channel WSB-TV in May, “I believe this is a model for what we can do for the entire city. There are neighborhoods that may want to show their neighborhood spirit at a particular intersection and this can be the model.” Via HuffPost and the City of Atlanta Images via screenshot

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Atlanta makes rainbow crosswalks permanent as a symbol of unity

Reflective arrow-shaped studio is a futuristic space for displaying art

June 15, 2017 by  
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When Mr. White retired, he had an unusual building request: he wanted a studio where he could work and display his art that had few windows but provided plenty of natural light – all while enhancing his garden. The result looks like a futuristic space dwelling fell out of the sky and into Victoria. Australian architects Nervegna Reed Architecture and PH Architects teamed up to create the Arrow Studio, a private art gallery that provides a secure space for a local art connoisseur to safely display his private collection. Located in the outskirts of Hanging Rock, Victoria, the small art gallery was created for an art collector who wanted to securely display his private collection and have room for a studio space. The client requested that the structure have minimal windows for not only security reasons, but also to create sufficient wall space to hang the artwork. He also requested that the few windows that were installed be framed in such a way that would impede intruders from breaking in. Related: Century-old packing shed brought back to life as a contemporary art gallery According to the architects, these specific criteria led them to create a unique arrow-shaped design by starting with a rectangular volume whose interior was pushed inwards from one end, jutting out from the other. Curiously, this shape allowed the designers take advantage of the arrow’s indentation to create a formidable timber-slated screen that provides security as well as subtle natural light for the interior. The jutted screen also provides nice lighting for entertaining in the backyard area, beautifully illuminating the surrounding green space. The architects used plywood to create the structure’s frame, which as then coverd with large sheets of galvanized metal. This cladding provides the building with a second skin to properly insulate the structure and the artwork from harsh weather. The metal sheeting also gave the structure a fun reflective exterior that adds to the whimsical character of the building. + Nervegna Reed Architecture + PH Architects Via Arch Daily Photography by Sam Reed and Toby Reed

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Reflective arrow-shaped studio is a futuristic space for displaying art

Detroit debuts brand new 20,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza

June 14, 2017 by  
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Detroit , Michigan is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States for pedestrians . But the city is taking one step to overcome that with the recent opening of a new plaza by the iconic Spirit of Detroit statue. The 20,000 square foot civic square offers space for live performances and art displays, and will host food trucks . The Spirit of Detroit Plaza takes over one block of Woodward Avenue between Jefferson Avenue and Larned Street in front of the statue, which has adorned the area since 1958. The space boasts tables and chairs, colorful paintings on the sidewalk, lights, and planters. It will go through a 90-day trial this summer to see how pedestrians and traffic respond to the newly-created area. Related: America’s first urban ‘agrihood’ feeds 2,000 households for free Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement, “Every world-class city has a central plaza where people can gather and celebrate its civic history, and in front of the Spirit of Detroit is the perfect place for all Detroiters to have the opportunity. We are committed to a Detroit that’s open and accessible to all and this new plaza has been envisioned to celebrate all of the diversities that come together to make us a great city.” Detroit said the new plaza offers “a more direct pedestrian link between Downtown and the Detroit Waterfront.” Vehicles will be redirected onto other nearby streets. The city also said the plaza’s presence could help slash the potential for crashes. The plaza helps simplify an intersection and that fact along with adjusted area traffic signals could even reduce delays on Jefferson Avenue. If the trial goes well, city agencies and the mayor aim to make the plaza permanent. City Planning Director Maurice Cox described the Spirit of Detroit Plaza as a “key piece in making a more vibrant, walkable, diverse downtown.” He appears to have high hopes for the plaza, saying in a statement, “By simplifying the downtown grid and consolidating traffic flow, we are creating a more inviting street and safer pedestrian crossings. And of course, if something changes or the design doesn’t work as well as we expect, we can adjust it or even restore its original design. We expect this will reset expectations for what is possible on neighborhood streets across the city.” Via Curbed Detroit and the City of Detroit Images via Janette Sadik-Khan on Twitter , City of Detroit , and City of Detroit on Twitter

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Detroit debuts brand new 20,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza

The potholes in Trump’s public-private infrastructure plan

June 14, 2017 by  
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Trickle-down infrastructure isn’t the path forward for sustainable development.

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The potholes in Trump’s public-private infrastructure plan

Giant sinkhole opens up in front of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort

May 23, 2017 by  
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One of President Donald Trump’s claims on the campaign trail was that he’d “drain the swamp” if elected. Whether he kept that promise is up for debate; sure, he selected business tycoons like Rex Tillerson to fill top government positions but also chose people like the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Elaine Chao. But now the swamp may be encroaching on another part of America: Mar-a-Lago , Trump’s Florida golf club, where a sinkhole just opened up. Obviously, the Internet didn’t pass up on the opportunity to dish out puns. Yesterday the town of Palm Beach, Florida – where Mar-a-Lago is located – posted a traffic alert about the sinkhole on their website. “A four feet by four feet sinkhole has formed on Southern Boulevard directly in front of Mar-a-Lago,” the notice reads. “It appears to be in the vicinity of the newly installed water main. West Palm Beach utilities distribution crews have secured the area and will most likely need to do some exploratory excavation today. One lane is closed but the road remains open. Please pay attention to signs.” Related: Trump saved a toxic pesticide – and then it poisoned a bunch of farmworkers Naturally this was just too easy for Twitter . Some saw the sinkhole as a sign from God – whether Republicans would listen was another matter. Sinkhole opens next to Mar-a-Lago in obvious sign from increasingly irritated God https://t.co/IBicOjX698 pic.twitter.com/IhlzTpTU8K — Jezebel (@Jezebel) May 22, 2017 "Give us a sign, God."[sinkhole appears in front of Mar-A-Lago]"Hm, can't be sure that's anything." https://t.co/oTrfQkYBxR — Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) May 22, 2017 Some people wondered if the sinkhole had anything to do with the illuminated orb Trump was pictured touching in Saudi Arabia. Actions have consequences, people. pic.twitter.com/r0LOrGBldy — Slade Sohmer (@Slade) May 22, 2017 The #sinkhole at Mar-a-Lago is absolutely NOT an ancient evil escaping its glided cage after being released by The Orb. No siree. — Rogue Illuminati (@RogueIlluminati) May 23, 2017 Others thought perhaps the sinkhole had been mistakenly termed… My working theory: It’s a hellmouth, not a sinkhole. — Jeff LaMarche (@jeff_lamarche) May 22, 2017 Sean Spicer wants to make it very clear there is NOT a sinkhole in front of Mar-A-Lago… It is a Florida Swamp Center. — Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) May 22, 2017 Some Twitter users actually began to cheer for the sinkhole. rare heroic sinkhole ? https://t.co/i2i1I287vv — AS ? (@Alschapel) May 22, 2017 @townpalmbeach @Fahrenthold Has anyone ever rooted for a sinkhole before? — chuckyou2 (@chuckyoutwo) May 22, 2017 And as the metaphors left everyone’s heads spinning about the mysterious origins of the clearly supernatural sinkhole, former The Onion writer Dennis DiClaudio stepped in to make one thing clear: Hate to be pedantic, but the Mar-a-lago sinkhole isn't *technically* a metaphor, because metaphors aren't *that* obvious. — Dennis DiClaudio (@dennisdiclaudio) May 22, 2017 After Palm Beach has dealt with the sinkhole, we think Washington, D.C. could use a little “exploratory excavation” as well. Via The Washington Post Images via screenshot and screenshot

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Giant sinkhole opens up in front of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort

Elon Musk reveals boring tunnels are for Hyperloop

May 23, 2017 by  
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Cleantech pioneer Elon Musk wants you to drive a Tesla electric car or truck, power your home with SolarCity solar panels and store renewable electricity with Tesla Powerwall battery packs. Oh yeah, he also wants to zip you from DC to NYC in less than 30 minutes via Hyperloop pods that can reach speeds of more than 600 miles per hour racing through evacuated tubes. Now Musk has revealed that part of the reason he started The Boring Company , besides finding a solution for LA’s “soul-destroying traffic,” is to launch and test Hyperloop by using his new Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) to dig underneath the City of Angels . “Fast to dig, low cost tunnels would also make Hyperloop adoption viable and enable rapid transit across densely populated regions, enabling travel from New York to Washington DC in less than 30 minutes,” the company’s new FAQ page states regarding its specific goals, adding that “the electric skate can transport automobiles, goods, and/or people. And if one adds a vacuum shell, it is now a Hyperloop Pod which can travel at 600+ miles per hour.” Related: Elon Musk’s Boring Company video envisions underground LA as a crazy slot car race The FAQ page mentions that The Boring Company aims to fix congestion in major cities by building an underground network of road tunnels “many levels deep” with the ability to keep adding levels. The key to making this work would be “increasing tunneling speed and dropping costs by a factor of 10 or more.” Costs would be mitigated by reducing the tunnel diameter, which the site claims can be accomplished by placing vehicles on a “stabilized electric sled.” Speeding up tunneling is another way to reduce costs, with the stated goal for the TBM to defeat the snail in a race. Hyperloop One has already built a full-scale test track at the company’s development site in Nevada. Countries from India to South Korea  to the United Arab Emirates  to Russia  have expressed interest in Hyperloop technology. It is clear that the race to build the first Hyperloop rapid transit system is underway and similar to his other ventures, Musk is eager to take the lead. + The Boring Company + Hyperloop One Via Archinect Images via The Boring Company

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Elon Musk reveals boring tunnels are for Hyperloop

Nations largest cross-laminated timber academic building is an icon of sustainability

May 23, 2017 by  
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The first and largest cross-laminated timber (CLT) academic building in the U.S. has opened at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst. Designed by Leers Weinzapfel Associates , the multidisciplinary Design Building brings together 500 students and 50 faculty across four departments into a light-filled 87,000-square-foot space. As a beacon of sustainability, the building features energy-saving elements, such as chilled beams and radiant flooring, and targets LEED Gold certification. Cross-laminated timber has long been praised for its durability, lightness, and speed of construction, however, has been slow to catch on in the U.S. relative to Europe and Canada. As the largest installation of wood-concrete composites in North America, the UMass Design Building paves the way in a growing trend of “mass timber” buildings. Cast-in-place concrete and CLT make up the Design Building’s floor slabs, while glue-laminated timber was used for the posts, beams, shear wall cores, and “zipper” trusses. To reference the colors and patterns of the nearby forests, the four-story building is wrapped in a durable envelope of copper-colored anodized aluminum panels punctuated with vertical windows. The glazing and skylights maximize daylight to the interior to reduce reliance on artificial lighting. Stormwater is managed onsite with bioswales and timber dams that filter and redirect runoff back to the Connecticut River. Related: Taiwan’s first CLT building paves way to greener alternatives to concrete and steel “To create a center space of collaboration, a coiling and rising band of studios, faculty offices and classrooms surrounds a skylit Commons for gathering and presentations,” write the architects. “The building also forms a green roof terrace, a contemplative space shared by the studios and faculty and a potential experimental space for the landscape department. The slope of the site creates a tall four-story façade on the west facing the mall, and the rising structure invites the community into the building and reveals the activities within.” + Leers Weinzapfel Associates Via Dezeen Images via Leers Weinzapfel Associates

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Nations largest cross-laminated timber academic building is an icon of sustainability

Dutch scientists zero in on pothole cure

May 5, 2017 by  
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Potholes plague roads around the world. These pits are annoying for drivers, but even worse, those that haven’t been well maintained may cause as much as a third of all deaths on highways. So scientists in the Netherlands are investigating materials able to repair themselves, and have zeroed in on asphalt and concrete . Many roads are laid with asphalt. The material is porous, which is both a blessing and a curse: the pores absorb noise but also lead to cracks and potholes. Materials scientist Erik Schlangen , chair of Experimental MicroMechanics at Delft University of Technology , is working on self-healing asphalt. He mixed steel fibers with asphalt to make the material conductive, and then when a large induction machine is run over the asphalt, heat helps close any cracks. The Verge pointed out since the machine is necessary, the asphalt isn’t entirely self-healing, but it does allow for easier repairs. Related: INFOGRAPHIC: America’s Failing Infrastructure and the Need to Improve Self-healing asphalt is undergoing testing on 12 roads in the Netherlands; one has been open since 2010 and all are in excellent condition. Regular asphalt roads tend to stay in good condition for seven to 10 years, however, so Schlangen said in upcoming years the difference will be clearer. He said self-healing asphalt could be 25 percent more expensive than typical asphalt, but could last twice as long. One estimate put the Netherlands’ savings with the self-healing asphalt roads at 90 million Euros every single year. And asphalt isn’t the only material with which scientists are innovating. Schlangen’s team is also looking at adding bacteria to concrete to make it self-healing as well. Bacteria produce calcium carbonate to fill in cracks. Schlangen said these bacteria can live for over 200 years in nature, so they’ll last for the lifetime of concrete. They also don’t harm humans. The scientists have applied the material to some structures and are working to improve it. Via The Verge Images via Pixabay and Alan Stanton on Flickr

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Dutch scientists zero in on pothole cure

Utah plans $5 million wildlife bridge over deadly I-80 highway

May 2, 2017 by  
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13 miles along Utah’s Interstate 80 (I-80) is one of the most dangerous road spans for animals in the state. 122 mule deer, 13 moose, four elk, and three mountain lions died in the last two years. So now the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is proposing a $5 million bridge over I-80 that will provide wildlife a safe transit zone. Locals from Park City, Utah grew concerned over the high number of animal deaths on the nearby freeway, and in 2015 started the nonprofit Save People, Save Wildlife . Their first goal? Wildlife fencing. They raised around $50,000, and UDOT decided to match those funds. The department put in one mile of fencing on westbound I-80 in the fall of 2016. Related: Russia built a critical wildlife corridor to help save endangered big cats But the fences have only done so much to prevent wildlife deaths. The number of crashes in the area near the fencing fell but officials discovered many animals simply walked alongside the fence until it ended, and then tried to cross. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologist Matt Howard said the result was that collisions happened further down the road. Save People, Save Wildlife also calls for wildlife bridges , and it seems the Utah government is listening. At a recent public meeting officials announced plans to build the $5 million overpass. The design isn’t official yet, but the bridge could be 45 feet wide and 345 feet long, crossing I-80 west of the Parleys Summit interchange. Up for debate is whether vegetation should cover the bridge or whether it should be open so animals can see through to the other side. Construction could begin in 2018. UDOT project manager John Montoya told The Salt Lake Tribune, “The biggest thing that matters to us is to build a bridge that works, that the larger animals will use.” He said it could take a few years, and animals could at first congregate near fences, but then they’ll adapt and start traveling to the bridge. Via The Salt Lake Tribune Images via the Utah Department of Transportation

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Utah plans $5 million wildlife bridge over deadly I-80 highway

NYC mayor announces push to finish 32-mile Greenway linking entire Manhattan waterfront

April 27, 2017 by  
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is looking to finish the biggest gap in the 32-mile Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. $100 million in the mayor’s executive budget will go towards completing the esplanade, allowing people to walk and bicycle on the edges of the city by the water. The new green space and promenade could be finished in around five years. The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway along the East River between East 61st to East 53rd Street could be developed with City capital money. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation , United States Coast Guard , and Army Corps of Engineers have already granted initial approval and designs for the esplanade will be sketched out this year. The city hopes construction, carried out by the New York City Economic Development Corporation , will begin in 2019 and end in 2022. Related: Former garment factory next to NYC’s High Line to be topped with new green spaces Mayor de Blasio said in a statement, “We’re jumpstarting the completion of a Greenway linking the entire Manhattan waterfront. The Hudson River Greenway has vastly improved quality of life on the West Side, and we want families in every corner in the borough to have that same access to bike, walk, and play along the water. This is the first of many big investments we’ll make as we bring the full Greenway to reality.” Department of Transportation (DOT) commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the longer Greenway would help meet the demand in cycling , which has spiked 80 percent during the last five years in New York City. DOT’s new bike lanes and a 1,100-mile bicycle network could also help more people get out of their cars and onto bikes. Mayor David Dinkins started the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway in 1993, and each administration since has added to it. The most recent major piece of the Greenway is a 10-block Riverwalk completing an 11-mile path between George Washington Bridge and the Battery. Over 7,000 cyclists ride on the path every day, making it the United States’ busiest bike path. + Office of the Mayor of New York City Images via the Office of the Mayor of New York City

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NYC mayor announces push to finish 32-mile Greenway linking entire Manhattan waterfront

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