An urban wetland springs to life among Bogotas high rises

March 12, 2019 by  
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An open plaza in Bogota’s northeastern business district has been radically transformed from a place of pure pavement to a vibrant urban wetland . Colombian architecture firm Obraestudio completed the project in 2016 in the Santa Barbara business center to revitalize the outdoor common space shared by the Torres Unidas Building, Scotia Bank, Samsung, AR and W Hotel towers. Covering an area of over two acres, the architects injected a lush aquatic landscape into the public-facing plaza, creating a striking contrast between wild nature and the sharp geometry of the surrounding high-rises. Winner of an open national design competition sponsored by The Colombian Architects Society, the Usaquén Urban Wetland has become an iconic, privately-owned public space in northeast Bogota . The design draws inspiration from the wetlands of the Bogota Savannah, a rich, biodiverse area located in the southwestern part of the larger Andean plateau, the Altiplano Cundiboyacense. To recreate the wetland appearance, a large recycled rainwater-fed pool was carved out from the heart of the plaza and planted with native aquatic vegetation. “A natural ecosystem — half aquatic, half terrestrial — is recreated by the geometry, colors and textures of the overall design,” Obraestudio explained in a project statement. “Existing buildings and the exterior common areas are a provocative, clear contrast to the wild, free-growing landscape elements. A recycled rainwater garden over the main square creates a native urban wetland that blends harmoniously with the surrounding Andean hills backdrop and preserves the native vegetation in its natural habitat.” Related: Triangular windows bring light and drama to a stunning Bogota bakery Moreover, the parking area was replaced with a linear park that has also been lushly planted and designed to “inspire slow and meditative walks.” Pre-existing green roofs were preserved while the old elevator and stairs structures have been re-engineered so as not to visually detract from the new landscape design. + Obraestudio Via ArchDaily Photography by Daniel Segura and Andres Valbuena via Obraestudio

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An urban wetland springs to life among Bogotas high rises

These 5 animals are being consumed into extinction

March 12, 2019 by  
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Humans have a long history of wiping out animal populations, and we continue to do so even to this day. According to a new study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, people around the world are eating hundreds of animal species into extinction. If we don’t make some changes, the authors of the study warn that the food security of hundreds of millions of people could be threatened. Currently, we are in the middle of mass extinction that rivals the wiping out of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But this time, it isn’t a giant meteorite doing all the damage — it’s humans. Over the past century, we have accelerated extinction rates 100 hundred times greater than what would naturally occur without human impact. As we continue to destroy habitats with construction and invade wild areas for hunting, 301 species of land mammals are now critically endangered and have made their way to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. The list includes 168 primates, 73 hoofed animals, 27 bats, 26 marsupials, 21 rodent species and 12 carnivores. There are also 1,414 species of fish on the Red List. “There are plenty of bad things affecting wildlife around the world, and habitat loss and degradation are clearly at the forefront, but among the other things is the seemingly colossal impact of bushmeat hunting,” said David MacDonald, professor at the University of Oxford and part of the international research team. Bushmeat is a traditional food source for rural people in societies across the globe. That is starting to change because of large-scale commercial hunting and road construction in remote areas. MacDonald said that the number of hunters continues to increase, and the roads are being built in the most remote places, so there is no place left for wildlife to go. Not only does this mass extinction threaten food security, but it also upsets ecosystems. To reverse this problem, the researchers in this new study have a few ideas. They recommend greater legal protection for the endangered species, empowering local communities to prioritize wildlife conservation , providing alternative foods and family planning to reduce the rate of population growth. The list of endangered animals is long, but here are a few highlights. Bluefin tuna One of the fastest fish on Earth, bluefin tuna can hit speeds around 40 miles per hour when they are hunting, can grow up to 15 feet long and weigh as much as 1500 pounds. However, with the growing demand for sushi, overfishing is becoming a huge problem, and the bluefin tuna numbers are dropping. Related: Endangered bluefin tuna sold for $3.1 billion to sushi tycoon Whale shark The largest fish in the sea, the whale shark has been on the critically endangered list for three years, because the population has dropped more than 50 percent in the last 75 years thanks to both legal and illegal fishing. According to National Geographic, fishing for whale sharks is extremely lucrative, because they can be “harvested for their meat, fins and other parts used in traditional medicinal products.” Of course, they are also in great demand for shark fin soup. Pangolin These nocturnal mammals have keratin scales, emit a harmful chemical like skunks and eat ants and termites. In Africa, they are a major source of food and medicine, but in China and Vietnam, they are a delicacy. This has led to the pangolin becoming the most trafficked animal in the world. Related: Zimbabwe hopes to bring attention to trafficking endangered species with the Pangolin Project There is an international trade ban on all pangolin species, but this has only resulted in rising prices as the population declines. Chinese giant salamander As the largest amphibian on Earth, the Chinese giant salamander has been around for more than 170 million years, and it can grow to be 6 feet long and weigh over 100 pounds. The species is currently on the critically endangered list, because it is a Chinese delicacy. It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. In just three generations, the population has plummeted by 80 percent. Sturgeon With fossil records dating back 200 million years, we know that sturgeon have survived two — maybe three — mass extinctions . This time, the species might not be so lucky. The beluga sturgeon is being overfished, because the eggs are needed for caviar. They take 20 years to reach maturity, but we are killing them to harvest the eggs at massive rates. You can learn more about the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species on the organization’s website. Images via Danilo Cedrone / UN Food and Agriculture Organization , Aruro de Frias Marques , A.J.T. Johnsingh / WWF-India , Petr Hamerník , USFWS and National Marine  Sanctuary

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These 5 animals are being consumed into extinction

Nativars and Heavy Lifters in the Garden

August 20, 2018 by  
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Native plants in nurseries are often hybrids, native species crossed … The post Nativars and Heavy Lifters in the Garden appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Nativars and Heavy Lifters in the Garden

Earth911 Podcast, August 20, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear

August 20, 2018 by  
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Ernie Roberts, sustainability manager for computer accessories maker Belkin, joins … The post Earth911 Podcast, August 20, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, August 20, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear

Luxury private-island resort in the Maldives aims for minimal site impact

November 2, 2017 by  
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A new paradise destination has surfaced on the waters of the jaw-droppingly beautiful Maldives . Singapore-based WOW Architects recently completed the St. Regis Maldives, a luxury hotel that extends out of a private island. In hopes of minimizing the resort’s impact on the landscape, WOW architects implemented prefabricated timber systems and uses local labor and materials whenever possible. Covering 16,000 square meters across land and water, the St. Regis Maldives comprises 77 villas divided into four experiential zones—lagoon, beach, coastal, and jungle—each defined by different anchoring activities connected via a meandering art trail. The hut-like building forms and spaces take inspiration from nature, with maximum use of cross-laminated wood and minimal use of concrete and steel. Landscaping focuses on conservation of existing island flora and fauna, as well as replacement of displaced plant material with native species. Related: World’s largest underwater restaurant installed in the Maldives “The local people live in a delicate balancing act with nature, and are totally dependent on trade, technology, and tourism to sustain themselves,” wrote the architects. “Thus, when we were given an opportunity to design a Maldivian resort hotel, we chose to delight the senses through education, creating awareness, and new paradigms of interacting with the physical environment. Here, paradise is emotionally and intellectually experienced and enjoyed, but with a profound awareness of the complex relationships of the eco systems being inhabited.” + WOW Architects Images 2018 copyright WOW Architects | Warner Wong Design

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Luxury private-island resort in the Maldives aims for minimal site impact

Tropical park with native species will add much-needed green space to Hong Kong

January 30, 2017 by  
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The concrete jungle of Hong Kong will soon become a bit greener. Landscape architecture firm Gustafson Porter + Bowman revealed landscape designs for Taikoo Place to create a new public space that will inject much-needed green space to the dense urban environment. The 69,000-square-foot project will promote biodiversity and public awareness of Hong Kong’s local landscapes with the planting of 53 native trees grown specifically for the park. Taikoo Place’s landscape design will offer a sequence of active and passive spaces, from open areas suitable for jazz concerts and markets to more intimate meeting areas. The park spaces will be tied together by large bands of brown and white granite that run through the site, surrounding streetscape, and lobby of one of the development’s planned towers. Taikoo Square, the largest space in the design, comprises water features designed using 3D modeling to introduce dynamic movement and sounds that reference the former Quays that had existed on the site. Densely planted tropical plants and over 70 trees that provide shade and a cooling microclimate will be neatly framed by sculpted stonework. “To promote biodiversity and raise public awareness of Hong Kong’s heritage of Fung Shui woodlands, 53 of the trees are native species , grown specifically for the project,” writes the firm. “Fung Shui woodlands are remnants of native woodlands which are protected from agricultural clearances due to their spiritual significance. At Taikoo Place, these remnant species have found a new home and bring additional natural elements to an otherwise dense urban space.” Related: Glowing bamboo pavilion promotes ecological design in Hong Kong The lush public park is designed as part of the HK$15 billion redevelopment for Taikoo Place spearheaded by Swire Properties. The development’s planned pair of Grade-A office towers, designed by Wong Ouyang, will target LEED Platinum ratings. The towers will be connected by a new elevated walkway designed by Hugh Dutton Associés. The project is slated for completion in 2021. + Gustafson Porter + Bowman Via ArchDaily Images via Gustafson Porter + Bowman

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Tropical park with native species will add much-needed green space to Hong Kong

Over 200 tons of poisonous herbicides are dumped on North Americas wild lands every year

July 11, 2016 by  
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New data has emerged on how widespread the use of herbicides , including glyphosate , has become in North American federal and tribal land. In 2010 alone, 200 tons of the stuff was sprayed on natural wild lands to help curb the growth of invasive plant species. It is possible this “just trying to help” move may have done more damage to the native plants than the intrusive species would have done. University of Montana researchers published their findings recently, having gathered data with the help of figures from Algoma University and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources . They found that those 200 tons of herbicide were sprayed over 1.2 million acres of U.S. wildlands. Viktoria Wagner from UM explained, “Imagine: The wildland area sprayed by herbicides in that year is comparable to 930,630 football fields, and the amount of herbicides used equals the weight of 13 school buses.” Related: Shocking new map shows where cancer-causing glyphosate sprayed in San Francisco Researchers suspect the numbers are actually higher, seeing as data were not able to be collected from the U.S. Forest Service lands. An unexpected finding from their research was the alarmingly high use of glyphosate, a notorious cancer-causing chemical. Wagner stated, “This finding was unexpected because glyphosate is a nonselective herbicide that harms grasses and herbs alike and thus has a higher potential to negatively affect desired native plants.” The low cost and few restrictions on usage may have played a part in its widespread use, however. The study calls for further analysis and monitoring of how helpful herbicides are in the fight against invasive plants in natural wild lands. Via Phys.org Images via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ,  Wikipedia

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Over 200 tons of poisonous herbicides are dumped on North Americas wild lands every year

The NativeScapeGR Project Encourages Green Roofing with Native Species

October 16, 2014 by  
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Developed at the University of Lisbon , Portugal,  The NativeScapeGR project focuses on uses native plant species and biocrusts to create green roofs with low water requirements, adapted to Mediterranean-type climates. Although green roofs have countless environmental benefits, they’re rare in most Mediterranean areas, mainly because of installation and maintenance costs, including irrigation. Green roofs that use native plants would maximize water use and sustainability in that region, while also enhancing biodiversity. Biocrusts are consortia of cyanobacteria, fungi , and lichens that can grow in extreme low water conditions. Since they can shut down their metabolism during dry spells, they can survive for months or even years with low water intake, while still providing the homes beneath them with the benefits of a living roof . You can learn more about this experimental work on the  University of Lisbon in Instituto Superior de Agronomia website , or via their Facebook page . + The NativeScape GR Project The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: grasses , green roof , green roof plants , green roofing , green roofs , living roof , living roofs , mediterranean , Mediterranean climate , NativeScapeGR , plants for green roofs , succulents , The NativeScapeGR Project

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The NativeScapeGR Project Encourages Green Roofing with Native Species

George Bradley’s Art-Filled Buena Vista House is Wrapped in Reclaimed Redwood

October 16, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of George Bradley’s Art-Filled Buena Vista House is Wrapped in Reclaimed Redwood Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , AIA SF , arch + city festival , architecture and the city festival , Buena Vista House , castro district , Eddie Baba , George Bradley , George Bradley Architecture + Design , green architecture , Green Building , green home , reclaimed wood , San Francisco , Sustainable Building

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George Bradley’s Art-Filled Buena Vista House is Wrapped in Reclaimed Redwood

Your State’s Official Flower May Actually be an Alien

September 9, 2011 by  
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Photo: ? nicolas_gent ? / cc Our love-affair with flowers stretches back as far as recorded history, so it’s no wonder that we esteem them so highly. In fact, we have so much affection for the budding blossoms around us that every state in America has added legislation to the books designating an official flower — to serve as a living symbol of the natural beauty each of those 50 states possess. But despite the emblematic power these flower have in stirring regional pride, surprisingly some state flowers aren’t native species at all — and some even o… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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