Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

October 27, 2017 by  
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The Staten Island neighborhood of Oakwood Beach was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy five years ago. Since then, 80 percent of Oakwood Beach residents have sold their homes to the state of New York , which hopes to turn the area into a buffer zone to guard against future superstorms . Many homes have since been torn down, and the area is slowly returning to nature. Superstorms could hit the New York City region more frequently in the future. A recent Rutgers University study found storms flooding the city with at least 7.4-foot surges – an event which occurred every 500 years before 1800 – will hit once every five years by 2030, reports Reuters . Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery executive director Lisa Bova-Hiatt told Reuters the state pursued the home buyout program in large part because they expected more superstorms. She said, “To say that extreme weather is not our new normal would just be incredibly short-sighted.” Related: How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Hurricane or Superstorm Many Oakwood Beach locals have taken the state up on their buyout program. The state has spent $255 million with money from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to purchase 654 properties, and most of those are in Staten Island. There are 83 more properties in the pipeline, according to the Office of Storm Recovery. Bova-Hiatt said the program is voluntary but “it would be fantastic to have the entire area as a buffer zone.” The state has torn down townhouses and bungalows, and planted grass on the sites of former homes. Out of 402 homes in Oakwood Beach eligible for the program, the state was unable to acquire 88. Reuters spoke with Gregory and Olga Epshteyn, locals who decided not to take the state up on their offer. Gregory said the city still provides services like street lights and trash pickup, and that the neighborhood is the best place to live in Staten Island. Olga told Reuters, “We love it here, but we miss our neighbors.” Via Reuters Images via Sunghwan Yoon on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

October 27, 2017 by  
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The Staten Island neighborhood of Oakwood Beach was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy five years ago. Since then, 80 percent of Oakwood Beach residents have sold their homes to the state of New York , which hopes to turn the area into a buffer zone to guard against future superstorms . Many homes have since been torn down, and the area is slowly returning to nature. Superstorms could hit the New York City region more frequently in the future. A recent Rutgers University study found storms flooding the city with at least 7.4-foot surges – an event which occurred every 500 years before 1800 – will hit once every five years by 2030, reports Reuters . Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery executive director Lisa Bova-Hiatt told Reuters the state pursued the home buyout program in large part because they expected more superstorms. She said, “To say that extreme weather is not our new normal would just be incredibly short-sighted.” Related: How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Hurricane or Superstorm Many Oakwood Beach locals have taken the state up on their buyout program. The state has spent $255 million with money from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to purchase 654 properties, and most of those are in Staten Island. There are 83 more properties in the pipeline, according to the Office of Storm Recovery. Bova-Hiatt said the program is voluntary but “it would be fantastic to have the entire area as a buffer zone.” The state has torn down townhouses and bungalows, and planted grass on the sites of former homes. Out of 402 homes in Oakwood Beach eligible for the program, the state was unable to acquire 88. Reuters spoke with Gregory and Olga Epshteyn, locals who decided not to take the state up on their offer. Gregory said the city still provides services like street lights and trash pickup, and that the neighborhood is the best place to live in Staten Island. Olga told Reuters, “We love it here, but we miss our neighbors.” Via Reuters Images via Sunghwan Yoon on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

October 27, 2017 by  
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The Staten Island neighborhood of Oakwood Beach was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy five years ago. Since then, 80 percent of Oakwood Beach residents have sold their homes to the state of New York , which hopes to turn the area into a buffer zone to guard against future superstorms . Many homes have since been torn down, and the area is slowly returning to nature. Superstorms could hit the New York City region more frequently in the future. A recent Rutgers University study found storms flooding the city with at least 7.4-foot surges – an event which occurred every 500 years before 1800 – will hit once every five years by 2030, reports Reuters . Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery executive director Lisa Bova-Hiatt told Reuters the state pursued the home buyout program in large part because they expected more superstorms. She said, “To say that extreme weather is not our new normal would just be incredibly short-sighted.” Related: How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Hurricane or Superstorm Many Oakwood Beach locals have taken the state up on their buyout program. The state has spent $255 million with money from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to purchase 654 properties, and most of those are in Staten Island. There are 83 more properties in the pipeline, according to the Office of Storm Recovery. Bova-Hiatt said the program is voluntary but “it would be fantastic to have the entire area as a buffer zone.” The state has torn down townhouses and bungalows, and planted grass on the sites of former homes. Out of 402 homes in Oakwood Beach eligible for the program, the state was unable to acquire 88. Reuters spoke with Gregory and Olga Epshteyn, locals who decided not to take the state up on their offer. Gregory said the city still provides services like street lights and trash pickup, and that the neighborhood is the best place to live in Staten Island. Olga told Reuters, “We love it here, but we miss our neighbors.” Via Reuters Images via Sunghwan Yoon on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

October 27, 2017 by  
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The Staten Island neighborhood of Oakwood Beach was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy five years ago. Since then, 80 percent of Oakwood Beach residents have sold their homes to the state of New York , which hopes to turn the area into a buffer zone to guard against future superstorms . Many homes have since been torn down, and the area is slowly returning to nature. Superstorms could hit the New York City region more frequently in the future. A recent Rutgers University study found storms flooding the city with at least 7.4-foot surges – an event which occurred every 500 years before 1800 – will hit once every five years by 2030, reports Reuters . Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery executive director Lisa Bova-Hiatt told Reuters the state pursued the home buyout program in large part because they expected more superstorms. She said, “To say that extreme weather is not our new normal would just be incredibly short-sighted.” Related: How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Hurricane or Superstorm Many Oakwood Beach locals have taken the state up on their buyout program. The state has spent $255 million with money from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to purchase 654 properties, and most of those are in Staten Island. There are 83 more properties in the pipeline, according to the Office of Storm Recovery. Bova-Hiatt said the program is voluntary but “it would be fantastic to have the entire area as a buffer zone.” The state has torn down townhouses and bungalows, and planted grass on the sites of former homes. Out of 402 homes in Oakwood Beach eligible for the program, the state was unable to acquire 88. Reuters spoke with Gregory and Olga Epshteyn, locals who decided not to take the state up on their offer. Gregory said the city still provides services like street lights and trash pickup, and that the neighborhood is the best place to live in Staten Island. Olga told Reuters, “We love it here, but we miss our neighbors.” Via Reuters Images via Sunghwan Yoon on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

October 27, 2017 by  
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In November, voters in Denver, Colorado will go to the polls to approve or disapprove a new ballot initiative that would require most new buildings of at least 25,000 square feet and some older buildings to include a green roof . The roofs would have to be covered with trees, vegetables or other plants that add aesthetic value and mitigate the urban heat island effect. Although the idea of green roofs is broadly popular, the mandate to require them is somewhat controversial. Nonetheless, supporters are optimistic that voters will ultimately approve the bold and beautiful policy to add even more green to the Mile High City. Denver’s proposed green roof mandate takes cues from Toronto , which implemented the policy seven years ago, becoming the first city in North America to require green roofs. Although San Francisco recently adopted a mandate for green roofs on new buildings, Denver would be the first to transform rooftops on existing buildings through the mandate. Supporters see real environmental and economic benefits from such a broad adoption of green roofs. A new study from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Green Infrastructure Foundation estimated that the adopted initiative would create 57.5 million square feet of green roofs by 2033 and generate $1.85 billion in energy cost savings and other benefits over the next 40 years. “We have all these flat roofs with all this space, and we’re not doing anything with them,” said Brandon Rietheimer, the initiative’s campaign manager, according to the Denver Post . “Why aren’t we putting solar or green vegetation up there? … We hear all the time that Denver is an environmentally friendly city, yet we rank 11th for air quality and third for heat islands.” Related: Denver food desert raises $50K for first community-owned grocery store Although the idea may be appealing, it still faces a mountain of opposition before it becomes law. “I think it would be great if we all had green roofs,” said Denver City Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman. “They’re so lovely. But the mandate is what worries me. … If you have so much support for it, then why wouldn’t the market just take care of it?” Even Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has come out against the measure, stating that it was “not the right approach” for the city. Despite heavy opposition, the initiative may prove endearing to the Denver electorate, particularly in an off-year election . Political analyst Eric Sondermann said, “I think the risk to the opposition is that it’s under the radar and it just looks good, looks cutting-edge, feels good and that no one digs into it”. Via The Denver Post Images via Denver Green Roof Initiative

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Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

October 27, 2017 by  
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In November, voters in Denver, Colorado will go to the polls to approve or disapprove a new ballot initiative that would require most new buildings of at least 25,000 square feet and some older buildings to include a green roof . The roofs would have to be covered with trees, vegetables or other plants that add aesthetic value and mitigate the urban heat island effect. Although the idea of green roofs is broadly popular, the mandate to require them is somewhat controversial. Nonetheless, supporters are optimistic that voters will ultimately approve the bold and beautiful policy to add even more green to the Mile High City. Denver’s proposed green roof mandate takes cues from Toronto , which implemented the policy seven years ago, becoming the first city in North America to require green roofs. Although San Francisco recently adopted a mandate for green roofs on new buildings, Denver would be the first to transform rooftops on existing buildings through the mandate. Supporters see real environmental and economic benefits from such a broad adoption of green roofs. A new study from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Green Infrastructure Foundation estimated that the adopted initiative would create 57.5 million square feet of green roofs by 2033 and generate $1.85 billion in energy cost savings and other benefits over the next 40 years. “We have all these flat roofs with all this space, and we’re not doing anything with them,” said Brandon Rietheimer, the initiative’s campaign manager, according to the Denver Post . “Why aren’t we putting solar or green vegetation up there? … We hear all the time that Denver is an environmentally friendly city, yet we rank 11th for air quality and third for heat islands.” Related: Denver food desert raises $50K for first community-owned grocery store Although the idea may be appealing, it still faces a mountain of opposition before it becomes law. “I think it would be great if we all had green roofs,” said Denver City Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman. “They’re so lovely. But the mandate is what worries me. … If you have so much support for it, then why wouldn’t the market just take care of it?” Even Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has come out against the measure, stating that it was “not the right approach” for the city. Despite heavy opposition, the initiative may prove endearing to the Denver electorate, particularly in an off-year election . Political analyst Eric Sondermann said, “I think the risk to the opposition is that it’s under the radar and it just looks good, looks cutting-edge, feels good and that no one digs into it”. Via The Denver Post Images via Denver Green Roof Initiative

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Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

These Christmas lights are made of trash left on Canary Island beaches

October 27, 2017 by  
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While some associate Christmas with crass consumerism, Spanish architect Fernando Menis from the Canary Islands believes it’s a great opportunity to reuse discarded objects. To prove the idea, Menis designed Christmas lights out of recycled summer waste for the coastal town of La Oliva on the island of Fuerteventura. Colorful floats, surfboards, buckets, beach toys and even plastic bottles abandoned on local beaches will have a second life as very unusual Christmas decorations on the exotic island. Instead of classic “White Christmas” snowflakes and snowmen, the architect proposed more appropriate marine decor that fits into the local context. La Oliva is traditionally linked to the sea and fishing, so Menis dreamt up giant squids, hibiscus flowers, palm trees, boats and jellyfish garlands – all lit with energy-efficient and environmentally friendly LED technology. Some of the lights are even powered by small solar panels. Menis also wants to bring his oceanic Christmas theme to the sea by supplying fishing boats navigating near the coast with recycled garlands that light up at night. Related: How to Green Your Holidays With Eco-Friendly Christmas Decor The project will be realized with the citizen participation – In fact, its assembly will involve the inhabitants and especially the local kids. What a great way to have fun and celebrate Christmas while creating real value with objects that tourists discard upon leaving the island. + Fernando Menis Images courtesy of Fernando Menis Architects

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These Christmas lights are made of trash left on Canary Island beaches

Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

October 27, 2017 by  
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When Milan-based Small Architecture Workshop was asked to design a tiny sauna for a bed and breakfast in Åmot, Sweden, they wanted to do so with minimal environmental impact. The result of their efforts is this dreamy floating sauna on a lake wrapped in blackened timber to blend in with its forested surroundings. The architects built the compact structure in the span of two weeks as the first in a series of new amenities for the nearby bed and breakfast set in the middle of the forest. Located a three-hour drive from Stockholm , the bed and breakfast and accompanying sauna are an idyllic nature retreat for city dwellers. To minimize site impact , Small Architecture Workshop built the sauna on an existing wooden pier that they fixed up, thus avoiding digging and damaging the shoreline. The traditional Japanese technique of Yakisugi—more popularly known as Shou Sugi Ban—was applied to the sauna’s exterior cladding to make the timber resistant to weather, rot, and bugs. Related: Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town In contrast to the dark facade, the sauna is lined with light-colored alder wood. Visitors access the sauna through a covered space that serves as a dressing room and firewood storage room. Full-height glazing fronts the sauna, which can comfortably accommodate eight, to frame unobstructed views of the lake. + Small Architecture Workshop Via Dezeen Images via Small Architecture Workshop

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Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

Ai Weiwei installs huge fences in New York City to challenge Trumps border control measures

October 17, 2017 by  
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Ai Weiwei continues to address the refugee crisis through his latest multi-site, multi-media exhibition in New York City . In a campaign against Donald Trump’s border-control measures, the famous Chinese artist and human-rights activist has enclosed spaces throughout New York with gigantic security fences . The project, titled Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, includes a huge golden cage placed in Central Park, and a fence-like enclosure embedded within the Washington Square Arch. In 2016, Weiwei traveled to 23 countries and visited over 40 refugee camps while filming his documentary Human Flow . He chose a proverb from Robert Frost’s poem Mending Wall as the title for this new piece, which continues to explore the theme of borders. Related: Ai Weiwei Uses 1.2 Million LEGO Bricks to Portray 176 Political Prisoners and Exiles The artist worked with New York charity the Public Art Fund to create temporary structures in three locations in New York City. Funded through Kickstarter, the project aims to provoke and further the discussion about Trump’s plans to tighten immigration controls. The large circular gold structure, titled Gilded Cage, was installed on the Doris C Freedman Plaza, just a few minutes away from Trump Tower . The second installation is embedded in the Washington Square Arch as a mirrored passageway in the shape of two joined human figures. In Queens, Weiwei wrapped the Unisphere in Corona Park in mesh netting to create a low-lying fence. The exhibition will run until 11 February 2018, and it also includes several smaller interventions scattered throughout the city. + Ai Weiwei Photos by Jason Wyche via Public Art Fund, NY

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Ai Weiwei installs huge fences in New York City to challenge Trumps border control measures

Soaring timber tower could clean up contaminated water in NYC’s Central Park

September 22, 2017 by  
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New York-based DFA Studio has unveiled plans for a soaring wooden tower in Central Park that could actually purify the heavily contaminated Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The proposed tower measures 712 feet tall with a 112-foot-tall spire – and if it comes to fruition, it will be the world’s tallest timber tower. The tower’s helix structure is wrapped with a lattice of curved timber beams . The building would be anchored securely to a pre-cast concrete base with tensile steel cables. A transparent material covers the tower’s exterior, providing 360-degree views as visitors climb up to the top. Related: LAVA breaks ground on sustainable energy tower in Heidelberg The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir currently contains an estimated one billion gallons of stagnant, contaminated water . The tower’s filtration system could potentially convert the body of water into a clean pond. “Aside from supplying water to the pool and Harlem Meer, the Reservoir sits stagnant and fenced off due to its current state as a health threat to millions of New Yorkers, tourists and animals,” said DFA studio founder Laith Sayigh. “DFA envisions a temporary landmark that is remarkably of its time to creatively transform the reservoir into one of New York’s boldest urban amenities.” The tower’s integrated filtration system (as well as the elevators) would be powered by a wind turbine installed at the top of the tower. Sayigh believes that the NYC project would serve as an example for urban design around the world, “The Central Park Tower has the potential to be a model project for other cities aiming to fix existing infrastructure, build tall to capture views and elevate the urban public realm.” + DFA Via Dezeen

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Soaring timber tower could clean up contaminated water in NYC’s Central Park

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