New York Botanical Garden’s new artist residencies connect people with plants

May 10, 2019 by  
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Despite its irrefutable success — founded in 1891 and now receiving one million visitors a year — the New York Botanical Garden’s staff tirelessly finds innovative ways to stimulate visitors’ connection to nature. This year, it launched a new artist residency program, inviting internationally acclaimed visual artist Michele Oka Doner and sought-after composer Angélica Negrón to be the first participants. “People come to nature in different ways,” Barbara Corcoran, NYBG’s vice president for continuing and public education, told Inhabitat. “Some people come to the garden and they’re very observant, they really see the plants, they read the labels, and they have quite a good knowledge. They’re gardeners themselves or they’re naturalists.” Others might need extra help connecting. “ Music and art are two ways to do that,” she said. Carrie Rebora Barratt, who became CEO and president of the garden in 2018, came up with the residency idea. Her training as an art historian and museum administrator and her previous position at the Metropolitan Museum of Art had shown her the value of artist residencies. Michele Oka Doner Love of nature fuels Michele Oka Doner’s five decades of artwork. This is apparent as soon as you walk into her SoHo studio. “It’s like a treasure trove of nature,” Corcoran said. “She’s a collector of natural objects and archaeological finds like fossils and little bird skulls, like dozens of them, and old stone tools and shells and nature books. So this is like a laboratory. When you go there, you really get to see what she’s all about.” Doner’s past works include “A Walk on the Beach,” composed of 9,000 bronze starfish, sand dollars, coral and other sea-inspired sculptures embedded in the concourse at Miami International Airport. Her installation at the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory in Munich includes 400 shamanistic sculptures . She’s still developing her ideas for the site-specific work she’ll create at the New York Botanical Garden . Related: Second Nature transforms abandoned fishing nets into 3D-printed seashells and bowls On June 12, Doner will give a free talk at the garden called “Ecstatic Nutrition: The Trees of My Life” about three trees that greatly influenced her. “It kicks off our Wellness Wednesdays, which we have through the summer,” Corcoran said.  “Michele is a close observer of nature and a fine storyteller. She has this kind of enchantment with the natural world and its sacredness, and it really comes across. I think it will be very inspiring to hear her talk.” Angélica Negrón Composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón is a classically trained violinist who is well-known for her electronic music. Much of her work includes nontraditional instruments, such as toys, music boxes and electrodes hooked up to vegetables. A YouTube video shows Negrón in a market, lining up vegetables on a shelf to gauge their aesthetic as well as musical potential.  “I try to find vegetables or fruits that match the textures of the songs. I do love cauliflower, Romanesco broccoli, vegetables that have kind of design element. I call it a vegetable synth,” she said in the video. “I try to coordinate it so it all looks like part of the same instrument.” Corcoran said that both artists are interested in science and technology. Negrón has met with a New York Botanical Garden scientist and horticulturalist to learn more about tree communication. “ Trees communicate largely through their roots,” Corcoran said. “That’s all very fascinating to her.” Negrón has already performed twice at the garden, delighting the public with her vegetable synth. “She assigns each vegetable with a different note,” Corcoran explained. “And then when she touches them, the water in those fruits and plants and vegetables conduct the electricity that creates the notes. By tapping different vegetables, she creates a musical piece.” She also adds in acoustic and electronic instruments and found sounds for a result Corcoran describes as “soothing and mesmerizing.” Negrón’s residency will culminate in November with a world-premiere performance in the Thain Family Forest. “We’ll have several choruses here,” Corcoran said. “So it’s a mix of live choral music with sounds that are coming from the trees. I think that’s going to be a real artistic happening that you wouldn’t want to miss if you’re in New York in the fall. Plus, it’s in the old growth forest at a beautiful time of year.” Visiting the garden The New York Botanical Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday year-round, plus occasional holiday Mondays. In addition to leisurely strolling and soaking up the beauty, there’s always something going on. Activities range from the extremely practical — learning to repot orchids — to something as celebratory as the Brazil-themed World Pride Night in June. The botanical garden is a vital center for plant research. Its herbarium contains 7.8 million specimens, and it employs about 200 PhD-level scientists and support staff who travel the world to collect plants and bring them back for study. But most of all, it’s a place where busy urbanites can spend time in nature . “It’s a real oasis for people,” Corcoran said. “And I think now more than ever, people need that.” + New York Botanical Garden Images via NYBG and Ben Hider / NYBG

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New York Botanical Garden’s new artist residencies connect people with plants

NYCs new eco-park and urban beach is designed to help clean the waterfront

May 3, 2019 by  
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New York City has just welcomed yet another gem to its growing number of waterfront parks — Pier 35, the long-awaited East River Waterfront project designed by Manhattan-based firm SHoP Architects in partnership with Ken Smith Workshop. Built to anchor the north side of the East River esplanade, Pier 35 consists of a new eco-park that not only offers a passive recreational space for the local community but also an innovative habitat restoration section, called Mussel Beach, that will encourage the growth of water-filtering mussels. The park also features a massive folded wall of mesh metal that will be covered in climbing vines to create a “green” billboard visible from afar. Opened this month, the 28,000-square-foot park stretches two miles along the waterfront between the Battery Maritime Building and Montgomery Street in the Lower East Side. Created in collaboration with the local community, Pier 35 revitalizes an often-overlooked section of the East River esplanade with a landscaped lawn and dunes; a raised porch with custom swings overlooking the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges; and an inclined, folded green screen that rises to 35 feet in height and over 300 feet in length and will be overlaid with vines. Built of metal and weathered steel wall panels as a nod to the East River’s industrial history, the screen wall was installed to hide views of the adjacent Sanitation Department shed at Pier 36. Thanks to a grant from the New York Department of State’s Division of Coastal Resources, Pier 35 also features Mussel Beach, an ecological prototype that mimics the historic East River shoreline and creates an inclined space that not only offers visitors a close look at the daily rising and falling of the tides but also a specially designed habitat for mussels , which naturally filter and clean the water. Related: The humble mussel is as important and threatened as bees “As we work toward finalizing community-led resiliency plans along the East River, I am thrilled to see active open space come online at Pier 35,” said councilwoman Carlina Rivera. “Along with ecological projects, this section of the waterfront is a much-needed amenity what will someday be part of a continuous and protective esplanade along Manhattan’s East Side. We’ll be improving our coastline in the years ahead and much of it will be inaccessible during renovation, so the community needs as much alternative open space as it can get. I thank my colleagues in government that championed this project.” + SHoP Architects Images via SHoP Architects

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NYCs new eco-park and urban beach is designed to help clean the waterfront

The best online secondhand clothing shops

May 3, 2019 by  
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People are buying clothes and adding to their wardrobes like never before. This growth has been a boom for the fashion industry , but it has also lead to more and more clothes ending up in landfills around the world. One solution to help curb clothing waste is to buy secondhand clothing — and the rise of online thrift stores is making that easier than ever. Not only is buying secondhand clothing good for your wallet and the planet, but it is also possible to find quality items without leaving the comfort of your home. From common name brands to vintage and unique labels, here are all of the best places to buy (or sell) secondhand clothes. Vinted Vinted is a great website to sell and purchase secondhand clothing. If you are looking to sell some unwanted items in your closet, simply open an account online to get started. Vinted will create a custom page for your item, complete with a description and photos you provide. Once someone purchases the item, Vinted will send you a packaging label to send the product on its way. It’s easy for sellers to share their closets on social media as well. Related: 6 of the best places to donate your things Vinted also has plenty of clothing options for women, men and children. The prices are very affordable, and each item comes with at least one picture showing the condition. The product description also informs you of the brand, size, location of the seller, how many people viewed the page and when it was uploaded. Buyers and sellers can easily communicate, make bargains and leave feedback on one another to help future Vinted users make informed decisions. Poshmark Poshmark is similar to Vinted in that you can buy and sell secondhand clothing using its resources. One big difference between the two is that Poshmark is very brand-oriented. If you are looking for a specific brand, say Coach or Nike, then Poshmark makes it easy to find exactly what you are looking for. Poshmark is also fully integrated with social media, so you can share whatever you are trying to sell with your online followers. If you have a large social media presence, this can work to your advantage and help you sell things faster. You can also leave feedback for particular sellers if you like your purchase. ThredUP ThredUP is primarily geared toward women and children and features a slew of amazing sales. You can also find great deals on shoes, handbags and accessories , plus a line of secondhand maternity clothes. ThredUP also features the ability to shop by discount, which makes it super easy to find the best deals online. ThredUP claims to be the largest online thrift store in the entire world. The company has thousands of products online at any given moment, and they inspect each piece of clothing for quality. ThredUP also has a program called Goody Box, in which they send you clothing based on your style. You only get charged for things you keep. Ebay Ebay is known for selling an assortment of goods, but you may not realize that you can purchase secondhand clothing on the site as well. In fact, the company has a tab on its homepage for fashion, where you can find all sorts of clothing items and accessories. You have to dig a little deeper to find secondhand clothing, but Ebay makes it easy by offering a pre-owned filter. You can sell your old clothes, shoes and accessories on Ebay, too. Related: Introducing ReTuna, the world’s first secondhand shopping mall ASOS Marketplace ASOS Marketplace has become a great resource for independent and vintage brands. If you have trouble finding a brand that has gone out of business or is only in select shops, ASOS Marketplace is the site for you. The company offers products for men and women and features both new and used clothing from around the world. The company also allows people to set up their own boutique online, though they have some strict guidelines before they will approve you. This includes having a certain number of clothing items on sale at all times and following their photography guidelines. Depop Depop actually started as a social network where customers could purchase fashion items from a magazine. The company has since added the ability to sell from its app and website, which has broadened its appeal. What separates Depop from everyone else on this list is its social networking element. With Depop, users share their purchasing ideas, inspiring others with their fashion trends. Swap Swap is another popular online thrift store similar to ThredUP. The company hand-inspects all of the items and sells everything from men’s and women’s clothing to toys and maternity-wear. Swap offers many popular brands and makes it easy to find the best deal. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, the company also offers hassle-free returns, which pays for shipping and gives you a full refund within 30 days of purchase. Related: The sustainable wardobe — it’s more accessible than you think Patagonia Worn Wear Patagonia Worn Wear is a great example of a company doing its best to keep its products in circulation as long as possible. The program works by customers trading in their old Patagonia clothing at local stores. The company then washes and repairs the clothing and puts it online for resale. Patagonia offers secondhand clothing for men, women and children, plus used gear and backpacks. Screenshot images via Inhabitat; images via RawPixel and Depop

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Impossible Burgers are such a success, they might run out

May 3, 2019 by  
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The company behind the Impossible Burger is having trouble meeting a growing demand for its product. On the heels of a new partnership with Burger King, Impossible Foods announced that it has had difficulties producing enough Impossible Burgers to meet its annual goals. By the end of 2019, Impossible Foods plans to make its meat alternative available in all Burger King locations across the United States. The company has already performed a trial run in St. Louis, where owners of the fast food chain said it went “exceedingly well.” With more than 7,300 locations to serve, Impossible Foods is having to double its output to adequately supply the chains. Related: We tried the new Impossible Burger — here’s what we thought To make matters worse, restaurants that already feature the Impossible Burger have witnessed an increase in demand for the product, leading to even greater shortages. This includes theme parks, universities and other restaurants, like White Castle . In light of the increase in demand, Impossible Foods released a statement apologizing for the situation and promising to make things right in the near future. “[Impossible Foods] recognizes the inconvenience that this shortage is causing and sincerely apologizes to all customers, particularly those who have come to depend on the additional foot traffic and revenue that the Impossible Burger has generated,” the company shared. Fortunately, Impossible Foods has not run out of ingredients . Instead, its facilities are simply unable to handle the increase in demand, something it plans to remedy by adding a third shift. The company also plans to install another production line, which should double its current output. It is unclear when these changes will take place, but a spokesperson assured the public that the company is willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Until more Impossible Burgers hit the market, the company is telling customers to call ahead before visiting their local Impossible Burger supplier. Hopefully, Impossible Foods is able to increase its capacity in the coming months. After all, it will be great to see the Impossible Burger more available to the wider public. + Impossible Foods Via CNN Image via Impossible Foods

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Impossible Burgers are such a success, they might run out

A tiny home on wheels with brilliant interiors and two lofts can be yours for $56K

May 3, 2019 by  
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Although tiny homes  comes in many shapes and sizes, Canada-based Mint Tiny House Company has managed to create one of the most eye-pleasing tiny houses we’ve ever seen. In addition to its spacious interior design, which features dual loft spaces, the Napa tiny home also includes several sustainable elements, such as LED lighting and a composting toilet. Based in Canada, Mint Tiny House Company is known for its incredible talent at constructing customized tiny homes. Its latest model, the Napa, comes in two sizes, either 22 feet or 26 feet in length. Both options feature cedar siding exteriors with metal roofing. The pitched roof creates a homey feel and adds more space on the interior to accommodate two loft spaces. Related: Gorgeous cedar-clad tiny home designed to withstands Ontario’s frigid winters Inside, the Napa uses a crisp, white interior lit by LED lighting and an abundance of natural light to create a bright, modern living space. This light-filled interior is contrasted nicely with a rustic, stained timber ceiling and dark wood laminate flooring. The living area is located on one end of the tiny home and features enough space for a sofa that folds out to a guest bed. Home chefs will love the incredible full-sized kitchen with ample butcher block countertops and full-depth kitchen cabinets. Past the kitchen is a roomy bathroom, which has a stacked washer and dryer combo, a stand-up shower and a  composting toilet . On either side of the home is a  sleeping loft , accessed by a wall ladder on one side and stairs on the other. Like the rest of the abode, these lofts are bright and airy and have plenty of space. One can easily be used as the master bedroom while the other could be used as a guest room or repurposed into an office space, storage area, art studio and more. + Mint Tiny House Company Via Dwell Images via Mint Tiny House Company

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A tiny home on wheels with brilliant interiors and two lofts can be yours for $56K

New York City passes landmark bill to cut carbon emissions of big buildings by 80%

April 22, 2019 by  
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New York City just passed a landmark bill to cut carbon emissions. City council members overwhelming voted in favor of a historic law, called the The Climate Mobilization Act, which will reduce emissions of buildings larger than 25,000 square feet by 80 percent over the next 30 years. The most significant portion of the bill will require these buildings to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent over the next decade. By 2050, these buildings will have to cut emissions by 80 percent total, greatly reducing overall air pollution in the Big Apple. Buildings of this size, including Trump Tower, represent a tiny portion of the city but cause about half of building-related pollution. Related: New York vows to ban plastic bags statewide in 2020 The new law comes on the heels of a study from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that linked building emissions to climate change. Researchers with the IPCC concluded that carbon emissions in the United States grew by a little over 3 percent in 2018. Large buildings were a major contributor to the jump in emissions, and the study called for tighter restrictions in the building sector. New York City’s new initiative will undoubtedly help lower those numbers. The plan will also create jobs for thousands of New Yorkers. Lawmakers estimate that the law will put around 20,000 people to work, mainly in the construction industry. With the bill being beneficial to the environment and economy, city council members voted it in 45-2. “The Climate Mobilization Act is a down payment on the future of New York City — one that ensures we lead the way in the ever-growing fight against climate change ,” Costa Constantinides, a member of the city council, shared. Constantinides added that he hopes the new law will encourage other cities to enact similar legislation. Apart from curbing building emissions, the bill includes measures to boost energy efficiency in utility plants, encourage green roofs and various forms of renewable energy  and make it easier for individuals to receive wind project permits. Despite the positive outlook on cutting carbon emissions, the bill was met with considerable resistance on behalf of several real estate firms in the city. Via Climate Nexus Image via Bruce Emmerling

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New York City passes landmark bill to cut carbon emissions of big buildings by 80%

We tested the GoSun Go solar oven heres what we thought

April 22, 2019 by  
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The idea of cooking a delicious meal just by using the power of the sun is enticing, and GoSun Go is making it happen with its line of solar ovens. We’ve talked about the design before and checked them out at CES , but it wasn’t until recently that we were able to get our hands on one of these bad boys to test it out. From veggie burgers and baked sweet potato to mixed-berry muffins, coffee and oatmeal, we tried cooking a wide variety of foods in this portable, solar-powered oven. Here’s what happened . Setting up the GoSun Go When we removed the GoSun Go from the box, we were a little surprised by how simple it looked. It features a basic fabric case plus a plastic kickstand that admittedly felt a bit flimsy. The glass tube, however, was sturdy, and we liked the small silicone molds that hold food for easy clean-up. Cooking in the cold We scheduled to cook outside on what was supposed to be a warm, sunny day. In a surprising twist, especially for L.A. , we ended up with a chilly breeze and rain. Still, we trekked outside, solar oven tucked under an arm, and set up to boil water to make instant coffee and banana nut oatmeal. The trick to heating liquids in the GoSun Go is to stand the oven up vertically using the plastic kickstand attachment. It is also important to try to line the oven up with the sun, which was of course hard on a mostly cloudy day. During one of our rounds of gently rotating the oven for more light, the kickstand did give out — the plastic attachment is not very sturdy. Related: GoSun unveils solar cooker that lets you serve up some sizzling meals at night After about 100 or so minutes, condensation was visible on the glass and the water was nearly hot. Granted, we did this in cloudy, rainy weather, so it makes sense that it took so long. Still, it did make the water hot enough to make coffee and oatmeal that were both tolerable; the oatmeal was a bit chewy, but it did cook a little bit from the water we had warmed up in the solar cooker. If you were camping, hiking or participating in some other outdoor adventure, the GoSun Go is not your best bet in clouds and rain. While it does work, be ready to set an hour or more aside, as it takes a lot of time. Luckily, in optimal conditions, the GoSun Go is really impressive. Putting the solar oven through the ultimate tests Our next set of tests took place on a warm, sunny SoCal day. We had multiple ovens, so we decided to test as many foods as possible, from fresh and frozen veggies , to savory, plant-based proteins and sweet, berry-flavored muffins. In one oven, we tested a frozen veggie patty in one silicone mold, and fresh sweet potatoes and frozen broccoli and cauliflower in the other. In the second oven, to appease some of the meat-eaters with us, we tested ground beef in one mold and fresh broccoli and canned corn in another. For the last oven, we placed two silicone molds full of instant berry muffin mix (which just required water, an easy treat to make while camping ). Each oven can hold two of the silicone molds at once. After about 25 minutes, the muffins had risen considerably, and there was condensation on the inside of the ovens’ glass tubes. We also noticed around this time that the light breeze was enough to topple the ovens, knocking them away from the sun. Related: How to make a meal out of leftover veggies At the 34-minute mark, the muffins were just about ready to eat. The frozen veggies were done cooking, and the sweet potato was close to being finished. The veggie patty needed a bit longer, and the beef was brown but not finished either. We also rotated the ovens at this point for more direct sunlight. We checked everything again at one hour, and it was all cooked! Some things, of course, were a bit overcooked at this point. There was some charring (the tasty kind), and it all smelled delicious. The gross part, though, is that the beef juices leaked out onto the cloth carrier, which was quite difficult to remove. Taste tests As far as taste goes, we were impressed. The veggies, whether frozen, fresh or canned, were all soft and delicious. Some of the broccoli and potatoes had nice charring for extra flavor, similar to roasting veggies in a standard oven. The veggie patty was a bit dry on the outside, likely from overcooking on our part, but the inside was a little wet. It didn’t seem to cook evenly in this regard. The muffins were pretty yummy despite being a little dry. Many of the items we tested were chosen based on the booklet included with the GoSun Go. This booklet offers expected cook times for many types of food, which we found were a tad optimistic, yet not completely off. Another claim of this solar oven is that it can hold six hot dogs. After getting a look at the GoSun Go, we thought, “No way! Too small!”…So naturally, we put it to the test. Guess what? You really can cook for a crowd, even with this small oven, because we were able to jam six hot dogs into it. It wasn’t easy, but it can be done. We placed the oven under a bright, full sun, and they should have taken 10 minutes to cook. After 30 minutes, they were darker, but our resident meat-eater found that they really could have stayed in for even longer. If you wanted to try just one or two hot dogs, they would probably cook in 10-15 minutes, but jamming six into the tube does require quite a bit more time. Final thoughts All in all, the GoSun Go is pretty impressive. If you have access to a traditional oven or a campfire, we’d recommend cooking through those means. But the solar oven is handy, especially for times when you are hiking, camping or boating and you cannot start a fire. We also plan to take it to the beach! If you need to cook a lot of food, you might try checking out a bigger solar oven, as this model can only make a small batch of food at a time. For $139 a pop, it also might not be practical to purchase multiple. For solo trips, this can cook some pretty complex, flavorful meals that you might not otherwise be able to enjoy. We say — give it a go! + GoSun Images via GoSun

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We tested the GoSun Go solar oven heres what we thought

Proposed $1 billion underwater pipeline will send fracked gas to NYC

March 20, 2019 by  
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There is a war brewing over the development of a new underwater pipeline in New York City. The proposed project would send fracked gas to the city, a move environmentalists claim would greatly contribute to global warming . An Oklahoma company called Williams has proposed an ambitious plan to construct a 23-mile pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York . The project, which will cost around $1 billion, will connect with an existing pipeline underneath New Jersey, carrying gas all the way to Queens. Related: UN predicts dire future for planet unless people change their ways NOW Supporters of the plan say it will help New Yorkers use gas instead of oil for energy, but several environmental groups argue that the project is a step backwards in the battle against carbon emissions. In fact, environmentalists are urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the pipeline development altogether. “This pipeline would incentivize reliance on gas, which is way more carbon-intensive than renewables,” Robert Wood, who works with the environmental group, 350Brooklyn, explained. “It would be a nightmare happening, not in a rural area, but right here in New York City.” Advocacy groups believe New York City is already on the right path in becoming more energy efficient as it has already gotten rid of the most carbon-heavy oils used for heating. Environmentalists argue that New York City will witness a decrease in energy use as a result of current efforts to improve efficiency standards. Over the past decade, the city has removed old boilers, invested in heat pumps, and increased energy efficiency in buildings. Opponents of the billion-dollar pipeline also worry that the project could harm marine life in New York City’s harbor, including the humpback whale, which have started to resurface in the area. Environmentalists are concerned that the construction will introduce toxins to the water that will be detrimental to the habitat. Fortunately, Cuomo has a history of supporting eco-friendly initiatives in New York. Since becoming the governor, Cuomo has blocked fracking in the state and vowed to decrease carbon emissions by 80 percent over the next three decades. It is unclear where Cuomo stands on the new underwater pipeline, but environmentalists are hopeful he will side with them. Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock 

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Proposed $1 billion underwater pipeline will send fracked gas to NYC

NYC considers Manhattan land expansion to fight climate change

March 19, 2019 by  
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On Thursday March 14, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City unveiled a $10 billion plan to prepare lower Manhattan for the inevitable invasion of sea level rise predicted with climate change. The plan was announced alongside the release of the Lower Manhattan Climate Resilience Study , which provides a complete assessment of predicted climate risks, including sea level rise, storm surge, extreme rainfall and heat waves. The plan includes extensive construction of permanent and smartly integrated “pop-up” barriers, as well as a proposal to extend the city’s footprint by 500 feet between the Brooklyn Bridge and the South Ferry Terminal. Lower Manhattan gets expanded According to the study, the buildings between the Brooklyn Bridge and South Ferry Terminal are too close to the coast and too densely concentrated with utility and subway lines for the integrated barriers planned for other neighborhoods. Space for additional infrastructure is highly limited. The proposed concept is to build out the land by approximately two blocks at a higher level, so as to act as a raised barrier (called a berm) that protects the Financial District from high tides. Related: Women are essential to climate resilience in the Caribbean — here’s why De Blasio’s plan to expand the city’s footprint into the East River is not unprecedented. In fact,  Gizmodo  reports that Ellis Island, Rikers Island, the FDR Drive, the World Financial Center and Battery Park City are all built on in-filled land. Before urbanization, Manhattan was a marshy island that served as a natural buffer, bearing the brunt of waves and protecting mainland – so it’s no wonder the city built on this land is vulnerable. New York City’s former mayor, Michael Bloomberg had also proposed a similar land addition during his term. Other adaptation measures New York City’s new climate change plan also includes $500 million for resilience projects to protect other lower Manhattan neighborhoods, including some affordable housing projects. These resiliency projects include flip-up walls and barriers that can be deployed if a storm is approaching. The discrete, low-impact designs maximize recreational space – such as parks, coastal walkways and fitness areas — but can be flipped-up to provide a fortified wall during emergencies. Other planned adaptation measures include: -a five-mile sea wall around Staten Island – sand dunes around the Rockaways -$165 million to elevate the esplanade in the Battery (construction to begin in 2021) -a combination of flood barriers and deployable walls in Battery Park City -$3.5 million for water and sand-filled temporary barriers in Two Bridges and Financial Districts (to be installed in preparation for the 2019 hurricane season) Mayor de Blasio argues that some of the funding for this expansive project should come from federal funds. In an op-ed in New York Magazine , de Blasio argued that protective measures to address climate change-related risks, such as the invasion of the sea , should be just as important as any federal military equipment. “It will be one of the most complex environmental and engineering challenges our city has ever undertaken and it will, literally, alter the shape of the island of Manhattan,” de Blasio wrote. “The new land will be higher than the current coast, protecting the neighborhoods from future storms and the higher tides that will threaten its survival in the decades to come.” New York City at risk The Lower Manhattan Climate Resilience Study was funded in part by city and state funding from post-Hurricane Sandy recovery dollars. The hurricane that pummeled the city in 2012 was a wake-up call for city officials and demonstrated the imminent threat of sea level rise and storm surge. Sandy caused $19 billion dollars of damage and claimed 43 lives. Electrek reported  that 72,000 buildings in New York City, worth a combined $129 billion, are within a predicted flood zone. By other estimates , 37 percent of lower Manhattan is at risk of storm surge by 2050, and by 2100 the level of the ocean is expected to be 18-50 inches higher than its current level. Related: Climate change is wreaking havoc on Italy’s olive harvests Equitable and environmental concerns Environmentalists are concerned that the build-out will have negative impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems and point out that the Mayor’s plan lacks an in-depth assessment of the environmental repercussions and cost-benefit analysis. Still others argue that the plan focuses on the big banks and big business areas of lower Manhattan but ignores other economically vulnerable areas throughout the five boroughs. Given the magnitude of the build out and the expected permitting processes, the additional land may not be a reality for at least five years, during which time environmental impact assessments could be carried out. Most city officials, however,  argue that with “$60 billion of property, 75 percent of the city’s subway lines, 90,000 residents and 500,000 jobs,” the proposed lower Manhattan area is a clear, though perhaps not equitable, priority for the city and ideally for the nation. + NYC Economic Development Corporation Images via Shutterstock

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NYC considers Manhattan land expansion to fight climate change

Green-roofed timber dwelling in Austria is built with recycled materials

March 19, 2019 by  
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In the historic Austrian village of Purkersdorf, Vienna-based architectural practice Juri Troy Architects has completed the L House, a timber home named after its L-shaped form integrated with sustainable design elements. Built with numerous recycled materials, the house forms a strong connection with nature from its green roof to its large windows that sweep views of the bucolic outdoors in. Nestled into a southern slope above the village of Purkersdorf, the 3,450-square-foot L House boasts striking views of the Vienna woods. Despite its corner lot location, the home’s elevated position affords it privacy; the lower level of the two-story home is obscured from view. As a result, most of the bedrooms are located on the ground floor, where they open up to a south-facing outdoor terrace . The cantilevered upper volume primarily consists of the living spaces, including an open-plan dining area, kitchen and living room that open up to a covered outdoor terrace. The parking pad and main entrance are also on this level as is a bedroom suite. To take advantage of views, floor-to-ceiling glazing opens the open-plan living areas up to the outdoors on two sides. To the south is the public-facing terrace, while the more private outdoor spaces—a courtyard and terrace with a natural pool—are tucked into the hillside. In addition to the use of white fir for cladding the upper volume, the architects also lined the interior walls and ceilings with white fir and built the doors and furnishings out of the same material. Related: A massive gabled roof protects this minimalist timber home from the snow As part of L House’s sustainability-focused design, the architects also used numerous recycled materials and topped part of the building with a green roof that buffers rainfall and improves roof insulation. Deep roof overhangs mitigate unwanted solar heat gain while large operable glazing lets in an abundance of natural light and natural ventilation. + Juri Troy Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Juri Troy

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Green-roofed timber dwelling in Austria is built with recycled materials

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