NYC bans processed meats served in public schools

October 8, 2019 by  
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In an effort to improve the Big Apple’s public health, all processed meats will no longer be offered at New York City public school and public university cafeterias. That means no pepperoni, bacon, cold-cut deli meats, sausages or hot dogs for lunch. The new ban follows on the heels of the city’s successful test-run across all city schools of Meatless Mondays. Policymakers and education officials say the decision to adopt Resolution 238 is thanks to scientific evidence linking disease and other ailments with red and processed meats . The move paves the way to healthier food choices, minimizing any associated health risks. Related: Meatless Mondays are coming to public schools in New York City Over the years, the World Health Organization has warned that processed meats are carcinogenic, increase the likelihood of obesity and pre-diabetes among children and teens and elevate risk factors associated with heart disease, cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer rates among young adults. But these conditions, researchers say, are preventable through dietary and lifestyle changes. Similarly, the National Cancer Institute announced that young people of today exhibit double to quadruple the risks of colorectal cancers, when compared to those of the 1950s. Why? Sadly, today’s youth have diets low in fiber and high in processed meats, exacerbated by lifestyles lacking in physical activity . Even more worrisome, studies have shown just one hot dog or two bacon strips per day increases colorectal cancer risks by 18 percent. “We cannot continue feeding our children substances scientifically proven to increase cancer later in life,” said Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams. “Chicken nuggets and sloppy joes are in the same class of substances as cigarettes. We know that we would never give our children cigarettes to smoke, so there’s absolutely no reason why we should continue poisoning our children’s health with processed foods .” The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics affirms that those following plant-based diets show lower rates of health complications than their omnivorous counterparts. In other words, curbing unhealthy meat consumption and removing processed meats from school menus is a positive change for students’ health. By offering more nutritious meals on public school campuses, from preschool through university, all NYC students can be better nourished, likely boosting academic performance and overall well-being. In September 2018, the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) became the first school district in the country to remove processed meats from all school lunch lines. This recent ban in such a large metropolitan area shows that the move toward providing plant-based alternatives for more nutritious school meals is gaining momentum. + Resolution 238 Via TreeHugger Image via Shutterstock

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NYC bans processed meats served in public schools

Sail your cares away in this incredible floating villa near Sydney

October 8, 2019 by  
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Nothing says romance like floating down a calm waterway while taking in the sound of bird calls from the shores. If you’re in the mood for a romantic getaway near Sydney , this incredible floating villa is the perfect choice. The tiny retreat features enough space for two lovebirds, who can spend their days watching the world go by from a glorious open-air deck. Ready to set sail along the pristine coastline of Palm Beach, New South Wales, this beautiful, two-story floating villa makes for a dream glamping retreat. The structure is compact but comes with a stunning, modern design that makes the space seem much bigger. Related: Sail away from it all in this gorgeous floating tiny home The interior of the floating home features a large living area on the first floor that opens up to the structure’s most impressive space, the outdoor deck. From here, guests can enjoy stunning views of the cliffs and wild landscapes found along the coast of Palm Beach. The deck comes with plenty of seating space and a barbecue, where you can cook shrimp on the, well, you know. Throughout the interior, guests will feel right at home thanks to contemporary furnishings and amenities. The living space welcomes in plenty of natural light through various windows and the folding glass doors that open up to the deck . The living area even comes with a nice fireplace for those chilly nights. A compact bathroom nearby includes a full-sized shower and toiletries. Additionally, the home comes with a kitchenette, which comes with all of the basics to whip up a tasty meal: an oven, a stove, a microwave and a fridge. The master bedroom is located on the sleeping loft, accessible via a narrow staircase. The pitched roof adds extra vertical space for the bedroom, which comes with a plush, king-sized bed and quality linens. Guests to the tiny villa will enjoy a healthy breakfast each morning as well as a 24-hour concierge service. For active travelers, the accommodation also comes with the use of the stand-up paddleboards and fishing gear. + Glamping Hub Images via Glamping Hub

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Sail your cares away in this incredible floating villa near Sydney

Tribute in Light endangers migrating birds

September 11, 2019 by  
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New York City’s annual September 11 Tribute in Light seeks to console a still-damaged city and commemorate those lost in the 2001 Twin Tower attacks. Unfortunately, the stunning beams of light also mesmerize birds , sometimes luring them to their deaths. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , the light event endangers nearly 160,000 birds each year. September is prime time for birds and other animals using the migration corridor that passes through New York City. Everything from warblers to bats to peregrine falcons flutter and swoop above the cityscape, as they have for thousands of years before there was even a single light to fly over. Related: Bird deaths from skyscrapers reaches into the hundreds of millions The Tribute in Light disrupts birds’ internal compasses. Birds rely on natural guideposts, such as light from the sun, stars and moon, and the pull of the earth’s magnetic field, to find their way to winter grounds. “When the installation was illuminated, birds aggregated in high densities, decreased flight speeds, followed circular flight paths and vocalized frequently,” the study authors wrote . “Simulations revealed a high probability of disorientation and subsequent attraction for nearby birds.” This means that while the smaller birds paused, hypnotized by lights, larger birds swooped down and snatched them for supper. Those who elude predators waste precious energy flying in circles over the light show, making them vulnerable to exhaustion and starvation. “Birds do fly for extended periods of time,” said John Rowden of the National Audubon Society. “It’s not that they can’t do it. But they’re doing it to get south of here. If they spend all their time in that small area, they won’t get to good foraging habitat , and it will compromise them for later parts of their migration.” A few scientists and a group of volunteers from the New York City chapter of the Audubon Society are keeping track of the light-dazzled birds. When they count 1,000 trapped birds, the lights are shut off for 20 minutes, allowing the birds to disperse. Ornithologist Susan Elbin is the director of conservation and science at New York City Audubon Society. As she told the New York Times , “It’s my job to turn the lights out, and I’d rather not have lights on at all, because the artificial light interferes with birds’ natural cues to navigate.” Via EcoWatch and New York Times Image via Dennis Leung

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Tribute in Light endangers migrating birds

Wherever you go, the Layover Travel Blanket has you covered

August 6, 2019 by  
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While the odds of obtaining a blanket on today’s stripped-down commercial flights are slim, the chances that it’ll do the job of keeping you warm without debating which half to cover are slimmer— just like their density. Luckily the inventors of the Layover Travel Blanket have solved this problem while incorporating sustainability along the way. The Layover, produced by Gravel, is a packable travel blanket that can be used in planes, trains, automobiles, at the stadium or on a camping trip. It has features you’d expect from a travel blanket, like a lightweight design, weighing in at just 11.4 oz. It also easily compresses, similar to jackets that pack into their own pockets. While packed, the Layover measures about 5 by 7 inches but when it comes time to work, it reaches a body-covering 41 by 67 inches. You can conveniently clip the Layover to your backpack or stuff it into your bag. Related:This summer sneaker is completely biodegradable There are also features you might not expect, such as the 100% recycled PET plastic insulation that offers compressibility and a warmth rating of 60 degrees to keep you cozy on those temperature-fluctuating flights. The Layover is easy to use, simply release the paracord opening and pull out the blanket. During use, the bag that it came out of stays attached so it doesn’t get lost. As a thoughtful design touch, there also a small compartment to stuff the dangling bag into. Once done, the blanket easily stuffs back into the bag. The Layover is made from nylon that easily moves across your body. That also means it can easily slide off your body, so the Layover comes with snaps at the top corners that allow you to connect it around your neck. Black snaps along the sides allow you to connect multiple blankets together. A built-in hoodie/kangaroo type micro-fleece lined pouch in the front provides a space for hand warming and an envelope-shaped pocket gives you a safe spot for earbuds and cellphones. Packing the entire blanket into the pocket gives you a soft-sided 8 by 12 inch pillow to use. The bottom portion has a generous compartment to slide your feet into for that tucked-into-bed feel. Water-resistant coating protects against spills but when travel takes its toll, the blanket is machine washable.  With sustainability in mind, the team offers a lifetime warranty on the Layover Travel Blanket, backing up the goal of creating a quality and long-lasting product. To further support eco-friendly practices, the company uses a single cardboard box and paper for packaging . The Layover is fully funded on Kickstarter and shipments are expected to begin in the fall.  + Gravel Images via Gravel

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Wherever you go, the Layover Travel Blanket has you covered

Architects envision a 3D-printed sanctuary tower for Monarch Butterfly

July 1, 2019 by  
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New York City-based design firm, Terreform ONE has unveiled a stunning design concept for an urban Monarch Butterfly sanctuary set in the bustling Big Apple. The incredible project envisions an eight-story commercial building clad in a “vertical meadow” facade made out of 3D-printed carbon components, designed to nourish butterflies. Known for their innovative portfolio that focuses on ecological urban planning, Terreform One has outdone themselves this time around, all in the name of protecting the Monarch Butterfly , which is dying off at catastrophic rates. Related: Old soap factory home features a “terrarium” room that opens up to the Manhattan sky Slated for a new commercial construction in Nolita, NYC, the eight-story, 30,000 square-feet tower would be home to retail and office space on the inside. However, the exterior facade would be a large-scale Lepidoptera terrarium covered in rich vegetation to create a vibrant Monarch Butterfly sanctuary. The pioneering design would feature a 3D-printed facade with a dual skin that would weave butterfly conservation strategies through the building as well as its facade and roof. The interior would also feature a monarch atrium, creating an ecological biome geared to foster an idyllic example of how people, plants and butterflies can coexist in urban environments. The building’s grid-like facade would be wrapped with glass and “pillows” of ETFE foil in order to create a base for growing a three-foot by 70-foot “ vertical meadow ” that will be planted with milkweed vines and flowering nectar plants chosen specifically to nourish butterflies at each stage of their life cycle. The butterfly sanctuary would have two strategies, the first would be to provide a breeding ground and stopover habitat for wild monarchs on the roof and rear facade. The second goal would be to use the semi-enclosed colonies in the atrium and street side double-skin facade as an incubator of sorts to grow  monarchs. The young insects born on site will have fluid access to join the wild population, in hopes of increasing the Monarch’s overall population numbers. + Terreform ONE Via Archinect Images via Mitchell Joachim of Terreform ONE

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Architects envision a 3D-printed sanctuary tower for Monarch Butterfly

This apartment building in Staten Island has a 5,000-square-foot urban farm

April 26, 2019 by  
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Along the waterfront on New York’s north shore, Staten Island Urby sits overlooking the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan . The millennial-friendly residential space includes 571 units, 35,000 square feet of commercial space and something a little unusual for an apartment complex: a massive urban farm. When it comes to innovation, the urban farm, also known as Rabbit’s Garden, incorporates bio-dynamic, bio-intensive and agro-ecological methods into its farming techniques. Rabbit’s Garden sells its variety of vegetables, herbs, microgreens and flowers to both CSA (“Community Supported Agriculture”) members and wholesale clients, but that’s not all it does. The urban farm is also a place for Urby residents and the larger Staten Island community to familiarize themselves with agriculture, a rare experience in a big city. The garden team provides educational workshops on everything from cooking and gardening to art, science and sustainability. Some of the events planned for 2019 include community volunteer days, a workshop on composting , farm dinners and cooking classes. Urby residents have the chance to use the produce in their own personal cooking, and local, on-site restaurants often use the fresh vegetables for seasonal dishes. Urby also sells produce at the weekly farmers market. Related: SUPERFARM design envisions an urban vertical farm that is energy self-sufficient The inspiration behind Urby combines the nature of apartment living with the personal touches of boutique hotel hospitality. Plenty of space and natural light with an abundance of communal areas and in-house culture teams that plan neighborly get-togethers further add to the hospitality aspect. The farm is one of these areas, and the cozy Urby kitchen and dining room is another. Along with these spaces, residents of the luxury apartment complex also enjoy amenities such as a fully-equipped gym, a heated saltwater pool, on-site dining options and outdoor spaces aimed at social interaction. Landscaped spots with Wi-Fi capability ensure that residents stay connected, while outdoor courtyards with fire pits and lounging space inspire social interactions and collective creativity. If residents are feeling a little more reclusive, there are plenty of comfortable spots throughout the property to curl up with a good book or get some work done without interruption as well. Rabbit’s Garden is run by farmer-in-residence Olivia Gamber, a longtime urban agriculture-enthusiast with a degree in Environmental Studies and years of community garden experience under her belt. Urby was created by real estate developer and hotelier David Barry, known for his contributions to the New York boutique hotel scene as both a developer and operator. Urby also has two other communities located in Jersey City and Harrison, New Jersey, and it plans to continue growing the collection of complexes in the future. + Urby Images via Urby

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This apartment building in Staten Island has a 5,000-square-foot urban farm

MAD Architects unveils an organic skyscraper piercing Manhattans skyline

April 16, 2019 by  
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Beijing-based architectural studio MAD Architects has unveiled an alternative vision for the skyline of New York City with the introduction of East 34th, a nature-inspired high-rise proposed near the Empire State Building. The conceptual renderings for the glass-clad building were recently released alongside the launch of the “MAD X” exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Designed as a visual counterpoint to the Empire State Building and the skyline’s hard lines, MAD’s sinuous skyscraper is “planted like a seed” and takes cues from living architecture. Conceived as a mixed-use building, East 34th is envisioned for a 5,231-square-foot site and spans nearly 120,000 square feet of floor space with a building height of 761 feet, about half the height of the Empire State Building. The high-rise would include a commercial podium at street level with retail and public amenities, while luxury residences with double-height communal spaces occupy the upper floors. In keeping with MAD Architects’ philosophy of bringing nature into all aspects of architecture, East 34th would also include a spacious multi-floor atrium with an expansive green wall as an “escape into nature” from the concrete jungle. “Located adjacent to the ‘Empire State Building’ — which held the title of the world’s tallest building for almost 40 years — ‘East 34th’ is planted like a seed, sprouting within the grid, rising with a soft, undulating surface that suggests a more organic, living architecture,” the architects explained in a press release. “Thus, the design opposes the traditional towers that demonstrate the cultural impact of power and capital in our cities. Defying the stacked floor plates and authority of a bygone industrial era that has come to characterize the city’s horizon, ‘East 34th’ softens the hard skyline and introduces a dialogue between New York’s modernist landscape and nature.” Related: MAD Architects’ curvaceous Himalayas Center nears completion in Nanjing Wrapped in a deep-colored glass curtain-wall facade, the slender and sinuous skyscraper is topped with a rounded cap. The model of East 34th is one of 12 architectural models created by MAD Architects currently exhibited at Centre Pompidou in Paris. + MAD Architects Images via MAD Architects

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OMA unveils designs for zigzagging residential towers in Brooklyn

March 13, 2019 by  
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OMA’s New York office has unveiled striking designs for the Greenpoint Landing mixed-use towers—two dramatically stepped buildings that appear to be two jagged halves of a whole. Designed to frame views of Greenpoint and vistas of Manhattan beyond, the project is “a ziggurat and its inverse…carefully calibrated to one another,” says OMA Partner Jason Long. Greenpoint Landing, which is expected to break ground in August of this year, is located in the Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood of Greenpoint in between Long Island City in the north and Williamsburg in the south. Envisioned as the catalyst for revitalizing Greenpoint’s post-industrial waterfront edge, Greenpoint Landing will expand the public waterfront esplanade and add 2.5 acres of continuous open space along the shoreline as well as 8,600 square feet of ground-floor retail. The complex will include a seven-story building plinth with two towers above that will also bring a total of 745 units of housing, 30 percent of which will be affordable. “Like two dancers, the towers simultaneously lean into and away from one another,” the architecture firm says of the project’s eye-catching design. “The taller tower widens toward the east as it rises, maximizing views and creating a dramatic face to the neighborhood and beyond. Its partner steps back from the waterfront to create a series of large terraces, widening toward the ground and the new waterfront park to the North. A ziggurat and its inverse, the pair are intimately linked by the void between them.” Related: Amsterdam is transforming a prison into a green energy-generating neighborhood To further connect the building with its surroundings, the architects will add two levels of waterfront-facing green space and terraces framed with common spaces and amenities. The facade will be lined with large windows and precast concrete panels with carved angled faces that react dynamically to the sun’s path throughout the day. A bridge housing pool and fitness programs will link the two towers together and provide panoramic views of the waterfront and Manhattan skyline. + OMA Images via OMA

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New York City bans polystyrene foam starting January 1

January 4, 2019 by  
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New York City has officially become the largest jurisdiction in the United States to ban polystyrene foam food and beverage containers. On January 1st, the city’s new policy went into effect after a five-year lobbying and litigation effort from the plastics industry to upend the city’s environmental initiative. Back in 2013, the City Council authorized the statute that states NYC restaurants, food vendors and stores can’t possess, sell or offer polystyrene foam containers for food and beverages. In addition, stores can’t sell or offer “packing peanuts,” which is polystyrene foam used in shipping. They added the ban on the peanuts because they are difficult for both consumers and sanitation officials to dispose of sustainably . Even though the policy took effect on January 1st, businesses will have a six-month warning period to make the necessary changes before the sanitation department starts to enforce the ban. After June 30th, violators will be facing a $250 fine for their first offense. Related: Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world In anticipation of the new rule, many NYC food service establishments have already abandoned polystyrene containers and switched to more environmentally friendly options. Some of the substitutes are containers made from aluminum, compostable paper or easily-recycled plastics. Since hitting the market in the 1970s, polystyrene foam food and beverage containers have been an environmental problem because of their brittle composition, which means they break down into tiny pieces and litter the city streets, park, and beaches. To make matters worse, the foam gets flushed into storm drains and gets into local waterways, where fish and birds mistake the foam pieces for food. And, if the containers do make it to a landfill , they can survive for more than a century. The price of more environmentally-friendly containers is nearly the same as the polystyrene foam. However, if businesses with an annual gross income under $500,000 can’t find a substitute with a comparable price, they can obtain a waiver from the ban. Via NRDC Images via felixgeronimo

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New York City bans polystyrene foam starting January 1

MVRDV to transform an Amsterdam office complex into a green residential zone

January 4, 2019 by  
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In response to Amsterdam’s increasing housing demands, prolific Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has designed Westerpark West, a sustainable proposal to transform the former ING office complex into a new residential zone flush with green space. Located in the Amsterdam Brettenzone, directly west of the city’s popular Westerpark, MVRDV’s master plan envisions a neighborhood of approximately 750 homes that will range in size, building typology and price. Westerpark West will also follow an “innovative energy master plan” that combines district heating with seasonal thermal energy storage. Spanning an area of 70,000 square meters, the Westerpark West master plan will include twelve buildings, five of which will be designed by MVRDV. To reconnect the isolated area to its surroundings, the architects will work with London-based landscape architecture firm Gustafson Porter + Bowman to extend the landscape of the Westerpark onto the site and align the plot structure with the street patterns found to the south. MVRDV has also enlisted architecture firms TANK, Blauw, KRFT, Studio Maks, and DoepelStrijkers to design the architecture of Westerpark West. A number of existing office buildings on site will also be transformed into comfortable, energy-efficient housing. An abundance of outdoor green space will tie together the buildings and include front gardens and loggias as well as balcony gardens and roof terraces. The master plan also includes catering facilities, a child daycare center, as well as three underground parking garages with charging points and car sharing. Related: Shipping container village for startups pops up in Amsterdam “Amsterdam urgently needs housing in all sorts of sizes and price ranges, for both purchase and rental,” says Nathalie de Vries, co-founder of MVRDV. “Given the large number of homes that this project adds to Amsterdam-West, we have focused entirely on architectural diversity. The public space will be green and closely connect with the Westerpark. The combination of park and urbanity is unique to Amsterdam. Where else can you live in a park in the middle of the city?” + MVRDV Images © CIIID

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