Sasaki weaves an ecological landscape into Tianfu Vanke City

April 3, 2020 by  
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Sasaki Associates has recently completed the first phase for its landscape design of Tianfu Vanke City, a new 173-hectare community near the Western Chinese city of Chengdu. Located on land that had long been used for agriculture , the development takes a holistic approach to landscape and ecology restoration and will not only preserve and reintroduce native species but will also emphasize aquatic health. Nature has also been made a major focus of the built environment so that residents and visitors can enjoy the landscape through a wide range of outdoor activities. Unlike the relatively flat terrain of Chengdu , Tianfu Vanke City is surrounded by mountains and is rich in aquatic features. Sasaki Associates’ vision for the new urban community celebrates the local landscape by drawing design inspiration from the local environment, culture and materials. To that end, the team used GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping to analyze the site’s topographical features, which informed their plans for roadways, trail systems, water systems, landscape zones and outdoor activities. Related: Floating prefab architecture addresses climate change on Chengdu’s Jincheng Lake Site analyses also directed the division of the site into two interconnected neighborhoods — the North Valley and the South Valley — based on the ridgeline and the two sub-watersheds that feed into two scenic lakes at the mouths of the two valleys. To highlight successful landscape reclamation efforts and surrounding nature, the community will be integrated with a comprehensive trail system that will cater to mountain biking, hiking and camping. The project even includes an animal adventure park. Walls of locally sourced red sandstone will snake through the landscape to accentuate the rolling terrain. The first 13.5-hectare phase of the Tianfu Vanke City landscape was completed in October 2019 and features a three-zoned playscape, which encourages children to experience nature . The most eye-catching zone is the Hill Adventure Park with The Cloud, a 25-meter-by-13-meter netted play structure. The playscape also includes the Water Adventure Park with a sculptural wading “Ripple” pool and the Field Adventure Park with a “Maze” of boardwalks, meadows and pea stone paths. + Sasaki Associates Photography by Holi Photography via Sasaki Associates

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Sasaki weaves an ecological landscape into Tianfu Vanke City

Many businesses at sea when it comes to water stewardship

May 24, 2019 by  
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Concerns over scarcity and quality are rising. More companies are pledging action, but fewer have shared details of their plans.

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Many businesses at sea when it comes to water stewardship

3 takeaways from that failed Amazon employee shareholder resolution on the climate crisis

May 24, 2019 by  
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This issue isn’t going away for the e-commerce giant — and other industry leaders should consider themselves on notice.

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3 takeaways from that failed Amazon employee shareholder resolution on the climate crisis

The hidden relationship between the plastics industry and fracking in the US

May 24, 2019 by  
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Plastic production runs on natural gas — and both pose dangers to the public.

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The hidden relationship between the plastics industry and fracking in the US

Bringing the power of plastic recycling to the people

May 24, 2019 by  
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A new project can help empower local communities to take recycling into their own bins.

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Bringing the power of plastic recycling to the people

Over a third of all cars were electric a century ago

February 26, 2018 by  
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Electric cars are cutting-edge technology these days, and it seems like people everywhere are switching. However it might come as a surprise to learn that 118 years ago, 38% of all cars were electric . Porsche’s first car was electric . The fastest car in the world was electric. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison collaborated on an electric car. Electric cars were the future – a century in the past. ? In 1900, 40% of cars were powered by steam, 38% by electricity and a mere 22% by gasoline. By 1912, there were nearly 39,000 electric cars on the road. Electric cars were popular because they were quiet, didn’t require a cumbersome crank start, and had no smelly fumes or smoke. An electric car could go 65.79 mph (a record set in 1898) and some had a range of up to 100 miles on a single charge. Since roads outside of cities were rough or non-existent, electric cars were perfect for urban dwellers. Related: Porsche’s First Car Built in 1898 Was Electric! At one point, Henry Ford was determined to create an affordable electric car. “Within a year, I hope, we shall begin the manufacture of an electric automobile. I don’t like to talk about things which are a year ahead, but I am willing to tell you something of my plans. The fact is that Mr. Edison and I have been working for some years on an electric automobile which would be cheap and practicable,” he said in 1914. It’s a shame that Ford’s EV never made it into production – imagine how much it could have changed the vehicle market. Edison, who worked with Ford on the EV, believed that the electric automobile was the transportation of the future. Sadly, it was Ford’s mass-produced Model T that ultimately killed the electric car. At their peak, there were many EV manufacturers competing in the market. Detroit Electric was churning out electric cars, Denver-based Fritchle motors were proud of their 100-mile range battery, President Woodrow Wilson owned a Milburn Electric vehicle, and New York-based Babcock had its own line of EVs. Sadly, electric cars started to disappear in the 1920s as gas automobiles became the most affordable option. Gas guzzlers also had the benefit of being able to go much further than an electric car, (a problem electric vehicles are still working on tackling), which was important as roads became better outside of cities. It wasn’t until gas shortages in the 1970s that people started to explore alternative-fuel cars once again. Via Clean Technica Images via Porsche , Wikimedia and Wikimedia

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Over a third of all cars were electric a century ago

Wave-inspired Rainbow Bridge in Long Beach is covered in mini gardens and twinkling LED lights

February 26, 2018 by  
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California-based SPF Architects just unveiled a beautifully breezy pedestrian bridge connecting two major Long Beach venues. The Rainbow Bridge – whose wavy form was inspired by the local beaches – is an elegant 600-foot walking path interspersed with mini garden spaces. The bridge’s canopy features 3,500 color-changing LED nodes , which can be programmed and synced with music to create a beautiful light show as people wander cross. The pedestrian bridge was designed to help people move from the Long Beach Seaside Way Convention to the Performing Arts Center. Previously, guests to the area had an uncomfortable journey walking between the two sites, including having to climb numerous flights of stairs and crossing a busy intersection. Related: Colorful rainbow bridge pops up to brighten a gloomy Monday in London The Rainbow Bridge will now offer visitors a beautiful walkway surrounded by 76 custom-welded bent steel ribs, which create the tunnel-like shape, but open the walkway up to natural light and ventilation. The base of the bridge is made of poured-in-place concrete, interrupted by a serene garden area planted with trees. There are wide cutouts in the bridge’s canopy so that the trees have enough space to grow upwards and outwards. Drainage for the walkway plantings is concealed in the concrete spine of the flooring. Initially called Riptide, the bridge ‘s wavy form and hull-like girth was inspired by the area’s beaches. Attaching the LED nodes to the cables enabled the architects to convey a net-like structure or the rigging of a ship. Stretching the length of the bridge, the thin ribs are installed with 3,500 color-changing LED nodes , 100 downlights and 70 floodlights, all of which can be programmed and synced with music. The lights on their own give the bridge a beautiful glow in the evenings. + SPF Architects

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Wave-inspired Rainbow Bridge in Long Beach is covered in mini gardens and twinkling LED lights

Cities in Scotland to start universal basic income trials

December 27, 2017 by  
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Select residents of  Glasgow , Edinburgh, Fife, and North Ayrshire will soon begin receiving unconditional monthly payments as part of a Scottish universal basic income experiment. Universal basic income (UBI) is a policy that offers direct unconditional income for all citizens to ensure that everyone benefits from a basic standard of living. UBI is currently being tested in Scotland, as well as countries like Canada and Finland, and has attracted £250,000 (~$334,500) in public funding for feasibility studies. The selected cities must submit their plans for locally implementing the basic income program by March 2018. Proponents of a basic income claim that it will be necessary to implement UBI in some form in order to compensate for the major economic disruption and potential job losses from increasing automation due to advanced artificial intelligence . While the idea is still controversial, it is being increasingly taken seriously in cities and countries around the world. “It might turn out not to be the answer, it might turn out not to be feasible,” said Scotland ‘s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. “But as work changes as rapidly as it is doing, I think its really important that we are prepared to be open-minded about the different ways that we can support individuals to participate fully in the new economy.” Related: Wind power supplied 124% of household electricity needs in Scotland from January through June Scotland is not alone in its endeavor to understand how UBI might feasibly function. California , the Netherlands, Ontario, India, Italy, and Uganda all took steps in 2017 towards someday being able to implement a UBI system. In California, this work is being supported by companies like Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s largest start-up accelerator. “In a world where technology eliminates jobs, it will mean that the cost of having a great life goes down a lot,” tweeted Sam Altman, president at Y Combinator. “But without something like basic income, I don’t think we can really have equality of opportunity.” Via ScienceAlert Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Cities in Scotland to start universal basic income trials

Historic White House tree to be chopped down

December 27, 2017 by  
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The Jackson Magnolia that has adorned the White House South Lawn since the 1800s is coming down. Brought by President Andrew Jackson from Tennessee, and said to be planted in memory of his wife Rachel who died not too long after his 1828 election, the tree is slated for removal later this week. According to CNN , First Lady Melania Trump made the call as the tree is reportedly too decayed to stay in place. The Jackson Magnolia is the oldest on White House grounds, reported CNN. There have been many efforts to preserve it over the years, such as a cabling system. United States National Arboretum specialists came in at the request of the White House to assess the tree, and CNN obtained documents that said, “The overall architecture and structure of the tree is greatly compromised and the tree is completely dependent on the artificial support. Without the extensive cabling system, the tree would have fallen years ago. Presently, and very concerning, the cabling system is failing on the east trunk, as a cable has pulled through the very thin layer of wood that remains. It is difficult to predict when and how many more will fail.” Related: Washington DC’s national monuments are getting slimed White House officials fear the tree could fall when President Donald Trump’s helicopter takes off nearby. The First Lady’s director of communications Stephanie Grisham told CNN, “After reviewing the reports, [Mrs. Trump] trusted that every effort had been made to preserve the historic tree and was concerned about the safety of visitors and members of the press who are often standing right in front of the tree during Marine One lifts,” adding the First Lady asked that wood from the Jackson Magnolia be preserved. CNN reported offshoots of the tree have grown to around eight to 10 feet tall at an undisclosed location nearby, and there are plans for a new Jackson Magnolia to be planted in place of the old. Via CNN Images via U.S. Pacific Command and achuertas on Flickr

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Historic White House tree to be chopped down

Ai Weiwei to build 100 fences in NYC to shed light on immigration issues

March 28, 2017 by  
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As debates over immigration policy and the refugee crisis continue to rage across the United States, Ai Weiwei , the Beijing-born provocateur, has revealed his plans to raise more than 100 wire security fences across New York City. On view from October 12 through February 11, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”  will be a commentary on the barriers, both psychic and physical, that divide us as a people. The multi-site installation, which is expected to span locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, will be one of Ai’s largest public art projects to date. Indeed it’s the most ambitious to be commissioned by the Public Art Fund , which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. “Ai Weiwei transforms an ordinary architectural element into a series of striking installations,” said Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of the Public Art Fund. “’Good Fences Make Good Neighbors’ invites us to consider the role of the fence in a modern society as well as our own relationship to the object in question: Does this fence serve a purpose? Does it feel imposed or like it belongs? What does it separate me from? What side of the fence am I on? Does it protect me, or do I feel constrained?” Ai’s exhibition takes its name from “Mending Wall,” a poem by Robert Frost about a stone wall that separates the narrator’s property from his neighbor’s. The pieces will appear to grow out of the urban landscape in unexpected contexts, Baume said, including on rooftops, the spaces between buildings, and on bus shelters. Related: Wool art installation repurposed into blankets for Syrian refugees For Ai, who lived in New York for a time, the political is personal. “I was an immigrant in New York in the 1980s for 10 years and the issue with the migration crisis has been a longtime focus of my practice,” Ai said. “The fence has always been a tool in the vocabulary of political landscaping and evokes associations with words like ‘border,’ ‘security,’ and ‘neighbor,’ which are connected to the current global political environment. But what’s important to remember is that while barriers have been used to divide us, as humans we are all the same. Some are more privileged than others, but with that privilege comes a responsibility to do more.” + Ai Weiwei + Public Art Fund Via the New York Times

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Ai Weiwei to build 100 fences in NYC to shed light on immigration issues

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