FAAB reimagines Warsaws largest public square as a solar-powered cycle park

November 22, 2019 by  
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In 2018, after celebrating the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence, Warsaw-based firm FAAB Architektura was inspired to look toward the future for a more permanent commemoration of Poland. To that end, the architects have reimagined Pi?sudski Square — Warsaw’s largest public square that is presently underused — as a sustainable city landmark redefined with Europe’s largest cycle park, photovoltaic panels and a new rainwater harvesting system. The redeveloped square would also “promote the creation of urban ecosystems” and become a celebrated meeting place for Polish arts, culture, innovation and more. Dubbed the Poland 2118 Project, FAAB’s reimagining of the Pi?sudski Square would emphasize the history of the site and surroundings, both existing and destroyed during World War II. One historical landmark of particular importance to the redesign would be the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument dedicated to the unknown soldiers who sacrificed their lives for Poland . The architects intend to honor the monument with a museum accessible to locals and foreign visitors. Related: This smog-fighting music academy will have an air purifier as effective as 33,000 trees “This place is to inspire interactions between people with different interests and to provide for varied forms of curiosity,” the architects explained. “The planned investment promotes the creation of urban ecosystems, where buildings integrated with their surroundings and the city contribute to raising the living standards of all inhabitants and actively support the struggle with challenges arising from climate change . The intended plan is a proposal for the permanent commemoration of Poland regaining its independence in 1918.” To help offset the square’s carbon footprint, the architects propose the addition of a rainwater harvesting system that would eliminate the need to connect the development to the municipal stormwater drainage system. Photovoltaic coatings could be overlaid atop pavements and glazed surfaces to generate renewable energy. An addition of 8,100 square meters of green space would also combat the urban heat island effect and purify the air, while new bicycle infrastructure and narrowed roadways would emphasize non-motorized transit and reduce urban noise pollution. + FAAB Architektura Images via FAAB Architektura

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FAAB reimagines Warsaws largest public square as a solar-powered cycle park

Zaha Hadid Architects designs BREEAM-targeted terminal for electrified Rail Baltic

November 15, 2019 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects has won a competition to design the new terminal for the Rail Baltic railway, a major continuous rail link in Northeastern Europe that will connect Tallin, Estonia to Warsaw, Poland, where it will then join the European high-speed rail that covers Western Europe. The Zaha Hadid Architects-designed terminal will be the starting point of the Rail Baltic Line to be located in Tallinn’s subdistrict of Ülemiste. Using modular construction and energy-efficient systems, the Ülemiste terminal will be designed to target BREEAM benchmarks and guidelines. Created in collaboration with Estonian architecture firm Esplan , the competition-winning design for the Ülemiste terminal will serve as a multi-modal transport hub for commuters, national and international rail passengers and passengers transferring from the nearby Tallinn airport. As the starting point for the electrified cross-Baltic railway, which spans 870 kilometers north to south down to the Lithuanian-Polish border, the 10-hectare railway terminal will be a visually striking landmark defined by Zaha Hadid Architects’ signature undulating lines and a futuristic appearance. Related: Estonia will soon offer free public transportation In addition to the smooth integration of bus, tram and rail lines that intersect at the terminus, the building will also double as a connecting public bridge used by the local community. The project will be built in phases using a modular structural system, and the structure will rely on natural light as the main source of light during the day. Construction on the Rail Baltic infrastructure begins this year and is slated for completion in 2026. “I have been constantly informed about the developments in the Ülemiste area and in light of the works presented to the public today,” said Taavi Aas, Estonia’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure. “I am more than convinced that the area is becoming one of the most attractive and, in terms of infrastructure, synergistic in Tallinn . A true multi-modal transport hub is emerging, with rail, bus and air traffic coming together there in the future.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Zaha Hadid Architects and negativ.com

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Zaha Hadid Architects designs BREEAM-targeted terminal for electrified Rail Baltic

Climate change is adversely affecting childrens health worldwide

November 15, 2019 by  
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Today’s children are facing climate crisis-related health issues, warns The Lancet ’s Countdown on Health and Climate Change, the annual research collaboratively conducted by 35 global institutions. Collated and published each year before the international negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), The Lancet ’s Countdown strongly emphasizes that tackling climate change would be a significant global health opportunity. Unless significant intervention takes place, global warming and climate change will negatively “shape the well-being of an entire generation.” The Lancet ’s Countdown was established to provide a monitoring system to track health indicators across five criteria and thereby assess the complex association between health and climate change. These five areas include (1) adaptation, planning and resilience for health, 2) climate change impacts, exposures and vulnerabilities, 3) finance and economics, 4) mitigation actions and 5) public and political engagement. Work began in 2015 and has since been annually tracked, with anthropogenic climate change threatening all the progress and gains made in public health for the past half-century. Moreover, since 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized that health issues attributed to climate change can be prevented or improved upon simply by mitigating the climate crisis . Related: Climate change is a public health issue amounting to billions in medical costs Climate change can no longer be ignored as a force multiplier threatening global public health. The direct impacts of climate change manifest as rising temperatures, heatwaves and frequent extreme weather events (blizzards, droughts , floods, storms and wildfires), all of which have far-reaching health and social consequences. Human activities have similarly been breaching environmental limits, instigating biodiversity loss, depletion of freshwater, ocean acidification, soil degradation and other irreversible processes. Health-related incidents flagged by The Lancet ’s report include increased risks of low birth weight and infant mortality for newborns. A warmer world affects food productivity, resulting in food and water shortages, population displacement and conflicts that leave children and youth vulnerable to health risks. Children, adolescents and young adults are likely to experience additional maladies that range from cardiovascular issues, asthma attacks, insect-borne diseases, malnutrition and exposure to extreme heat, weather vagaries and climate-driven catastrophes. If the current greenhouse gas emissions trajectory persists with business as usual, then children will face billions of dollars in healthcare costs. The purpose of The Lancet ‘s Countdown is to bring awareness to the interrelationship between public health and climate change, in hopes that a shift can take place to steer society away from business as usual. Ultimately, it is hoped that by engaging with policy makers and the health community, better responses to climate change will happen to improve public health and well-being for everyone, including the most vulnerable demographic — children. + The Lancet Via EurekAlert Image via Shutterstock

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Poland Spring pledges 100% recycled bottles by 2022

June 5, 2019 by  
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This week, Nestlé Waters North America promised that its Poland Spring brand would start using 100 percent recycled bottles by 2022. The announcement is part of Nestlé’s larger pledge to increase recycled bottle use and has the potential to significantly boost the recycled plastic industry. According to the $247 billion corporation, 25 percent of all its water products will use the recycled bottles by 2021, and 50 percent will use recycled bottles by 2050. The Poland Spring brand has a huge market share in the U.S. and will amount to a significant amount of recycled bottles used annually. Related: New report reveals 70 million metric tons of plastic burned worldwide each year “We spent a lot of time designing these bottles to ensure that they move efficiently and effectively through the recycling value web. We want the bottle back,” said chief sustainability officer David Tulauskas. Tulauskas also noted that because of discrepancies in recycling programs and compliance in different cities across the country, the recycled bottle program has been difficult to streamline and roll out. Cities with stricter recycling policies actually make the process more complex, because the recycled plastic buyer must rely on consumers taking the proper measures to clean the plastic and place it in the proper recycling stream. The buying power of Poland Spring will boost the confidence and dependability of recycled plastic producers. Without secured buyers, these facilities do not have the motivation nor reliable cash flow to increase production. Poland Spring’s interest and investment in the industry has the potential to increase the amount of food-grade, high-quality PET plastic produced, which is the type of plastic needed for bottles. “They need confidence that we’re going to buy from them for the long term to make sure that it’s worthwhile for them to make the investment,” Tulauskas explained to CNN . Last year, Americans used 50 billion plastic water bottles and only recycled 23 percent of them. That means that approximately $1 billion in recyclable plastic is wasted every year when it could be re-routed back to companies to quench the thirst for plastic next year. + Nestlé Via The Hill and CNN Image via Mike Mozart

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Poland Spring pledges 100% recycled bottles by 2022

Earliest human air pollution detected in glaciers

June 5, 2019 by  
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Researchers in Peru have discovered some of the earliest evidence of air pollution , and their report reveals new information about the extent that carbon emissions accelerate the melting of glaciers. The report, released by the National Institute of Research on Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems (INAIGEM) in Peru, also indicates that black carbon emissions in particular have a direct impact on the rate at which glaciers melt. Related: Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100 According to Jesús Gómez López, the Director of Glaciers Research at INAIGEM, “There are different sources of black carbon that can deposit on glaciers, some are wildfires, burning of agricultural waste and the emissions from vehicle fleets. Studies show that the concentration of black carbon is greater in glaciers close to large cities.” The 1,200-year-old Quelccaya Ice Cap contained small traces of lead and mercury believed to be pollution from silver mines during the early Spanish invasion. Climate change and air pollution can often be tied to colonialism and the exploitation of indigenous populations and lands. Metal working and mining by the Incas had “most likely only a local impact on the environment surrounding their mining operations. In contrast, the mining … activities performed by the Spanish had an impact on the atmosphere of the entire South America continent,” said Paolo Gabrielli, a researcher from Ohio State who contributed to the first paper on the discovery. Although the age of the pollution is impressive, researchers are quick to point out that all glaciers contain human-caused pollution at this point. “Today, there are no glaciers on Earth where atmospheric deposition of anthropogenic origin cannot be detected,” said a report from Ohio State University. Researchers also suggest that emissions from fires, transportation and industry should be curtailed in order to reduce glacial melt and trap carbon in place. They also note that while air pollution is hundreds of years old, today’s level of air pollution is unprecedented. Via UN Environment Images via Cassie Matias

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Understanding the policy principles for a ‘just transition’

February 4, 2019 by  
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‘Just transition’ was the hot topic at last year’s COP24 climate conference in Poland, but how can governments and businesses deliver on their promises?

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Understanding the policy principles for a ‘just transition’

The evolution of big auto and Silicon Valley

February 4, 2019 by  
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With legacy automakers expanding their R&D programs, Tesla isn’t the only car startup in the Valley.

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A new Polish film has exposed the illegal trafficking of sick cattle

January 31, 2019 by  
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After a film broadcast on Polish TVN 24 revealed that a slaughterhouse was illegally trafficking sick cattle , Polish police have launched an investigation into the matter. The film showed secret footage of cows too sick to stand being dragged into the plant, as well as slaughterhouse workers cutting carcasses at night “to avoid official supervision.” With no way of knowing where the meat went, the scandalous footage could end up being as serious as the 2013 EU horsemeat scandal that exposed Europe’s complex meat market and triggered product recalls. As first reported by the BBC, a statement issued just days after the movie premiered on TV, Poland’s chief veterinary officer said his inspectors and Polish police received a tip about the possible illegal slaughter at an abattoir in northeastern Poland near Ostrow Mazowiecka. On the night of January 14 eight sick cows were found at the facility and it was decided their suffering must come to an end and were ultimately killed. “During the check, the owners of the animals were identified, along with an animal dealer who transported cattle unfit for transport, and abattoir staff responsible for animal welfare there,” the statement said. Related: ChimpFace could help fight the illegal trade in chimpanzees The inspectors are continuing their investigation by attempting to identify buyers and sellers of meat from sick animals and are also checking other slaughterhouses in the region. According to Eurostat, an EU statistics agency, Poland is the EU’s seventh-largest producer of cow meat behind Ireland, Spain, Italy, the UK, Germany and France. In 2017, the country produced over 558,000 tons of beef and beef products, and each year they slaughter approximately two million head of cattle. However, just two percent of Poland’s meat consumption is beef, which means nearly all of Polish cow meat is exported. Data from UK Revenue and Customs (HMRC) shows that in 2018, the UK imported $85 million worth of Polish beef. Many are hoping that this latest revelation will lead to regulatory action that should have happened after the first scandal. The designated veterinarian for the slaughterhouse and his county supervisor have already been fired. “I think the police, which is at this moment already engaged in this issue, will be trying step by step to explain what has been the role of the supervisory authorities in this illegal, reprehensible, and downright criminal procedure,” says journalist Tomasz Patora of TVN 24’s Superwizjer. Via BBC Image via Shutterstock

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Toxic smog causes school closures in Bangkok

January 31, 2019 by  
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Officials in Bangkok have closed schools for the rest of the week amid growing concerns of toxic smog . The Ministry of Education in Thailand announced the closing of around 450 schools in Bangkok and the surrounding area this week as the government tries to deal with a massive pollution problem. The air quality in the city of Bangkok has dipped to unacceptable levels. The amount of dust particles — also referred to as PM2.5 — deemed dangerous to health has far exceeded acceptable standards. This fine particulate matter is hazardous to health , because it is tiny enough to enter the body and do considerable damage to organs. Related: Scientists find air pollution leads to a significant decline in cognition According to The Guardian , the massive amount of pollution is caused by poor construction standards, car exhaust, factory fumes and crop burning. The pollution is so large in scale that it is unable to escape the city, leaving people trapped in a toxic environment. To combat the situation, residents in Bangkok have been wearing respirator masks to avoid inhaling the fine particles. The government, which has been under considerable criticism for not actively fighting pollution , has attempted to make it rain in the city by seeding clouds. The rain helps fight pollution by trapping the toxic particles. Officials have also sprayed water in strategic locations to help decrease the amount of dangerous particles in the air . Residents have been avoiding burning incense, which is a popular activity over the Chinese New Year. Despite their efforts, authorities were forced to close down 437 schools in Bangkok. They also declared a “control area” around the city that is over 580 square miles in size. Officials hope that closing schools will help alleviate some of the traffic and reduce vehicle emissions. “The situation will be bad until February 3 to 4, so I decided to close schools,” Aswin Kwanmuang, the governor of Bangkok, shared. School authorities plan to look at the situation next week to determine if the closing should be extended. The air quality index in Bangkok was measured at 171 this week, which is the highest it has been in more than a year. Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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Timber-clad Polish kindergarten encourages kids to play on the green roof

January 1, 2019 by  
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A recently completed kindergarten in Poland is giving children a new way to reconnect with the outdoors and stellar views of the neighborhood. Designed by Polish architecture firm Biuro Toprojekt , the kindergarten in ?ory boasts an accessible roof terrace planted with ornamental grasses with plenty of space to play and gather. In addition to encouraging play and appreciation of nature, the inspiring design of the building has also earned it a nomination for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2019. Located in the center of the Kleszczówka district in the Polish suburbs of ?ory, the kindergarten stands in stark contrast to the surrounding single-family homes. “A small parcel of an irregular shape similar to a triangle intended for the construction of a pre-school segment at an existing school, imposed rather two-story solutions, although a little overwhelming, but leaving a little space for the playground,” the architects explained of the kindergarten’s triangular design. “Instead, we decided to have a one-story building with rounded corners, which filled almost all of the possible surface, and for the outdoor play, we designed a large roof terrace.” Built with reinforced concrete walls wrapped in vertical strips of timber, the 1,060-square-meter kindergarten is protected against temperature fluctuations thanks to mineral wool insulation selected for low fire risk. The school is also equipped with a ground heat exchanger as well as heating and ventilation systems. A rectangular atrium at the heart of the kindergarten funnels daylight throughout the interior and offers a “piece of the outside world” where children can observe snow and rainfall. Related: MAD Architects to transform an ancient Chinese courtyard into a kindergarten with a “floating roof” Lined with wood and accessed via staircase from the atrium, the spacious roof terrace is punctuated with two circular islands of green space in the center. Curved metal railings wrap around the terrace , which is surrounded by gardens planted with ornamental grasses. + Biuro Toprojekt Photography by Juliusz Sokolowski via Biuro Toprojekt

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