Nwa, the design for a self-sustaining city on Mars

November 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

As part of scientific work for a competition organized by the Mars Society, an American non-profit dedicated to exploring the Red Planet, architecture firm Abiboo has unveiled design concepts for a sustainable city on  Mars . The project, called Nüwa, ranked as a finalist among 175 projects submitted from around the world for the 2020 competition. Abiboo presented the Nüwa proposal at the Mars Society convention in October, which was attended by Elon Musk from Space X, George Whitesides from Virgin Galactic and Jim Bridenstine from NASA. Working remotely from several global destinations, Abiboo collaborated with the SONet network on the project. This network includes an international team of scientists headed by  astrophysicist  Guillem Anglada and experts in astrophysics, architecture, astrobiology, space engineering, astrogeology, psychology and chemistry. Related: NASA Mars Habitat Challenge winner is a 3D-printed pod made of biodegradable materials To address the unique and harsh atmospheric conditions, the design features a vertical concept built into the side of a cliff. There are five cities , each accommodating between 200,000 and 250,000 inhabitants. Each city, apart from the capital city of Nüwa, follows the same urban strategy to make it flexible enough to apply to multiple surface areas on the planet. Modular , tubular “macro-buildings” are inserted into the cliffs through tunneling, linked together by a 3D network of tunnels and designed to include both residential and work spaces. The infrastructure also connects to “sky lobbies” designed with translucent skin and large overflying canopies that provide views of the Martian landscape and protection from external radiation. These canopies are constructed out of material recovered from the cliff’s tunneling excavation. Each module measures 10 meters by 60 meters and includes two floors with green areas, urban gardens, art spaces and condensation areas that help dissipate heat and clean air. The community  green spaces  include animals and bodies of water to promote physical and mental well-being, one type dedicated to experimental vegetation and another type acting solely as a recreational park. + Abiboo Images via ABIBOO Studio / SONet (Gonzalo Rojas & Sebastián Rodriguez)

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Nwa, the design for a self-sustaining city on Mars

Indonesian eco village features rammed earth domes and ocean views

November 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Located in the southeastern part of Lombok, Indonesia, the Dome Lombok eco resort enjoys stunning views of the ocean, permaculture gardens, a farm-to-table restaurant, an organic juice bar, an outdoor cinema and a swimming pool. Each luxurious, rammed earth dome is made using the adobe earthbag building technique, in which stacks of bags containing sustainably sourced earth are finished in natural plaster to create the structure. While there are currently nine self-contained rammed earth domes in the initial stages of production on property, future development plans include adding another nine domes, a yoga shala, an artist studio and expansion of the coworking space. They also plan to install bio-septic tanks, solar power and recycle graywater for use on the permaculture gardens that will supply the onsite restaurant, promoting off-grid living. Related: Natural materials make up this energy-saving Jakarta home According to the project’s creative director, Lombok has seen a boom in eco tourism , and the dome village has become the most advanced sustainable project in the area in response to the green development movement. Dome Lombok also offers sustainably minded investors to purchase a dome to use as an eco-friendly rental home that doesn’t sacrifice design, quality or comfort. At the time of writing, all but one of the initial nine domes is already sold. The floor area for each dome ranges from 15 square meters to 100 square meters and prices start at 49,000 euros (about $58,000). The white sand beach of Tanjun Aan is just within walking distance from the domes , which also overlook a 6,000-square-meter lush hillside only 30 minutes from the Zainuddin Abdul Madjid International Airport. The island boasts clean coral coastlines, making it a popular destination for diving and surfing. The project is also located within the island’s Mandalika Special Economic Zone, a designation of a local program identifying the government’s five super-priority destinations aimed at driving Indonesia’s economic growth through tourism. + Dome Lombok Images via Dome Lombok

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Indonesian eco village features rammed earth domes and ocean views

NOAA report shows climate change is killing Floridas coral reefs

November 20, 2020 by  
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A status report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) shows that overall, coral reefs in the U.S. are currently in fair condition, but these reefs are vulnerable to severe decline in the near future. This threat is the worst along the Florida coast, where few corals remain, and about 98% of the dead corals in this area were lost because of climate change. Prepared in collaboration with the Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the report provides a clear picture on the status of the country’s reefs. The report looks at the coral reefs along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and is the first of its kind to take a comprehensive look at major coral reefs in the U.S., including around the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and Hawaii. Researchers analyzed reef data collected between 2012 and 2018. Related: The Great Barrier Reef has lost 50% of its corals to climate change The main threats to the coral reefs in the U.S. include disease, fishing and ocean warming and acidification . NOAA officials say that although the corals are in a fair condition as a whole, their future looks dire. The state of ocean warming and acidification is on the rise in most coastal regions. At the same time, other threats, such as coral disease, are also worsening. To retain and revive the country’s corals, measures need to be put in place to curb the threats. Jennifer Koss, director of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, said that the threats to coral reefs have increased due to climate change. “It used to be mostly water quality … but now it’s pretty well accepted that it’s predominantly climate change ,” Koss said. Coral reefs are biologically rich zones and account for about 25% of all marine life. They also help protect shorelines from hurricanes and storms. Reefs are even economically beneficial, because they are a rich source of fish and serve as vibrant tourist attractions. NOAA researchers have now expressed their concerns about the future of corals in the U.S. Following the report, experts are urging agencies, individuals and the federal government to take actions that will protect the remaining coral reefs before it’s too late. + NOAA Via The Guardian Image via NOAA

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NOAA report shows climate change is killing Floridas coral reefs

Permaculture design expert Matthew Prosser builds a family dome home

November 18, 2020 by  
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Great design can be subjective, but few can argue with architecture that incorporates natural materials sourced directly from the land it’s built on. One stellar example of such design is in this one-of-a-kind dome home built in Turkey. Called the 44M2, the project was designed and crafted by Matthew Prosser from Holistic Progression Designs, a firm based in Turkey. Influenced by traditional building techniques in Asia, where the designer lived for 10 years, the building is part art, part function and entirely livable for the young family who inhabits it. Related: Low-impact geodesic dome hotel immerses guests in Patagonian nature 44M2 is made up of three domes. Two of the domes are bedrooms, and the third is the main living space composed of the bathroom, living room and kitchen. Each dome was created using natural plasters from the surrounding earth. The shape and colors blend into the landscape for a marriage between the building and the nature that surrounds it. Inside, high ceilings and naturally carved steps to the second level create flow and, according to Prosser, a “womb-like calming effect.” Aircrete bricks provide insulation, and passive design promotes cross-ventilation to naturally cool the home. In addition, passive solar techniques, such as the use of skylights and custom, round windows, help with natural lighting and heating. Each of these energy-efficient elements of the design match Prosser’s commitment to low operating costs for the family. Inside, custom built-in furnishings, including bunk beds for the kids, a master bed support, seating and desks, enhance the natural elements of the project. All surfaces from the floors to the ceilings are curved for a cozy, cave-like atmosphere. This includes benches, circular windows, arched doorways and countertops. Prosser works internationally, using his skills as an accredited International Permaculture designer to find regeneration solutions. He’s completed myriad projects ranging from home building to playgrounds to providing planning expertise for a wildlife sanctuary. + Holistic Progression Designs Images via Holistic Progression Designs

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Permaculture design expert Matthew Prosser builds a family dome home

Jules Ferry School is a model for a sustainable learning environment

November 16, 2020 by  
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A school in France is showing the world how to use eco-friendly design to create much more than buildings. The Jules Ferry School will be part of an entire youth center that is designed to create a learning environment where children help to create their own academic experiences. What is architecture? To Méandre etc’ architects, architecture is an invitation to examine social relationships. That was the concept the team brought to the Jules Ferry School, where everyone has a role in their own learning journey. Related: Modular Tree-House School concept connects kids with nature The school is at the historic Bois du Mont Guichet in a residential area of Montfermeil. Jules Ferry School will have 13 classrooms and a recreation center. The school is close to a sports field and several other schools, creating a youth center right in the heart of the neighborhood. The building will be oriented southward to take advantage of the natural light and heat from the sun. Children enter the building through a beveled entrance that creates a transition between the outside world and the learning environment within. There will be a nursery school on the ground floor, with four classrooms for the little ones. Older children will be on the upper levels. A library and a local market will be housed on the first floor. The library has its own independent entrance, so it can be enjoyed by the general public as well as the children in the school. Each classroom on the ground floor will be a stand-alone unit with its own facilities and direct access to the garden outside, which opens up to the schoolyard itself. The courtyard is designed with geometric forms to create a playful, fun area for the children to enjoy. On the roof will be a large solar array to provide clean energy for the school. The building itself will be constructed with geo- and bio-sourced materials. The plan is to create a passive, unheated building using eco-friendly materials, including straw, mudbrick and wood. The design for the Jules Ferry School has already won an award for its innovation and creative concept. Construction on the project is scheduled to start in early 2021, with plans to open the building in 2022. The school is an example of how design can be part of our world without taking away from it, yet still be tailored to the purpose it is supposed to serve. The Jules Ferry design could be a model that determines what schools look like in the future. + Méandre etc’ architects Images via aR. communication

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Jules Ferry School is a model for a sustainable learning environment

Redress winner launches puffer jacket made of upcycled materials

November 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

U.K. designer Maddie Williams has recently launched a sustainable puffer jacket after winning the Redress Design Award 2019, one of the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competitions. Created in collaboration with major Chinese fashion brand JBNY Group, the sustainable puffer jacket is made with a mix of upcycled and recycled materials , including deadstock fabrics for the exterior and recycled polyester for the lining. The jacket now retails in over 100 stores in China. After placing first in the 2019 Redress Design Award, Maddie Williams joined the Hangzhou-headquartered JNBY Group to launch a sustainable garment for its fashion brand ‘less’ to be sold in more than 100 of its stores. The young designer drew on the patchworking technique from her zero-waste Redress Design Award collection, ‘The Mourners’, to create a multicolored puffer jacket stuffed with repurposed duck and goose down collected from post-consumer duvets and pillows. Related: This clothing tech company is 3D-printing garments to help reduce waste “It was an immersive and authentic experience of working in the fashion industry,” Williams said. “With the guidance and translation of the JNBY team I spoke to in-house pattern cutters and knit technicians, did sample fittings, looked through deadstock fabric and picked trims in their giant storerooms. It was a very dynamic and fast-paced place to work; you could request something in the morning and get it back in the afternoon. Being able to do this gave me my first genuine insight of the realities of creating a collection for retail — and it was a unique experience to have been involved in all of the steps.” In collaborating with Williams, JNBY Group has also worked together with Redress, the Hong Kong-based environmental NGO that aims to prevent and transform textile waste in the fashion industry through education and initiatives such as the Redesign Design Award. The Redesign Design Award 2021 will begin accepting applications from emerging designers worldwide on January 8, 2021.  + Redress Design Award Images via Redress

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Redress winner launches puffer jacket made of upcycled materials

How effective stakeholder engagement shaped Samsonite’s ESG strategy

November 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

How effective stakeholder engagement shaped Samsonite’s ESG strategy Christine Rile… Mon, 11/16/2020 – 01:00 In March, Samsonite announced “Our Responsible Journey,” a new global sustainability strategy that outlines its commitments across four priority areas: Product Innovation; Carbon Action; Thriving Supply Chain; and Our People, including engagement, development, diversity and inclusion. Samsonite is proud of its 110-year history of industry leadership in the innovation, quality and durability of its products. With Our Responsible Journey, Samsonite strives to lead the lifestyle bag and travel luggage industry across key sustainability indicators, including the use of recycled materials in its products and packaging and achieving carbon neutrality across its owned and operated facilities. With strong support from the entire senior management team and especially from Samsonite CEO Kyle Gendreau, the company has embarked on this journey to make sustainability a key tenet of its brand promise. The goal is to keep the world traveling while staying true to Samsonite’s long-standing ethos, the “Golden Rule,” which guides how we treat each other and care for the world we live in. Our CEO and the Samsonite leadership team wholeheartedly supported the initiative and even encouraged us to up-level some key goals in order to truly lead the industry in sustainability. Samsonite first disclosed the state of its environmental, social and governance (ESG) journey with the publication of its first ESG report in 2016, a requirement for the company’s listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. When I joined as the company’s first global director of sustainability in December 2017, I was tasked with developing a global ESG strategy that would include attainable goals and the action plans that would enable the company to demonstrate continuous improvement and progress toward achieving those goals. We report our progress annually in Samsonite’s ESG report. From the very beginning, the Samsonite executive team empowered me to take the lead on developing an industry-leading approach. The team was directly involved in every phase of the project, including providing feedback, participating in interviews and dedicating resources from their respective regions and functional areas. With executive support, I engaged with Brodie, a London-based consulting firm, to co-lead our materiality assessment. Materiality assessments matter I am a firm believer in the value of materiality assessments, especially when a company is first developing a sustainability strategy. It enables you to identify and validate your issues objectively; educate your company and colleagues about your ESG efforts; effectively allocate resources for your ESG strategy and strengthen credibility with external stakeholders. As we progressed through the internal interview process, I was continually impressed by the number of initiatives already underway to increase the use of sustainable materials in our products and to reduce our carbon footprint. For example, Samsonite North America launched its first product made with post-consumer recycled PET fabric, in January 2018, one month after I started. And by the end of my first year, we already had diverted nearly 30 million PET bottles from landfills through our global use of post-consumer recycled PET fabric in our products. In addition, the company already had installed solar panels on its manufacturing facilities in Hungary and Belgium and had plans to install them on its manufacturing facility in India. It became clear that one of my primary responsibilities would be to identify and organize all of these existing efforts under a comprehensive, focused strategy. Based on the outcomes of the materiality assessment, we identified four key pillars focused on Samsonite’s products, carbon footprint, supply chain and people. One key learning ;from the materiality assessment was that when people thought about sustainability, they often defined it in the context of the environment. As a result, we realized we had to include a brief overview of the issues that fall under the umbrella of ESG so people would evaluate the business across a broader range of initiatives. We further identified two action platforms within each pillar that would allow the company to set goals and to communicate our progress. For example, one pillar focuses on product innovation because Samsonite’s ambition is to lighten the journey of its customers by creating the best products using the most sustainable and innovative materials, methods and models. Within that pillar, we have an action platform that focuses specifically on materials innovation to drive continuous improvement toward developing new, more sustainable materials and increasing the use of more sustainable materials in Samsonite products and packaging. The other action platform targets the product lifecycle and underscores the company’s efforts to continue to make products that are built to last, repairable and, eventually, recyclable. Goals that are specific, yet ambitious The next step was to articulate specific goals and, ultimately, we identified nine global goals with targets set for 2025 and 2030. One of Samsonite’s goals is to achieve carbon neutrality across its owned and operated facilities by 2030. Recognizing that the company’s impact extends beyond its own facilities, we also set a goal to estimate, track and support actions to reduce Scope 3 emissions — those emissions tied to Samonite’s business but outside our control. Our CEO and the Samsonite leadership team wholeheartedly supported the initiative and even encouraged us to up-level some key goals in order to truly lead the industry in sustainability. One of our original goals focused on developing a recyclable suitcase. The feedback was that this was too narrow in its scope. The final goal is more aspirational and states that the company will continue to develop innovative solutions to ensure the durability of its products, extend the life of products and develop viable end-of-life solutions to divert as many of its products from the landfill for as long as possible. The directive was to expand the company’s ambition and further incentivize continuous innovation. The resulting set of goals better reflect Samsonite’s vision and its ambition. Complementing this effort, we needed to establish a global carbon footprint across 1,500 retail, office, manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide. Partnering with Industrial Economics (IEc), an environmental consulting firm, we collaborated with cross-functional leads worldwide. Specifically, we worked with individuals responsible for the equipment and operations at our owned and operated manufacturing and distribution centers; representatives from our IT and HR departments who source office equipment and train employees on energy-efficient behaviors; and employees from our retail and development teams who make decisions about lighting and real estate. We also worked with global finance teams to collect hundreds of utility bills to ensure an accurate and representative sample size. From all this data, we established a baseline using 2017 data. An extended dialogue While the process is relatively straightforward, Brodie, IEc and I did not do it in a vacuum. Critical to our success was engaging a wide-ranging group of internal stakeholders and subject matter experts. Samsonite operates using a primarily decentralized management structure across its four key regions: North America; Asia; Europe; and Latin America. With the strong support of our regional presidents, we formed a global sustainability committee and a global carbon reduction committee. Membership is varied across functional areas and included human resources, marketing, sourcing, facilities, retail, finance and product development. Participants are nominated by their regional president based on their contribution to the company’s sustainability efforts and/or their interest in the topic. Another way we engaged internal stakeholders was by holding extensive feedback sessions with representatives from different functional areas about the respective goals to ensure that they would be able to successfully implement initiatives and provide data that would be useful and practical when demonstrating progress. The directive was to expand the company’s ambition and further incentivize continuous innovation. The resulting set of goals better reflect Samsonite’s vision and its ambition. For example, when we first set a product-related goal, we recommended establishing a target percentage of sustainable materials across our product lines. As we engaged the design and sourcing teams, it became clear that the target percentage was distracting us from the intent of the goal to increase our use of sustainable materials. There were endless ways to define that number, and we would need to spend significant time determining how to measure it. Rather than significantly delaying the goal-setting process, we decided to develop the quantitative target as part of measurement process. Now that the goals have been announced, we are actively working with marketing, design and sourcing to clearly define how we will demonstrate progress against our goal to increase the use of materials with sustainable credentials in all our products and packaging to lessen our impact on the environment. The global carbon reduction committee was involved in the process of choosing the environmental consulting firm, reviewing proposals, meeting with the candidates and making a final recommendation to work with IEc. The individual committee members, along with others, also provided feedback on the data-collection process. We shared both the results and the credit with everyone who was part of the process. This extensive stakeholder engagement meant that the process took two years from launching the materiality assessment to announcing the strategy. I am proud Samsonite has a sustainability approach that everyone can feel ownership of, and ultimately all of us are invested in its successful implementation. The world has changed a lot over the past two years, and especially during the past six months. Sustainability is increasingly important to consumers as more and more, we recognize the impact of our behaviors and consumption habits on the environment. I am proud that Samsonite has developed an ESG strategy that aligns with my personal and professional commitments and with Samsonite’s ethos, the “Golden Rule,” which guides how we treat each other and care for the world we live in. Pull Quote Our CEO and the Samsonite leadership team wholeheartedly supported the initiative and even encouraged us to up-level some key goals in order to truly lead the industry in sustainability. The directive was to expand the company’s ambition and further incentivize continuous innovation. The resulting set of goals better reflect Samsonite’s vision and its ambition. Topics Corporate Strategy Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The interior of a Samsonite facility. Courtesy of Samsonite Close Authorship

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How effective stakeholder engagement shaped Samsonite’s ESG strategy

French housing project I Park has a double-skinned green facade

November 12, 2020 by  
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Located in Montpellier, a historic city near the south of France on the Mediterranean Sea, “I Park” is a housing project with a plant-covered facade that catches the eye even from afar. Developed across the street from the city’s new town hall, the building was designed by NBJ Architectes and completed in 2019. I Park features eight levels of variable layers and 4,000 square meters of space, constituting an urban build front in a dividing line with the busy street. Right next to the project’s site sits a public park that offers unobstructed views of green spaces and a river to the inhabitants. To allow for a distance between the public and private spaces, a landscape band adjoins the project site as well. Related: Architects envision a green, solar-powered skyscraper While the base of the building is treated with stamped concrete, the body of the project is made up on a unified double-facade . This facade consists of two skins to help air flow and support ventilation of the intermediate cavity, while also allowing adaptability to each orientation in connection with the direct environment. The designers came up with a unique composition for the urban facade, a sequence of three structures that interconnect with each other to form a single entity. Strategically placed planter boxes line the front, appearing to climb up the face of the building and scatter throughout the remaining sides sporadically. Trees and green spaces are included on the roof as well, though not as prevalent as the facade. The reflective glass on the neighboring building adds a special aspect to the project by projecting light onto the plants; the green facade and mirrored cladding seem to play off each other to represent the discrepancy between nature and the city. According to the architects, the project will also serve as a base for research and experimentation on Mediterranean climate living conditions. + NBJ Architectes Photography by photoarchitecture via v2com

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French housing project I Park has a double-skinned green facade

The ‘order of planning’ determines transit priorities. What if we inverted it to prioritize people?

November 12, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The ‘order of planning’ determines transit priorities. What if we inverted it to prioritize people? Alan Hoffman Thu, 11/12/2020 – 00:01 Are your transportation plans letting you down? Regions everywhere have adopted ambitious goals for their long-range plans, from climate change to land use to reductions in automotive dependency. Yet even with decades of spending on creating new transit and bicycle infrastructure, many cities still struggle to see the kinds of changes in their travel and growth patterns that point toward resilience and sustainability. COVID-19 has highlighted these issues, upending travel patterns and choices with what may be permanent reductions in office commuting, as well as big impacts on transit and shared ride services. At the same time, COVID-19 has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink our use of public space, much of which has been dedicated to automotive movement (roads) and storage (parking). Transportation planning can lead to better outcomes by focusing on three parallel strategies: Identify what solutions look like Invert the order of planning Update your computerized planning models 1. Identifying solutions Too often, transportation projects are pushed through with no clear sense of whether they will be able to solve the problems for which they are intended. Planners and politicians jump to efficiency and expansion before effectiveness can be established. Once planners learn how to produce a desired solution, then they can engage in value engineering by asking how they can achieve desired results more efficiently. A perfect example of this is Curitiba, Brazil, famed as one of the innovators of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Curitiba didn’t set out to develop a BRT system. What it did was identify, up-front, what its ideal transit network should look like. In its case, it was a subway (metro) system with five arms radiating out of downtown and a set of concentric ring routes surrounding the center. Curitiba’s “solution” to creating an effective transit network was based on five major corridors radiating from downtown and a set of concentric rings linking major transfer stations (“integration terminals”). Subways are incredibly expensive to build. So Curitiba’s leaders asked themselves how they could replicate the functionality of their ideal network as quickly as possible with available resources. They decided to create their ideal subway system on the surface, running extra-long buses along dedicated transitways in the centers of their major roads. Enclosed stations with level boarding were spaced every 500 meters (three to a mile). Major integration terminals, about every 1.2 to 1.9 miles apart, serve surface subway lines, an extensive regional express network, and local buses. They also feature government services, recreation centers, shops and eateries. This transit corridor in Curitiba features a dedicated center-running busway with auto traffic and parking relegated to the sides of the boulevard and to parallel roads. Besides moving passenger loads normally associated with rail systems, the strategy was tied to a land use plan that placed most of the region’s denser land uses within one block of surface subway lines. Use of transit for commuting rose from about 7 percent in the early 1970s to over 70 percent by the 2000s. As a look at the skyline of Curitba reveals, the city literally and conspicuously developed around its transit network. By restricting high densities to “surface subway” corridors, Curitiba literally grew around its transit system. Besides preserving more land for single-family homes, this strategy reduced the impacts of new growth substantially. 2. Invert the order of planning The order of planning reflects the priority assigned to different modes as solutions to your goals. It is fair to say that most regional strategies today embrace the importance of modes such as transit and bicycling, yet this is rarely reflected in the order of planning. Most cities begin or center their transportation planning by focusing on optimizing their automotive systems: expanding capacity; improving signaling; building new roads, often dictated by where road congestion is at its worst. The logic is impeccable: the auto is the primary mover of people, and too many new transit and bicycle projects have shifted only a relatively small number of trips, highlighting popular preferences. Once the automotive system is optimized, transit planning is then asked to fit around the automobile. In most places, transit either shares the right of way with cars or is delayed by traffic signals and cross traffic. In some cases, corridors are identified which could support rail or BRT infrastructure. Pedestrian circulation is then asked to fit around car traffic and transit. Finally, the bicycle is asked to fit around everything else. This bicycle lane along an 50 mph expressway in California puts cyclists at great risk from distracted drivers. The alternative is to engage in Advanced Urban Visioning, a process that identifies what optimized or ideal systems look like, much as Curitiba did decades ago. You get there by inverting the order of planning. You begin with transit, allowing an ideal network to emerge from a detailed analysis of urban form (how your region is laid out) and trip patterns. An optimized transit system focuses on three key dimensions: network structure (how you connect places); system performance (how long it takes to get from origins to destinations); and customer experience (essentially, what a person feels and perceives while moving through the system). The goal is to connect more people more directly to more likely destinations in less time, with an experience that makes them feel good about their choice of transit. The transit network at this point is still diagrammatic, a set of nodes and links more than a set of physical routes. Even so, it likely looks little like your current transit plan. This aerial of central San Diego shows many principal nodes of the zone and the likely connections between and among them. The rapid transit map, meanwhile, looks little like this network. Why does transit go first? To begin with, transit often requires heavy infrastructure, be it tracks, transitways, bus lanes, stations or garages. Stations, in particular, need to be located where they will do the most good; even short distances in the wrong direction can make a big difference in public uptake of transit. Second, transit otherwise takes up relatively little urban space when compared to the car. For example, two-lane busways in Australia move as many people during the peak hour as a 20-lane freeway would move. Third, transit, when well-matched to a region, significantly can shape how that city grows, as access to a useful transit network becomes highly valued. Transit, when well-matched to a region, significantly can shape how that city grows, as access to a useful transit network becomes highly valued. Getting from an idealized transit network to an actual plan happens through a staging plan that focuses on “colonizing” whatever existing road infrastructure is needed, and specifying new infrastructure where necessary to meet strategic goals. In practice, this means identifying locations where new transitways, surface or grade-separated (free of cross-traffic or pedestrian crossings), can meet performance and connectivity goals. Planners also need to devise routes that minimize travel time and transfers for core commuting trips. Transit at this stage is free to take space from the auto, where warranted, to meet performance goals subject to expected demand. Brisbane, Australia’s, Busway system includes many grade-separations (bridges and tunnels) so that buses can operate unimpeded by traffic. Once an optimized transit plan is identified, the next step in Advanced Urban Visioning is to develop an idealized bicycle network. Drawing on the lessons of the Netherlands, perhaps the global leader when it comes to effective bicycle infrastructure, this network is designed and optimized to provide a coherent, direct, safe, and easy-to-use set of separated bikeways designed to minimize conflicts with moving vehicles and pedestrians. This approach is a far cry from the piecemeal incrementalism of many cities. It also gives the bicycle priority over cars when allocating space in public rights of way. Amsterdam and other Dutch cities have some of the best-developed bicycle infrastructure in the world, providing cyclists with an extensive network of separated bike lanes. The third step in Advanced Urban Visioning is to use major transit nodes to create new “people space”: walking paths; public plazas; parklands; and open space trail networks. These may colonize land occupied with motor vehicles. These new spaces and parklands also may be used to organize transit-oriented development; the combination of optimized transit and bicycle networks; and park access can increase the value of such development. In this example, from a conceptual plan developed for San Diego, a strategic investment zone (SIZ), supporting high-density residential and commercial uses, wraps around a linear park and two proposed community parks. The proposed underground transit and surface parks together add significant value to the SIZ, some of which may be captured through an Infrastructure Finance District mechanism to help fund much of the project. Only after transit, bicycles and pedestrians are accommodated is it time to optimize the automotive realm. But something happens when these alternative modes are optimized to the point that they are easy, convenient and time-competitive with driving: large numbers of people shift from personal vehicles to these other travel modes. a result, the auto is no longer needed to move large numbers of people to denser nodes, and investments in roadways and parking shift to other projects. The power of Advanced Urban Visioning is that it gives you clear targets to aim at so that actual projects can stage their way to the ultimate vision, creating synergies that amplify the impacts of each successive stage. It turns the planning process into a strategic process, and helps avoid expensive projects that are appealing on one level but ultimately unable to deliver the results we need from our investments in infrastructure. San Diego Connected, a conceptual plan developed at the request of the Hillcrest business community, demonstrates Advanced Urban Visioning in action, combining bicycle, transit, pedestrian and automotive improvements that optimize their potential contribution to the region. Advanced Urban Visioning doesn’t conflict with government-required planning processes; it precedes them. For example, the AUV process may identify the need for specialized infrastructure in a corridor, while the Alternatives Analysis process can be used to determine the time-frame where such infrastructure becomes necessary given its role in a network. 3. Update your models For Advanced Urban Visioning to make its greatest contribution to regions, analysis tools need to measure and properly account for truly optimized systems. Most regional agencies maintain detailed regional travel models, computer simulations of how people get around and the tradeoffs they make when considering modes. Many of these models work against Advanced Urban Visioning. The models are designed generally to test responsiveness to modest or incremental changes in a transportation network, but they are much weaker at understanding consumer response to very different networks or systems. Regions can sharpen the ability of their models to project use of alternative modes by committing to a range of improvements: Incorporate market segmentation. Not all people share the same values. Market segmentation can help identify who is most likely to respond to different dimensions of service. Better understand walking. Some models include measures as of quality of the walking environment. For example, shopping mall developers have long known that the same customer who would balk at walking more than 492 feet to get from their parked car to a mall entrance will happily walk 1,312 feet once inside to get to their destination. Likewise, people are not willing to walk as far at the destination end of a trip as they are at the origin end, yet most models don’t account for this difference. Better measure walking distance. Not only do most models not account for differences in people’s disposition to walk to access transit, they don’t even bother to measure the actual distances. Better account for station environment and micro-location. We know from market research that many people are far more willing to use transit if it involves waiting at a well-designed station, as opposed to a more typical bus stop on the side of a busy road. Incorporate comparative door-to-door travel times. No model I am aware of includes comparative door-to-door travel time (alternative mode vs. driving), yet research continually has demonstrated the importance of overall trip time to potential users of competing modes. Conclusion Advanced Urban Visioning offers a powerful tool for regions that are serious about achieving a major transformation in their sustainability and resilience. By clarifying what optimal transportation networks look like for a region, it can give planners and the public a better idea of what is possible. It inverts the traditional order of planning, ensuring that each mode can make the greatest possible contribution toward achieving future goals. Pull Quote Transit, when well-matched to a region, significantly can shape how that city grows, as access to a useful transit network becomes highly valued. Topics Cities Transportation & Mobility Urban Planning Public Transit Meeting of the Minds Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off New York City subway Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet on Unsplash. Close Authorship

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The ‘order of planning’ determines transit priorities. What if we inverted it to prioritize people?

Biodegradable mushroom packaging makes Seedlip gifts special

November 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

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In an effort to help reduce food packaging waste, non-alcoholic spirit company Seedlip is introducing a  Mycelium Gift Pack  wrapped in  biodegradable  mushroom packaging. Mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, creates a durable and sustainable packaging alternative for the upcoming holiday season. This fully bio-contributing material is also biodegradable, recyclable and compostable. The gift set includes a full-sized bottle of Seedlip Spice 94 (an aromatic non-alcoholic spirit), a highball glass made from 100% recycled material and a thyme seeded neck tag. The tag includes instructions to plant and grow your own herbs using the biodegradable  mushroom  box as a planter. Seedlip has partnered with the Magical Mushroom Company, a U.K.-based production plant specializing in manufacturing mycelium-based packaging and insulation, to bring the project to life. Presale for the set began on October 22 and is available now on  Seedlip’s website .  Related: Entrepreneur sells mushroom suits that decompose your body after death “We are committed to celebrating and protecting the natural world and our mushroom-based gift set progresses both our support of sustainable packaging as well as championing nature’s ability to solve society’s challenges,” said Ben Branson, founder of Seedlip. “Mushrooms are nature’s recycling system and we’re very proud to be working with them.” Seedlip Spice 94, featured in the gift set, is an aromatic blend of Jamaican allspice berries, grapefruit, lemon and cardamom that gets its earthy bitterness from oak and cascarilla tree barks. Seedlip offers  beverage  recipes on its website that incorporate the non-alcoholic spirit. The mycelium used to make the gift box paper plays a critical role in  nature  by breaking down debris on the forest floor. Seedlip’s packaging can mimic this process as a compostable material in your compost bin. This helps make mycelium a great alternative to plastic packaging. According to Seedlip, the Magical Mushroom packaging is just as strong as conventional  plastic  foams but doesn’t contribute to landfill or ocean pollution. + Seedlip Images via Seedlip

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Biodegradable mushroom packaging makes Seedlip gifts special

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