A vacant lot in New Orleans is converted into resilient and affordable housing for war veterans

July 2, 2019 by  
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New Orleans-based firm Office of Jonathan Tate has unveiled a modern residential complex for combat veterans and their families. Located in the Gentilly district of the city, the Bastion Community is comprised of 29 two-unit apartment buildings laid out specifically in a way to foster social interaction. Additionally, considering the area’s history for severe flooding, the development was constructed with several resilient features . Located on a formerly vacant lot that spans 6.4 acres, the Bastion Community is now a vibrant residential complex comprising 29 apartment buildings, each containing two units. Within the development, there are various one-, two- or three-bedroom options, ranging from 720 square feet to 1,200 square feet. Related: BIG completes low-income “Homes for All” project in Copenhagen Already known locally for creating modern but affordable housing complexes, the architects specifically designed the Bastion Community to be a “protected but inclusive and thriving live-work environment” for post-9/11 combat veterans and their families. The layout of the homes as well as the on-site community and wellness center were part of a strategy to create a strong sense of community for those who often feel isolated. The homes are uniform in their design, which includes pitched roofs, pale exterior tones and wooden fencing. All units were built to be adapted to be ADA accessible . Considering the location has a long history of flooding , resiliency was at the forefront of the design. All of the structures are elevated off the landscape via concrete piers to allow flood waters to flow freely under the buildings without causing harm. Additionally, landscaping and building strategies for filtering, storing and returning water to the soil were also incorporated into the design. In addition to their resiliency, the apartments were designed to be sustainable and durable for years to come. Tight insulation and high-performance HVAC equipment were used to cut energy costs, and there are tentative plans to install solar panels in the future. Each unit has high vaulted ceilings and operable windows to allow for natural air ventilation. + Office of Jonathan Tate Via Dezeen Photography by William Crocker and aerial photography by Jackson Hill

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A vacant lot in New Orleans is converted into resilient and affordable housing for war veterans

Why co-living might be the perfect situation for you

June 27, 2019 by  
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While a college dorm room might come to mind when you hear the phrase co-living, that type of shared housing is just one example of what the concept means for both those deep in their studies and career-bound people, too. Co-living is not a new idea, but one that has evolved over many years to include several different ideas and populations. At its core, co-living simply means sharing a space with one or more other people. However, the modern concept encompasses lifestyle choices, socialization, a sense of community, financial aspects and shared resources. Around the world, different groups have embraced co-living and the reasons seem to be centered around a few general motivating factors. Related: Cambridge’s first co-housing development fosters sustainable living Money Co-living typically saves money compared to paying all the bills for a house or apartment individually. If you remember sharing an apartment with a roommate, you understand the concept. Splitting bills for utilities and rent is a financially conservative idea, but modern co-living cuts out the need to hassle your roommate for the rent. Instead, many newer co-living opportunities allow you to pay for your space only, as each person rents directly from the management company. Social life While it does appear that most newly graduated housemates make the choice in order to take advantage of the lower costs, even more people report they are moving toward co-living for the social interaction. This includes singles, married couples without children and older individuals. The advantage of co-living is two-fold in that many responsibilities are shared as far as upkeep, cooking and the like. This allows more time for socializing, which is a major draw for this crowd. In this market, shared spaces can include a kitchen or other social areas such as rec rooms and outdoor gathering spaces. Communities organize events to draw residents together with activities like game night, wine tastings, movie night, dinners and more. Sustainability While the co-housing philosophy began as a way to connect people and make better use of space, the idea of sustainable living has moved to the forefront of the co-living concept. A key component to co-living is sharing resources, which is an ideal way to live more sustainably. Many co-living situations encourage community gardens , for example, leading to more helping hands and less waste. Pretty much everything from building materials to yard tools are minimized with shared living spaces. Think two community grills for many people instead of one for each resident, and you’ll see just a small part of the picture. Shared philosophies Living sustainably is an example of a mindset that those within a co-living situation might share. There are other philosophies that bring people together as well. Religious beliefs, communal living or co-parenting philosophies might bring groups together to find their ideal living situation. For example, single women with children might find that other women in the same situation can help raise their kids together, cook meals and offer a social outlet while still allowing privacy in their own space. Urban lifestyle In many cities, housing is in a state of crisis , motivating a solution in the form of co-housing. Urban co-living situations are often built out of a necessity for resource management and lack of space. Fortunately, the need for affordable living options also fits well with many people seeking that type of living arrangement. Co-living opportunities exist around the world and in all types of environments. Where one person might be drawn to remote farm living, many find urban living in a shared space ideal for their needs. Frequent travelers, for example, embrace co-living as a way to keep a home base at a low cost and perhaps have a second base in a different urban landscape. Is co-living for you? While there are many undeniable advantages in regards to co-living, it’s not for everyone. Some typical disadvantages of this arrangement include small living spaces and sharing a space with strangers. If you are an introvert who doesn’t enjoy a lot of social interaction, this might not be your scene. Then again, perhaps the 3-bedroom urban setting isn’t for you, but the country cabin with a shared garden is. In a recent study initiated by IKEA , respondents overwhelmingly admitted that they do not want to share space with kids and teens, so unless you’re childless or are able to find a welcoming option, co-housing might not be for you. The key is finding a community that fits your goals, budget and co-living philosophy. Co-living offers many solutions to the residential, financial and social issues we face today. In a society that has become individualistic and separate, it’s an opportunity to encourage a closer sense of community. While being personally closer helps, it’s really the sense of shared responsibility and philosophies that makes friends out of roommates and family out of community members. Images via Shutterstock

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New electric bike offers so much storage, you won’t miss your car

March 20, 2018 by  
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The swanky new CERO One electric cargo bike is designed to ease the adoption of more environmentally-friendly transportation. Electric bikes, or e-bikes , are 10 to 20 times more efficient than a car , but many lack the convenience of cargo space. Not CERO One. Kitted with a novel modular cargo rack system, this bike can be reconfigured to suit the needs of any particular person or task. The CERO One was invented by environmentalist Kiyoshi Iwai, who hopes to make his hometown of Los Angeles a better place to live in part through practical e-bikes. An avid surfer , Iwai was inspired to create a storage system that makes it easy to haul significant cargo, like a surfboard. The modular system has 12 distinct configurations that include three aluminum baskets on the front and rear of the bike and space for a child’s seat in the back. Thanks to its abundant storage space and resilient design, the CERO One can carry up to 300 pounds in cargo. Related: EvoWheel converts almost any bicycle into an electric bike in just 30 seconds CERO has equipped their latest e-bike with a new-generation Shimano 504Wh battery that has a range of 93 miles on a single charge and a top speed of around 20 MPH. Even with the heaviest of loads, the CERO One is capable of traveling 44 miles before requiring a recharge. The CERO One requires five hours for a full recharge, or two and a half hours for approximately 80 percent. The e-bike is available to purchase for $3,399. Via Curbed Images via CERO

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New electric bike offers so much storage, you won’t miss your car

Reversible weatherHYDE tent saves lives in extreme weather

December 6, 2017 by  
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Riots in India left nearly 9,000 families homeless in 2013. Winter hit, and around 30 children perished because of the cold. Prasoon Kumar had recently quit his job as an architect to start billionBricks , a design studio dedicated to solving homelessness, and decided to create the reversible weatherHYDE shelter to protect people from harsh weather . Inhabitat spoke with Kumar about how the tent empowers people – read on to hear what he had to say. As an architect, Kumar noticed homes for the poor were often designed and constructed so poorly no one wanted to live in them. He co-founded billionBricks to pursue quality design that would actually help people climb out of poverty , and came up with weatherHYDE, an all-weather shelter one person can set up in around 15 minutes without tools. Five people can sleep inside. The tent is reversible: one side reflects sun to cool inhabitants in summer; the other traps body heat to keep them warm in winter. There’s even a locking mechanism to afford some safety. Related: 3D-printed pod homes for the homeless could hang from NYC buildings Four principles guided the design of weatherHYDE, targeted for people in southeast Asia . First, Kumar said they viewed the homeless not as beneficiaries, but as consumers. “We were not designing something to give to them but something they would want. Then this whole idea of us being superior and them being inferior who need to be helped is not there,” he told Inhabitat. Second, billionBricks had to provide a product not simply for individuals but entire families. Women with young children often have to shower, change clothes, and sleep on the streets, and blankets just don’t cut it. Third, the tent had to offer heat inexpensively. And finally, the team wanted the recipients to pay for the product somehow, granting a sense of ownership. 15 families received the weatherHYDE in a successful New Delhi pilot project. Kumar told Inhabitat, “I went back after a month to the first family we gave to and they had set it up as their home, including a small bed inside and a few paintings. I had never imagined that a weatherHYDE would be a home. And this lady came to me and said, ‘This is my first home ever. I was born on the streets, I got married on the streets, my one-year-old kid was born on the streets too, and we’ve never had a home.’” In India, billionBricks offers donor matching because many people there generally can’t afford the full price of the tent, allowing the organization to sell them for $35 to $40. They don’t do donor matching in the United States and Canada, but if a homeless person can’t afford the full price of the tent, $199, billionBricks helps with fundraising, although a person must raise the money themselves. People interested in helping can purchase a tent right on the weatherHYDE website without waiting for a NGO or government to take action. “We have decentralized the whole system of helping the homeless and empower everybody in the world to take action.” Not just the homeless, but campers have been interested too, and can purchase a tent for recreational use for $299 here . Kumar said, “It kind of proves the point that if you don’t design something poorly for the poor, everybody would want it.” billionBricks isn’t stopping with the weatherHYDE. They’re working on a larger version to meet United Nations regulations for refugee housing , along with a showerHYDE to provide refugees with privacy while showering or changing clothes. They’re also working on versions better suited to other climates — like in Africa. They’re also developing the powerHYDE, solar homes that generate more than enough energy to power the dwelling, enabling residents to sell the excess. weatherHYDE is holding a design competition right now until January 7,2018 to personalize a tent. An artist will paint the winning design on one tent for the designer and one for the homeless. It costs $25 to enter; you can do so here . + weatherHYDE + weatherHYDE Design Competition + billionBricks Images copyright billionBricks

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What3Words provides an address for every person and point on planet earth

September 8, 2017 by  
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What3Words is a revolutionary addressing system that pinpoints locations more precisely than conventional street addresses. The tool divides the world into 57 trillion 3 meter x 3 meter squares and assigns a unique combination of three words to each square. This enables more efficient aid and delivery services around the world – and it could actually save lives in disaster zones and informal settlements without street names. Roughly 75% of the world suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems, meaning that 4 billion people are unable to report crime, receive deliveries or request aid . They also are unable to exercise many of their rights as citizens because they simply have no way to communicate where they live. Even in the developed world, people get lost and mail goes delivered. Related: 5 brilliant designs that will change the world win the 2017 INDEX: Award London-based What3Words offers an efficient, precise solution that is currently being integrated into businesses, apps and services across the globe. Each of the 57 trillion 3mx3m squares in the world has been allocated a fixed & unique 3-word address. The What3words geocoder turns geographic coordinates into these 3 word addresses & vice-versa. The system works across all platforms and devices, in multiple languages, offline and with voice recognition. Related: Life-saving LifeArk snaps together like LEGO to provide emergency off-grid housing Nigeria ‘s postal service has just started using What3Words to tackle its snail-mail problem and the poor addressing system. By adopting this state-of-the-art technology , NIPOST hopes to increase home delivery to 70 percent over the next two years. The firm has also signed a deal with Mongolia’s national delivery service and drone company Altavian, which designs and manufactures high quality drones for commercial enterprises. They teamed up with Indian moped taxi firm Bikxie, which is utilizing What3Words’ award-winning addressing system to help women travel more safely. What3words has been selected as the winner of the world’s biggest design prize – the INDEX: Award – which recognizes sustainable designs that generate positive impact in the world. + What3words + INDEX: Award

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What3Words provides an address for every person and point on planet earth

5 brilliant designs that will change the world win the 2017 INDEX: Award

September 1, 2017 by  
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The world’s biggest design award was just bestowed upon five groundbreaking green designs that stand to improve life around the globe. The biennial INDEX: Award honors sustainable designs that address global challenges, and this year’s winners came from a pool of 1403 entries. From a floating farm that heals ocean ecosystems to a life-saving centrifuge that costs 25 cents, read on for a first look at this year’s winners – live from the INDEX: Award ceremony in Denmark. Zipline Delivering emergency medical supplies in developing nations can be difficult. On average, it takes four hours to send vaccines and blood transfusions from a central facility, but it can take much longer in the event of a natural disaster or infrastructural collapse. Enter Zipline – the world’s first commercial medical drone delivery system. Zipline uses a simple system to quickly and efficiently deliver critical medical supplies. Health workers text an order, and items are packaged at a distribution center. Then a drone is dispatched and the items are delivered by parachute with a high degree of precision. A single drone can carry a payload of 1.5 kilos for up to 150 kilometers – and it can make 500 deliveries in 24 hours in all weather conditions, for the equivalent cost per trip of a motorbike or ambulance delivery. Zipline began delivering blood to 21 transfusion facilities in western Rwanda in 2017, and it’s set to begin delivering blood and medicine in remote Maryland, Nevada and Washington over the next year. What3Words You might take your address for granted, but according to the UN, 4 billion people lack a way to reliably address their homes. This leads to myriad problems, as those without addresses are denied access to basic social and civic services – it’s difficult or impossible for them to open bank accounts, register births, or sign up for utilities like electricity and water. What3Words solves this problem by dividing the world into 57 trillion 3 meter x 3 meter squares, and assigning a unique combination of three words to each square. The resulting grid is more precise than street addresses, and it allows anyone to share their location quickly for emergency situations, census taking or even everyday mail delivery. GreenWave The world’s oceans are in trouble. 90% of large fish stocks are threatened by overfishing , the amount of carbon dioxide in our oceans is higher than at any point in the past 400,000 years, and nitrogen pollution from farms, factories and homes creates oxygen-depleted dead zones. Greenwave is a revolutionary ocean farm that addresses all of these issues while producing healthy local food, restoring ecosystems, and creating jobs for fishermen. The hurricane-proof floating farm grows shellfish and seaweed using “mussel socks,” oyster cages and nets. Each species is selected to address an environmental challenge – for instance, oysters naturally filter out excess nitrogen, and seaweed soaks up five times more CO2 than land-based plants. GreenWave also provides ocean farmers with grants, free outdoor gear, and training – and it promises to purchase 80% of new farmers’ crops over five years at triple the market rate. Paperfuge Every year, five million people are killed by three highly infectious diseases: malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis. Diagnosing and treating these illnesses is difficult in parts of the world with limited access to infrastructure, electricity and medical facilities. Centrifuges are critical tools that can isolate and detect infections – but they require electricity to function and can cost up to $1,000 per machine. The Paperfuge provides a brilliant alternative – it’s a simple device inspired by a five-thousand-year-old toy that can separate plasma from a blood sample in 90 seconds. The device weighs about 2 grams, it’s made from paper, string and plastic, and it only costs 25 cents to make – which makes it an accessible, low-cost “frugal design” with the potential to save millions of lives around the world. Ethereum Ethereum offers a way to validate your digital identity and make online transactions while keeping complete control over your personal information – instead of giving it over to a third party service like Facebook or Paypal. It’s a platform that provides developers with tools, custom blockchains and networks to build decentralized applications that can transform the way we interact with money, business, government and society. Since the applications use a blockchain, there’s no centralized server that can get hacked or shut down. + INDEX: Award + INDEX: Design to Improve Life

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5 brilliant designs that will change the world win the 2017 INDEX: Award

Energy-efficient Bluebonnet Studios offers sustainable housing to Austins most vulnerable citizens

July 14, 2017 by  
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The Bluebonnet Studios social housing development in Austin supports a healthy lifestyle through the design. The property, designed by Forge Craft Architecture + Design , provides housing for the homeless, low-income veterans and local musicians. It features forward-thinking sustainable elements such as recycled and locally-sourced materials, a well insulated envelope, optimal orientation, low-flow fixtures and occupancy sensors. The architects worked with a difficult site and a very tight budget, which required a close collaboration between the design, construction, and ownership teams, as well as help of sustainability experts like Pliny Fisk and Jason McLennan . An important aspect of the design was access to natural light , which the team provided by creating a light well that runs through the center of the building. This emphasis on daylight also allows for most of the building to be functional without artificial light in the event of a power outage – including all circulation. Heating and cooling are provided by centralized LG VRF units tied to individual apartment thermostats. Each thermostat is coupled to both window sensors and door-triggered occupancy sensors . All the interior finishes and products were regionally sourced, recycled and healthy. On top of the building, a green space allows for outdoor activities. Related: Top 6 Green Supportive and Low-Income Housing Projects Of the 107 single-occupancy units, 22 are reserved for the area’s homeless and low-income veterans, while five are dedicated to local musicians. Each resident received a small package of tools, including a recycling bin, recycling magnet, green cleaning recipes, and recommendations for conservative thermostat settings to help residents keep their homes green. Additionally, a green housekeeping program provides a dispensing station with Green Seal certified cleaning chemicals for maintenance staff and janitorial contractors. + Forge Craft Architecture + Design Photos by Paul Bardagjy

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Energy-efficient Bluebonnet Studios offers sustainable housing to Austins most vulnerable citizens

Solar-powered ‘ecotopia’ proposed as alternative to Trump’s border wall

April 7, 2017 by  
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In response to Trump’s maddening determination to build a wall along the US and Mexico border , one group of fed-up designers has proposed an entire new territory, called Otra Nation , that would be open to citizens of both Mexico and the United States. The high-tech ecotopia designed by Made Collective (Mexican & American Designers & Engineers) is a new country that spans 1,200 miles across the border, powered by massive solar farms and connected with a hyperloop transportation system. The ambitious proposal is being called a “shared co-nation.” The territory would stretch for over 1,200 miles and encompass 12 miles on each side of the border, effectively joining Tijuana, El Paso, and San Diego. The land would be considered unincorporated territory, with an independent local government and non-voting representatives. Otra Nation residents would retain their natural-born citizenship, but would be granted a new ID microchip for identification purposes, giving them access to the independent health care and education systems . Related: Donald Trump would probably hate this crossable border wall The plan also depicts Otra Nation as a sustainable community , generating energy from 90,000 square kilometers of solar panels that would meet the demands of the new territory and then some. Watersheds and local ecosystems on both side of the current border would also be restored. Under the plan, an intercity hyperloop would be used for clean transportation. As far as the economic structure, companies built on “sharing principles” would be encouraged, but any company or service looking to “minimize human employment with autonomous vehicles and drone technologies” would be prohibited. According to Made Collective, the project would be focused on bringing communities together versus creating divisions, “The 19th century brought us boundaries, the 20th century we built walls, the next we will bridge nations by creating communities based on shared principles of economic resiliency, energy independence and a trust based social contract.” In an interview with The Verge , members from the Made Collection admit that, although they have formally applied for a US government contract, there’s little possibility that the US and Mexican governments will take their proposal seriously. Although, they are still holding out hope that their idea might make it to a popular referendum so that, as collective member Marina Muñoz puts it, “We can really make the complete American continent great again.” + Otra Nation Via The Verge Images via Otra Nation  

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Solar-powered ‘ecotopia’ proposed as alternative to Trump’s border wall

The Venus Project envisions a sustainable redesign of our cities and civilization

February 27, 2017 by  
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While countries worldwide advanced significantly, we still grapple with issues like poverty, crime, or homelessness. 100-year-old futurist Jacque Fresco and architectural illustrator Roxanne Meadows founded The Venus Project to not only address these problems, but also to redesign cities to make them more sustainable. These circular cities draw on technology and science to produce a better society with a less harmful environmental impact. The Venus Project thinks our monetary system is dehumanizing and leads to dysfunctional behavior. According to Meadows, who spoke in an interview with Futurism, the founders advocate what they call a Resource Based Economy, which calls for resources to be distributed equitably without money or credit. Services and goods would be available for all people for free, much like checking out books at a library. Related: The galaxy-shaped Indian utopia built on principles of no money or government Although The Venus Project offers a vision for redesigned cities , architecture isn’t the project’s sole focus. Meadows told Inhabitat, “The Venus Project is more than just architecture ; it is about a new social design. The architecture is built with that in mind and designed to conserve resources and maintain a high standard of living so the entire global population can have access to adequate housing , nutritious food, clean water, and all the amenities an advanced technical civilization can achieve. The Venus Project’s architecture is not isolated from its social direction; no branch of science should be.” A main idea of The Venus Project is to move past politics . Meadows said politicians are rarely experts on preventing climate change or developing clean energy sources, for example. Instead, they often work to maintain the status quo and serve the interests of the wealthy and powerful. Meadows told Futurism: “It is not ethical people in government that we need but equal access to the necessities of life and those working toward the elimination of scarcity. We would use scientific scales of performance for measurement and allocation of resources so that human biases are left out of the equation. Within The Venus Project’s safe, energy-efficient cities, there would be interdisciplinary teams of knowledgeable people in different fields accompanied by cybernated systems that use sensors to monitor all aspects of society in order to provide real-time information supporting decision-making for the well-being of all people and the protection of the environment .” The team completed a 21-acre research center in Florida as the first phase of the project, and are working to get the ideas out to the public through documentaries and a film in the second phase. They also aim to construct an experimental research city. + The Venus Project Via Futurism Images courtesy of The Venus Project

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The Venus Project envisions a sustainable redesign of our cities and civilization

High school students are building tiny homes to give to flood survivors

February 20, 2017 by  
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In West Virginia, students that would normally be constructing birdhouses or bookshelves are instead contributing their labor and newly acquired skills to help give those who lost everything a new start. Last year, historic floods devastated the state, destroying over 5000 homes and killing over 20 people. So students from across the state have gathered together to build compact, energy efficient tiny homes for victims of the flooding. West Virginia has struggled to provide adequate housing for those thousands made homeless by the storm. So high school students attending 12 vocational schools throughout the state are demonstrating that they may have a promising solution. The participating vocational schools, such as Carver Career and Technical Education Center in Charleston, traditionally teach practices such as carpentry and plumbing.  A new, first of-its-kind partnership between the West Virginia Department of Education and the Greater Recovery and Community Empowerment initiative enables students to access hands-on learning to design and build homes for local flood survivors from concept to completion. Each unique  tiny house i s just 500 square feet. Related: Studio H launches Kickstarter Campaign to Build a Shipping Container Classroom at Berkeley’s REALM Charter school 15 homes have been built so far, thanks to funding from the state’s Board of Education and regional community supporters. All of the homes are unique and some are designed to be portable.  Unlike trailers that are supplied by FEMA in post-disaster zones , each of the tiny homes will have individual design accents. Each home includes a bathroom, kitchen, living room and laundry room.  The ground-breaking program has potential to be scaled to serve communities in other post-disaster zones. + WV Public Broadcasting Via NPR Photos Courtesy of West Virginia Department of Education  

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