Five bridges topped with urban farms could revitalize war-torn Mosul

November 1, 2017 by  
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Architect Vincent Callebaut recently unveiled plans to rebuild war-torn Mosul as a sustainable, self-sufficient city. Callebaut’s proposal includes five bridges built with stalactite-inspired housing amid self-sustaining urban farms that run on solar power and advanced hydroponic systems. After months of intense fighting, the Islamic State was finally pushed out of the Mosul in summer of 2017. The city had been occupied since 2014, and much of the urban areas have been destroyed over the years, including the beloved five bridges that span the Tigris River. Callebaut believes the bridges could be rebuilt as inhabited spaces covered in self-sustaining urban farms . Related: Visionary eco-resort design for the Philippines features rotating seashell towers The architect submitted his design, 5 Farming Bridges, to a competition that sought potential designs and ideas to rebuild the war-torn city: “ Rebuilding Iraq’s Liberated Areas: Mosul’s Housing “. The proposal features mountainous 3D-printed buildings covered with urban farms that would guarantee food independence while providing excellent thermal insulation. The buildings on the bridges are inspired by the Islamic Muqarnas – ornamental vaults – and the homes are stacked in a vertically efficient manner. Wind chimneys would be installed in the new urban areas to provide cool natural air circulation using the thermal energy of the rivers. Solar water heaters would provide hot water thanks to hundreds of photovoltaic-clad pergolas. The bridges’ many farms and orchards would be irrigated with water from the river. Gray water from the communities would be recycled and filtered by plants in lagoon waterfalls that cascade off the bridges into the river below. Biomass composters would be used to fertilize the various suspended vegetable gardens, creating an amazing, self-sufficient urban oasis. + Vincent Callebaut Images by Vincent Callebaut

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Five bridges topped with urban farms could revitalize war-torn Mosul

Rural Italian home clad in lush greenery blends into its idyllic surroundings

November 1, 2017 by  
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It would be safe to say that Italian firm Zanon Architetti Associati really loves nature. The firm recently renovated a country home in Treviso, Italy by not only adding a new glass and steel extension to the home, but by covering its exterior walls almost entirely with lush vegetation . The renovation of the 1,500 square-foot home was focused on blending the new addition into the home’s existing structure, without taking away from its original character. Accordingly, the architects used a combination of glass and steel to create a seamless connection between the home’s expansive living space and its idyllic surroundings. Related: Stunning home in India blends into the earth with segmented green roofs “From the outside, the glass volume reflects the surrounding landscape and becomes part of it,” the architects said. “From the inside the windows become invisible giving the impression of being outdoors: the living room becomes one with the countryside.” The interior of the home is an eclectic design that is perfect for both quiet contemplation or lively socialization. The ceilings are covered in weathered steel panels that give off an industrial look, which is enhanced by the brick-tiled flooring. These two materials create a nice frame for the home’s main feature: the various large glazed walls that flood the new living space with natural light and incredible views. + Zanon Architetti Associati Via Freshome Photography by Paolo Belvedere

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Rural Italian home clad in lush greenery blends into its idyllic surroundings

Iraq’s biggest dam could collapse at any moment, placing a million people in peril

March 2, 2016 by  
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The birthplace of civilization has struggled through some tough times in recent years. The Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and now the conflict with ISIS have seriously damaged Iraq’s infrastructure and undermined its political stability. As if that wasn’t enough, Iraq may soon face another catastrophe as the country’s biggest dam reaches the end of its life. American officials in Baghdad are warning that Mosul Dam could collapse – and the subsequent flooding could lead to the death or displacement of over one million people. Built in 1984, the Mosul Dam regulates the flow of the Tigris River to supply one million Iraqis with hydroelectric power. The dam is capable of holding three trillion gallons of water, which is key for survival in the desert nation. Mosul Dam was constructed on a base of gypsum, a soft mineral that readily dissolves in water. To combat this steady erosion and maintain the infrastructure, engineers have used a grout cement mix to fill any holes that appear. However, this maintenance routine was interrupted in August 2014 when ISIS forces captured the dam for over a week. The militants did not intentionally damage the dam, but their brief presence nonetheless had long-term consequences. Even after the dam was recaptured, many of the Iraqi workers did not return and regular maintenance was not resumed. Related: The world’s tallest building coming to Iraq will be entirely solar-powered The greatest risk of collapse occurs between late February and mid-May when the Tigris River is at its fullest. State Department officials warn that 500,000 people could be killed while a million more would be homeless. Mosul, a city of two and a half million people, could be under 45 feet of water within four hour of the dam’s collapse – and the water level could eventually rise to 70 feet. Baghdad would have a few days notice to prepare, but the flooding would still be devastating, with water levels of up to 14 feet expected. The Italian government has offered to send troops while the Trevi Group, an Italian company, leads much needed repairs of the dam. As usual, politics is proving to be a roadblock. Noting the glacial pace at which the Iraqi government is dealing with the problem, American officials have urged Iraq to educate its citizens on the threat, so that the worst case scenario might be avoided. Via the New York Times Images via DoD News/Staff Sgt. Brendan Stephens and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library

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Iraq’s biggest dam could collapse at any moment, placing a million people in peril

Milan wants to fight pollution by paying commuters to bike to work

March 2, 2016 by  
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After 2015 brought some of the worst air pollution on record, the city of Milan, Italy is considering a dramatic solution to improve air quality: paying residents who choose to ride a bike to work rather than driving. In late December, smog became so severe that the city had to ban the use of cars for three days, along with the traditional end of the year firework displays. So it makes sense that officials are trying out new schemes to cut down on air pollution – and they’ve set aside €35 million to the cause. Read the rest of Milan wants to fight pollution by paying commuters to bike to work

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Milan wants to fight pollution by paying commuters to bike to work

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