Asif Khan and MINI created calming forest oases in busy London

September 16, 2016 by  
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With a theme of Connect, Relax and Create, the trio of rectangular structures invite busy individuals to pause, whether to send a text, to take a deep breath, or to have a conversation. The project explores “third places” that exist between home and work, a concept of growing importance as city dwellings get smaller and workers more mobile. The structures are constructed using materials familiar to agricultural architecture, with layers of transparent, corrugated polycarbonate diffusing light and providing surprisingly effective insulation from the sound of passing cars and buses. Airy aluminum roofs are perched on top of the clear structures, giving a glimpse of sky and surrounding buildings. The springy flooring was made from recycled playground material , adding another element of playfulness. Related: Three mini forests are popping up in the middle of London On hectic Old Street, the Connect Space is a slim corridor filled with conservatory plants. Wooden benches line the sides, inviting people to sit and chat, either spontaneously or pre-planned. The addition of a long dining table allows the space to be used for an intimate meal. The Relax Space is a vertical rectangle filled with potted plants and vines. Entering via the open underside, visitors can visually block out the outside world. Its location on Pitfield Street sets it next to one of L ondon’s new Cycle Superhighways , with wide cycle lanes providing a popular route for commuters and locals alike. The largest structure, the Create Space, features scores of plants around its exterior, with tiered stadium seating on the inside and USB ports for charging devices. Located in Charles Square, surrounded by residential buildings and concrete, it’s a welcoming, light-filled oasis. The use of potted plants was a deliberate choice, to both give the temporary structures a familiar, approachable feel and to examine the role of greenery in delineating zones of use. “We use plants as a tool to assert our personal space at its boundary with public space, whether on our desk at the office or at the perimeter of our home,” designer Asif Khan explains. Visitors and locals will be encouraged to take the potted plants home. Local horticulturalist Jin Ahn of Conservatory Archives , who selected the greenery for the project, and her team will be on hand to tell visitors about the plants and to help them select varieties to take home. People can also drop off plants they no longer want, to create another aspect of community exchange. Shoreditch has experienced rapid change in the past couple of years, with tech start-ups in the so-called Silicon Roundabout and student housing bringing new people into the area. The designers hope that the MINI Living “Forests” will provide an additional opportunity for visitors, newcomers and long-time residents to share space and connect in a rapidly changing city. + London Design Festival + Asif Khan

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Asif Khan and MINI created calming forest oases in busy London

Benoy’s new masterplan for Abu Dhabi park features a sheltered "urban forest"

September 14, 2016 by  
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Architecture firm Benoy released first images of their design for Abu Dhabi’s amazing Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Park. The renovation master plan, expected to be completed by 2018, will feature a sheltered “urban forest”, a co-working hub, cycling tracks, play areas, fitness zones and a large amphitheater for performances and events. The park will transform the former Khalidya Ladies Park in  Abu Dhabi into a vibrant urban space and a mix of state-of-the-art features, activities and events. In addition to transformative spaces, the design will include a variety of sustainable features. It is expected to become a symbol of economic diversification and growth. Related: Benoy Architects Top Taiwan High Speed Rail’s Hsin Chu Station Mall with a Lush Green Roof “Benoy is fiercely proud of its expertise in drawing different communities together with spaces that disrupt the norm, surprise and delight and allow people to enjoy them in their own way,” said Paul Priest, Director and Head of Benoy’s MENA Studios. + Benoy Via World Architecture News

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Benoy’s new masterplan for Abu Dhabi park features a sheltered "urban forest"

Reykjavik lays out plan to be carbon neutral by 2040

September 14, 2016 by  
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Iceland’s capital has laid out some ambitious plans to become completely carbon neutral by the year 2040. By controlling urban sprawl , increasing public transportation, and shaping all forms of transit to run on green energy, the city will become a model for other global and local governments in creating a more sustainable future. “Cities play a key role in the fight against climate change. They can react quickly… and are more often than naught far more progressive than the world’s governments,” said Reykjavik Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson earlier this month. He claims his city is in a far better position to accomplish the points in his plan, seeing as their carbon emissions are already very low and their location is prime for green operation. Residents’ homes are already heated by geothermal energy and all of the city’s electricity is generated through hydroelectric power. Related: 6 ways Copenhagen plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025 One strategy of the new plan, according to Business Insider , is to increase the number of locals using public transportation from 4 percent to 12 percent, coupled with the task of converting all buses and cars to green energy within the next few decades. The goal of “urban densification” will be obtained by requiring 90 percent of new residential units to be built within city limits, which will, in turn, promote the use of mass transit and reduce carbon emissions. Via Business Insider Images via Flickr , Wikipedia

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Reykjavik lays out plan to be carbon neutral by 2040

INFOGRAPHIC: Why urban forests are essential to successful cities

January 20, 2015 by  
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It’s no secret that the world’s most beautiful urban spaces are almost always lined with trees. However, urban forests offers far more than just beautification benefits—trees do wonders for air purification , water management, reduced energy consumption, and more. Jarrimber details the many advantages of urban forestry and why restoring and expanding the forests in our cities should be a major priority. Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Why urban forests are essential to successful cities Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: infographic , Jarrimber , reader submitted content , Trees , urban forestry , urban forests , urban trees

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INFOGRAPHIC: Why urban forests are essential to successful cities

Boeing, Etihad, GE and MIST to build world’s first aquaculture and biofuel plant at Masdar City

January 20, 2015 by  
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Biofuels have a bad reputation for eating up precious land and water resources, as well as pilfering food from the world’s hungry. But a groundbreaking new bioenergy pilot plant at Masdar City , Abu Dhabi’s growing clean energy hub and research institute, is pioneering a new paradigm. This desert plant that will be irrigated with seawater, will make bioenergy and food production harmonious — perhaps for the first time in history. Read the rest of Boeing, Etihad, GE and MIST to build world’s first aquaculture and biofuel plant at Masdar City Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: abu dhabi , aviation fuel , aviation industry , bioenergy , biofuel and food , biofuels , desert , fish , food in the desert , food security , growing food with seawater , halophytes , mangroves , Masdar , masdar institute , Middle East , S.H.R.I.M.P. , salt-tolerant plants , SBRC , seawater , water scarcity

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Boeing, Etihad, GE and MIST to build world’s first aquaculture and biofuel plant at Masdar City

Harry Potter fans succeed in push for fair trade chocolate treats

January 20, 2015 by  
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Some of the world’s biggest Harry Potter fans have gathered together for a sweet reason:  ethically sourced chocolate . The Harry Potter Alliance—an actual group of Hogwarts enthusiasts formed in 2005—has used its muscle to get Warner Brothers to review their standards for chocolate production. Thanks to the fans, Warner Brothers has guaranteed that all of their Harry Potter-themed chocolate treats will be 100 percent Fair Trade certified by 2015. Read the rest of Harry Potter fans succeed in push for fair trade chocolate treats Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: child labor , child labour , eco design , Ethical , ethical chocolate , ethically sourced chocolate , Ethically sourced products , Fair Trade , fair trade certified , Fair Trade certified chocolate , fair trade chocolate , fair trade chocolates , green design , Harry Potter , Harry Potter alliance , harry Potter chocolate , Harry Potter fans , JK Rowling , sustainable design

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Harry Potter fans succeed in push for fair trade chocolate treats

Solar Impulse route unveiled for first round-the-world flight powered by the sun

January 20, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Solar Impulse route unveiled for first round-the-world flight powered by the sun Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , “solar energy” , abu dhabi , Andre Borschberg , Betrand Piccard , emissions free flight , emissions free plane , fuel free flight , Masdar , solar aviation , solar impulse , Solar Impulse 2 , solar plane , Solar Power , Solar Powered Flight , solar powered plane , sun powered flight

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Solar Impulse route unveiled for first round-the-world flight powered by the sun

Study Finds US Urban Trees Provide Billions in Economic Value

May 13, 2013 by  
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Have you hugged a tree lately? If not, you might want to show your appreciation with a good squeeze. According to a recent state-by-state US Forest Service study, urban forests are responsible for storing 708 million tons of carbon. As an environmental service necessary to clean air and stabilize climate, this carbon sequestration has an estimated value of $50 billion. Each year, our leafy friends capture an additional 21 million tons of carbon to the tune of a $1.5 billion benefit. Led by Dave Nowak, the research was published in the journal, Environmental Pollution . Read the rest of Study Finds US Urban Trees Provide Billions in Economic Value Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: america , arbor day foundation , carbon , dave nowak , envrironmental pollution , eric greenfield , florida , georgia , massachussetts , north carolina , sequestration , texas , tom tidwell , Trees , urban forest , US , us forest service        

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Study Finds US Urban Trees Provide Billions in Economic Value

Toronto’s PwC Tower is a Smart Office Building with an 8,000-Square-Foot Urban Forest

June 29, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Toronto’s PwC Tower is a Smart Office Building with an 8,000-Square-Foot Urban Forest Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 18 York , Cisco , Green Real Estate , green roof , KPMB Architects , LEED gold , LEED Interiors , PwC Tower , rainwater retention , Smart+Connected Communities , toronto , urban forest

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Toronto’s PwC Tower is a Smart Office Building with an 8,000-Square-Foot Urban Forest

New Report Warns That Strawberry Prices Could Rise 84 Percent Without Bees in Britain

June 29, 2012 by  
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Bee eating honey on spoon via Shutterstock Strawberry-loving Brits may be in for a bit of a rude awakening according to a new report released by the University of Reading and charity Friends of the Earth. The study quantifies the fears we’ve been hearing about all over the world about what would happen if bee populations keep declining at their current pace, warning that without the help of the insects, strawberry prices could increase a startling 84 percent in the UK. To put those numbers into perspective, the study used the famous Wimbledon tennis tournament as an example, stating that a 10-strawberry basket would be sold at concession stands for the extremely unreasonable cost of £4.14 (or about $6.50) if the country continues to lose its bees . Read the rest of New Report Warns That Strawberry Prices Could Rise 84 Percent Without Bees in Britain Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bees , bees and strawberries , bees effect on strawberry prices , pollination , strawberries , strawberry price rise , strawberry prices , Strawberry Prices Could Rise Without Bees , Strawberry Prices Rise Without Bees , wimbledon strawberry prices

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New Report Warns That Strawberry Prices Could Rise 84 Percent Without Bees in Britain

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