SCAD students fight food insecurity in Georgia with organic farming and beekeeping

May 15, 2019 by  
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For a break from schoolwork, students at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) have been swapping their laptops for shovels and seedlings at SCAD Back40, the university’s new one-acre “farm.” Created as a legacy project to celebrate SCAD’s 40th anniversary, the agricultural initiative features a wide range of seasonal, organically grown crops as well as a growing apiary with 16 beehives actively managed by students. Produce is regularly donated to America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, with 1,000 units of leafy greens sent to the non-profit food back in the fall and winter quarters of 2018. Located in Hardeeville, South Carolina across the bridge from Savannah, Georgia, Back40 occupies rural land just a short drive from the bustle of cars and urban life. Back40 Project Manager Jody Elizabeth Trumbull oversees the agricultural initiative with the help of student volunteers from varying backgrounds, ranging from UX design to architecture. Because Back40 employs active crop rotation methods, soil management, companion planting and other natural growing methods —  organic certification is currently in progress — for producing seasonal crops, SCAD prefers to call the project a “farm” rather than a “garden.” The one-acre plot has the potential to grow up to five acres. While Back40 has yet to incorporate livestock and poultry, it does feature an apiary with 16 honey-producing hives and nearly 350,000 bees. Each hive can produce 80 to 100 pounds of honey. In addition to supporting the declining bee population, the apiary fits with SCAD’s image — the university’s mascot is the bee. To provide enough food for both managed and native bees, SCAD has planted a wide range of flowers to support both bee populations. When wild beehives are found on campus buildings, they are safely removed and relocated to the apiary. Related: SCAD artist turns recycled materials into giant puppets to revitalize a historic French village Back40 produced 1,000 units of kale, Brussels sprouts, radishes, shard, cardoon and three types of lettuce in the first two quarters of operation. Part of the yield is donated to America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia to help fight food insecurity, while the remaining produce is used at SCAD dining venues. As an educational tool for conservation, Back40 offers learning experiences not just for its students, but for local schools and organizations as well. In the future, the urban farm’s non-food commodity items will also be used in SCAD fine arts and design programs, such as the new business of beauty and fragrance program. + Savannah College of Art and Design Images via SCAD

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SCAD students fight food insecurity in Georgia with organic farming and beekeeping

This apartment building in Staten Island has a 5,000-square-foot urban farm

April 26, 2019 by  
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Along the waterfront on New York’s north shore, Staten Island Urby sits overlooking the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan . The millennial-friendly residential space includes 571 units, 35,000 square feet of commercial space and something a little unusual for an apartment complex: a massive urban farm. When it comes to innovation, the urban farm, also known as Rabbit’s Garden, incorporates bio-dynamic, bio-intensive and agro-ecological methods into its farming techniques. Rabbit’s Garden sells its variety of vegetables, herbs, microgreens and flowers to both CSA (“Community Supported Agriculture”) members and wholesale clients, but that’s not all it does. The urban farm is also a place for Urby residents and the larger Staten Island community to familiarize themselves with agriculture, a rare experience in a big city. The garden team provides educational workshops on everything from cooking and gardening to art, science and sustainability. Some of the events planned for 2019 include community volunteer days, a workshop on composting , farm dinners and cooking classes. Urby residents have the chance to use the produce in their own personal cooking, and local, on-site restaurants often use the fresh vegetables for seasonal dishes. Urby also sells produce at the weekly farmers market. Related: SUPERFARM design envisions an urban vertical farm that is energy self-sufficient The inspiration behind Urby combines the nature of apartment living with the personal touches of boutique hotel hospitality. Plenty of space and natural light with an abundance of communal areas and in-house culture teams that plan neighborly get-togethers further add to the hospitality aspect. The farm is one of these areas, and the cozy Urby kitchen and dining room is another. Along with these spaces, residents of the luxury apartment complex also enjoy amenities such as a fully-equipped gym, a heated saltwater pool, on-site dining options and outdoor spaces aimed at social interaction. Landscaped spots with Wi-Fi capability ensure that residents stay connected, while outdoor courtyards with fire pits and lounging space inspire social interactions and collective creativity. If residents are feeling a little more reclusive, there are plenty of comfortable spots throughout the property to curl up with a good book or get some work done without interruption as well. Rabbit’s Garden is run by farmer-in-residence Olivia Gamber, a longtime urban agriculture-enthusiast with a degree in Environmental Studies and years of community garden experience under her belt. Urby was created by real estate developer and hotelier David Barry, known for his contributions to the New York boutique hotel scene as both a developer and operator. Urby also has two other communities located in Jersey City and Harrison, New Jersey, and it plans to continue growing the collection of complexes in the future. + Urby Images via Urby

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This apartment building in Staten Island has a 5,000-square-foot urban farm

Something delicious is growing in the ‘sustainability underground’

April 10, 2018 by  
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A tour of a revolutionary and bountiful urban garden 100 feet below the streets of London.

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Something delicious is growing in the ‘sustainability underground’

MVRDV transforms an abandoned highway into a "plant village" in the sky

May 23, 2017 by  
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Architectural superstars MVRDV have transformed an abandoned highway in Seoul into a 983-meter-long elevated Skygarden. The “plant village” is located high above traffic, and it welcomes visitors to stroll through 24,000 indigenous trees and shrubs. Dutch firm MVRDV  was tasked with turning a 1970s-era highway into a space that would not only add greenery to the city, but would make the area more pedestrian friendly. The design is called Seoullo 7017 is Korea, which means “Seoul Street,” combined with 1970 and 2017, the years the highway was built and the year it was renovated. The park contains more than just the garden walkway itself. Along the way are tea houses, shopes, galleries, a theater and restaurants. Former on and off-ramps were converted into stairs, elevators and ramps to get on and off the garden superhighway. Plants are organized on the Skygarden in different families. These families are grouped by the Korean alphabet. This naturally led to splitting the Skygarden into different groupings of fragrance and color, providing visitors with a different experience depending on the season and area of the garden . At night, the Skygarden is illuminated with blue light, which is healthier for the plants. Related: Philadelphia Unveils Their Own Elevated Rail Park for the Abandoned Reading Viaduct “Our design offers a living dictionary of plants which are part of the natural heritage of South Korea and now, existing in the city center,” said Winy Maas of MVRDV. “The idea here is to connect city dwellers with nature, while at the same time also offering the opportunity of experiencing these amazing views to the Historical Seoul Station and Namdaemun Gate.” + MVRDV via ArchDaily and Dezeen images via Ossip van Duivenbode

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MVRDV transforms an abandoned highway into a "plant village" in the sky

Elon Musk reveals boring tunnels are for Hyperloop

May 23, 2017 by  
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Cleantech pioneer Elon Musk wants you to drive a Tesla electric car or truck, power your home with SolarCity solar panels and store renewable electricity with Tesla Powerwall battery packs. Oh yeah, he also wants to zip you from DC to NYC in less than 30 minutes via Hyperloop pods that can reach speeds of more than 600 miles per hour racing through evacuated tubes. Now Musk has revealed that part of the reason he started The Boring Company , besides finding a solution for LA’s “soul-destroying traffic,” is to launch and test Hyperloop by using his new Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) to dig underneath the City of Angels . “Fast to dig, low cost tunnels would also make Hyperloop adoption viable and enable rapid transit across densely populated regions, enabling travel from New York to Washington DC in less than 30 minutes,” the company’s new FAQ page states regarding its specific goals, adding that “the electric skate can transport automobiles, goods, and/or people. And if one adds a vacuum shell, it is now a Hyperloop Pod which can travel at 600+ miles per hour.” Related: Elon Musk’s Boring Company video envisions underground LA as a crazy slot car race The FAQ page mentions that The Boring Company aims to fix congestion in major cities by building an underground network of road tunnels “many levels deep” with the ability to keep adding levels. The key to making this work would be “increasing tunneling speed and dropping costs by a factor of 10 or more.” Costs would be mitigated by reducing the tunnel diameter, which the site claims can be accomplished by placing vehicles on a “stabilized electric sled.” Speeding up tunneling is another way to reduce costs, with the stated goal for the TBM to defeat the snail in a race. Hyperloop One has already built a full-scale test track at the company’s development site in Nevada. Countries from India to South Korea  to the United Arab Emirates  to Russia  have expressed interest in Hyperloop technology. It is clear that the race to build the first Hyperloop rapid transit system is underway and similar to his other ventures, Musk is eager to take the lead. + The Boring Company + Hyperloop One Via Archinect Images via The Boring Company

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Beautiful Greenhouse from Bangkok is a miniature garden you can bring inside

November 18, 2016 by  
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“Greenhouse is a product of our stay in Sweden,” Worapong Manupipatpong told Design House Stockholm . “When we were living in Sweden we felt the need to get closer to nature and to make room inside our dwelling for the nature that surrounds us.” Worapong told Inhabitat that the design is related to the studio’s previous work and interests, which straddles the line between art and design. They wanted to create something that people would be required to cherish. Unlike similar indoor gardens, Greenhouse requires a tender touch, a green thumb, and loving care. Related: IKEA’s miniature greenhouse lets anyone create their own garden inside MoMA has exclusive rights to sell the design for the rest of 2016. It can either be placed on a countertop or on custom legs that are sold separately. The frame is comprised of lacquered solid ash timber , and the garden is cultivated inside a galvanized steel tray. Panes of glass protect the entire Greenhouse, which can be accessed from either side with double hatches. Measuring 38h x 24w x 16″d, Greenhouse is small enough for even tiny apartments , but large enough to create some serious botanical magic. It’s not cheap, but bear in mind that two trained artists crafted the design by hand, and they deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. It’s still a bit early to talk about the holidays, but this would make a great gift if you’re looking. Just sayin’. + Atelier 2+ + Design House Stockholm

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Beautiful Greenhouse from Bangkok is a miniature garden you can bring inside

This reverse pyramid is a green urban community in the skies of Paris

October 25, 2016 by  
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The 127 residential units on the top of this bold building may be the world’s first village built out of bio-based materials. It is an inhabited natural ecosystem, where the apartments are surrounded by nature while being in the center of the French capital. While the roof of the Mille Arbres comprises a sustainable community in the middle of forest, the street level of the building is an urban park. Conceived as a work of land art, the park features a characteristic topography that lifts up or slopes down to provide convenient access throughout. Among other things, this landscape offers the experience of a real forest ecosystem. Managed by the Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux (League of the Protection of Birds), it will also be a place for classes and workshops. Related: Sou Fujimoto’s latest masterpiece in Japan spreads its branches like a real tree Fujimoto’s Mille Arbres will also include La rue Gourmande , an inner street and food court designed by Philippe Starck . In addition to housing and a food court, Mille Arbres will include a 4-star hotel with 250 rooms, over 27,000 square meters of office space, an ultra-modern integrated bus station, and a kindergarten with a large covered playground. The Thousand Trees project will rise above the ring road of Paris , absorbing pollution created by the traffic below and bridging the border that currently divides the inner and outer parts of Paris. Mille Arbres is the winner of the three-stage open competition Réinventer Paris . Its construction is expected to be completed by 2022. + Sou Fujimoto Images via SFA+OXO+MORPH

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This reverse pyramid is a green urban community in the skies of Paris

Solar-powered EcoPods are flat-packed tiny homes with a low environmental footprint

October 25, 2016 by  
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“We recognize a window of opportunity to develop a network of pop up eco-resorts using locally-sourced materials , skills and resources to provide high quality, environmentally and economically sustainable tourist accommodation,” Shenton told Inhabitat. Related: Popup modular garden pods that can be erected anywhere Fabricated with a sustainable soft wood, the tiny pods are comprised of solar-powered kits that can be flat-packed for easy shipping. Designed to be shipped anywhere in the world, they are easily erected by three people. Stenton said an entire off-grid eco resort can be constructed in a very short space of time. For now, he has teamed up with several landowners to develop a local network of these tiny resorts complete with electric transportation, bicycles, e-bikes for sustainable movement. Six resorts are in the planning stage, and the first pilot is expected to open in Spring, 2017. “Our pods also lend themselves to any number of other uses, for leisure, hospitality, disaster relief ,” said Shenton. “Our target legacy will be to create a viable export business for the Azores as we send our EcoPods to the many other geographical locations in need of fast, affordable and sustainable accommodation.” + TADA

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Solar-powered EcoPods are flat-packed tiny homes with a low environmental footprint

Record-breaking CO2 levels mark a new era in the worlds climate

October 25, 2016 by  
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Environmentalists around the world winced when global CO2 levels surged past 400 parts per million for the first time in recorded history in 2014. Now, it looks like that record is the new normal, as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) believes 2016 will be the first full year to exceed the 400 ppm benchmark, in large part due to this year’s strong El Niño event. While CO2 emissions remained relatively static between 2014 and 2015, El Niño’s onset caused a dramatic carbon spike in the atmosphere. Due to the drought conditions it caused in tropical regions, vegetation was less able to soak up excess CO2. And that’s to say nothing of the carbon emissions from wildfires sparked by the dry weather. Though the extreme El Niño has passed, scientists expect the spike in CO2 levels to last for “many generations” to come. That’s terrifying – especially when you realize that the last time CO2 levels were regularly above 400 ppm was three to five million years ago. Prior to 1800 and the advent of industrialization, atmospheric levels averaged closer to 280 ppm, according to NOAA. Related: Highest CO2 concentrations on record comprise Earth’s new “permanent reality” The weather conditions that led to this new record have ended, but the damage we’re continuing to do to our environment is ongoing. The WMO argues that unless carbon emissions are dramatically slashed, humanity is likely to blow past the 2-degree global temperature rise that most scientists agree is necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the organization, believes the new milestone is a wake-up call of sorts, and that “It is therefore of the utmost importance that the Paris Agreement does indeed enter into force well ahead of schedule on 4 November and that we fast-track its implementation.” We can only hope his warnings are taken into account when the 200 nations that have signed the Paris agreement meet in Morocco next month to discuss the next steps forward. Via BBC Images via Xenja Santarelli and The Power of Voice  

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Record-breaking CO2 levels mark a new era in the worlds climate

Plantereo is a self-watering planter that can be converted into a terrarium

June 16, 2016 by  
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When Pratt student Richenna King moved from the sunny Philippines to an apartment in Brooklyn to study Industrial Design, she longed for the expansive garden space she had back home. It is a common challenge among city-dwelling gardening enthusiasts to grow their plants in confined living spaces. With the help of her creative partner, Vic Sison, they developed Plantereo , an intelligently designed and easy-to-use self-watering planter made of satin glazed ceramic and glass. By stacking the ceramic pot on top of the glass holder and filling it with water, your plant will sustain itself for up to five days without watering. Invert the glass holder onto the ceramic pot, and Plantereo instantly transforms into a warm and humid terrarium — great for sprouting seeds and growing plants like Venus Flytraps and miniature ferns. Plantereo’s crowdfunding campaign is currently live on Kickstarter . + Plantereo

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