City of Telosa enlists Bjarke Ingels Group for urban utopia

September 21, 2021 by  
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A plan for the world’s most sustainable city has been designed and is expected to welcome its first residents by 2030. Proposed for construction in an undecided desert location in the United States, the city of Telosa is estimated to cost $400 billion and accommodate a population of 5 million. Planned to span 150,000 acres, the city’s design infuses eco-friendly construction with technology to create an urban environment based on the needs of its residents. Telosa will address inequitable aspects of current society, including poor or limited access to healthcare, education and housing. It seeks to eliminate the barriers that hinder growth to create a self-sustaining society. In fact, the name Telosa comes from the Greek word telos, a word coined by Aristotle to express “highest purpose,” encouraging citizens to reach their true potential. Related: Arplan envisions a new, green City Oasis for Latvia Marc Lore, an American billionaire, former Walmart CEO and well-known investor, envisioned this urban utopia. Lore is now focusing his efforts on developing Telosa to ensure a sustainable and equitable future for its residents, making it a model for other cities. He states that the three core values Telosa embodies are being open, fair and inclusive. He aims to combine the best components of pre-existing cities to make Telosa successful. These qualities include the diversity of New York, the cleanliness of Tokyo, and the social services of Stockholm , among others. Lore plans to focus the city on its citizens and allow it to be structured on the notion of what he calls “equitism,” an economic system where residents have shared land ownership. This has been inspired by the works of Henry George, an economist and social theorist that highlighted the flaws of capitalism, particularly regarding land ownership in the United States. Internationally renowned Bjarke Ingels Group ( BIG ) designed the master plan for Telosa. A 15-minute city model will allow residents to access public spaces including school, work and recreation within 15 minutes of their homes. Plant-covered buildings and open spaces encouraging gathering weave between the pedestrian-friendly streets. These parks feature endemic plant species and reservoirs that store the city’s water. Reaching for the sky, Telosa’s central skyscraper, known as the Equitism Tower, will also take advantage of sustainable systems. It will feature elevated water storage, a photovoltaic roof and aeroponic farms that cultivate plants without using soil by spraying their roots with nutrient solutions. Meanwhile, underground systems will transport goods and dispose of waste. + City of Telosa Via CNN Renderings by Bjarke Ingels Group

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City of Telosa enlists Bjarke Ingels Group for urban utopia

Coral reef capacity has declined by 50% since the 1950s

September 21, 2021 by  
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A recent study published by  One Earth  has revealed the troubled state of coral reefs globally and their impact on the ecosystem. The researchers established that the coral reefs’ capacity to offer ecological services relied upon by humans has declined by 50% since the 1950s. The study, conducted by the University of British Columbia, found that coral reefs offer key ecological services such as food provision and protection from storms and floods. It was determined that human activities such as overfishing, climate change and habitat destruction were responsible for the declining state of the corals. The study offers the first comprehensive look at how these human activities affect coral reefs’ ability to provide essential benefits and services to humans. Related: NOAA report shows climate change is killing Florida’s coral reefs Lead author Dr. Tyler Eddy, a research associate at the UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF), said that coral reefs must be protected. “It’s a call to action – we’ve been hearing this time and time again from fisheries and biodiversity research,” Eddy said. “We know coral reefs are biodiversity hotspots. And preserving biodiversity not only protects nature, but supports the humans that use these species for cultural, subsistence and livelihood means.” Researchers analyzed decades of coral reefs trends using data from various surveys and studies. According to senior author Dr. William Cheung, professor and director of IOF, “This study speaks to the importance of how we manage coral reefs not only at regional scales, but also at the global scale, and the livelihoods of communities that rely on them.” Researchers also noted significant drops in fish catches. The study found that fish catches peaked in 2002 and steadily declined over the years. The catch per unit effort is now 60% lower than in 1950. Via Newswise Lead image via Pexels

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Coral reef capacity has declined by 50% since the 1950s

Sustainable office renovation in Barcelona earns LEED Gold

September 15, 2021 by  
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Designed by Sanzpont Arquitectura, this sustainable renovation completely transformed a 1970s office building in Barcelona,  Spain . The project, a new headquarters of the Naturgy Group, overcame several structural obstacles to achieve LEED Gold certification. The building includes a main facade with large windows for ample  natural light . A series of photocatalytic krion 3D modules also give the building the ability to purify the air. The south facade incorporates photovoltaic louvers to protect from the sun in the summer while generating clean energy. According to the designers, the louvers generate enough energy to power 1,562 points of light for four hours a day for up to 35 years. Related: This O-shaped tower will reduce solar gain by 52% The building also has a large portion of its roof dedicated to a  natural green space . Landscapers incorporated drought-tolerant native plant species that provide extra insulation, improve the microclimate and help reduce solar gain. How did the architects develop such a sustainable design? To start, they conducted a detailed study of the area’s climate and environment to determine the characteristics of the building and how it responds to its surroundings throughout the year. The project was also designed using the latest BIM cloud technology to create virtual models of architecture, engineering,  interior design  and the urban environment before bringing the project to fruition. One of the challenges presented to the designers was the existing structure’s insufficient pre-existing floor heights and deformed slabs. The original use for the building was limited to housing — with structural regulatory requirements far below that of modern constructions. The building was changed from housing to offices by modifying and eliminating patios and adding access ramps to the basements. New supports were added, such as an emergency staircase and a new foundation. At 7,000 square meters in size, the newly renovated building also uses  carbon fiber  to reinforce concrete slab ribs and pillars.  + Sanzpont Arquitectura  Images by Sergio Sanz (courtesy of Sanzpont)

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Sustainable office renovation in Barcelona earns LEED Gold

Mexico City oasis features terrace gardens on every floor

August 25, 2021 by  
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In a city otherwise characterized by dense populations, high altitudes and metropolitan buildings, Chiapas 168 Building represents a refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle. Located in the Roma district of Mexico City,  Mexico’s  largest and most populous city, this home has an exceptionally tropical feel to it thanks to bamboo wood materials and a grouping of terrace gardens on each level. The Mexico City oasis comes from the minds at Vertebral, a local architecture and  landscaping  studio that highlights designs to bring forested ambiance into the city. Rather than concentrating on the buildings themselves with landscaping as an afterthought, the company says they design gardens and build around them. Related: Aztec-inspired eco home sits lightly on the land in Mexico Chiapas 168 is made up of four residential apartments positioned adjacent to an ancient jacaranda tree, a subtropical plant native to south-central South America and brought to Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century. The building features steel planters that run along the balconies, disappearing between purple and jasmine flowers. The architects considered native organisms while designing the layout of the roof and terrace gardens to increase  biodiversity  within the city environment. The exterior of the building uses unpolished concrete and dark stained wood that is translated into the interior, invoking the design’s overall theme of integrating nature into the urban landscape. A core system of vertical circulations helps divide the apartment building’s communal areas from the private residences, connected by a stairwell made of bright pine wood. Unlike other apartment buildings where the stairwells are associated with dark, musty environments, the stairwell here is bathed in bright  natural light . A curtain of  bamboo  to the south protects the back garden from view while also filtering light and wind. Inside, wooden floor-to-ceiling shelving and paneled walls help create privacy without jeopardizing the apartment’s open planned layout in the communal area, complete with a kitchen, dining room and living room.   + Vertebral Via ArchDaily Images courtesy of Onnis Luke

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Garden City brings a breath of fresh air to urban Paris

August 6, 2021 by  
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The future of Paris will be focused on a greener, healthier future for the environment. Part of this plan focuses on the Bois de Vincennes, the city’s largest public park. It sits on the Lac des Minimes. The project, Garden City of the Crescent Moon, seeks to showcase what the design of the future can look like. How can environmentally-friendly concerns be integrated into urban design ? Garden City seeks to provide the answers to that question. Related: Experimental, ecological home is inspired by a tree in France Urban agriculture is a big part of the design. This is a method of using space to create growing areas for herbs , spices and vegetables. Urban agriculture not only improves soil quality but also reduces air pollution. Most importantly of all, it produces food. By providing spaces for farming and gardening within urban areas, the plan also provides opportunities for economic benefits. Produce, spices and other products harvested from these mini urban farms can become a source of supplemental income. Roof terraces and small urban greenhouses create space for urban agriculture and create a unique look. The design also includes spaces for housing, offices, sports facilities and areas for cultural activities. The distinct silhouette of the project overall is made to resemble the shape of canyons. The Garden City design follows the natural bend of the Lac des Minimes and its natural islands . In the Garden City, all yards, roofs and public spaces will be used for growing and livestock. In fact, cattle breeding and dairy production areas will be right in town at the heart of the action. Meanwhile, everyone will have the chance and the space to grow all sorts of commodities, including corn, beans and herbs. This design shows how urban environments can become more eco-friendly and self-sustaining in the future. How can urban agriculture spaces like this impact society, climate and health? This project can serve as a case study to help answer these questions. The plan is a design created by architecture firm Rescubika. The firm describes Garden City as “created by man for man” and says it will improve the urban landscape by “adapting it to our new way of living in the city.” Via DesignBoom Images via RESCUBIKA Creations

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Upper Los Angeles River Plan wins award for inclusive, sustainable design

August 4, 2021 by  
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The influential Upper Los Angeles River and Tributaries Revitalization Plan (ULART) has earned the prestigious global 2021 AZ Award from Azure Magazine for its plan to “recalibrate natural urban waterways by deploying nature-based solutions to create new community space and help rectify decades of neglect.” In an international competition commissioned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), the ULART plan by Studio-MLA stood out for its comprehensive vision for 300-plus project site opportunities for the Upper Los Angeles River and its tributaries, taking the win in the Urban Design Visions category of the competition. The competition received over 1,200 project entries from 57 countries in the 10 designated categories. Related: Jiangyin urban development by BAU honors humans, history and the planet The design addresses the needs of underprivileged populations up and down the L.A. waterways and aims to reverse trends of paving natural spaces, instead planning for green beltways. “This integrated response to climate change via new green infrastructure , as well as the social infrastructure for renewed equity in cities, is urgently needed,” said AZ Award juror Marc Ryan of Toronto-based design firm Public Work. The ULART Plan is led by Los Angeles Councilmember Monica Rodriguez, Sarah Rascon of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority on behalf of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and Mía Lehrer from landscape architecture firm Studio-MLA. This combination of interests and skills culminated into a plan that supports local communities and the environment. “It was a privilege to lead this effort that begins to address environmental justice issues in communities that have historically suffered from underinvestment. The plan identifies over 300 opportunity sites for open-space amenities accessible to over 625,000 residents who live within a half mile of the river tributaries,” said Councilmember Rodriguez, the ULART Chair.  Rascon, environmental equity officer for MRCA, said the team relied on input from a variety of local representatives of municipalities, community leaders, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and elected officials from throughout the Upper Los Angeles River watershed area. Delegates represented six cities throughout Los Angeles County, as well as dozens of Los Angeles city neighborhoods in the Upper Los Angeles River watershed . In addition to the contributions for human recreation, the plan works in conjunction with natural systems to address the historic droughts in the area. It includes the potential capture of 8,695 acre-feet of stormwater per year. Jan Dyer, principal and director of the Infrastructure Division at Studio-MLA said, “The ULART plan also provides over 1,000 miles of shaded green streets and trails, while preserving and enhancing over 6,000 acres of urban wildlife ecology.” + Studio-MLA Images by Studio-MLA and MRCA via v2com

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Sierra Nevada red fox to be listed as an endangered species

August 4, 2021 by  
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The Sierra Nevada red fox is to be listed as an endangered species following a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday. The slender, bushy-tailed fox is one of the rarest mammals in the U.S., and its population has been threatened since the 1970s. According to the federal wildlife officials, the population of the red foxes has dropped to just 40 in an area stretching from Lake Tahoe to the south of Yosemite National Park in California. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a ruling that the foxes in the part of the Sierra Nevada south of Tahoe are “in danger of extinction throughout all of its range”. While the agency has admitted not having a clear number of the remaining animals , it is estimated that just about 40 are left within their range in California. Related: Critically endangered bird found alive in Hawaii “While the exact number remains unknown and is also subject to change with new births and deaths , it is well below population levels that would provide resiliency, redundancy and representation to the population,” the agency said in a statement. Several threats have been identified as the main causes of declining numbers for the red foxes. Among them are wildfires, drought and competition in coyotes. They are also threatened due to increased breeding with non-native foxes. Another factor that has affected their population is climate change . About 20 years ago, some scientists declared the red fox extinct in the Sierra Nevada region; this changed when a small pack resurfaced in 2010. California banned the trapping of red foxes in 1974, a situation that has remained to date. There have been several attempts to get the Sierra Nevada red foxes recognized as endangered species in the past without success. The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the federal government to protect the animals in 2011 and filed a lawsuit in 2013 and 2019. In 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to have the foxes listed as endangered. The Sierra Nevada red fox is among the 10 North American subspecies of the red fox. With a small dog-like body, this red fox measures just 3.5 feet long and has long, pointed ears and a large tail. Via The Guardian Lead image via USFWS Pacific Southwest Region

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Green-roofed village shows a more sustainable way to build in post-disaster rural areas

October 24, 2017 by  
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When the 8.0-magnitude Sichuan Earthquake devastated China in 2008, nearly 5 million people were left homeless. Rural Urban Framework , a non-profit research and design collaborative, saw construction in the wake of disaster as an opportunity to improve the lives of rural villagers through new building typologies. Their recently completed project, Jintai Village, is a socially and environmentally sustainable prototype for earthquake reconstruction that combines rooftop farming, biogas technologies, denser living, and local materials in a self-sufficient community. Developed with support from the local government and NGOs, the Jintai Village Reconstruction project was created as an alternative to the hundreds of thousands of homes rebuilt after the 2008 earthquake and as “an investigation into modern rural livelihood.” Unlike most rural developments, this 4,000-square-meter project takes cues from denser urban living by placing buildings closer together with narrow alleys in between. The architects developed four housing types—varying in size, function, and roof sections—in their total of 22 houses united by their use of brick facades, concrete frameworks, and terraced roofs where villagers can grow food. Natural ventilation, rainwater harvesting systems, and insulation made of straw are built into the homes. Related: Eerie photos show nature swallowing up a Chinese village 7 years after an earthquake “By relating various programs of the village to an ecological cycle, environment responsiveness is heightened, transforming the village into a model for nearby areas,” said Rural Urban Framework to Dezeen . “Because the land available for house building is limited, the village combines dense urban living in a rural context.” The village also includes a concrete community center with space for growing vegetables on the roof. The humanitarian project was completed as part of the studio’s ongoing efforts to provide design services to charities and NGOs working in China . + Rural Urban Framework Via Dezeen Images by architects

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Green-roofed village shows a more sustainable way to build in post-disaster rural areas

America’s largest urban farm to be planted in Pittsburgh

September 19, 2017 by  
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Pittsburgh , once a site of heavy industry, could soon be home to the biggest urban farm in the United States. The 23-acre Hilltop Urban Farm will be located in the city’s Southside, an area underserved by supermarkets , where it could help supply nutritious, fresh produce to those who otherwise would have little access. Coal, steel, and manufacturing once boomed in Pittsburgh, until the city experienced an industrial decline in the 1950s. The healthcare industry has recently helped revive the city, but neighborhoods on Pittsburgh’s outer ring have yet to see a comeback. That’s where the Hilltop Alliance , the group behind the Hilltop Urban Farm, is working. The city is also home to the largest percentage of people living in areas with low-supermarket access for cities with 250,000 to 500,000 people, according to a 2012 report from the United States Department of the Treasury. Related: 20 kids transform a rough Pittsburgh neighborhood with solar art & charging station The Hilltop Urban Farm could offer an answer to the issues these Pittsburgh residents face. The farm will occupy space that was once filled with low-income housing – and according to Aaron Sukenik, Hilltop Alliance executive director, the land “was just kind of sitting there, fenced and looking very post-apocalyptic.” Soon it will be home to a farm where people will grow winter peas and other produce. There will be a fruit orchard, and an almost one-acre youth farm. There will be a 3.36-acre farmer incubation program, and a 57 plot community garden . There will also be a 3.31 community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm. Also part of the urban farm will be a 200-person events barn and a farm market building, where a seasonal farmer’s market will occur. According to the Hilltop Urban Farm Facebook page , green infrastructure, energy-efficient buildings, stormwater management , and native plants will be part of the design. Hilltop Urban Farm is slated to open in 2019. Via Reuters Images via Hilltop Urban Farm Facebook

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America’s largest urban farm to be planted in Pittsburgh

Dozens of Japanese cities and towns quietly go off-grid

September 19, 2017 by  
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Dozens of cities and towns in Japan have quietly shifted from traditional utility-based grid power system to a more local, resilient model of generating and storing energy where it is used. After significant damage caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, many Japanese municipalities rebuilt to be more equipped for the 21st century through the country’s National Resilience Program. The Program offers 3.72 trillion yen ($33.32 billion) in funding each fiscal year to be distributed to local communities seeking to become more self-reliant and locally empowered. “Since Fukushima , there has been a gradual elaboration of policies to realize that kind of local autonomy, local consumption paradigm,” said Andrew Dewit, a professor of energy policy at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. Although the Resilience Program was designed for recovering from and adapting to natural disasters, it has blossomed into a powerful tool in the fight against climate change . “At the time of the Great East Japan earthquake, we couldn’t secure power and had to go through incredible hardships,” said Yusuke Atsumi, a manager at HOPE, a utility created to service this new localized energy model. Under the old system, a “blackout at one area would lead to wide-scale power outages. But the independent distributed micro-grid can sustain power even if the surrounding area is having a blackout.” Related: Japan’s new mushroom solar farms produce sustainable energy and food In its recovery from the earthquake , which destroyed 75 percent of its homes and killed 1,100 of its residents, the city of Higashi Matsushima constructed micro-grids and decentralized renewable power generation that currently allows the city to produce 25 percent of its power needs without tapping into the main grid . Additionally, the city has installed batteries capable of storing enough energy to run the city for three days without access to the grid. “We are moving towards a day when we won’t be building large-scale power plants,” said Takao Kashiwagi, renewable energy luminary who serves as head of the New Energy Promotion Council and designed Japan’s first smart city . “Instead, we will have distributed power systems, where small power supply systems are in place near the consumption areas.” In light of the program’s success, the Japanese government seeks to increase funding for the Resilience Program by 24 percent in the next fiscal year. Via Reuters Images via Save the Children Canada/Wikimedia ,  DepositPhotos , and Pavel Ahmed/Flickr

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