3 Ways Urban Vegetable Gardens Make City Living Healthier

May 19, 2022 by  
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3 Ways Urban Vegetable Gardens Make City Living Healthier

Climate Islands brings nature and community into the city

May 17, 2022 by  
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Barcelona landscape and architecture firm SCOB created seven architectural-landscape “interventions” called Climate Islands. They created inviting, green urban environments in inner city spaces that help mitigate the effects of climate change. The Climate Islands are “an operation of ‘urban acupuncture’ that adds new layers to the pre-existing territory and urban intervention that requires a strategic urban vision and careful control of small-scale architecture ,” according to SCOB. Related: Cayman Island house design is sustainable all throughout What does this mean? SCOB is known for their urban architecture and public space “interventions.” These aim to change the way people interact with public spaces and bring nature back into cityscapes. The firm designs everything from buildings to public use furniture and skate parks. Now, these Climate Islands are a way to bring a bit of green back to public parks in a way that promotes wellness and reduces heat in urban spaces. Client Gerencia Urbanistica Port Vell hired SCOB to reimagine the areas closest to the sea around Port Vell. This is to create contact between the urban areas and the ocean . The idea was to integrate these spaces in the port for residents of the Gothic and Barceloneta neighborhoods , and give them a way to connect with the ocean. Furthermore, the final project consists of “islands” of palm trees and plantings. It is surrounded by wide seating areas for gatherings of people to sit and enjoy nature in the middle of the city. One platform is broad enough to host a picnic, a local band or any manner of public get-togethers. To top it all off, against the backdrop of the city on a promenade near the sea. Additionally, cooling mist fountains stand between the seating areas for residents on hot days. The net effect of these raised platforms and plantings create a plaza that is slightly out of the way of pedestrian traffic. Thereby, people can slow down, enjoy each other’s company or the view of the port and the boats coming and going. It all creates a green space to enjoy within a hot cityscape. + SCOB Photography by Adrià Goula

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Climate Islands brings nature and community into the city

AI art stands in the middle of Mexico City

May 4, 2022 by  
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In Mexico City , MIRA’s new urban concept Neuchatel Cuadrante Polanco explores art and wellbeing with a look at the possible future of the Nuevo Polanco area. It’s a real estate complex owned by Ivanhoe Cambride and developed by MIRA to center on mobility, art, urbanism, design, community and efficiency. The development will house Latin America’s first artificial intelligence work of art. “The Eye of Mexico” is an installation curated and produced by MASSIVart and created by studio Ouchhh. What is Neuchatel Cuadrante Polanco? It’s a mixed use complex designed to reflect the concept of community in a futuristic, sustainable way. Instead of just focusing on environmental sustainability, the city aims to make a positive impact on inhabitants through design. Related: California teenager invents AI-powered tool for early wildfire detection The development has an intertwining system of streets, blocks, plaza and recreation areas. It aims to restore a sense of belonging through an integrated, walkable urbanism. “The distinctive characteristics of our urban spaces contribute to the evolution of cities, guarantee them a future and offer quality time to those who live in them so that their daily lives are extraordinary,” said Roberto Pulido, CEO of MIRA. The heart of Cuadrante Neuchatel will be “The Eye of Mexico.” MIRA partnered with MASSIVart for this piece. They are a global creative public art consulting and production firm that aims to make art more accessible for cultural impact. Thereby, seeks to create experiences that result in stronger, more authentic connections between their clients and audiences. “Neuchatel Cuadrante Polanco is an extraordinary opportunity to provide a sustainable place to live, work, play, shop, eat and more. The project is attractive to people who seek a healthier work-life balance, and who want to stay connected with their community. We are delighted to collaborate with MIRA on this great project whose heart, ‘The Eye of Mexico ,’ highlights its modernity,” said Jorge Margain, managing director of Ivanhoe Cambridge Mexico. “The Eye of Mexico” will use artificial intelligence to express, through audiovisuals, a performance with data referring to the way in which the inhabitants of Mexico City move. This will convey to spectators the relationships that exist between art, science, technology , urbanism and mobility. + Neuchâtel Cuadrante Polanco Images via Neuchâtel Cuadrante Polanco , MIRA and MASSIVart

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AI art stands in the middle of Mexico City

PFAS could be reduced by Australian plants

May 3, 2022 by  
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New research  has found that Australian native rushes Phragmites australis ,  Juncus kraussii , and    Baumea articulata  could remove up to 53% of PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) contaminants from the environment. Conducted by researchers at the  University of South Australia , the study found that the once-popular chemicals could be removed from the environment cheaply by using these plants. The three weeds identified as having the potential to remediate PFAS were put to a test in contaminated waters. It was found that the common reed Phragmites australis removed up to 53% of legacy PFAS contaminants from the surface water. These findings provide the much-needed solution that could help remove chemicals from the environment. Related: Hemp is helping clean up PFAS chemicals in Maine PFAS chemicals were once hailed as revolutionary for their uses. They are used on nonstick pans, firefighting foam, and plenty of other products. Even today, some manufacturers still use PFAS in products, despite having been found to be harmful to the environment and human health. The  US Environmental Protection Agency  warns that PFAS could lead to a range of medical complications. Some of the medical issues associated with the chemicals include a decline in fertility, delayed development in children, a high risk of obesity , and weakened immune systems.    Dr. John Awad , one of the researchers, says that the new findings could go a long way in alleviating said risks. By using these plants, PFAS could be significantly sucked out of nature , leading to a cleaner environment for healthy living. “PFAS are often referred to as ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t break down, instead accumulating in the environment and in our bodies where they can cause adverse health effects,”Awad said. “In Australia, PFAS concerns often relate to the use of firefighting foam, especially legacy firefighting foam, which accumulates in the surface water of our waterways.” According to Awad, the reeds were found to be the most effective in removing PFAs from contaminated stormwater . “Our research tested the effectiveness of Australian rushes to remove PFAS chemicals from stormwater, finding that  Phragmites australis  was the most effective at absorbing chemicals through its roots and shoots,” Awad said. The study was done in partnership with the CSIRO and the University of Western Australia. The researchers used constructed floating wetlands where plants were grown hydroponically. According to Awad, the approach offers a better solution for the natural remediation of contaminated water bodies. “Constructed floating wetlands can be readily installed into existing urban environments, such as holding reservoirs and retention basins, making them highly maneuverable and adaptable to local waterways,” Awad said. Via NewsWise Image via Pexels

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Montreal building melds design with sustainable technology

April 22, 2022 by  
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The Ilot Balmoral is a 13-story mixed-use office building commissioned by the Societe d’Habitation de Montreal (SHDM). It lights up the Quartier des Spectacles in Downtown Montreal’s creative district as one of the final major developments in the area. “We proposed four visions of what an office building specifically designed for a cultural economy could look like, and Ilot Balmoral was selected to echo the very vibrant, dynamic nature of the district,” said Architect Claude Provencher, founding partner at Provencher Roy. “The Quartier des Spectacles is a cultural center of activity that is now almost complete in its revitalization and transformation of the urban fabric surrounding Place des Arts.” Related: LEED Gold HEC Montreal will house AI research Furthermore, Provencher Roy is an award-winning Canadian architecture firm. They focus on all forms of the built environment , integrating interior and exterior design with sustainable technology . From the outside, Ilot Balmoral is an almost perfect cube. It is wrapped in glass covered in a white frit pattern that controls thermal heat gain. The façade of the building doubles as a screen that can have images projected onto it. Additionally, the glass allows natural daylight into the structure. These components helped the building meet LEED Gold sustainability standards. Inside, the large red atrium curves diagonally through the center of the cube, creating an interior alleyway. This was to serve the site’s previous pedestrian flow, which moves between the Place des Arts metro station and Place des Festivals. The diagonal cut through the center of the building is marked on the outside by a red external fold visible against the smooth glass exterior. As a result, Ilot Balmoral looks to be a neighborhood unto itself, with interior passageways and a cohesive design that is simple and lovely at the same time. Moreover, the National Film Board of Canada agreed to be the building’s core tenant in order to modernize their facilities. Provencher Roy redesigned four floors of Ilot Balmoral to meet the technical requirements of the new tenant, including editing rooms and the latest in film equipment. Meanwhile, the main stairway lights the way to the Film Board’s offices. Also, pedestrian bridges connect the building’s interior offices with stunning views of the surrounding city. One side of the interior space is taller than the other, which features a green rooftop space for outdoor events. The building is a candidate for Gold LEED-NC Certification. + Provencher Roy Photography by Stéphane Brügger

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Montreal building melds design with sustainable technology

Montreal building melds design with sustainable technology

April 22, 2022 by  
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The Ilot Balmoral is a 13-story mixed-use office building commissioned by the Societe d’Habitation de Montreal (SHDM). It lights up the Quartier des Spectacles in Downtown Montreal’s creative district as one of the final major developments in the area. “We proposed four visions of what an office building specifically designed for a cultural economy could look like, and Ilot Balmoral was selected to echo the very vibrant, dynamic nature of the district,” said Architect Claude Provencher, founding partner at Provencher Roy. “The Quartier des Spectacles is a cultural center of activity that is now almost complete in its revitalization and transformation of the urban fabric surrounding Place des Arts.” Related: LEED Gold HEC Montreal will house AI research Furthermore, Provencher Roy is an award-winning Canadian architecture firm. They focus on all forms of the built environment , integrating interior and exterior design with sustainable technology . From the outside, Ilot Balmoral is an almost perfect cube. It is wrapped in glass covered in a white frit pattern that controls thermal heat gain. The façade of the building doubles as a screen that can have images projected onto it. Additionally, the glass allows natural daylight into the structure. These components helped the building meet LEED Gold sustainability standards. Inside, the large red atrium curves diagonally through the center of the cube, creating an interior alleyway. This was to serve the site’s previous pedestrian flow, which moves between the Place des Arts metro station and Place des Festivals. The diagonal cut through the center of the building is marked on the outside by a red external fold visible against the smooth glass exterior. As a result, Ilot Balmoral looks to be a neighborhood unto itself, with interior passageways and a cohesive design that is simple and lovely at the same time. Moreover, the National Film Board of Canada agreed to be the building’s core tenant in order to modernize their facilities. Provencher Roy redesigned four floors of Ilot Balmoral to meet the technical requirements of the new tenant, including editing rooms and the latest in film equipment. Meanwhile, the main stairway lights the way to the Film Board’s offices. Also, pedestrian bridges connect the building’s interior offices with stunning views of the surrounding city. One side of the interior space is taller than the other, which features a green rooftop space for outdoor events. The building is a candidate for Gold LEED-NC Certification. + Provencher Roy Photography by Stéphane Brügger

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Rice Love gives rice to families in need with each purchase

April 22, 2022 by  
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Rice Love strives to help end world hunger, increase education about poverty and recycle readily-available materials into beautiful and usable statement pieces.  Rice Love makes bags , backpacks, clothing and accessories. For each purchase, the company delivers one kilo (2.2 pounds) of rice to a family in India, the primary food in the country.  Related: This backpack is made from locally sourced cork and recycled materials The company was born out of a passion to do good for people and the environment . Founders Coney and Corbin came from strikingly different backgrounds, yet found a common desire after meeting in 2013. Coney was born into an extremely poor family in an area of India with few opportunities. After his father managed to send him to America for school, Coney felt an unquestionable draw to help his native countrymen upon his return to India.  On the other hand, Corbin was born in California . After some travel and work with the poor in South America, he ended up in Hawaii. From his home on the islands, he is passionate about helping those less fortunate. Now living in separate parts of the world, Coney and Corbin run their business on a global level. Meanwhile, each purchase provides a positive impact for families and workers in India.  Furthermore, the company organizes trips that include tours of India. There is an opportunity to meet the families and deliver the rice personally. Even without catching a flight, customers can connect with the families who benefit from their purchase. Each bag is adorned with an identifying tag. Thereby, customers enter the tag number on the website to see pictures and find out more about the family who received the rice. Providing this staple allows families in India to divert money away from food for things like medical care or education. In addition, Rice Love prioritizes Fair Trade material selections and employee treatment. For the bags, they buy burlap rice bags locally from India. The material is then recycled into unique handmade bags, each different from the next. The bags in the Recycled Collection are made from plant-based fibers, biodegradable and eco-friendly. “We have given over 50,000 kilos of rice,” Rice Love said. “There are an equal number of wanderers wearing our bags and sharing our story around the world . Our goal is to give 1 million kilos of rice by the end of 2024. We invite you to join the movement. Buy a bag. Feed a family.” + Rice Love  Images via Rice Love

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Rice Love gives rice to families in need with each purchase

3D printing is behind plans for futuristic Sunflower Village

March 28, 2022 by  
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During a time of mass exodus from urban areas and renewed interest in rural housing locations, Sunflower Village offers a sustainable construction solution and a sense of community. This design concept outlines a clean and efficient housing development created with 3D printing . Sunflower Village is the brainchild of architect Valentino Gareri, Steve Lastro of 6Sides, which specializes in technology and wellness, and leading real estate company Delos. As the name implies, the development is shaped like a sunflower with a central communal area and 19 surrounding houses. Related: 3D printing powers this plan for a carbon neutral cacao village Each of the single-level houses is 3D-printed, a process that influences the final shape of each home. Not dissimilar to the ways  brick  and wood have defined the shape of homes in the past, 3D printing lends Sunflower Village a futuristic and ultra-efficient design. The construction process, often wasteful and resource consumptive, is streamlined in Sunflower Village with a concrete-printer machine stationed in the center of the development. The massive machine stays in one place during the entire construction process, printing one house and then rotating to the next lot to print the neighboring house. In this way, the machine can print all 19 houses with  minimal site impact .  While the construction process earns points for thoughtful  waste  reduction, each home is additionally shaped for efficiency. Angled roofs optimize the homes for solar and rainwater collection. The design faces the sun like a sunflower uses photovoltaic frameless tiles for cladding the roofs.  Renewable energy  through solar power makes each home self-sustaining, collecting enough to power floor-heating systems, air-conditioning and electric car chargers. The rainwater harvested from the roof is diverted to a storage tank and subsequently used for toilets and irrigation.  Windows offer views of the surrounding countryside as well as natural light and ventilation for  energy efficiency .  A press release for the project reports, “Each home is fitted with DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence by Delos, the world’s first holistic in-home wellness platform that is designed to passively enhance human health and well-being through air purification, water filtration and lighting that mimics natural daylight.” The sunflower design also aims to minimize car dependency and the need for roads. Instead, the village favors traveling by foot or bicycle .  The designers hope the concept will appeal to developers around the world as a solution for community connection outside the urban  environment . They report the design could act as a template for other town facilities such as hospitals, schools, government offices or recreational areas.  “Architecture has the power to create places that don’t exist yet, but in our dreams. ‘Sunflower’ is the model of the city we dream for tomorrow,” said Valentino Gareri. + Valentino Gareri Atelier Via 3DNatives   Images via Denis Guchev 

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Green roofs cover this sustainable school in Prague

March 11, 2022 by  
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Architecture firm XTOPIX has won first prize in an architectural competition for the design of Komo?any Elementary School in Prague. The school utilizes green roofs, rainwater capture and recycled materials to build a unique facility that follows the grade of a sloping property in a natural area. The engineering of the new school building was handled by AED, with landscape done by Land05. Landscaping was important in this school’s layout because the building follows a northern sloping plot adjacent to a forest at the edge of Prague . “We perceive the plot as a connecting transition between the forest and the new public infrastructure,” the designers said, “a transition between the wild and the cultivated.” The structure follows the slope of the plot, connecting floors of the building to the corresponding height levels of the surrounding terrain and nearby streets. Related: Cranbrook School teaches environmental stewardship “Three volumes with the same footprint are set on top of each other, cascading towards the forest and therefore creating the residential roofs,” XTOPIX stated. “We place the school as close to the eastern edge of the plot as possible. Towards the northwest, we create a recessed entrance corner. By doing so we define the gathering place under the oaks for pupils – a school piazzetta made of coloured permeable concrete , which allows chalk drawing and children’s games.” At the site’s western border, the architects created a green strip with a school garden . Inside the lobby on the main floor, there are various levels of planted spaces. The highest part of the school is closest to the forest and contains classrooms and sports facilities. This area has a separate entrance near a series of green roofs atop the school. Even the sports field and gymnasiums are located on a grade with one above the other. The architects used recycled plastic KLP panels for the building facade, which is maintenance-free and recyclable. Another building material is of Czech invention and called Rebeton. It’s a recycled concrete that uses building rubble and nano-mixtures instead of natural aggregate. Another sustainable element, rainwater management, supports the drainage of the sloping property to a nearby stream. “The landscape is conceptually designed to contrast between the natural area around the school and on the rooftops with the urban character of the entry area,” the designers said. “Komo?any is located on the border between the open countryside and the city, where the forest is the greatest natural feature of the area…In terms of species, we work with the natural vegetation of oak groves, which represent domestic oaks, hornbeams and babyka maple.” + XTOPIX Visualizations by Jan Drška

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Green roofs cover this sustainable school in Prague

These electric homes are 50% more efficient than average

February 22, 2022 by  
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Developer House by Urban Splash recently announced peer-reviewed research showing that the company’s fully electric Town House design is up to 50% more energy efficient than the average new-build home. Built in several U.K. cities, these efficient electric homes show homebuilders and designers what’s possible for sustainable and affordable modern homes. The project comes on the heels of the U.K.’s new energy cap announcement. House by Urban Splash creates unique rowhouses, townhomes and apartments. All the homes have large windows, tall ceilings and other high-end finishes. These houses have been built in U.K. cities such as Cambridge , Manchester, Birmingham, Birkenhead and Warrington. Related: Surf without wind or waves with this electric hydrofoil board “House is new kind of modern housebuilder,” the House by Urban Splash website states. “We make beautiful, configurable, design-led homes, where space and natural light are a priority. We work with some of the best architects in the country and use sustainable Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to create distinctive new neighbourhoods built around character, green spaces and a sense of community.” Architects for Urban Splash include George Clarke and RIBA award winners shedkm and Proctor & Matthews, among others. Urban Splash has won awards from the National Housing Design Awards in 2020, the Pineapple Awards in 2019, the Offsite Awards 2019, the WhatHouse? Awards 2018, and the Sunday Times British Homes Awards 2018. Described as “a blueprint for a sustainable future” by Clarke, the fully electric Town House also exceeds all carbon reduction targets. In a peer-reviewed report, House by Urban Splash’s Town House was found to emit 20% less carbon than best practice targets. Further, sustainable timber reportedly helps the Town House construction process emit 70% less carbon than the average building. Future Lab, House by Urban Splash’s in-house research facility, still seeks to reach more sustainable benchmarks. As Future Lab director Suzy Jones said, “By making small changes and committing to offset emissions , Town House can be delivered as a Zero Carbon ready home.” + Urban Splash Images via Urban Splash

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