“Soon after reporting on the 2010 BP oil spill, Naomi Klein discovered that she was pregnant – and miscarried. Was there a connection? She looks at the 'greenwashing' of big business and its effects”
Via Raphael Souchier
Earlier this month O'Reilly Media founder Tim O'Reilly founder posted on Google+ about the United Kingdom's "digital design principles." In the spirit of our latest design issue, MAKE founder Dale Dougherty wondered what a set of making principles...
For many, aerial mass transit--either by way of tram or gondola--is an idea best left to ski resorts and World’s Fairs.
But for a growing number of urban planners and designers, aerial transit represents an alternative for cities where traditional transit options are limited. At PSFK’s recent conference in San Francisco, Frog Principal Designer Michael McDaniel unveiled an ambitious plan called the Wire, which proposes a network of gondolas over Austin, Texas.
McDaniel and his team imagine a system of detachable gondolas connecting neighborhoods throughout the city, making it possible for cyclists and pedestrians to “hop” over particularly congested areas. “The big advantage here is the detachable part which means more gondolas can be added during rush hour and removed in non-peaks times,” he tells Co.Design.
After looking at precedents--like dedicated bus lanes and Portland, another city whose aerial tram has been a huge success--the design team took to Austin’s streets, interviewing locals about their transit experiences...
<Start from scratch, with a small group of people who fully uynderstand the process and its goals, and are eager to dedicate themselves to creating an EcoVillage according to the basic format of the experiment.>
Take a ride on this floating roundabout for cyclists, in the Netherlands of course.
Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians all compete for space and safety on the streets of the world’s cities and suburbs. It’s a contentious coexistence, and the ultimate form of respect for any road user is properly designed infrastructure that allows that a person to travel with comfort and safety. In the United States, it’s clear who gets real respect (and infrastructure spending) on a regular basis- that would be the people driving cars.
Drivers have specialized facilities in abundance – take the Interstate Highway System. Pedestrians are more often an afterthought in American road design, although in some communities they are afforded crosswalks and signals designed with varying degrees of sophistication (leading pedestrian intervals, countdown clocks, etc.). And cyclists have a small but growing number of bike lanes – which are more comfortable and useful if they are separated from cars by more than just a stripe of paint. But paint is usually all cyclists get...
So what does real respect for bicyclists look like in practice? Well, one manifestation is the graceful new Hovenring, a "floating" bicycle roundabout that opened recently in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Suspended above the roadway, the roundabout gives bikers a completely separated route over the highway. The roundabout is also lovely to look at, with a central column designed to be a beacon indicating the entrance to the community....
Ford Motor Company is mapping out a strategy to address the requirements for personal mobility in the context of the megatrend of increasing global urbanization, both in mature economies as well as in emerging markets. If Ford thinks of itself as a mobility company, rather than just an auto company, said Ford Chairman Bill Ford at the recent, second annual “Go Further with Ford” trend conference, “that really opens up possibilities.”
If you’ve ever been to Manhattan and gazed at the magnificent skyline, you may have noticed that most of the buildings are topped with huge wooden water tanks.
I lived there for 2 years before they were pointed out to me on a boat cruise around the island. It turns out that they aren’t ancient relics from the past, but are actually still used today on all buildings over six stories throughout the 5 boroughs. They use gravity to provide water pressure. Just as these crucial devices have gone unnoticed by many, so has the water crisis that we are facing today.
A non-profit, Word Above the Street has taken on a project to bring awareness to our Earth’s most precious resource: fresh water. The Water Tank Project will reshape the city’s skyline as artists and public school children decorate the tanks with original water-conservation themed artwork. The wrapped tanks will be up for 3 months in the Spring of 2013 for the world to see, hopefully inspiring other major cities to do the same...
The Ambitious Cykelslangen by DISSING+WEITLING enables Copenhagen's vision to become the best cycling city in the world by the end of 2015.
The 235-meter-long orange snake meanders 5.5 meters high above sea level from Havneholmen through the mall Fisketorvet, ending at Kalvebod Brygge. This “snake” is actually a ramp and a bridge, called the “Cykelslangen — The Bicycle Snake,” that provides more than 12,000 bicyclists with a safe route through this busy district every day.
The architecture firm DISSING+WEITLING was asked to design a ramp to replace a nearby staircase. Instead of just designing a simple ramp, they went a step further and designed a bridge. The result is a destination and focal point that can be seen for miles from the air and has also completely transformed the area for all who enjoy it.
Converting algae to biofuel could be a sustainable solution to the need for liquid fuel in the United States, according to U-M researchers. Scientists in the chemical engineering department are working to create an effective method for converting the plant, which can be harvested continuously and grown in any water condition.
Savage's ocean-going organism of choice is the green marine micro-alga of the genus Nannochloropsis. To make their one-minute biocrude, Savage and Julia Faeth, a doctoral student in Savage's lab, filled a steel pipe connector with 1.5 milliliters of wet algae, capped it and plunged it into 1,100-degree Fahrenheit sand. The small volume ensured that the algae was heated through, but with only a minute to warm up, the algae's temperature should have just grazed the 550-degree mark before the team pulled the reactor back out. Previously, Savage and his team heated the algae for times ranging from 10 to 90 minutes. They saw their best results, with about half of the algae converted to biocrude, after treating it for 10 to 40 minutes at 570 degrees.
The cities of the future will have waste-to-energy plants, not shopping malls or churches, at their center, according to urban designer Mitchell Joachim of Terreform ONE.
At DLD Cities in London, he said "cities have centers that celebrate previous centuries -- in Europe, the cities celebrated spirituality, with cathedrals. After some time, the cathedrals became downtown cores- and celebrations of capitalism and commercialism".
The cities of the future will celebrate "the belief of what keeps us alive" - or elements of the city that make our lives better.
Terreform ONE, a green design company in Brooklyn, explores biohacks for the ecological issues facing modern cities. For instance, the waste New York City produces every hour weighs as much as the Statue of Liberty - in the future that waste could be recompacted into building blocks, or recycled "bales". Looking beyond recycling, though, it would be even better to create a city which didn't produce waste in the first place...
That means growing thousands of homes -- building a new suburb could involve twisting, pruning and manipulating large trees into the frames of buildings. "There would be no difference between the home and nature -- it would be something that would be a positive addition to the ecology," explained Joachim.
For more information on these innovative concepts, including biomimicry and new green technology proposals for future cities, stop by to read the complete article and visit referenced links on urban sustainability...
Cities worldwide are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of and opportunities created by an investment in bicycle infrastructure.
This is particularly true in Australia, with the various states and cities updating their biking networks to cater to a growing need for automobile-alternative transport means. After completing Stage One of the Melbourne Bicycle Plan, the Victorian capital is following in the footsteps of iconic European cycling cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam in moving towards developing a more bike-friendly metropolitan area. The first stage of the plans ran from 2007 until 2011 and focused heavily on making initial networking upgrades and developing the foundations for new cycling infrastructure. The key focuses of that development stage were setting the groundwork for safe networks and developing greater communication with the cycling community.
Now, moving forward with the Draft Bicycle Plan for 2012 – 2016, the city’s commitment to providing ‘safe and connected bicycle routes’ has been further solidified. According to The City of Melbourne, cyclists’ activities are expected to grow to make up six per cent of all trips to and within the city by 2016. This will account for 15 per cent of inner city peak traffic. Now that the foundations have been set, city council hopes to build on them with the influence and inclusion of ‘cycling innovation’ standing as the next major goal...
Dutch people aren't born knowing the rules of the road. They're taught from an early age.
Bicycling is such an integral part of life in the
What’s kind of wonderful is the way that they learn.
It’s not just a matter of going to the park with a parent, getting a push, and falling down a bunch of times until you can pedal on your own. Dutch children are expected to learn and follow the rules of the road, because starting in secondary school – at age 12 – they are expected to be able to ride their bikes on their own to school, sometimes as far as nine or 10 miles.
Because this independent travel for children is valued in Dutch society, education about traffic safety is something that every Dutch child receives. There's even a bicycle road test that Dutch children are required to take at age 12 in order to prove that they are responsible cycling citizens...
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