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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Urban farms won't feed us, but they just might teach us

Urban farms won't feed us, but they just might teach us | green streets | Scoop.it

It's clear that the craze for the urban farm is no answer to feeding our teeming cities. Its value lies instead in how it can change us.


If we want to scale up regional food systems, it seems like it would be a great idea to grow a significant amount of our calories right in our cities. It’s a beautiful concept, reuniting humans and nature to solve many of the problems brought about by our urbanization. But talking to urban farmers and reading the recent research turned a cold hose (of reclaimed rooftop drain water) on my enthusiasm.

There’s a backlash underway against the general exuberance over urban farming, and, surprisingly, it’s coming from urban farmers. It’s a measured, cautious backlash — less pendulum swing than correction...


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Suzette Jackson's curator insight, May 1, 2014 8:57 PM

Urban Farming is not the only solution towards feeding the growing population in cities but it certainly contributes to greater food resilience, habitat and biodiversity in cities. It makes a valuable contribution to local economy and food access which is part of a much bigger picture.

Russell Roberts's curator insight, May 2, 2014 12:08 AM

Thanks to reporter Wes Thomas for this article on the pros and cons of "urban farming."  With food costs rising and supply timetables in flux, many city dwellers are considering some form of food self-sufficiency.  This article tempers some of that early enthusiasm with a needed dose of reality...farming, urban, or not is hard work.  Nonetheless, food and water are becoming the next resource battleground.  Both of these survival elements are being strained by a growing world population.  If these trends continue, Hawaii may not be able to afford the importation of food and fuel.  We may have to "go it alone" in the future.  One thing is for certain, food prices will continue to rise in a world of diminishing resources.  A very sobering article.  In short, there are too many mouths to feed with a slowly declining ability to feed them.  Aloha, Russ.

Judit Urquijo's curator insight, May 13, 2014 4:08 AM

Nueva vuelta de tuerca a un tema relacionado con los techos verdes, asunto que traté recientemente en esta curación de contenidos. 

 

En su artículo, Nathanael Johnson alude a los beneficios que pueden suponer estas granjas o huertos urbanos sobre los ciudadanos, tanto desde el punto de vista de acceso a unos productos de calidad como en relación con el beneficio económico que puede generar en los productores. En relación con esta fuente de ingresos, el autor pone como ejemplo la empresa Lula Farms, proyecto que se inicio en una azotea de Montreal y que actualmente proporciona beneficios estables (http://bit.ly/1qymQyo).

 

Obviamente, son necesarias unas estructuras mínimas tales como una superficie lo suficientemente amplia y plana para que la inversión merezca la pena, siendo igualmente necesaria una estructura sólida que pueda soportar el peso sin problemas. No obstante, también pueden ser viables las conocidas como granjas verticales. 

 

En este vídeo podéis ver la granja de Montreal citada anteriormente (http://bit.ly/1l7qrfP).

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Eco-Friendly Architectural Projects Raising Awareness of Earth's Biomes

Eco-Friendly Architectural Projects Raising Awareness of Earth's Biomes | green streets | Scoop.it
The largest natural biome in the world is the maroon colored Taiga, a Russian word for forest, covering large parts of Canada, Europe and Asia with coniferous forests.

The term “Boreal” forest refers to the southern part of this biome and has heavier tree cover while the Taiga refers to the northern portion which is a mostly barren area that borders the Arctic treeline. In order to understand how biomes work, scientists and researchers have created projects like Biosphere and Eden.

The design refers to the integration of architectural structures into natural ecosystems, emphasizing a symbiotic relationship between buildings, landscapes, people and nature.

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7 Ways Our Cities Will Change According to TED's Urban Experts

7 Ways Our Cities Will Change According to TED's Urban Experts | green streets | Scoop.it
Silent parks. Designing for disabilities. Human-powered data. Garbage anthropology. World-class sidewalks. Floating favelas. Paint as infrastructure.

These are the keys to the cities of the future, according to the most recent TED conference, City 2.0. Last year, for the first time, the TED Prize went to an idea—the future of the city—and a million dollars was divvied up among ten grantees all over the world.


Last week was the first-ever TED City 2.0 conference, featuring several of those grantees plus many other urban leaders discussing their ideas for the future of the city.

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Raymond Versteegh's curator insight, October 6, 2013 3:36 PM

Simple ideas wrapped in big dreams. GET INSPIRED! 

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6 New Year's Resolutions for Better City Life | Sustainable Cities Collective

6 New Year's Resolutions for Better City Life | Sustainable Cities Collective | green streets | Scoop.it

(by Cristiana StravaIt) 

It's the time of year again when we take stock of the old and pledge to be better in the new. Since our goal at Polis is to foster dialogue and cooperation for improving city life, I'm proposing a short list of New Year's resolutions to help us all live better urban lives...

Lauren Moss's insight:

An overview of practices and programs that enable a more sustainable and engaged approach to urban design and planning on the community scale.


Featured topics include:


1. Cycle and Recycle

2. Use Public Transport (More)

3. Get Involved in Your Community

4. Explore

5. Make a Map

6. Support Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens

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How can cities be designed for sustainable living?

How can cities be designed for sustainable living? | green streets | Scoop.it
How can cities be designed for sustainable living?


A new interactive exhibition from the Guardian, 'Our Urban Future', explores the importance of cities in making the world a more sustainable place. The exhibition at The Crystal in London's Docklands seeks to challenge and reinvent the way we think about cities and gives visitors the chance to learn how they can make a contribution to sustainable living.

Scroll through the gallery showcasing snippets from the exhibition, and read responses on how cities can be designed for sustainable living and share what you think urban environments will look like in future...


Visit the link for a slideshow of exhibition highlights, including:

  • The immersive Forces of Change theatre: a global view of the challenges and opportunities that climate change, demographic change and urbanisation raise.
  • The Creating Cities game: exploring issues around city management and urban planning.
  • The Go Electric Zone: the challenges and solutions to balancing energy supply, demand and storage.
  • The Water is Life Zone: harvested rainwater is used to shed light on desalination, purity and resources.
  • The ‘Future Life’ film gallery: how London, New York and Copenhagen look forward to 2050, and envisioning how our cities could develop if sustainable solutions are embraced.
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Why There's No War Between Drivers and Cyclists in the Netherlands

Why There's No War Between Drivers and Cyclists in the Netherlands | green streets | Scoop.it
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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New Orleans school cultivates a generation of forward-thinking farmers

New Orleans school cultivates a generation of forward-thinking farmers | green streets | Scoop.it
Nat Turner and the hardworking young crew behind Our School at Blair Grocery are bringing healthy soil and fresh food to the Lower Ninth Ward.

 

Nat Turner, a former New York City public-school teacher, moved to New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward on Thanksgiving Day, 2008. He didn’t know anything about gardening — “I could barely keep a cactus alive” — but he had a vision to start an urban farm that would be a vehicle for educating and empowering the neighborhood’s youth. He’d been making service trips to the Big Easy with students, but he wanted an opportunity to dig deeper, literally and figuratively, into the city’s revitalization.

His first goal, Turner says, “is to figure out how to make the Lower Ninth food secure.” It seems fitting, then, that in a neighborhood with no supermarket, Turner set up shop in a falling-down building that had once housed a black-owned family business called the B&G Grocery.

He filled a pink bathtub in the backyard with soil and planted scallions, which floated away when the bathtub flooded in a rainstorm. That was the beginning of Our School at Blair Grocery (OSBG)...

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Education, Urbanization & Citizen Activism: Interview with Aseem Inam & Miguel Robles-Duran

Education, Urbanization & Citizen Activism: Interview with Aseem Inam & Miguel Robles-Duran | green streets | Scoop.it
Education is critical if we are to continue to improve our cities.

With this in mind, This Big City’s Joe Peach and Lyndsey Scofield were thrilled to get the opportunity to talk with Aseem Inam, Director of the MA Theories of Urban Practice, and Miguel Robles-Duran, Director of the MS Design and Urban Ecologies, from Parsons The New School for Design. Education, Urbanization & Citizen Activism were just some of the subjects that emerged in conversation.

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Unlocking LU 2: The Re-Representation of Urbanism

Unlocking LU 2: The Re-Representation of Urbanism | green streets | Scoop.it

Continuing the thread of review for the new landscape urbanism website, I'm discussing 'The Re-Representation of Urbanism' by Gerdo Aquino, SWA Principal as well as educator and author of the book 'Landscape Infrastructure'. As a fundamental opening to his essay, Aquino mentions the major shift that has taken place towards urbanization and linking it to Odum's ecological idea of the 'carrying capacity' as these areas continually add more people. It's interesting to think in these terms in numbers we can related to, so the example of the resource base for Los Angeles being about to support 1% of the current population is troubling - as it is a case in point (and a poignant example) of us living well above our means.

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Mapping Higher Education

Mapping Higher Education | green streets | Scoop.it

Mapping higher education as a potent force of development across the city, now and in the future. Essay by Mitchell Moss.

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Edible Schoolyard NYC: An Organic Garden in Brooklyn

Edible Schoolyard NYC: An Organic Garden in Brooklyn | green streets | Scoop.it

WORKac and Edible Schoolyard NYC transformed a half-acre of the existing parking lot of the Arturo Toscanini School in Gravesend, Brooklyn, into a thriving organic garden.

To ensure a true four-seasons garden experience for the students, WORKac incorporated a greenhouse together with the indoor kitchen classroom. The building is composed of three major components, each of which is articulated through the use of different materials: the greenhouse is a polycarbonate and aluminum structure; the steel-framed kitchen classroom is clad in a pixilated pattern of colored shingles; and a “Systems Wall” at the rear is articulated as a series of playful volumes covered in a bright blue rubber coating.


More details at the link...

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Earth Screening: the Winning proposal for Holland 'sustainable farming' pavilion at Expo Milano 2015

Earth Screening: the Winning proposal for Holland 'sustainable farming' pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 | green streets | Scoop.it

New Holland Agriculture have chosen the winner of the international competition for their 1,500 square meters pavilion at the World Expo 2015 in Milan. The proposal, by Carlo Ratti Associati, is called Earth Screening, and features an agricultural field on its roof, similar to a giant 3D printer thanks to the constant activity of two robotized, self-driving tractors.

Emanuela Recchi, chairman of Recchi Engineering, describes Earth Screening as “a pavilion capable of expressing the principles of sustainability, efficiency, and energy production of a modern ‘Sustainable Farm’.” The design concept proposes an innovative and efficient pavilion, allowing visitors to interact with the latest research, products and innovations developed by New Holland.

The aim is that the energy for the pavilion – including that for the selfdriving tractors on the roof – will be generated on site. After the Expo, the New Holland pavilion will be dismantled and reconstructed in a second location as an innovative didactic farm, embodying the very idea of recycling and sustainability.


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Donovan Gillman's curator insight, December 9, 2013 2:58 AM

Is this the future or is it just another "futurescape" daydream?

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Gardens By The Bay: Singapore's Most Brilliant Architectural Innovation

Gardens By The Bay: Singapore's Most Brilliant Architectural Innovation | green streets | Scoop.it

Gardens by the Bay is the newest addition to Singapore's green space innovations, making this architecturally brilliant metropolis truly a “City in a Garden.”

Still a work in progress, Gardens by the Bay was named the World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival 2012. The use of innovative energy saving technologies is a noteworthy element of this unique project.

More than 217,000 plants belonging to approximately 800 species and varieties are represented in the Gardens “with the hope that it will help to promote awareness of the wonders of nature and the value of plants to Man and the environment.” In this way, visitors are instilled with new or renewed awareness of plants, while experiencing different ecosystems without disturbing original forests. Gardens by the Bay also supports the sustainability of culture through a wide array of “edutainment” available onsite — from school programs to concerts  – to further enhance an understanding of this experience...

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Chia Yi Xuan's curator insight, June 29, 2013 11:40 AM

From this article, I can see that Singapore's architectural design of the Gardens by the Bay has been known and that people find it very innovative and fascinating. It was named the World Building of the Year in the year 2012. I think that the Gardens by the Bay is a very good idea as it can attract tourists and draw international attention.It also make Singapore known to more countries.I wonder if the people in the other countries will find it fascinating and a joy to see this architectural innovation.

Tan Teck Ling's curator insight, June 30, 2013 9:24 AM

This is my insight using See-Think-Wonder routine,

I can see from this article that Singapore has gained some recognition for its attempt to built a creative and interesting architecture while ensuring it to be Eco-friendly.
I think that this type of architectures are beneficial to everybody as it provides shelter for people while ensuring that the building is a great attraction through the usage of a large variety of plants that is Eco-friendly.
I wonder what would Singapore come up with that would allow it to gain such recognition once again by others 

RuiHan Chia's curator insight, June 30, 2013 9:59 AM

I see that Singapore 's new addition, Gardens by the Bay, has already drawn international attention and was named the World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival 2012. I think that Gardens by the Bay is good because it promotes energy saving and is a great tourist attraction and showcases many different plants and habitats. It also has great potential since it is not complete yet. I wonder how it will change as it is being completed.

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Urban Redevelopment & SILO 468: interactive light art at a reused silo in Helsinki

Urban Redevelopment & SILO 468: interactive light art at a reused silo in Helsinki | green streets | Scoop.it

The city of Helsinki tapped Madrid-based Lighting Design Collective (LDC) to convert a once-used oil silo into an interactive light installation to commemorate Helsinki being the World Design Capital of 2012.


Facing the sea, the area is quite windy, which was not only design inspiration for the project, but it also powers the exhibit. LDC designed software to take data from the surrounding wind speed, direction, temperature, and weather, and turn it into patterns for the never repeating light show that displays on the inside and outside of the silo.
The silo’s walls were perforated with 2,012 holes that display a mesmerizing light show, engaging visitors with the data in a new way.

At midnight, the silo’s exterior turns red for one hour to reference that the silo was once a container of energy...

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7 Ways to Disrupt Your Public Space

7 Ways to Disrupt Your Public Space | green streets | Scoop.it

Last week, Fast Company posted a list, adapted from the book Smart Customers, Stupid Companies, of 7 Ways to Disrupt Your Industry. Reading through the list, we were struck by how applicable the recommendations that the authors put forth are to our own principles for good Placemaking.

But it makes sense, when you think about it: by directly involving communities in shaping their public spaces–leading with people, not design–Placemaking is in fact a highly disruptive approach.

Placemaking tosses out the idea that an architect or planner is more of an expert about how a place should be used than the people who are going to use it. By bringing people together around a shared physical place, it’s also a powerful tool for disrupting local complacency. Great public spaces give people a tangible way to connect with their neighborhoods, building a stronger local constituency–aka sense of community–over the long term.

With that in mind, we’ve taken Fast Company‘s list and tweaked it slightly to create a roster of 7 Ways to Disrupt Your Public Space for anyone who’s looking to use a local spot to build social capital in their neighborhood...

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Guerrilla gardening by Richard Reynolds...

Shamengo pioneer Richard Reynolds is taking back the city of London with his trowel and tulip bulbs...

Read more about urban gardening, including tips on how to be a stealthy gardener at www.guerrillagardening.org.

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Mirror, Mirror: Playground Pavilion Gets Funhouse Treatment

Mirror, Mirror: Playground Pavilion Gets Funhouse Treatment | green streets | Scoop.it
A playground pavilion and multi-use building in Copenhagen is clad in mirrored steel on its gabled ends, giving kids a funhouse experience.

The architects say, “At night the shutters are closed making the building anonymous. During the day the building opens up, attracting the children who enjoy seeing themselves transformed in all directions. With simple means it has succeeded to transform an existing, sad and anonymous building to a unique and respectful installation in the newly renovated park.”

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Nearly 90 Communities apply for free Smart Growth Technical Assistance

Nearly 90 Communities apply for free Smart Growth Technical Assistance | green streets | Scoop.it
Applications for Smart Growth America’s free technical assistance are in, and they tell an important story: communities across the country are eager to learn more about smart growth strategies.

Smart Growth America received applications from 89 communities in 34 states plus the District of Columbia. Stretching from Maine to Hawaii, these communities represent major urban centers, fast growing suburbs, rural small towns and everything in between. This broad mix of applicants shows that all types of communities are interested in using smart growth strategies to build stronger local economies, preserve a sense of place and protect the environment.

Smart Growth America will announce the communities selected to receive technical assistance on Monday, November 14th.

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The Ultra-Ex Studio: Redesigning 'Urban Green'

The Ultra-Ex Studio: Redesigning 'Urban Green' | green streets | Scoop.it

The Product of the long term collaboration with the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning (GSAPP) and Preservation and the Fu School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), this studio accepted the design challenges of the next "Urban Green”wave in the United States, with emphasis on the specificities of neighborhood and building constellations.

The studio explored new categories of micro-scale "infrastructures" combined to form a new design lexicon in accomplishing 50% less waste production; 50% less energy use; 50% less water consumption. Analyses were developed for neighborhoods within Manhattan surrounding the Columbia University Morningside and Medical School complexes.

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Project for Public Spaces: Fall 2011 Training Sessiona

Project for Public Spaces:  Fall 2011 Training Sessiona | green streets | Scoop.it

Register now for PPS' NYC-based Fall training!

Please read on for more information about the three training courses PPS is offering this October and November. The How to Create a Successful Markets training will be offered during the Summer 2012 session.

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