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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Radical Cities in Latin America by Justin McGuirk

Radical Cities in Latin America by Justin McGuirk | green streets | Scoop.it

A tour of informal settlements from Rio to Caracas shows cities being reclaimed in remarkable ways. But are they a viable template for the future?

In Radical Cities, Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America interviewing activist architects, community leaders and radical politicians who are devising ingenious architectural solutions to urban problems. Against a backdrop of austerity and corruption, he finds them working with marginalised citizens who are trying to meet their own housing needs and claim their right to the city.

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A Man-Made, Net-Zero Energy Island Off the Coast of Istanbul

A Man-Made, Net-Zero Energy Island Off the Coast of Istanbul | green streets | Scoop.it
A proposal imagines 300,000 housing units built into six hyper-energy efficient domes.

This year Istanbul Design Week goes back to the future with a very ambitious project: HavvAda, a cutting-edge net-positive-energy residential island conceptualized by New York-based Studio Dror.

HavvAda, will be built off the shore of Istanbul using excavated soil from a new massive canal planned between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.


For the design, Dror has drawn on spatial geometry, as well as Buckminster Fuller’s legacy in structural engineering and Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City. Six months of intensive dialog with a team of experts have allowed Dror to realize an ambitious concept that offers a high quality of life and helps the environment.

The island is envisioned as a landscape of six residential hills, surrounding a circular valley dedicated to parks and recreation, supported by a mega-dome structure, allowing for a “three-dimensional grid” that aims to maximize energy and structural efficiency.


Read the complete post to learn more about the process and design of the integrated renewable energy system, water recycling, as well as efficient heating and cooling (which allow the community to produce more energy than it consumes).

Also, read further to find additional images and diagrams of how these systems and concepts function in the context of this innovative and ambitious project.

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Pedestrian Bridge in Amsterdam: an extension of the public realm

Pedestrian Bridge in Amsterdam: an extension of the public realm | green streets | Scoop.it

Designed for the [AMSTERDAM] Iconic Pedestrian Bridge Competition, the project offers more than just a possibility of crossing the Amstel river. Branching into several pedestrian trajectories, the bridge prioritizes on being an extension of the public space in front of the Hermitage Museum. In order to prolong the experience of water, the bridge comprises several routes to create a public promenade. The iconic nature of the project is seen by the design team as an emergent feature resulting from both the geometry of the bridge as well as the socially enabled functional potential.

'We see Amsterdam as a city of differences at a small scale which emphasize its local realm. Houseboats represent a specific way of living which could better highlight the local and embed a fruitful cultural echange between the visitors and Amsterdam’s way of living...'

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Can the Olympics Bring Affordable Housing to London?

Can the Olympics Bring Affordable Housing to London? | green streets | Scoop.it
By 2031, this summer's Olympic site should be a dense checkerboard of housing and parkland.

The afterlife of London’s Olympic Park was partially confirmed last week, when officials agreed to plans for the construction of a new neighborhood on part of its site once this summer's games are over.

Called Chobham Manor, the 960-home neighborhood should be ready by autumn 2013, and will cover the current location of the Olympic basketball court (plus, one imagines, a little bit more of the park). It’s just the beginning of plans to cover London’s Lower Lea Valley area with badly needed new housing – four other neighborhoods providing a total of 6,800 homes are also in the pipeline, and by 2031, the former Olympic site should be a dense checkerboard of housing and parkland.

In an area that currently attracts few professionals with children, the new neighborhood aims to be especially family friendly, with four schools included in the blueprints. The plan so far is to have 35 percent of its housing fixed at affordable rents, making some of it suitable for people already living in this lower income area...

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Vertical Garden House by Ryue Nishizawa

Vertical Garden House by Ryue Nishizawa | green streets | Scoop.it

A 4-story house on a small lot in downtown Tokyo with no facade and a preponderance of plants, "which is likely to cause onlookers to mistake it for a vertical garden rather than a private residence"...

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Decoding Bangkok’s Pocket-Urbanization: Social Housing Issues + Community Architects

Decoding Bangkok’s Pocket-Urbanization: Social Housing Issues + Community Architects | green streets | Scoop.it

This is modern cosmopolitan Bangkok, the second most expensive South-eastern Asian city after Singapore.

Along with explosive city growth, the demand for urban housing has increased substantially. Due to a lack of sufficient and affordable housing, communities have settled into the cracks, eliciting a diagnosed social and institutional ‘pocket-urbanism’ that forms barriers of interaction among communities, and certainly between communities and authority figures...

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, December 14, 2013 5:45 PM

The poor of Bangkok have been settling their communities in the cracks of wealthier areas, creating a phenomenom of "pocket-urbanization." The artical talks about an emerging "ethical turn" in architecture. People will certainly enjoy their lives better when they are empowered in their own living situations, but also we have seen how poor infrastructure is a target for the worst of natural disasters. Rebuilding these areas would be good for many parties.

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Shifting the Suburban Paradigm

Shifting the Suburban Paradigm | green streets | Scoop.it
Transforming the single-family home by paying attention to what residents, and communities, really need.

How does it work on the street? In the neighborhood? How is it served by transit? Is it adaptable, allowing for the housing of extended families or the hosting of an entrepreneurial endeavor? Can the owner build an accessory dwelling to do so? (Most zoning, homeowners’ associations and CCRs don’t allow for it currently.) What needs to happen to zoning, to financing, to our very notions of resale value to change the suburban condition — and by extension, the American Dream as we know it?

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The Gateway: a mixed-use urban district

The Gateway: a mixed-use urban district | green streets | Scoop.it

In 1998, the Union Pacific railyard sat vacant in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. Four years later, the 30-acre site was transformed into a mixed-use urban district with specialty stores, restaurants, offices and apartments. A children’s museum and planetarium offered cultural and learning opportunities. And the project’s open-air plaza served as a place for international celebration during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The Gateway, a $375 million project, is the first phase of a 650-acre brownfield redevelopment plan. It employs nearly 6,000 people and serves as a downtown center for public gatherings, exhibitions and performances. Apartments and condominiums make The Gateway a 24-hour district.

Read the complete article for project details, as well as photos and more information on this unique mixed-use design...

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Climate-Proofing Urban Areas with Floating Housing

Climate-Proofing Urban Areas with Floating Housing | green streets | Scoop.it

The wave of floods that hit Britain in April focused attention, once again, on the vulnerability of homes in low-lying areas...

But what if a house could simply rise and fall with the waters? That’s the vision of Baca Architects, designers of the UK’s first ‘amphibious house’, which has just received planning permission for a site near Marlow, in Buckinghamshire, on the banks of the Thames.

The lightweight, timber-framed structure sits on a floating concrete base that is built within a fixed ‘wet dock’ foundation. In the event of a flood, the concrete base rises up as the dock fills with water, ensuring the house floats safely above the waves. The base effectively acts as a free-floating pontoon, and should have a lifetime of around 100 years before needing renewal or replacement.

Climate proofing’ urban areas is a growing area of focus for architects and planners. Amphibious architecture looks set to join rain gardens, green roofs and permeable paving in the array of techniques available...

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Hans De Keulenaer's comment, September 14, 2012 1:39 PM
Creative concept. I wonder how they plan to ensure grounding / earthing the electrical system.
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Cohousing: The Secret to Sustainable Urban Living?

Cohousing: The Secret to Sustainable Urban Living? | green streets | Scoop.it
Experiments in cooperative living offer a great model for building sustainable urban communities. But can they work for everyone?

Back in the good old days, people lived in neighborhoods where they had potlucks, kept an eye on each other’s kids, loaned out lawnmowers and cups of sugar. Each home was its family’s castle, but the instinct to participate in a caring community transcended the temptation to isolate in private houses.

Apparently we’ve strayed so far from that norm over the last half-century or so that it now takes a conscious effort to recreate it. That’s one way to view cohousing, a collaborative housing model imported to the United States from Denmark in the 1970s, in which “residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods.” In the approximately 125 cohousing communities in the U.S., residents share chores and responsibilities, come together for meals and other activities in a common house, and make decisions based on consensus. It’s a conscious way of living designed to encourage social interaction and investment in the greater good.

We’re starting to realize that our long-term future won’t be built around highways, automobiles, and detached houses with fertilized lawns. As more people seek out a different kind of community, cohousing, or projects like it, will grow in popularity...

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New urbanism: Old-fashioned design in for long run

New urbanism: Old-fashioned design in for long run | green streets | Scoop.it
Peter Calthorpe, another pioneer of new urbanism, believes the movement will continue to be a strong force. Housing developments that reduce the dependence on the automobile are gaining in acceptance, said Calthorpe, principal of Calthorpe Associates in Berkeley, Calif.

"The nation can't afford sprawl," said Calthorpe, adding that sprawl was curbed by the housing meltdown. He is a strong advocate of transit-oriented development. One of the main components of new urbanism, transit-oriented development calls for neighborhoods with a mix of moderate- to high-density housing within walking or biking distance of mass transit...

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Breaking Blocks: public housing minus the superblock

Breaking Blocks: public housing minus the superblock | green streets | Scoop.it

Rosanne Haggerty, president of Community Solutions, proposes a surgical approach to Brooklyn's public housing that preserves original buildings and emphasizes breaking up the superblock with through-traffic streets, integrated urban agriculture, ground floor retail, and the incorporation of social services—all without displacing a single resident.

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Narrow Houses: Yes, smaller can be better

Narrow Houses: Yes, smaller can be better | green streets | Scoop.it
As urban planners, architects and developers confront urban sprawl, rising real estate and energy prices, and rapidly changing demographics, these narrow, old working-class Montreal houses offer a glimpse of what sustainable living will look like in the future, says McGill University architecture professor Avi Friedman.

“Narrow houses consume less land and require less infrastructure. Fewer materials are used in their construction, so they are environmentally sound and cost-conscious,” he says.

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How garage & basement apartments help people, neighborhoods and the environment

How garage & basement apartments help people, neighborhoods and the environment | green streets | Scoop.it

One of the best ways to accommodate growth (as we must) without either exacerbating sprawl or disturbing the character of existing communities is by using so-called “accessory units” – secondary dwellings attached to a main home, such as garage and basement apartments.

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