Visit the article link to view examples of innovative housing around the world...
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Opening at the end of October, District Hall is the world’s first freestanding public innovation center, a single-story pavilion dedicated to gathering the innovation community together. The building is located in the heart of Boston’s Innovation District, a thousand acres of the historically industrial South Boston waterfront that has been transformed into an urban environment that fosters innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship.
District Hall will serve as an anchor in this emerging district, a new kind of public infrastructure for the 21st century economy. The building is located at a natural gathering place between the Institute of Contemporary Art, a new public marina, bike-sharing and transit stops, and several parks on Boston’s rapidly developing waterfront.
Given the predominant role of the automobile in American transportation for both passenger and freight purposes, as well as the sheer length and breadth of the continental United States, roads and highways cover a huge amount of the country.
Scott and Julie Brusaw, the husband and wife team behind renewable energy start-up Solar Roadways, are looking to exploit the potential embodied by this vast road network by develop a technology to convert their surfaces into solar PV facilities which are capable of both bearing vehicles as well as generating power via exposure to sunlight.
Arctic Harvester was the first prize winning entry in the “Innovation and Architecture for the Sea” category of the Jacques Rougerie Foundation International Architecture Competition, 2013. It proposes an itinerant soil-less agricultural infrastructure designed to drift the circulating ocean currents between Greenland and Canada, exploiting the nutrient-rich fresh water released by melting icebergs as the basis for a large-scale hydroponic-farming system. The floating facility is equipped to house a community of 800 people, inspired in its compact urban form by vertically oriented, bayside Greenlandic villages and their social, cultural and economic relationship to the sea.
More details at the link.
With technological change marching forward at a rapid clip, city environments are being reshaped and the urban experience is being reimagined.
Nearly ubiquitous mobile access has provided visitors and residents with the ability to unlock the “secrets” of the city, opening the door to new experiences and improving livability and user-friendliness. However, in order to make the best of these changes, policy must welcome and support innovation and the urban transformation that accompanies it—and there’s no one-size-fits-all formula...
Although China has the largest agricultural output in the world, supporting more than 20% of the world’s population, only 15% of its land can be cultivated, of which only 1.2% permanently supports crops. The total land area used for farming is also set to fall as more and more land is used for development, though Spanish architectural firm Javier Ponce Architects has come up with an innovative solution.
As populations continue to move to urban areas, architects must address how their designs will impact the cities they are trying to improve— and those inhabitants whose access to clean air is determined by their proposals. How can architects best use design to repair the health of our cities?
Visit the article link for project links and an overview of some of the innovative ways architecture addresses climate change, air quality, emissions and is rethinking our cities through design, technology and new approaches to sustainable urbanism...
Silvie Jacobi from This Big City lays out how to keep cultural production and creative industries thriving in our cities.
While creativity is associated with notions of change and innovation, there is no common ground in defining what “applied” creativity is. In cultural strategy, creativity is often used as a proxy for how much cultural consumption infrastructure a city offers. Planning creativity in favour of consumption is a risky undertaking that often gentrifies original clusters of cultural production.
Cities have been extremely important for the emergence of contemporary cultural production as they are places with extreme spatial and social density, access to infrastructure and with labour specialisation and cultural emancipation.
Energy efficiency could be a huge investment opportunity in the U.S., but better policies are needed to unlock financing, according to a new Ceres study.
Energy efficiency could be a several hundred billion dollar investment opportunity in the United States, but better policies are required to unlock broad-based financing from institutional investors, according to a new study by investor advocacy group Ceres.
The study details the results of a survey of nearly 30 institutional investors and other experts from the energy, policy and financial sectors that identified three areas of policy:
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...
This month marked the official opening of the world's largest digital light sculpture- the Bay Lights in Northern California...
The Bay Lights is the world’s largest LED light sculpture, 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high. Inspired by the Bay Bridge’s 75th Anniversary, its 25,000 white LED lights are individually programmed to create a never-repeating, dazzling display across the Bay Bridge West Span through 2015.
Drawing inspiration from the surroundings and the dynamic nature of the water below, artist Leo Villareal leveraged digital technology and innovative software to develop and realize the design...
When Mayor Bloomberg announced New York City’s Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge last winter, it was an opportunity to see how designers would reimagine these idle relics of last century’s infrastructure into something other than a shading device for smartphone-browsing in sunny weather.
From the looks of the finalists, which Bloomberg announced Tuesday, tomorrow’s payphone could have a lot of app-style features, from weather reports and wayfinding to voice and gesture control.
A handful of New York’s roughly 11,000 payphones already serve as wifi hotspots thanks to a pilot program launched by the city last summer, so the leap to hyperconnectivity isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. A few years down the line, we could all be using a shiny new network of payphones to call taxis by voice command, charge our devices, check the weather for our urban farms, and, inevitably, look at ads.
The six finalists are chosen in five categories—creativity, connectivity, functionality, community impact, and visual design.
Visit the article link to view the proposals and learn more about what may be the payphone of the future...
In the article entitled “It’s Alive,” the design team at engineering firm ARUP envision a city building in the year 2050 that includes flexible modular pods, urban agriculture, climate-conscious facades and intelligent building systems. ARUP hopes the proposal will ultimately answer the question, "As city living takes center stage, what will we come to expect from the design and function of urban structures and buildings?".
ARUP’s futuristic skyscraper will be a “smart” building that will plug into a smart urban infrastructure, and cater to an expanding and technological society. By 2050, the global population will reach nine billion, 75% of which will live in cities. Significantly, this date will also mark a generation of adults that have lived their entire lives engaging with smart devices and materials. The design theory is that the population of 2050 is likely to be in constant flux, and therefore buildings and materials that surround this urban lifestyle must also be capable of evolution and change.
ARUP has imagined a building of the future that produces more than it consumes. Alongside the sustainable construction, the design will feature photovoltaic capability to capture and transmit energy using on-site fuel cells. In addition, energy will be harnessed from elevators or similar internal systems, along with wind turbines and algae-producing bio-fuel pods...
Airport runways are raised above the streets and waterways of a new Stockholm city district in this conceptual proposal by Bartlett School of Architecture graduate Alex Sutton.
The proposal, named Stockholm City Airport/Airport City, envisages a future where commercial aviation becomes more integrated into the fabric of the city rather than being relegated to the outskirts.
"This project uses Stockholm, one of the fastest growing cities in Europe, as a testing ground to establish a fully integrated urban airport as part of a new city district, in a time when aviation technology is such that aircraft and airports could operate from within our cities."
These cities that are doing the best at embracing the future are focusing on improving technology, equality, sharing, civic participation, and more.
Over the past several years, the idea of the being "smart" has emerged as a key mechanism for cities to find innovative solutions to the challenges that they are facing. Increased demand for infrastructure, housing, transportation, jobs, energy, food and water are all straining city governments and infrastructure, as people around the world flock to urban centers in hopes of a better life and more opportunity. For many years, the push to create smarter cities was led by technology companies looking for uses (and buyers) for their products. But in recent years, cities have begun to think more holistically about what being a smart city could mean, and have innovated new ways to modernize how a city serves its citizens.
INDEX: Award 2013 winner Daan Roosegaarde's project has come to fruition with the installation of glowing paint on the highway to guide motorists along.
The INDEX: Award pool of innovative designs in Copenhagen all focused on improving life, with the top design being Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde’s Smart Highway- a plan to bring intelligent roads throughout The Netherlands and eventually, the world. Now, eight months later, the first stretch of glow-in-the-dark road has opened on highway N329 near the city of Oss...
With many developing nations rapidly industrialising, dependent on fossil fuels as their energy mainstay, CO2 concentrations show no signs of abating. What will the ramifications be for food production and health moving forward in to the 21st century if weather patterns become even more hostile than the previous decade?
Fortunately, scientists and engineers are working on ways to neutralise emissions in to, or actively reduce the carbon content of the atmosphere until the time arises when we can transition to cleaner energy solutions. In the interim phase we find ourselves however, there are no perfect solutions, but there are technologies and techniques that can help combat the climate catastrophe that will be unleashed if CO2 concentrations continue to rise unchecked. Here a four such technologies…
From the architect. Turenscape was commissioned to design a wetland park of 34.2 hectares in the middle of a new town, which is listed as a protected regional wetland. The site is surrounded on four sides by roads and dense development. As such, water sources into this former wetland were being cut, and the wetland was under the threat. Turenscape’s strategy was to transform the dying wetland into a ‘green sponge’ – an urban stormwater park, which will not only rescue the disappearing wetland, but will also provide multiple ecosystems services for the new urban community.
The challenges are obvious: How can a disappearing wetland be preserved when its ecological and biological processes have been cut off by the urban context? How can such a wetland ecosystem be designed to provide multiple ecosystems for the city? And what is the economic way to deal with such a landscape? The solution was to transform the wetland into a multi-functional stormwater park that will collect, filtrate, store stormwater and infiltrate to the aquifer, whilst being productive and life supporting, providing new recreational and aesthetic experiences for the city.
A wave of rooftop greenhouses and vertical farms captures the imagination of architects while offering an alternative to conventional cultivation methods.
Community-gardening advocates have sold urban farming as a sustainable local alternative to industrial-scale farming and as an educational platform for healthier living. And municipalities are buying in, adopting urban ag to transform vacant lots into productive civic assets.
In the last two or three years, however, entrepreneurial urban farmers have opened a new frontier with a different look and operating model than most community gardens. Their terrain is above the ground, not in it. Working with help from engineers, architects, and city halls, they have sown rooftops and the interiors of buildings worldwide. “There’s a lot of activity right now, and there is huge potential to do more of it,” says Gregory Kiss, principal at Brooklyn-based architecture firm Kiss + Cathcart.
Visit the article link for more on recent innovations in urban agriculture and vertical farming...
Throughout human history, people have long found unique value in living and working in cities, even if for reasons they couldn’t quite articulate. Put people together, and opportunities and ideas and wealth seem to grow at a more powerful rate than a simple sum of all our numbers. This has been intuitively true for centuries of city-dwellers.
"What people didn’t know," says MIT researcher Wei Pan, "is why."
In a new paper published in Nature Communications, Pan and several colleagues argue that the underlying force that drives super-linear productivity in cities is the density with which we're able to form social ties. The larger your city, in other words, the more people (using this same super-linear scale) you’re likely to come into contact with.
"If you think about productivity, it’s all about ideas, information flows, how easily you can access ideas and opportunities," Pan says. "We believe that the interaction mechanism is what drives the productivity of the city."
Dutch designer Thor ter Kulve creates tweaks for everyday city fixtures, temporarily imbuing them with childlike zest.
A boring light pole becomes a swing, for instance, and a fire hydrant becomes a fountain.
The fact that his inventions are temporary — “They are set up for a few hours and then removed without damaging the structure it was attached to,” PSFK says — doesn’t lessen their ability to charm or make the observer see the city in a new way.
From the designer:
Thanks to [these designs], dull and derelict places become hangouts of choice…It’s my strong belief that in a time of economic hardship and individual isolation, we should address ourselves to public space as a collectively owned domain and possible ways to use it to our joint benefit.
From a solar mansion in China to a floating farm in New York, green buildings are sprouting up in cities around the world. Among their many benefits are curbing fossil-fuel use and reducing the urban heat island effect.
The Science Barge is a floating environmental education classroom and greenhouse on the Hudson River in New York. Fueled by solar power, wind, and biofuels, the barge, which was built in 2007, has zero carbon emissions.
Vegetables are grown hydroponically in an effort to preserve natural resources and adapt to urban environments, where healthy soil, or soil at all, is hard to come by. Rainwater and treated river water are used for irrigation.
The owner of the barge—New York Sun Works—designed it as a prototype for closed-loop and self-sufficient rooftop gardens in urban areas.
Visit the link for more examples of green urban projects and intiatives...
Glow-in-the-dark roads and responsive street lamps were among the concepts to make highways safer while saving money and energy at the Design Indaba conference in Cape Town earlier this month.
The Smart Highways project by Studio Roosegaarde proposes five energy-efficient concepts that will be tested on a stretch of highway in the Brabant province of the Netherlands from the middle of this year.
The first of the concepts is a glow-in-the-dark road that uses photo-luminescent paint to mark out traffic lanes. The paint absorbs energy from sunlight during the day the lights the road at night for up to 10 hours. Temperature-responsive road paint would show images of snowflakes when the temperature drops below zero, warning drivers to take care on icy roads.
There are two ideas for roadside lighting: interactive street lamps that come on as vehicles approach then dim as they pass by, thereby saving energy when there is no traffic, and "wind lights" that use energy generated by pinwheels as drafts of air from passing vehicles cause them to spin round. Additionally, an induction priority lane would incorporate induction coils under the tarmac to recharge electric cars as they drive...
Learn more about these innovative proposals and associated technology at the article link.
Shanghai is one of the Chinese cities with the highest levels of CO2 emissions per capital, and new material applications are being incorporated into architectural designs in order to address these urban issues. Vetiver is a tropical plant with uniquely structural, penetrating roots and the Vetiver System (VS) has been tested for slope stabilization, pollution control and water quality improvement.
The proposal for a new type of vertical city, featuring this sustainable technology, pursues dual objectives: first, the purification of wastewater produced by the building in order to recycle it and second, carbon dioxide reduction.
Achieving these goals is possible thanks to the combination between the properties of Vetiver with a new kind of skyscraper: VetiVertical City...
Aquaponics uses fish to create soil-less farms that can fit into cities much easier.
Urban farming today is no longer a hobby practiced by a few dedicated enthusiasts growing food for themselves. It has become a truly innovative field in which pioneering ventures are creating real, robust, and scalable solutions for growing food for large numbers of people directly at the point of consumption. This is great news not only for urban designers, architects, and building engineers, but also for residents and communities that want to increase food security and become more resilient to climate change.
Visit the article link for more information and details on the practice of aquaponics, natural resource efficiency and the potential for large-scale urban cultivation...