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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Microfinancing The Sustainable City

Microfinancing The Sustainable City | green streets | Scoop.it
Cities are experiencing rapid growth across the Global South. With this growth however, also comes economic disparity and environmental degradation. Can microfinance offer a solution to these growing concerns?

With mass urbanisation has also come significant concern with regard to economis disparity and environmental sustainability. 

From one perspective, rural to urban migration is thought to be helping to alleviate poverty by pushing more people into the middle class. Additionally, increased urban population density is seen to be ‘green’ because it lowers dependency on private vehicle use and increases resource efficiency. From another perspective however, mass urbanisation also causes a variety of problems across a range of geographic scales: socio-economic inequality, slums, sprawl, deforestation, air pollution, excessive waste and poor water management, to name a few. There is no ‘silver bullet’ for these problems...

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Kikocanas's curator insight, December 6, 2013 2:10 PM

Com a projecte per les grans ciutats pot funcionar però no mitiga les migracions massives. Faltaria una estratègia per revalorar el món rural potser.

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Masdar City, Abu Dhabi: Zero-Waste, Carbon-Neutral & Car-Free

Masdar City, Abu Dhabi: Zero-Waste, Carbon-Neutral & Car-Free | green streets | Scoop.it

Rising in the desert outside of Abu Dhabi, Masdar City will be the world’s most sustainable metropolis with no cars (or skyscrapers) allowed. The development is a project of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company and has been largely designed by Foster & Partners.


Solar, wind and geothermal sources will fuel the city – sun-powered desalination plants will provide fresh water for inhabitants, which will in turn be recycled. Practicing what it embodies on multiple levels, this new urban area aims to be the definitive region for developing green energy and researching clean technology.


The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology has already been built and more structures are on the way. By 2025, the target population should be up to 50,000 within the walkable 2.3 square-mile perimeter currently planned for development.

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Norm Miller's curator insight, July 25, 2013 2:55 PM

Interesting experiment, but starting a city from scratch has always been a challenge.  Still we may gain some insights on what to do or not do based on Masdar.

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The Cities We Want: Resilient, Sustainable, and Livable

The Cities We Want: Resilient, Sustainable, and Livable | green streets | Scoop.it

Resilience is the word of the decade, as sustainability was in previous decades. No doubt, our view of the kind and quality of cities we as societies want to build will continue to evolve and inspire a new goal. Surely we have not lost our desire for sustainable cities, with footprints we can globally and locally afford, even though our focus has rightly been on resilience.

It speaks to the question: what is the city we want to create in the future? What is the city in which we want to live? Certainly that city is sustainable and resilient, so our cities are still in existence after the next 100-year storm, now apparently due every few years...


And yet: as we build this vision we know that cities must also be livable. Indeed, we must view livability as the third indispensible—and arguably most important—leg supporting the cities of our dreams: resilient + sustainable + livable.

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ParadigmGallery's curator insight, May 13, 2013 2:31 PM

We thank you, Lauren Moss, for the interesting post. The post speaks to the three buzz words for our cities now and in the future...livable, resilient, sustainable....

 

New Yorkers exhibited a lot of personal and psychological resilience after Hurricane Sandy—they picked themselves up and started again, often rebuilding their lives in the same spot. This is true all over: people are resilient in the face of hard times..learn more

ParadigmGallery's comment, May 13, 2013 2:32 PM
interesting post....TY
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America's "greenest street" provides a blueprint for sustainable urban development

America's "greenest street" provides a blueprint for sustainable urban development | green streets | Scoop.it

A streetscape that includes natural landscaping, bicycle lanes, wind powered lighting, storm water diversion for irrigation, drought-resistant native plants and innovative “smog-eating” concrete has earned Cermak road in Chicago the title of “greenest Street in America” according to the Chicago Department of Transport (CDOT).


Opened in October 2012, the first phase two mile stretch is part of the Blue Island/Cermak Sustainable Streetscape project which was introduced in 2009 with the aim of reducing overall energy usage by 42 percent.

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Mercor's curator insight, February 4, 2013 6:42 AM

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Suzette Jackson's curator insight, September 10, 2014 6:22 PM

how does your street rate? compare it to the 'greenest street in America?

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Energy Land(ing)-scape | Calderara di Reno Italy

Energy Land(ing)-scape | Calderara di Reno Italy | green streets | Scoop.it

Energy Land(ing)-scape | Calderara di Reno Italy

This project seeks to find a effective balance between two principal necessities: to redevelop and revitalize the area, with a strong ecological impact on surrounding territories. The solution was to transform the area into a ZEA: Zero Emission Area.

A ZEA promotes the area and seeks for investments and a new economical initiatives to transform an area into a environmental zone. The project consists of a solar roof installed over the existing warehouse’s roofs and over the outdoor areas, including parking, producing clean energy, reduces emissions, collects water and gives a new image of the region to all people that are taking off or landing in the close Airport of Bologna.

The project seeks to give new life to this area from an economic point of view, as well as to demonstrate how development can have a positive ecological impact.

 

Visit the article link for more renderings, aerial imagery, site plans, and diagrams...

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Three Sustainable Cities on the Rise

Three Sustainable Cities on the Rise | green streets | Scoop.it
The green living lifestyle skyrocketed in the last decade and became a social injection of epic proportions. In no time shoes were being made from bamboo, college towns were turned into tiny Vespa cities, and the canvas bag market boomed like it was being shot from a cannon. Suddenly, shrinking America’s Shaq-sized carbon footprint seemed possible, and everything from water bottles to t-shirts changed their ingredients.

There are plenty of ways to go green and promote sustainable living in your home and community. Beyond simply rolling out the recycle bin to the curb and making eco-chic clutches out of Capri Sun pouches, you can get innovative with your recycling through local waste services like Republic Services in the US and other international equivalents who, by changing the way they take care of trash and recyclables, are making money from your waste. Earth consciousness is perpetually rising, and waste management is following suit. Here’s a quick trip around the globe, looking at three sustainable cities on the rise and what they’re doing to be friendly to the earth...

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Why a Good Bar Is Essential to Sustainable Communities

Why a Good Bar Is Essential to Sustainable Communities | green streets | Scoop.it
A "third space" that encourages socialization, its easy access reduces emissions as well as drunk driving.

My friend Eliot Allen first introduced me to the concept of neighborhood completeness: that the quality of a place is defined in part by how many different functions it has in close proximity to homes and to each other. Eliot was closely involved in the creation of the LEED for Neighborhood Development green rating system, and the concept made it into the system. LEED-ND gives credit toward certification for a development that contains, or locates near, certain categories of diverse uses: supermarket, pharmacy, restaurant, child care facility, library, and so on.

I was part of the LEED-ND team as well, and I note that we did not list “bar” or “pub” as a credit-worthy neighborhood asset. But Michael Hickey, a community development consultant, makes a good case for their inclusion as “third spaces,” or community hangouts.

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Designing Ecosphere Economies for Planet of Cities

Designing Ecosphere Economies for Planet of Cities | green streets | Scoop.it

Integral Cities in different locations must adapt differing solutions to the same infrastructure problems. We need to evolve our internal environments and design our environments in ways that honor the ecosphere. Only by doing so can both individual and collective human life optimize the amazing diversity our DNA has gifted us with and the deep resilience of the natural ecology.

Each city provides a unique combination of matter, energy and information as resources. This means that over time, humans must discover, develop and design appropriate technological solutions for city metabolisms that align with distinctive environments.

Designing with local resources enables cities to innovate from natural capital and build diversity and resilience into food and energy systems. This is the principle that has been used in developing the designs for the Earth Policy Institute, planning sustainable futures with a roadmap of how to get from here to there...

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Are Urban Microcenters the Solution to Urban Sprawl?

Are Urban Microcenters the Solution to Urban Sprawl? | green streets | Scoop.it
During the last decades, the conurbation problem in large cities has increased, reaching alarming levels.

At present, the average time a person needs to travel from home to a workplace is around 4 hours, which represents a total loss of 20 hours every week, that is, 80 hours per month, 960 hours yearly, which translates into a total of 40 days in traffic a year.

This is reflected in time loss, otherwise destined for leisure, quality of life, time spent with family, in addition to the obvious heavy traffic, which results in enormous energy costs for moving this population, and this translates in huge CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, in other words, “pollution”.

Hence, the need to create urban microcenters, that are located in central areas in the city, where the necessary infrastructure for transportation, subway systems, metro buses, buses, etc., as well as water supply, sewage, energy power, is already present. Moreover, they integrate elements in the design of their façades and facilities that allow reductions of resources and generated waste; also, they are mostly vertical urban groups that merge different activities on one place, integrating housing, offices, commerce, hotels, fun, and mostly, public spaces in squares, gardens on the ground floor or even on higher levels. The objective is to reduce the need to travel around the city, which at the same time has a direct bearing on traffic density. This allows the quality of life of users, to improve, which makes the city more efficient...

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Max Minard's curator insight, May 26, 2015 11:07 PM

This article plans out a possible solution to decrease the time it takes to travel around the city. In order to do so, it introduces the idea of urban micro centers located in the center of cities where all major aspects of the city are present. This solution also helps reduce the amount of pollution that is emitted in urban areas since it allows reasonable walking distances from people's homes to their jobs in the micro center. Altogether, I believe that this is a successful plan and I would suggest this design to any major city. It will overall increase environmental benefits, increase efficiency, and provide a key model to solve the issue of urban sprawl. 

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Award-Winning German Development Aims To Be 'The World's Most Sustainable Neighborhood'

Award-Winning German Development Aims To Be 'The World's Most Sustainable Neighborhood' | green streets | Scoop.it
Energy efficient, pedestrian friendly, conveniently located, and full of green innovations, the eco-city Arkadien Winnenden makes a pretty good case for the title.

Economically depressed and the site of a tragic school shooting in 2009, the small German suburb of Winnenden didn't have much appeal despite its low home prices and proximity to Stuttgart. But an award-winning eco-friendly development is turning the town in a new direction.

The architecture firm Atelier Dreiseitl, which also recently transformed Singapore's Bishan Park, calls its new Arkadien Winnenden development "the world’s most sustainable neighborhood."

Formerly home to an abandoned factory, the site's contaminated soil was remediated and recycled, as was existing concrete. Each house in the neighborhood has a high energy-efficiency rating and priority was given to non-toxic, locally sourced materials during construction. The competitively priced homes are connected by pedestrian-friendly streets and shared public spaces, though they also have private gardens, terraces, and roof gardens...

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Photo Tour: What Will It Take To Make Our Cities 100% Green?

Photo Tour: What Will It Take To Make Our Cities 100% Green? | green streets | Scoop.it

The last fifty years have witnessed a steep worldwide increase in percentages of population living in cities. Home to over half of the world’s population on only two percent of the earth, cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 percent of global CO2 emissions.

A recent UN report warns that urban areas are set to become the battleground in the effort to curb climate change. Cities and human settlements, if done right, are the places that offer the greatest opportunities not only in reducing greenhouse gases but in creating the kind of infrastructures that enable large numbers of people to live in balance with the earth's ecosystem...

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Sustainable Mobility in Future Cities

Sustainable Mobility in Future Cities | green streets | Scoop.it
The exhibition Our Cities, Ourselves commissioned 10 architects to imagine how a specific area of their cities could be transformed, with the prioritisation of pedestrians emerging as a key concept.

Towards 2030, the global urban population is expected to be 60 percent. All of the renovation projects explore how cities would be if they were redesigned for people, not cars, and follow principles for sustainable mobility drafted by Jan Gehl and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Most projects seek to create more public space and introduce alternative transportation to solve pressing issues in the selected cities...

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The 10 Emerging Sustainable Cities to Watch in 2012

The 10 Emerging Sustainable Cities to Watch in 2012 | green streets | Scoop.it
Whether they benefit from visionary leaders, flourishing social enterprise, or commitment from community activists, the following 10 cities are well worth a visit to experience their transformation and resilience.

When “green,” “sustainable” or resilient cities come to mind, the usual suspects crop up: Portland, Amsterdam, San Francisco and even high-tech Abu Dhabi score plenty of attention. As more cities push their green agenda the way they promote business opportunities or local tourism, some cities are way ahead of others. Mayors now try to jockey themselves to the front of the sustainability beauty contest with some cities here in the United States showing far more success (Chicago) than others that miserably fail (Los Angeles). Around the world are many cities that have responsive government, vibrant passion at the grass roots level, or both...

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Sprouting Eco-Cities: Sustainability Trend-Setters Or Gated Communities?

Sprouting Eco-Cities: Sustainability Trend-Setters Or Gated Communities? | green streets | Scoop.it

Not only are many cities bursting at the seams from urban overcrowding; they are also increasingly starting to bear the strains of climate change.

Although there are numerous solutions to either challenge, the building up of new "eco-cities" tries to kill the two birds with one stone. But what is the role of these master-planned communities in our sustainable futures?

The concept of an isolated, ecologically minded community is by no means a new one. The forward-thinking Buckminster Fuller was talking about "domed communities" in the 1960s, and in 1975 writer Ernest Callenbach published his novel Ecotopia, greatly influencing the green movements that would quickly follow.

While smaller versions may have grown more organically, contemporary Eco-Cities are often top-down master plans designed by big-name firms. Since many of these Eco-Cities are still under development, we can only speculate about their future performance and whether they will be flexible enough to function as a "real city."


Visit the link to read the complete article.

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Norm Miller's curator insight, August 12, 2013 1:43 PM

This article raises a good question.  It makes more sense to retrofit existing buildings so why not existing cities?

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Ideas on transforming cities - Singapore a case study

Ideas on transforming cities - Singapore a case study | green streets | Scoop.it

'We know that the planet is warming up and the human population is growing, raising our demand for resources. The combination of these factors is why the battle against climate change will be decided in cities, particularly cities in the Asia-Pacific.

These urban centres are triple ‘hot spots’: they face rising temperatures, increasing populations and escalating consumption.

To tackle these challenges, we need practical and successful ideas that can easily be replicated.


At the 4th Sustainable Cities Conference last week in Singapore, I discussed ways for Singapore and Hong Kong, already recognised as innovative cities in tackling these problems, to become even greener and establish themselves as leaders in creating sustainable city models for the Asia-Pacific.'

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Luiz F. Costa's comment, May 14, 2013 9:23 AM
E isso temos que incentivar.
Norm Miller's curator insight, May 14, 2013 10:49 AM

Singapore transformed it's economy faster than any other nation in the world.  It is not surprising to see them leading on other dimensions as well.

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Amsterdam’s Light Festival Sets the City Aglow With Magical LED Installations

Amsterdam’s Light Festival Sets the City Aglow With Magical LED Installations | green streets | Scoop.it

During the darkest time of the year, a vibrant festival of light and water enlivens Amsterdam.


Comprised of spectacular light sculptures, LED decorations on bridges, fiery boat parades and huge projections on public buildings, the festival brings together people in the often idyllic historic capital. Amsterdam's Light Festival is an initiative of Henk Jan Buchel, Vincent Horbach and Felix Guttmann together with Rogier van der Heiden—chief designer at Philips Lighting – this brilliant street party has a strong focus on innovation, design and sustainable lighting.

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A Sustainable Market Square for Casablanca

A Sustainable Market Square for Casablanca | green streets | Scoop.it
TomDavid Architecten of the Netherlands have won the [AC-CA] competition for a new market close to the Medina area in Casablanca, Morocco.
The competition called for a contemporary, sustainable structure able to create a social space while experimenting with innovative materials. TomDavid have proposed an elevated plaza shaded by glamorous concrete canopies plated with gold tiles and resembling giant leaves. The architects cite 1950s Casablanca architecture as inspiration for the canopies’ curvilinear shapes and material.
The plaza is meant to revitalize the area by encouraging social interaction and providing a meeting places and markets, which are important to the local economy...
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Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, November 30, 2012 5:15 AM

I love to see these new ideas that are happening around the world! This gets you thinking!

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Designing Water-Efficient Communities

Designing Water-Efficient Communities | green streets | Scoop.it
Harold Smethills explains why—and how—we can design future communities around water conservation.

As managing director of Sterling Ranch, one of Colorado’s most anticipated community developments, Harold Smethills is setting the standard of what it means to build a sustainable community. From wildlife conservation and open space planning to alternative energy sources and community-supported agriculture, Smethills and his development team have one goal for the 3,400-acre proposed community in the Chatfield Basin—to use sustainability as its overriding design principle.

But if you ask him what the critical issue is for his development—not to mention the building industry as a whole—his answer may surprise you. “As we look out to 2020 and far beyond, the very critical issue is water,” Smethills says. “Potable, reliable water is probably is the defining issue for this coming millennia.”

In fact, water conservation has been one of the defining features of Sterling Ranch. The development, which aims to use one-third the water traditionally required in Douglas County, has been recognized by the Colorado Water Conservation Board for it ambitious approach and is being lauded by many as the “blueprint” for designing future water-efficient communities...

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Accommodating biodiversity in urban environments

Accommodating biodiversity in urban environments | green streets | Scoop.it

One of the many issues affecting the world's biodiversity today, habitat destruction, is often cited as the main contributing factor. Cities and urban populations are expanding at a rapid rate, with ecologically sensitive areas increasingly at risk of becoming lost within their fabric and fragmented to a level where they cease to function. A recent paper in the journal Tree (Trends in Ecology & Evolution) also points out that urban areas are now expanding in nonlinear ways; a marked contrast to previous developments, which were slowly added to the periphery of urban centres. This is likely to mean that new developments, which are often considerable in size and in some cases towns in their own right, will severely reduce habitat availability and disrupt what remains of the urban landscape...

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Singapore Is On Its Way To Becoming An Iconic Smart City

Singapore Is On Its Way To Becoming An Iconic Smart City | green streets | Scoop.it

Singapore Is On Its Way To Becoming An Iconic Smart City.

For those of us interested in smart city evolution, Singapore is a fascinating place to explore.

 

Singapore is definitely pushing the envelope on innovation in policy and infrastructure. Its MRT metro system is fantastic and pretty smart. The stations are clean, the system is robust, reliable, and modern, and as a result the MRT is very popular.

On the sustainability side, Singapore generally gets very high marks. In fact, in the most recent Siemens Green Cities research, Singapore was the highest rated city in all of Asia. Singapore has a world-class water management program consisting of rain water catchment, waste water recycling, and desalination. The latter of course requires a lot of energy, but the government is working with the private sector to explore energy reduction technologies and strategies...

 

Given that it was relatively poor only a few decades ago, it is impressive to see how Singapore is now a robust, vibrant, multi-cultural, clean, and safe place to be. Singapore appears to be on the right track to becoming one of the iconic smart cities in Asia.

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From mean streets to green streets

From mean streets to green streets | green streets | Scoop.it

From mean streets to green streets...

Sustainable developments are forcing landlords to lift their game to stay competitive.

A website is seeking to raise the profile of that rare newcomer, the green rental property. When greenmoves.com.au founder Dani King rattles off a list of significant sustainable property developments under construction around town, it certainly sounds promising.

Impressive multi-unit residential developments, such as Breathe Architecture's The Commons in Brunswick, Lend Lease's Convesso apartments at Docklands and Stockland's Selandra Rise community, near Cranbourne, will increase the supply of green rental properties in Melbourne. With councils encouraging sustainable housing in municipalities including Melbourne, Moreland, Yarra, Darebin, Knox, Whitehorse and Banyule, Ms King predicts green properties will be much easier to find and rent...

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Sustainable cities of the future

Sustainable cities of the future | green streets | Scoop.it
Here are six areas where cities will likely adapt for a more sustainable future.

Most of the cities that we live and work in today are unplanned or only semi-planned. They got the way they are due to a combination of what locals wanted (housing, shops and parks), what businesses needed (factories, shipping channels) and what government interests deemed necessary (water treatment plants, incinerators). Because of the lack of plans, you see western American cities built around the car, which has exacerbated sprawl, and eastern American cities that have developed more eco-friendly public transit systems – but only because they had to.

Cities of the future likely will be much more planned, organized places. With the human population set to hit nine billion by 2050, they will require planning. At the moment, more than 50 percent of us live in cities, and that number is expected to top 70 percent by the century’s end. In high-growth places, like China and India, entire cities are being constructed from the ground up. Find below just six of the new ideas we will likely see in sustainable cities of the future.

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EU Summit maps out the future for cities

EU Summit maps out the future for cities | green streets | Scoop.it
What is a sustainable city? What kind of pressure do our urban spaces have to face? What examples can small and medium cities set and how can their successes be reproduced around Europe? Some of the lessons are being learned at the 5th European Summit of Regions and Cities, in Copenhagen.

Approximately half of the world’s total population lives in urban areas. By 2030 80% of Europeans are expected to live in cities. This is why sustainable urban development is acquiring a crucial dimension in the debate over future European policies. Often local and regional areas manage to stand out for their eco-friendly practices, becoming open laboratories of sustainability, as the title of the summit suggests, “The European urban fabric in the 21st century”.

“Historically cities have always been innovation centres, but it is especially from the typical medium-sized European city that innovation starts. Now even the Chinese have discovered that small is beautiful, or better, middle-sized is beautiful. They have found that cities of 500,000 to 600,000 residents are much more sustainable, and they are building medium-sized urban areas to avoid their cities turning into megalopoli,” says President of the Committee of Regions Mercedes Bresso...

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Transforming a derelict city building into vertical gardens for nearby residents | Switchboard, from NRDC

Transforming a derelict city building into vertical gardens for nearby residents | Switchboard, from NRDC | green streets | Scoop.it
Aspiring interior designer Lucie Sadakova has come up with a striking concept to bring more green space and nourishment into a scruffy part of London. And, despite being in a sense all about an outdoor activity, it is in fact an interior transformation, a proposed adaptive reuse of an old building way past its prime.

For her final degree project at university, Sadakova designed a concept she calls Multileveled Vertical Urban Allotments, which in plain English means hollowing out the guts of an old warehouse, opening up its roof and (enlarged) windows to the elements, and filling the space with a sort of stacked series of green plots that could be gardened by nearby residents...


Via Flora Moon
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Smaller, more sustainable living in neighborhoods that fit in

Smaller, more sustainable living in neighborhoods that fit in | green streets | Scoop.it

When talking about reducing the footprint of our living patterns on the landscape and the earth’s limited resources, I always stress that this does not necessarily mean high-rises or even multi-family living at all. Those can be perfectly accessible pathways to sustainability for people who prefer them, but one can also have sustainably designed neighborhoods of single-family homes on moderately sized lots. The lots can be even smaller without sacrificing access to the outdoors if ample shared green space is integrated into the setting. Ultimately, more sustainable living patterns need to be about a diversity of choices within a community, rather than the ghettoes of identically sized and styled housing products typically offered during the recent heyday of sprawl

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