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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Reprogramming the City: New Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure

Reprogramming the City: New Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure | green streets |

Curated by urban strategist Scott Burham, the latest exhibition at theDAC explores the array of untapped potential in our urban environments. Through installations such as a light therapy bus stop and a billboard that converts humidity into drinking water, the show will consider how infrastructure can encourage human interaction, perform alternative functions or assume an entirely new role.

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Next Up For Brooklyn, an Urban Gondola

Next Up For Brooklyn, an Urban Gondola | green streets |

The East River Skyway aims to alleviate transit congestion along the Brooklyn waterfront by taking commuters off the grid.

The East River Skyway is a proposal for a multi-phase urban gondola to connect the growing residential and commercial corridors between Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. The proposal calls for an aerial transit system to be built out in stages, with the first line connecting the Lower East Side and Williamsburg. Subsequent lines might include a connection between Lower Manhattan, Dumbo, and Brooklyn Navy Yard, as well as a line threading between Midtown, Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, and Williamsburg...

Norm Miller's curator insight, September 25, 4:31 PM

These become great for residents and tourists but the lawyers often find the liabilities too much of a concern when the gondolas pass over roads, bridges or people in some way.  Hope this one actually happens.

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St. Louis Exhibition Explores Street Design in Grand Center Arts District

St. Louis Exhibition Explores Street Design in Grand Center Arts District | green streets |

St. Louis’ Grand Center neighborhood has gone through a lot of changes, and the midtown neighborhood aims “to become the premiere cultural and entertainment tourist destination in the Midwest.

Part of that plan involves sprucing up the urban fabric with a Great Streets Projects grant from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.

The plan envisions corridors of development and pinpoints several intersections and cross-block connectors that could be activated by public programming to function as “outdoor rooms.”

Trees and green infrastructure are meant to alleviate some of St. Louis’ flooding issues by retaining and filtering stormwater and describes a new catchment area. Branding, wayfinding, lighting, and transportation analyses are also a focus of the plan.

More information at the link.

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Bright Lights, Big City: urban-lighting projects that dazzle

Bright Lights, Big City: urban-lighting projects that dazzle | green streets |
As well as ensuring that streets and public spaces are safe and attractive, one of the key concerns of city planners today is reducing energy consumption. For this reason, the evolution of energy-efficient lighting technologies such as LEDs has had a huge influence on the latest generation of street lights. The Rama LED from Spanish design brand Santa & Cole illustrates how the introduction of cutting-edge light sources enhances the performance of these products. Originally designed by Gonzalo Milá in 2000, the updated LED version provides a direct light that minimises light pollution and can be controlled accurately. Like other LED street lamps, it also has an impressive longevity of over 60,000 hours, meaning minimal maintenance is required.
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A (Thought) Bubble to Help China Tackle Pollution

A (Thought) Bubble to Help China Tackle Pollution | green streets |

We all know about the shocking statistics regarding the Mainland's pollution, as well as some of the drastic measures it has experimented with to battle it. London-based practice Orproject has come up with a temporary solution for this crowd, one that would transport the Bucky Ball and its biosphere into the contemporary situation in China.

The idea behind the “Bubbles” concept is to encapsulate a park or a garden under a transparent shell to provide an urban oasis of clean air for the citizens to enjoy. Made from ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), the structure would maintain a visual delicacy while providing a secure barrier to allow for the control of heat and humidity within. Mimicking the function of a leaf, the form will be covered with translucent solar cells (for conceptual "photosynthesis") and riddled with a series of veins that would function as the circulatory system of the park.

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KSP Designs Floating ‘Urban Helix’ for Changsha

KSP Designs Floating ‘Urban Helix’ for Changsha | green streets |

KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten International has been awarded first prize for their proposal of a new “urban helix” in Changsha, China, that extends public space from the city center into Lake Meixi. The concept serves as a catalyst, marking a termination point on a new street axis that culminates into a pedestrian ramp symbolically spiraling 30 meters above a 20,000 square meter artificial island.

Considered as a “city built from scratch,” Changsha has been host to a slew of architectural and urbanist projects in recent years. From Zaha Hadid’s ambitious Culture and Arts Centre to KPF’s 120 million square foot master plan, the city has been an experimental hot bed, expecting to grow to 180,000 inhabitants within the coming years...

Aubri Shauger-Haley's curator insight, January 27, 10:19 AM

Will be interesting to see how this is accepted. A "Pedestrian ramp" sprialing 30 meters above an artifical island... I wish them well...

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Smart cities: innovation in energy will drive sustainable cities

Smart cities: innovation in energy will drive sustainable cities | green streets |

'Cities represent three quarters of energy consumption and 80% of CO2 emissions worldwide, and represent the largest of any environmental policy challenge. Urbanisation is only set to increase, cities house half the world's population today but are set to host three quarters in 2050.

To cope with this continued urban growth we will need to invent new ways to manage cities and make them more effective. The convergence between digital technology and the world of energy, or Energy 3.0, will pave the way for a new ecosystem of services which will enable both a better quality of life and reduced energy consumption.'

Via Stephane Bilodeau
Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, November 15, 2013 9:37 AM

I think local focus and efforts will indeed be where sustainability will come from in the long run.

luiy's curator insight, November 16, 2013 12:46 PM
Empowering people in smart cities

In the same way that the IT revolution has been driven by consumer needs, so too will the energy revolution. As blogs, social networks and video platforms have enabled people to produce information and customise their content, new technologies will make possible energy self-production and customisation of energy usages and consumption.


Smart cities will also enable the use of open data which will create new urban services such as better transport connections, accident risk warnings and home monitoring for part-time and full-time carers. Local councils will have greater responsibility for ensuring the collection and the public availability of this data.


Furthermore, by leveraging this data, businesses will be able to offer personalised services for users, for example smart meter data could permit utilities to offer new tariffs, such as time-of use pricing which will encourage end-users to use energy in off-peak times when it is cheaper.

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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 |
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.

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

Simple ideas wrapped in big dreams. GET INSPIRED! 

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The Urban Landscape: Designing With Cities, Not For Them

The Urban Landscape: Designing With Cities, Not For Them | green streets |
When the city is viewed not as a destination for design but as the source material for it, a new relationship between design and the urban landscape is possible.

Whether it’s repurposing a billboard to act as a humidity collection system for clean drinking water in Lima, Peru, or integrating Wi-Fi capabilities into Madrid’s paving stones with the iPavement initiative, cities are increasingly expanding the capabilities of their existing assets and reforming the urban terrain as a landscape of opportunity.

The truth is that a city has all the resources it needs; the key to unlocking these resources is seeing the urban landscape not as the end result of a previous creative process, but as the beginning of a new onea landscape to design with, not for.

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Cities Threatened By Climate Change

Cities Threatened By Climate Change | green streets |
It's not just flooding: Plenty of other issues—such as rising sea levels and drought—present pressing problems for these urban areas.

Climate change is one of the most serious issues facing the world's cities in the 21st century, but so far policymakers, planners, and scientists have come up with few solutions to prevent—or mitigate—its calamitous effects.

While flooding disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy have brought attention to the dangers posed by stronger storms, there are plenty of other threats—such as rising sea levels—that might be even more pressing. Wildfires and drought have already heavily damaged the American Southwest, while flooding threatens low-lying island nations.

Visit the link to find which cities that will soon be in danger.

Anhony DeSimone's curator insight, December 19, 2013 8:56 AM

This article explains the effects of the climate change has on the city. This shows us that the climate controls the physical setting of a city and if any changes are made in the climate that means that the city will also change with it. In some cases this can dangerous and cause harm to a cities landmark or physical geography. Some issues that are concerning about this is flooding's, hurricane's, and other strong storms.

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Complete Streets: Designing to Create Connectivity at our Public Spaces

Complete Streets: Designing to Create Connectivity at our Public Spaces | green streets |

A street shouldn't just be about transportation, but also about civic definition and social and commercial interaction.

There is no better place to start using land more efficiently than with our streets, our most plentiful and visible parts of the urban commons. The recent "complete streets" movement has made a terrific contribution to getting our streets right, by insisting that they be designed so as to accommodate all users.

Connectivity is hugely important to a sustainable street network to encourage walking and shorten driving trips by making destinations more convenient. The pedestrian experience should be safe and enjoyable, and should be so perceived.

Other design elements to help turn streets into worthy places are:

  • Sidewalks with real curbs;
  • On-street parking ;
  • Street trees;
  • Storefronts with elements that shelter pedestrians such as awnings, arcades, and colonnades;
  • Buildings with windows and "other signs of human occupancy such as porches and balconies" for "eyes on the street";
  • Design appropriate to safe motor vehicle speeds.
Lauren Moss's insight:

Visit the article link for more details and information on the process of creating better public spaces and the elements that make for healthy, safe and vibrant communities.

Nienke Groen's curator insight, July 18, 2013 8:09 AM

Nice trend: refitting streets to create connectivity

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Urban Agriculture Grows Up: Rooftop Greenhouses and Vertical Farms

Urban Agriculture Grows Up: Rooftop Greenhouses and Vertical Farms | green streets |

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...

jean-guy Jais's curator insight, July 3, 2013 10:30 PM

very interesting

Zé Estrada Ar's comment, July 8, 2013 1:51 AM
Fortunately I live in a country filled with big farms, but it's a good iniciative.
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Urban Design for New American Cities

Urban Design for New American Cities | green streets |

Around many of our Gateway Cities like New York, Washington DC and San Francisco, are sprouting "New Cities", complete with their own infrastructure, neighborhoods, employment centers and cultural identity.

With exploding global populations, much of the talk around urbanization revolves around cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America. But here at home in the United States, a new type of city form is taking shape. Around many of our Gateway Cities like New York, Washington DC and San Francisco, are sprouting "New Cities", complete with their own infrastructure, neighborhoods, employment centers and cultural identity.

The timing of these "New Cities" is good, since in recent years there has been a resurgence of ideas of urban planning that promote mix of uses, walkability and transit oriented development. However, New Cities confront us with many unprecedented realities that we must consider and analyze in depth before we rubber-stamp our current formulas for creating vibrant urban communities. These places are inherently different from Gateway Cities, Suburban Settlements or Rural Areas. They have a DNA of their own, which requires a more tailored response...

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Accessibility and Urban Elevators: Urban Link by VAUMM

Accessibility and Urban Elevators: Urban Link by VAUMM | green streets |

Spanish architects VAUMM have found a niche in Errenteria, a town near San Sebastián where they have now completed three ascensores urbanos (‘urban elevators’). The region underwent rapid industrialisation in the 1960s that caused residential construction to climb steep hillsides. The resulting urban obstacle course continues to present problems of accessibility and connectivity for the aging population that the construction was originally designed to accommodate. VAUMM’sascensores act as vertical cross-streets, creating navigable pathways between previously disconnected places. 

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Next-generation high-rises offer glimpses of our urban skyline future

Next-generation high-rises offer glimpses of our urban skyline future | green streets |
The world's cities are sprouting with plans for new towers and skyscrapers, a sign of twin booms in creativity and wealth.

When London has 250 new skyscrapers planned and building departments in cities from New York to Abuja, Nigeria, are bursting at the seams for new tower permits. The new designs display greater technological prowess, unimaginable beauty and true innovation in how people will live in tomorrow's intelligent, dense, high-rise world...

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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 |

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...

Suzette Jackson's curator insight, May 1, 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, 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, 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 (


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 (

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Gondolas & Urban Transit: Planners Look to the Sky to Solve for "Last Mile"

Gondolas & Urban Transit: Planners Look to the Sky to Solve for "Last Mile" | green streets |

In a mountainous suburb of La Paz, Bolivia, crews are finishing the first leg of a network of gondolas, which may be the largest mass transit cable-car system in the world.

Cable-car systems are hardly new tech—they are a fixture in ski resorts and mountain villages around the world. But planners are increasingly exploring their use in urban transportation systems—particularly to solve “last mile” issues, where it is difficult to connect neighborhoods to the existing mass transit network...

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, April 19, 3:10 AM

Australian Curriculum Geography - enhancing liveability  through transport  to increase social connectedness.

Social connectedness influences liveability. 

Emma Lupo's curator insight, October 20, 9:45 PM

Transport and infrastructure 

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Water-proofing the Future: Floating Cities & Innovative Architecture

Water-proofing the Future: Floating Cities & Innovative Architecture | green streets |

The lure of the sea: Pacific islands perched in glistening aquamarine, softly lapping waves caressing Europe’s beaches. Now, many of these bucket list hotspots are about to be reclaimed by our beloved sea.

Naturally, we know all about rising sea levels. Cities like Venice as well as entire coastal regions, a. o. in The Netherlands, are acutely threatened by this development. But what can we do to stave off the danger?

Climate change and the resulting greenhouse effect are in full swing. Even a truly radical gear change and turnaround in climate politics would leave our planet fighting the repercussions for a century to come. Against this background, scientists and architects join forces to develop protective solutions for people and the ground they stand on.

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The 11 Most Resilient Cities In America

The 11 Most Resilient Cities In America | green streets |
The Rockefeller Foundation's resiliency challenge will give 11 American cities support to improve their ability to bounce back from disaster.

As more of the world's population moves into urban areas, and climate change increases the likelihood of flooding and extreme weather, cities all over the globe will need to strengthen their ability to withstand disasters.

This year, the Rockefeller Foundation is giving a few lucky cities a push with its 100 Resilient Cities challenge, which aims to give metropolises support to design and implement disaster contingency plans.

ParadigmGallery's curator insight, December 5, 2013 3:52 PM

Interesting , informative post....

By nature, a city's ability to weather disaster is a design issue, one with plenty of potential for design solutions.....

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Public art transforms the urban canvas

Public art transforms the urban canvas | green streets |
Public art has evolved into an essential element of urban placemaking and social engagement.

'Public art is increasingly an interactive, community-based experience. A focus on “social practice,” or engaging local communities in creating change through art, is borne out in public art pieces that are as thought-provoking as they are aesthetically pleasing.
 It should come as little surprise that in the era of Facebook, Twitter and the 24/7 conversation, public art is morphing into a tool for community engagement...'

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Urban Characters: Exploring the places and objects that make each city unique

Urban Characters: Exploring the places and objects that make each city unique | green streets |
A salute to those special places—some humble, some utterly utilitarian—that give a city its unique personality and collective soul.

The six places and objects shown at the link are urban amenities of a particular kind, but really they’re much more than that. These are the distinct features in the landscape that give a city its unique character. Every city has them. They can be supremely useful (the parkettes in Toronto, Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington, D.C.’s fabulous subway stations) or gloriously idiosyncratic (the hidden staircases in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh’s charming Inclines, the incongruous gas lamps of sunny San Diego).

All of them, however, play a beloved civic role that transcends their mere function, lending a kind of quiet poetry to daily life, grace notes to the grind. Six writers and designers, one from each city, reflect on these special characters in the urban landscape...

ParadigmGallery's curator insight, September 26, 2013 2:54 PM

This thought from the article sums it up for me...."believe that we can be great and that change is possible and that we can achieve it."

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ADEPT Selected to Construct “Green Loops City” in China

ADEPT Selected to Construct “Green Loops City” in China | green streets |

Danish practice ADEPT has won an international, invited competition to master plan the 17KM2 site of Laiyan New Town and Binjian District in Hengyang, China. Their winning proposal, “Green Loops City” was lauded for developing an innovative and sustainable way to accommodate rapid urban growth while preserving Hengyang’s cultural heritage and lush surrounding landscape.

Aidi Su from ADEPT stated: “Much of Hengyang’s cultural and natural resources are still very much intact when compared to other Chinese cities facing rapid urban development. This is an incredible opportunity for us to make a difference in Chinese cities.”

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

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

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.

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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The Garden of Forking Paths by Beals & Lyon Architects

The Garden of Forking Paths by Beals & Lyon Architects | green streets |

The Garden of Forking Paths’ by Chilean firm Beals & Lyon Architects constructs a green maze, which creates an environment of slowness and a new scale for leisure and the unforeseen in a park that is otherwise insistently being pushed and transformed into a productive and lucrative space.

Visitors ideally relinquish orientation, leaving the rush of the city behind. This quietness will eventually allow a change in perception: slow, paused, useless, thus establishing a connection with their bodies through an unexpected sensual experience and could bring a whole new understanding of space, capable of locating the body, back at the centre of architecture.

Via Brian Yanish -
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Snohetta Creates An Urban Oasis For The Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia

Snohetta Creates An Urban Oasis For The Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia | green streets |

Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh is swelling in both population and capital, creating a new impetus for a metro system to solve its transit woes.

The Snohetta design aims to create an oasis at the center of a large public plaza. A large canopy would shade the public space as well as admit light to the underground station. Downward ramps allow for a gentle entry to the system. Palm trees will be aligned with an adjacent mosque, and thus Mecca, while limestone will extend to the site’s edges, signaling the openness and availability of the space to the public. Irrigation channels will both keep the trees alive, as well as provide some evaporative cooling to the space, making it a true urban oasis.

The architects write: “Our proposal for the Downtown Metro provides not only a beacon for a new urban awareness in the city but also a public space, an arena for all the citizens of Riyadh, a citizen space promoting public ownership and a new era of Social Sustainability and civic urban pride.”

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