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The Smart Grid in 2013: Charged for Growth

The Smart Grid in 2013: Charged for Growth | green streets |

In the past year, the grid has seen some remarkable highs, while also being tested to meet the basic needs of society.

On one hand, big advances have flourished, fundamentally changing the way we power our lives. Roof-mounted solar panels have gone from a costly oddity to a competitive selling point for many homes and battery-powered vehicles have gained traction.

On the other hand, the idea of progress has been challenged by a slew of weather woes that have shaken consumer confidence in our energy infrastructure. A series of intense storms, heat waves and drought made 2012 one of the toughest years globally for the grid in many years.

So what will 2013 bring? The growth of the smart grid.

A new stage is opening - where the public was once ambivalent about the smart grid, consumers are now starting to demand these improvements, spurred by the need to improve reliability, participation and the resiliency to recover from large-scale grid events.

Going into the new year, pressure to rebuild the northeast's grid with more resilience will further boost trends that point towards investment in these smart technologies to continue to expand by over 10% over the next five years.
And while efforts to date have focused on improving the grid's heavy-duty backbone, a look ahead suggests that coming smart grid efforts will reach more directly into everyday life.

Here's what's in store for 2013...

Lauren Moss's insight:

An interesting look at the future of the smart grid, renewable energy and the trends that are shaping the development of these technologies in the coming year.

In addition to energy generation, the article examines infrastructure, energy storage, distributed generation, public awareness, and social networks as communication tools...

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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
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Anatomy of a Smart City

Anatomy of a Smart City | green streets |

The 19th century was a century of empires, 20th century was a century of nation states and the 21st century will be a century of cities...

This outstanding infographic (courtesy of begins with some information about our current state of urbanization.

Did you know that 1.3 million people are moving to cities each week?! It then explains the need for smart cities and delves into what is required to establish these intelligent connected environments, how the smart city may take various forms in the developing worlds and what specific technologies are necessary to achieve such grand goals in practice.

Eli Levine's curator insight, December 18, 2014 10:45 AM

There is an evolution taking place where politics, policy, technology, the environment, and the economy all intersect. This movement towards technical, empirically driven local policy making could be our saving grace.This could be the future of government.

Russell R. Roberts, Jr.'s curator insight, December 19, 2014 2:10 AM

A stunning infographic which predicts how urban living will change in this century.  Our age is truly becoming "a century of smart cities."  Exciting times lie ahead.  Aloha, Russ.

Paul Aneja - eTrends's curator insight, December 22, 2014 6:51 PM

What do you think makes a smarter city?

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Mixed Use Development in London: King’s Cross Pond Club

Mixed Use Development in London: King’s Cross Pond Club | green streets |

A German-Dutch team of designers is temporarily transforming part of a vast building site in central London with an intervention that is both a public pool and an art installation

For most Londoners, the developments around King’s Cross come to an abrupt halt with the huge granary containing Central Saint Martins. Yet, heading north along its western flank, one encounters the diminutive beginnings of the “Lewis Cubitt Park”. Around this, a wide arc of mixed-use buildings is currently under construction. For the next two years, amid this churned earth of building sites, a 40m x 10m, kidney-shaped swimming pool will nestle.

Raised above its surroundings, Of Soil and Water: King’s Cross Pond Club, is the fourth and last iteration of the three-year Relay public-art programme, and is due to open next month as a temporary swimming venue, operating with a strict daily limit of 163 bathers. Designed by Rotterdam-based Ooze Architects (Eva Pfannes and Sulvain Hartenberg), along with Berlin-based artist Marjetica Potrč (also originally an architect), it is the first UK example of a closed-loop public pool.

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'Shadowless' Towers Proposed for London's Urban Fabric

'Shadowless' Towers Proposed for London's Urban Fabric | green streets |
NBBJ proposes a set of "shadowless" towers for London's rapidly changing skyline.

Architects from the global firm NBBJ have designed what they call a “No Shadow Tower” for a site along the Thames River in London. The hypothetical scheme, developed in response to a call for ideas from the architecture think tank New London Architecture (NLA), offers one way to lessen the impact of tall buildings on the urban fabric surrounding them.

NBBJ’s proposed scheme has a similar goal to Jean Nouvel’s recently completed One Central Park complex in Sydney, which depends on a giant heliostat to illuminate a garden that would otherwise often be in shade. But NBBJ uses the geometry of the buildings themselves to mitigate their shadows. The two London towers subtly twist and flair, with floor plates that are slightly larger on the upper floors. Developed with parametric design, the configuration is intended to reflect sunlight from the south face of the taller tower into the plaza below. This arrangement would create what Coop describes as dynamic pools of light...

Lola Ripollés's curator insight, April 5, 2:25 PM

Despite its name, the NBBJ proposal consists not of a single tower, but a pair of glass-clad skyscrapers—one about 50 stories tall and the other about 30 stories. Kidney-shaped in plan, with their concave elevations facing each other, the two buildings together define a plaza at the ground. This space captured NBBJ’s attention. “Although tall buildings have an impact on the skyline, their success or failure comes down to what occurs at the base,” says Christian Coop, design director of the firm’s London office.

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Urban Continuity at the Reconstructed Sport Centre in Paris

Urban Continuity at the Reconstructed Sport Centre in Paris | green streets |

The partial reconstruction of the stadium Jules Ladoumègue has been realized in intricate connection with the new site of the RATP (public transport service for the Ile-de-France) maintenance center.

The construction of the maintenance center and the creation of new space for sport activities expresses the integration of big equipment in dense urban structure and emphasizes its multi functionality...

ParadigmGallery's curator insight, March 16, 3:31 PM

This is a great read and offers insight into the plans and process of designing and blending old and new in a very dense urban environment...thanks DOMUS and Lauren Moss

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MVRDV To Bring Human Scale Back to Montparnasse

MVRDV To Bring Human Scale Back to Montparnasse | green streets |

The City of Paris is ready to see a block in Montparnasse area restructured—this time not vertically, but horizontally. The aging structure, located in the 14th arrondissement, or district, has lost "urban connectivity", and Mayor Hidalgo's urban planner, Jean-Louis Missika, labeled it an eyesore. MVRDV, based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, has plans to bring it back. It is as though the rest of the city's pulse has stopped reaching the quartier, which lacks the typical pedestrian bustle and overall neighborhood identity quintessential to the metropolis...

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Architects of Invention and Archiplan Propose “Origami Highline” for Santiago

Architects of Invention and Archiplan Propose “Origami Highline” for Santiago | green streets |

Chilean architects Archiplan and international office Architects of Invention have unveiled their concept design for a new public plaza in Santiago. Prepared as a competition entry, the proposal is a tribute to the late Chilean architect Fernando Castillo Velasco, sited in front of his iconic Tajamar Towers.

Entitled “Origami Highline,” the project draws inspiration from the ancient Japanese paper folding craft of origami and takes the form of a sculptural intervention in Balmaceda Park...

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Boston wants to build the most walkable Olympics ever

Boston wants to build the most walkable Olympics ever | green streets |

With the announcement official, Boston 2024, the private nonprofit spearheading the bid, has publicly released the presentation it gave to the Olympic Committee back in December.

Boston public radio station WBUR reported that David Manfredi, of the Boston-based Elkus Manfredi, is co-chairing the bid’s planning committee and reportedly said that Boston 2024’s planning goal is to make the games the most walkable Olympics of all time. To that end, 28 out of 33 venues are within about a six mile radius. There is also the “Olympic Boulevard” which serves as the “pedestrian spine” between many of the facilities. The overall plan has two main clusters of facilities, one near the water and the other around some of Boston’s most famous universities including Boston University, MIT, and Harvard.

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After the deluge: Brisbane's new flood resilient ferry terminal

After the deluge: Brisbane's new flood resilient ferry terminal | green streets |

Cox Rayner Architects and Aurecon have designed a new generation of flood-resilient ferry terminals in Brisbane.

The completed terminal at Milton is the first of many to be rolled out along the Brisbane River in 2015. The flood resilient terminal design has been inspired by the way private pontoons simply float over their piers in a flood. Michael Rayner, director of Cox Rayner, called on his own experience in the 2011 floods in designing a terminal that could also deflect debris.

The design features a pier that provides commuters with panoramic views of the Brisbane River, with the pontoon essentially tethered to the pier via the gangway. During a flood, the gangway slides across the pier as the river rises and detaches. It then swings with the current of the flood waters, secured to the side of the pontoon, to avoid the build-up of debris. The gangway incorporates a unique floor which maintains level whatever the tide. The pontoon, which is anchored at the downstream end, features a hull-shaped base that allows flood waters to flow underneath it unhindered.

Kris Homann's curator insight, March 18, 3:53 AM

Brisbane has been my home for my entire adult life.  I moved here the day I graduated high school and will most likely live here the rest of my life.


As a city, Brisbane has had it’s fair share of major incidents, the most notable of late the 2011 floods.  In some ways, we are still feeling the flow on effects from this today, as can be seen in this article, they have had to completely redesign the ferry terminals to cope with future flood events, and as a result of the floodings, insurance companies were forced to change their policies to cover flood events .


Another recent OHS issue that is becoming more prominent is traffic in the city.  Roads everywhere are congested because they can’t cope with the traffic volumes, people are more and more starting to ride push bikes on roadways, that are not designed to be shared use, so the incidents of vehicle to bike accidents has skyrocketed.


Both the floods and the bicycle usage have caused many OHS issues to come up, some of which are how to make the roads safer, and less congested, how do we flood proof our beautiful city, and how do we do this without having a negative impact on the people who are required to do the work to implement these changes.


Widening roads is a dangerous situation for the workers, and one that has caused concern in the past, especially with impatient drivers who refuse to slow down through traffic works effectively putting the lives of the workers at risk.  So how do we do this safely, and how do with do it with minimal obstruction to already overturned roadways? 


That is something I would like to find out.

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America's Best Performing Cities in 2014

America's Best Performing Cities in 2014 | green streets |

The knowledge and energy hubs of San Francisco and Texas are among the year’s biggest economic winners.

The top six best performing metros were all tech hubs: The previously mentioned three, plus Provo, Utah; Raleigh-Cary in North Carolina’s Research Triangle; and Salt Lake City. Rounding out the top ten were four Texas cities: Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas and San Antonio. Other tech powerhouses in the top 25 include Seattle at 11 and Boulder at 13.

Energy centers also rank high up the list. This is evident in the strong showing of metros in the Lone Star State, home to seven of the top 25 best performing metros, and five in the top ten. The energy economies of Lafayette (19) and Baton Rouge (21), Louisiana, also place in the top 25 of large metros, the latter of which rose 55 spots in ranking last year alone.

Norm Miller's curator insight, January 14, 11:39 AM

Connectivity is critical.

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OVT Centraal station: A New Transportation Hub in Rotterdam

OVT Centraal station: A New Transportation Hub in Rotterdam | green streets |

The design of Team CS for Rotterdam Central strives to embed the central station again in the center of Rotterdam. With the development of the High Speed Line (HSL), the design establishes the new station as a major hub in being a part of European transportation network which, in every respect, must be capable to match the efficiency, capacity, comfort, and style of other major stations such as Madrid, Paris, London, and Brussels.

The new building's shape expresses the internal logistics of this transport hub. Marking the onset of Rotterdam's 'cultural axis', the new Grand Central Station points the way to the city's heart...

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BIG Reveals First Renderings for Public Square at London’s Battersea Power Station

BIG Reveals First Renderings for Public Square at London’s Battersea Power Station | green streets |
The New York- and Copenhagen-based practice will establish their first U.K. project with "Malaysia Square," linking Giles Gilbert Scott’s southern entrance to the Foster + Partners' and Gehry Partners' proposed Electric Boulevard high street.

The total redevelopment, led by Rafael Viñoly, FAIA, is estimated at £8 billion, or approximately $9.9 million, with BIG’s public space linking the southern entrance of Scott’s Grade II with the proposed high street, Electric Boulevard, by Foster + Partners and Gehry Partners.

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Urban Reflector: San Francisco's Massive 5M Project Bridges Neighborhoods

Urban Reflector: San Francisco's Massive 5M Project Bridges Neighborhoods | green streets |

Real estate development company Forest City is moving forward with a plan to build a residential and office complex on four acres around the San Francisco Chronicle building, a 1924 structure on the corner of 5th and Mission streets, where the city’s South of Market, Downtown, and Mid-Market neighborhoods intersect.

The design team for the project includes New York–based architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), SITELAB urban studio, and historic resources consultant Architectural Resources Group.

If approved, the scheme—located near the city’s Powell Street BART and MUNI stations—will contain 1.8 million square feet of development, including about 870,000 square feet of offices, 800,000 square feet of residences, 150,000 square feet of ground floor uses, and 34,000 square feet of open space.

In addition to the built structures, the development includes the 12,000-square-foot “Mary Square,” and a 22,000-square-foot green space on the Chronicle Building Roof. Roughly 25 percent of the project’s residences are set to be affordable units.

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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.

Norm Miller's curator insight, December 30, 2014 3:38 PM

Design can make a huge difference in terms of livable cities.

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Five Cities Show the Future of Walkability

Five Cities Show the Future of Walkability | green streets |

To walk in our cities is more than just a simple act of transport. Walking represents an appropriation of urban space for daily life. It means being an active part of the urban environment by learning, understanding and shaping the city on a personal level. Walking is one of the most democratic and equitable ways of getting around, but it’s also one of the ways most linked to factors outside an individual’s control, like social or physical abilities and the presence of infrastructure to walk comfortably and safely.

These are the factors that define walkability, which refers to how safe, convenient, and efficient it is to walk in an urban environment. Walkability has a direct impact on urban residents’ mobility, as the term is often used to communicate how likely the average person is to choose walking over other modes of transport in a given area...

Richard W J Brown's curator insight, April 22, 7:52 AM


Walking is very much underrated and also underused in terms of city transportation options at times. On a business trip in London, I checked the tube connection times and logistics between meetings and a walking alternative...there was about 5 minutes or so in it; so I walked. I was outside, saw lots of beautiful and historic buildings and parks, got some exercise and it just felt good really.


Try it; it's great!

Catherine Devin's curator insight, April 23, 2:38 AM

On met beaucoup en avant la création de pistes cyclables dans les villes et de parkings à vélo, mais en comparaison, finalement moins  les initiatives pour rendre les déplacements à pied plus fluides, plus agréables, plus sûrs. 

L' Ademe souligne pourtant que la marche à pied fait partie du projet écomobilité (et santé)  et est aussi un des modes de déplacements doux favorisés par les Français en ville.

Le réaménagement de la rue Garibaldi à la Part-Dieu à Lyon travaille en ce sens -  plus de piétons, plus de cyclistes - mais il n'en reste pas moins que la circulation du piéton dans ce quartier d'affaires des années 70' n'est pas toujours aisée et rapide. Encore moins facile  d'accéder  ou quitter La Défense à pied.

Zaiter Ramzy's curator insight, April 23, 5:47 AM

Bien vu les vertus de la marche à pied urbaine pour l'appropriation du territoire par ses habitants, quelques exemples de Helsinky à Hambourg

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13 Urban Trends to Watch // Urban Land Institute

13 Urban Trends to Watch // Urban Land Institute | green streets |
In an excerpt from his new book, Urban Real Estate Investment: A New Era of Opportunity, Henry Cisneros making the case for the forces of change that will create a new urban reality.

The contours of an urban renaissance—long in the making—are quickly coming into focus. Massive societal and economic changes are converging to create a new urban reality, a transformation of importance to the millions of Americans in the nation’s metropolitan areas. Demographic changes are creating markets for mixed-use and mixed-income models of urban design. Job growth in advanced industries fits the preferences of knowledge workers attracted to urban neighborhoods. The “smart” institutions of the new economy, such as research universities and medical centers, are becoming the knowledge anchors of cities, spinning off employment, contracts, businesses, residences, and public amenities. Global energy challenges are putting a premium on core city locations and on public transit. New technologies are matched to creative financial architecture to advance concepts of sustainability, walkability, and affordability...

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France's New Green Roof Law and the Future of Urban Design

France's New Green Roof Law and the Future of Urban Design | green streets |

Last Thursday, France passed legislation that new commercial buildings are required to have green roofs.

In order to decrease the environmental impact of new construction, new buildings in commercial zones must have either rooftop plants or solar panels. These rooftop gardens not only insulate the building with their thermal mass, but they also filter water and help prevent excess runoff and storm water overflows.

France is not the first government to legislate green roofs. In 2009, The City of Toronto began requiring some new buildings to include rooftop planting in their design, and in Switzerland, all buildings must have a green roof if they have a suitable pitch...

Véronique Calvet's curator insight, March 27, 6:01 PM

En France, les nouveaux immeubles commerciaux doivent dorénavant avoir des toits "verts" : végétalisés ou avec panneaux solaires.

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University Masterplan First to Receive 5 Green Star-Communities Rating in Australia

University Masterplan First to Receive 5 Green Star-Communities Rating in Australia | green streets |

The Curtin University Master Plan has become the first project to receive a 5 Star Green Star-Communities Rating by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). The plan sets forth a strategy for the renewal of the University’s main campus in Bentley, Perth, aiming to create a “vibrant urban community” that combines commercial, retail, residential, educational, and transport infrastructure. Sustainability is a cornerstone of the project, which seeks to be adaptable to, and respectful of, its site and heritage.

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Stockholm's Newest Parking Garage Is Only For Bikes

Stockholm's Newest Parking Garage Is Only For Bikes | green streets |

When it's built, the newest parking garage in Stockholm won't hold any cars at all. It's designed to hold 700 bikes instead.

"The city of the future is not one built around the car as a means of transportation," says Roger Mogert, city planning commissioner for Stockholm. "This requires that we make it easier to travel by bike, and of course arranging for safe and efficient parking solutions is on step towards that goal."

The bike garage is likely to be one of many in the future in Stockholm. "Space in Stockholm, especially in the inner city, is limited," says Mogert. "And biking and public transport is much more efficient than having people commute by car. This project will be interesting to follow and evaluate later on, hopefully it will prove to be a success and that could inspire other, similar projects to develop."

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Senator Renzo Piano's G124 Team Is Poised to Transform Italy's Cities, One Shipping Container at a Time

Senator Renzo Piano's G124 Team Is Poised to Transform Italy's Cities, One Shipping Container at a Time | green streets |

“The unhappy city contains a happy city unaware of its own existence,” wrote Italo Calvino in his masterpiece Invisible Cities. Beyond designing the Ecole Normale Supérieure Cachan in Paris and the Columbia University Campus Plan in New York City, architect Renzo Piano has spent last year looking for fragments of happy cities around Italian suburbs with a team of six young architects.

Véronique Calvet's curator insight, March 27, 6:18 PM

The 77-year-old architect named "Senator for life"  by the President of Italy decided to invest his funds as politician to develop a plan to rescue the suburban areas of major italian cities with a group of young architects.

association concert urbain's curator insight, April 25, 3:07 AM

via  Veronique Calvet


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The Upcycled City: Reclaiming the Street

The Upcycled City: Reclaiming the Street | green streets |

Despite an admittedly strong preference for the automobile, Los Angeles and other forward-thinking cities are now re-allocating public (and private) land away from the car so that people can use the space for other purposes. 

The automobile remains the best transportation option in all but a few U.S. cities. However, we can strike a better balance with how we use the precious resource of space in our cities. By dedicating so much land to traveling comfortably and quickly by car, we miss out on using that land to create interesting places to travel to. While some communities may still require copious amounts of parking and travel lanes, others are developing different neighborhood priorities, like green space, local business presence, or better biking and walking infrastructure. We need to plan for flexibility, for the accommodation of what we cannot yet imagine.

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7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free

7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free | green streets |
Urban planners are finally recognizing that streets should be designed for people, not careening hunks of deadly metal.

After over a hundred years of living with cars, some cities are slowly starting to realize that the automobile doesn't make a lot of sense in the urban context. It isn't just the smog or the traffic deaths; in a city, cars aren't even a convenient way to get around.

Now a growing number of cities are getting rid of cars in certain neighborhoods through fines, better design, new apps, and, in the case of Milan, even paying commuters to leave their car parked at home and take the train instead.

Unsurprisingly, the changes are happening fastest in European capitals that were designed hundreds or thousands of years before cars were ever built. In sprawling U.S. suburbs that were designed for driving, the path to eliminating cars is obviously more challenging.

Read further for more on the leaders moving toward car-free neighborhoods.

Emlyn Davies-Cole's curator insight, January 21, 10:25 PM

This knowledge is not new, Architects, Urban designers, City planners, and Government officials have know of this but it has not been put to practice until now. Cities are meant to be populated with people and not dominated by four wheel vehicles.

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District Hall, Boston’s Public Innovation Center / Hacin + Associates

District Hall, Boston’s Public Innovation Center / Hacin + Associates | green streets |

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.

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It’s Time to Start Building Wooden Skyscrapers

It’s Time to Start Building Wooden Skyscrapers | green streets |
'Plyscrapers,' created out of material similar to Ikea's wooden furniture, may be the future of high-rise buildings.

In 2023, Swedish architecture firm C.F. Møller will transform the Stockholm skyline—and perhaps the very notion of skyscrapers. Last December, the designers won a competition organized by HSB Stockholm to honor the local real estate titan’s upcoming centenary with an ostentatious new high-rise. Møller submitted three designs, but the public latched onto one in particular: a thirty-four story tower made almost entirely out of wood, save for a spindly concrete core and a few steel poles on the ground floor. If constructed, the tower will be the largest mostly-wooden structure in the world. But rather than a one-off, it could be the clarion call needed to rouse the public around a new architectural trend.

Lola Ripollés's curator insight, March 23, 3:23 AM

I had already seen some images of this idea, but the more information we get about it, the more atractive it seems!

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How Five Cities Improved Their Water Supply at the Source

How Five Cities Improved Their Water Supply at the Source | green streets |
According to a new report released by The Nature Conservancy, investing in the water upstream from your city just might help secure water for urbanites. The project, titled Urban Water Blueprint, maps several city’s watersheds by combining hydrological models and data from the City Water Map, to convey where 534 large cities get their water from. The ultimate implication is that there is a more sustainable approach to engineer the water flow to our amenities and even save millions of dollars, as New York City has since adopting the Safe Drink Water Act in the nineties.
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Five cities awarded UNESCO City of Design status

Five cities awarded UNESCO City of Design status | green streets |

Dundee, Bilbao, Curitiba, Helsinki and Turin have been awarded UNESCO City of Design status for their input to the international design industry.

The accolade, awarded by international heritage body UNESCO, recognises the contribution of the five cities to the worldwide design industry – each the first in their respective countries of the UK, Spain, Brazil, Finland and Italy to achieve the designation. The scheme aims to promote the development of local creative industries, and to foster relationships and resource-sharing between fellow Cities of Design.

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Embracing the Future: the Smartest Cities In The World

Embracing the Future: the Smartest Cities In The World | green streets |
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.

Irina Miroshnikova's curator insight, December 6, 2014 3:16 AM

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