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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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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, 5:57 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 1, 9:08 PM

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, 1:08 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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Which Cities Are the Greenest?

Which Cities Are the Greenest? | green streets |

Was your city ranked as one of the greenest in the United States and Canada?

Around the world, cities are embracing this challenge with strategies from implementing bike shares and aiming for zero waste to creating buildings that generate their own energy. Last year, the international group C40 Cities, a network of the world’s largest cities working to address climate change, partnered with Siemens for the first city climate leadership awards, which recognized 10 cities for green achievement in 10 different categories.

The leadership awards are open to the C40 cities and the cities mentioned in Siemens Green City Index, which ranks cities globally on their efforts to go green and identifies challenges particular to different areas of the world.

More information and details at the link.

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What if we could rebuild New York City?

What if we could rebuild New York City? | green streets |
New York has become one of the world’s most populous, densely packed cities. What if you could redraw the city’s map – and build it from scratch?

If we were designing New York today, how different would it look?

The new New York City would balance the relationship between the information networks that the metropolis depends on and Earth’s finite resources.

All vital components of life would be monitored and attuned to the needs of every organism, not just humans. Supplies of food and water, our energy and waste and even our air would be sensibly scrutinised. Thanks to masses of miniaturised low-cost electronic components deployed across the city, communication becomes far easier. New York will grow and adapt to millions of new minds entering it everyday.

The city would make sure every need is provided for within its borders. How we provide nutrients, transports, and shelter would be updated. Dilapidated buildings would be replaced with vertical agriculture and new kinds of housing would join cleaner, greener ways to get around the city. What were once streets become snaking arteries of livable spaces, embedded with renewable energy sources, low-tech, green vehicles for mobility and productive nutrient zones. The former street grid could provide the foundation for new flexible networks. By reengineering the obsolete streets, we can create robust and ecologically active pathways.

While all this may sound optimistic, some of this city of tomorrow is already taking shape...

Norm Miller's curator insight, April 18, 11:36 AM

What a great academic exercise!  The question is really applicable to all new cities and city undergoing renovation.  More mixed use, greener, better transport systems, more shared everything and more self-sufficient describe the plan.

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Sydney's Version of New York’s High Line to be Completed in 2014

Sydney's Version of New York’s High Line to be Completed in 2014 | green streets |
Work has begun on stage one of The Goods Line Project, a railway-turned-urban park project connecting Sydney’s Central Station to Darling Harbour.

Located in inner Sydney, the project includes a pedestrian and cycle network, creating a new urban hub and connecting more than 80,000 students, residents and visitors to the harbour’s recreational and pedestrian precinct.

The new corridor is being compared to the High Line in New York City, a public park and walkway constructed on a historic freight train line elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s lower west side...

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, April 19, 12:07 AM

Strategies to improve urban places and liveability 

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OMA and BIG present rebuilding projects for Sandy-affected communities

OMA and BIG present rebuilding projects for Sandy-affected communities | green streets |

OMA, BIG and WXY have unveiled proposals to revitalise parts of America devastated by Hurricane Sandy and help protect them against future emergencies.

The Rebuild by Design competition asked ten teams of architects, landscape architects, engineers and urban designers to develop proposals for different sections of America's east coast, which was struck by the hurricane in October 2012.

The competition was initiated last year by US housing and urban development secretary Shaun Donovan. The winning projects will be announced later this year and will be implemented with funding from community grants.

View more concepts at the link.

Sylvain Rotillon's curator insight, April 5, 1:02 AM

After the disaster, an opportuniyt to evolve toward a more resilient city

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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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Researchers envision a fully sustainable New York City

Researchers envision a fully sustainable New York City | green streets |
Like former mayor Michael Bloomberg, a group of researchers envision a sustainable New York City -- with bikes, planting new trees, reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions -- but that's where the similarities end.In a bold new "thought-experiment," the Terreform Center for Advanced Urban Research, a multidisciplinary non-profit organization, tried to envision a fully sustainable New York City, with entire streets and avenues converted into greenways and farms.In a city with nearly 8.3 million residents, 4 million acres of food-producing land -- roughly the size of Connecticut -- is required to feed their appetites annually. Combined with carbon emissions from transporting the food -- these so-called "food miles" -- it's no wonder why some studies list food production as the one of the leading contributors to climate change.
Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, March 29, 6:23 AM

"Our study means to have implications for all cities that are seeking to take greater responsibility for their impact on the planet," he told CBS News in an email. "We [also] believe that cities are logical increments of political organization, particularly in an era of indifferent multinationals and incompetent nation states."

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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, 12:10 AM

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

Social connectedness influences liveability. 

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A+ Awards Finalists Focus on Transforming Public Transit

A+ Awards Finalists Focus on Transforming Public Transit | green streets |

Thanks to consistently high gas prices, countless hours spent in traffic jams, and the looming threat of climate change, commuters have reversed the decades-long trend of driving personal automobiles by opting for trains, subways, and buses on their daily commute. In fact, according to The New York Times, 2013 saw a record-breaking use of public transit—the highest in any year since 1956. A report released by American Public Transportation Association stated that 10.65 billion trips were taken on public transit last year, surpassing the 10.59 billion trip peak of 2008, when oil prices surged.

As cities continue to experience economic and population growth, money has been invested in infrastructural projects that promote public transit as both a feasible and pleasant commuting option, counteracting the negative view of public transit systems created by the growth of car culture in the mid-20th century.

Projects that espouse a positive attitude towards public transit are part of a larger effort to connect disparate areas of cities and nurture community development; visit the article for links and images.

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Site-Specific Innovation: Çanakkale Antenna Tower by IND and Powerhouse Company

Site-Specific Innovation: Çanakkale Antenna Tower by IND and Powerhouse Company | green streets |

The close collaboration of Rotterdam-based practices IND and Powerhouse Company for the design of a new 100-m-tall observation and telecommunications tower in Çanakkale, a Turkish city and seaport located on the southern Asian coast of the Hellespont,  articulates far-reaching technological and programmatic ambitions.

The tower is planned to operate as a broadcast antenna as well as to engage visitors- taking them on a contemplative journey, allowing them time to ponder as they walk along a raised, looping path that runs through the forest before returning to a hilltop observation deck offering panoramic vistas.
Besides its distinctive and aesthetic significance, the tower was conceived with the intention becoming a dynamic public destination, fostering social interactions. The project is all the more interesting as it integrates technologies to a scrupulously context-specific design, respectful of all of the site’s attributes. The architects also harness technological mediums so as to create a heightened architectural experience, appealing the visual and tactile senses.

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Top 10 States for Green Building

Top 10 States for Green Building | green streets |

Some states have been more proactive in getting LEED-certified buildings built than others. Which has the most sustainable square feet per citizen?

People don't usually think of Illinois as the greenest state in the union, but it happens to have the most green buildings per capita, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Green Building Council. California had the most projects overall. States like Louisiana and Montana? Not so much.

Find a list of the top 10 LEED-certified states (by per capita square footage) at the article link.

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Edible Schoolyard NYC: An Organic Garden in Brooklyn

Edible Schoolyard NYC: An Organic Garden in Brooklyn | green streets |

WORKac and Edible Schoolyard NYC transformed a half-acre of the existing parking lot of the Arturo Toscanini School in Gravesend, Brooklyn, into a thriving organic garden.

To ensure a true four-seasons garden experience for the students, WORKac incorporated a greenhouse together with the indoor kitchen classroom. The building is composed of three major components, each of which is articulated through the use of different materials: the greenhouse is a polycarbonate and aluminum structure; the steel-framed kitchen classroom is clad in a pixilated pattern of colored shingles; and a “Systems Wall” at the rear is articulated as a series of playful volumes covered in a bright blue rubber coating.

More details at the link...

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Arctic Harvester Proposes Large-Scale Hydroponic-Farming Near Greenland

Arctic Harvester Proposes Large-Scale Hydroponic-Farming Near Greenland | green streets |

Arctic Harvester was the first prize winning entry in the “Innovation and Architecture for the Sea” category of the Jacques Rougerie Foundation International Architecture Competition, 2013.  It proposes an itinerant soil-less agricultural infrastructure designed to drift the circulating ocean currents between Greenland and Canada, exploiting the nutrient-rich fresh water released by melting icebergs as the basis for a large-scale hydroponic-farming system. The floating facility is equipped to house a community of 800 people, inspired in its compact urban form by vertically oriented, bayside Greenlandic villages and their social, cultural and economic relationship to the sea.

More details at the link.

Laura Brown's curator insight, February 27, 5:57 AM

Human beings are crowding out all life on the planet. At what point do we fix the problem of too many people on the planet, taking up more than their share of the resources and sucking everything dry? Are humans really so stupid to starve themselves (and everything else before them)?

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A Bubble over Beijing for Clean Air

A Bubble over Beijing for Clean Air | green streets |

Architecture firm Orproject has proposed the construction of a sealed canopy filled with clean air. Bubbles would cover a park and botanical garden, providing a healthy, temperature- and humidity-controlled area.

Beijing has the worst smog levels among the world’s capital cities – so bad that playing sports outdoor is often banned – but it could get a stunning new set of lungs in the form of a covered botanical garden, retail and office complex under a giant transparent roof.

Called Bubbles, the architectural concept might seem an unlikely candidate for a high-rise city of 21 million people. But its designers believe it offers something that every urban environment needs.

“It’s just an infrastructure project like building metro stations and parks – it’s applicable in every dense, polluted metropolis where there’s a need for open, green spaces throughout the year,” says Rajat Sodhi at Orproject, an architecture practice with offices in London, Beijing and New Delhi.

Norm Miller's curator insight, April 29, 3:31 PM

One way to have clean air is to avoid making bad air, but what a lousy solution this bubble is to industrialization.

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Eco Villa Concepts in Flavors Orchard, China by Vincent Callebaut Architecture

Eco Villa Concepts in Flavors Orchard, China by Vincent Callebaut Architecture | green streets |

Vincent Callebaut Architecture have designed a series of plus-energy villas for a self contained eco community in China. The Flavors Orchard project aims to encourage sustainable developments in China by showcasing the economic and environmental advantages of self sufficient buildings with efficient automated energy systems...

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Has the time come for floating cities?

Has the time come for floating cities? | green streets |
Could our cities be seaworthy – or are remarkable new proposals for floating urban communities merely utopian sci-fi?

A floating village at London's Royal Docks has the official nod, and Rotterdam has a Rijnhaven waterfront development experiment well under way. Eventually, whole neighbourhoods of water-threatened land could be given over to the seas. After decades of speculation and small-scale applications, the floating solution is finally enjoying political momentum – and serious investment...

Norm Miller's curator insight, April 15, 10:23 AM

One way to deal with rising seas. :-)


Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, April 19, 12:08 AM

Planning for when sea levels rise … 

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Go-Ahead for Santa Monica Bergamot Transit Village by Gensler

Go-Ahead for Santa Monica Bergamot Transit Village by Gensler | green streets |

The Santa Monica City Council approved Bergamot Transit Village Center, a development put together by Hines and designed by Gensler.

 The project, one of the biggest in the Los Angeles area, planned for a 7-acre plot of land at 26th Street and Olympic Boulevard includes 473 residential units, 26 artist work/live units, over 370,000 square feet of creative office space, 15,500 square feet of restaurant space, and almost 14,000 square feet of retail spread across five buildings.

An expansive public plaza opens at the corner of Olympic and Cloverfield, with a curved building and bridges on three levels connecting to adjacent mixed-use space. The multi-family residential zone includes a neighborhood park and landscaped pedestrian paseo.

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How we will live: More green, more urban, more efficient

How we will live: More green, more urban, more efficient | green streets |
The neighborhoods of 2039 will feel more like cityscapes with environmentally friendly, energy efficient amenities and people living closer to their jobs.

How we live is indicative of who we are, and both are changing. As city planners look to the next quarter century, they must factor in three profound shifts in modern society: information technology, mobility and climate.

As with everything else, technology is changing not just how we live and work, but the cities where we live and work. That technology has already affected social change, making younger generations more mobile and urban. Technology has also offered new solutions to some of the biggest challenges for 21st century urban planners—climate change and how we make our neighborhoods as green as possible.

More at the link...

Catherine Devin's curator insight, April 7, 6:00 AM

Il y a besoin de réfléchir à comment  intégrer les projets de durabilité en milieu urbain et les projets technologiques. On présente souvent ces derniers comme la solution aux questions posées par les premiers; c'est vrai, comme l'indiquent des observateurs du Green IT mais seulement si elles sont aussi élaborées avec une démarche RSE Au final, la technologie serait plutôt une  des composantes de nos vies futures apportant son lot de solutions et de questions... à nous de pousser à ses côtés aussi d'autres solutions  : nouvelles attitudes, nouveaux usages pour une ville durable... mais aussi désirable et humaine ?

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Successful Rooftop Transformation in Chicago

Successful Rooftop Transformation in Chicago | green streets |
A Chicago roof garden is lush and private, thanks to hardy plants, shoji screens, and well-camouflaged mechanicals.

Roof gardens can cool dense cities, making them more livable. This one, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, sits atop a five-story building and is reached by way of a spiral staircase on the penthouse balcony. Not only does the garden connect the owner to nature and a skyline view, it also thrives in a city famous for its strong winds and extreme seasonal temperatures.

The expansive terrace, designed by Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects, is a Midwest prairie in microcosm. Two steel and mesh pergolas—a smaller one leading into the garden from the rooftop’s service entrance, and a larger one sheltering the seating area—are connected by slate pathways that wind past ipe planter boxes and a meadow of perennials and ornamental grasses. Structural concerns and exposure to the elements, of course, make rooftop transformations tricky.

A. Perry Homes's curator insight, March 31, 9:50 PM

Beautiful! Green topped-buildings. 

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Brooklyn Bridge Crossroads: Landscape plan rebuilds a gateway to the iconic bridge

Brooklyn Bridge Crossroads: Landscape plan rebuilds a gateway to the iconic bridge | green streets |

Every day, thousands of cyclists and pedestrians jockey for space on a narrow strip along the center of the Brooklyn Bridge. At the Brooklyn terminus of the bridge, however, the already-chaotic scene devolves into a dangerous confluence of cars, bikes, and pedestrians as the path abruptly ends in the center of a busy intersection at Adams and Tillary streets.

After five years of study, meetings, and schematic designs, however, accessing the Brooklyn Bridge will soon be improved under a plan to revamp the Brooklyn Bridge Gateway Area streetscape, encompassing Tillary Street between Cadman Plaza West and Prince Street and several blocks of Adams Street, with widened sidewalks, improved bike lanes, and increased landscaping.

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The Amazing Things You Can Learn From a Virtual City

The Amazing Things You Can Learn From a Virtual City | green streets |
This new tool can help us understand how people respond to urban spaces before they're built.

When the University of Waterloo in Ontario opened the Research Laboratory for Immersive Virtual Environments in 2006, there was a lot that could be studied about simulated cities that couldn't be observed in real ones.

Technology has since made it easier to make such measurements in people moving through actual cities, but the virtual lab still offers them a critical advantage: control over all the variables in a complex urban environment. The psychologists at RELIVE wield that power to understand just how people respond to cities — which in turn might help planners design better ones.

"Rather than looking at what happens to people in urban settings after they're built, you can propose different kinds of designs and explore their effects on people's behavior before they happen," says lab director Colin Ellard. "We see it as potentially a fantastic toolkit for asking questions about what does or doesn't work in planning."

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New Waterfront of Thessaloniki / Nikiforidis-Cuomo Architects

New Waterfront of Thessaloniki / Nikiforidis-Cuomo Architects | green streets |

 In 2000, the Municipality of Thessaloniki launched an International Architectural Competition for the redevelopment of the New Waterfront, The first part (apps. 75800m2) was completed in 2008 and the second part (appx. 163000m2) was completed in 2014. The total length of the New Waterfront is 3km, with 2.353 new trees, 118.432 new plants, 58,75 acres of green spaces and 11.557m2 of playgrounds.

For the waterfront of the New Waterfront, we distinguished two major characteristic areas, which set the principles for the basic choices of the proposal.

The breakwater: an ideal place for walking, without interruptions, without distractions. The “walker” is exposed to the light, to the open perspective, and has a continuous walk on the charming limit between two opposites: the stability of the massive breakwater – the instability and lucidity of the liquid element.

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Present Architecture Proposes a 'Green Loop' Network to Cllean up Waste Processing

Present Architecture Proposes a 'Green Loop' Network to Cllean up Waste Processing | green streets |

Large cities produce large amounts of trash and create a lot more to transport it to landfills. Looking at New York City as the site, local practice Present Architecture posits the ‘Green Loop’ as a solution to large scale waste management. 

Intended to be used as a network along the city’s waterfront, the floating energy production oasis has a street-level composting facility, elevated park, and barges and railways to efficiently transport the compost to other locations. Trash is then transported only a short distance to the borough’s Green Loop which offers more public space as it responsibly processes waste, tackling two pertinent urban issues simultaneously.

The master plan proposes the construction of 10 hubs around the 520 miles of coast in the city effectively alleviating congestion issues and dramatically lowers unnecessary energy waste while contributing 125 acres of public park land.

Maquete Eletrônica's curator insight, March 9, 3:31 AM

..."laço verde" como uma solução para a gestão de resíduos em larga escala. destina a ser usado como uma rede ao longo da orla da cidade, o circuito verde é um oásis de produção de energia flutuante com uma facilidade ao nível da rua de compostagem, parque elevado, e barcaças e ferrovias para o transporte"......................

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, April 19, 12:11 AM

Sustainable urban places

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Bicycle roundabout in the sky in the Netherlands, Hovenring (video)

Bicycle roundabout in the sky in the Netherlands, Hovenring (video) | green streets |

The Netherlands is known for its bicycle-friendly streets and bike paths, but even this bike leader has intersections that are excessively large and centered too much around cars. In the case of one such intersection between Eindhoven and Veldhoven, planners and designers created the Hovenring, a beautiful bicycle and pedestrian roundabout elevated above the roadway.

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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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