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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Four Innovative Green Technologies That Just Might Save The World

Four Innovative Green Technologies That Just Might Save The World | green streets | Scoop.it

With many developing nations rapidly industrialising, dependent on fossil fuels as their energy mainstay, CO2 concentrations show no signs of abating. What will the ramifications be for food production and health moving forward in to the 21st century if weather patterns become even more hostile than the previous decade?


Fortunately, scientists and engineers are working on ways to neutralise emissions in to, or actively reduce the carbon content of the atmosphere until the time arises when we can transition to cleaner energy solutions. In the interim phase we find ourselves however, there are no perfect solutions, but there are technologies and techniques that can help combat the climate catastrophe that will be unleashed if CO2 concentrations continue to rise unchecked. Here a four such technologies…

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Brian Hammerstix's curator insight, February 1, 2014 2:54 PM

This has some interesting ideas but I'm not so sure about  bio-engineering... that seems like it could backfire or get out of control and have unintended side-effects.

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In the Climate Change Economy, It's About Efficiency, Not Just Growth

In the Climate Change Economy, It's About Efficiency, Not Just Growth | green streets | Scoop.it

North American cities are producing substantially less wealth per ton of greenhouse gas emissions than their European counterparts.


Research has shown that if you know a country's GDP, you can pretty accurately estimate its carbon emissions. There's "almost a mechanical relationship" between the two. And as a depressing corollary: Emissions rise much faster in good times than they fall during, say, a global recession.

Cities in some parts of the world are already doing a substantially better job at decoupling these two trends than others, wringing the most wealth out of the smallest carbon footprint. These are the cities that produce the greatest amount of GDP per ton of greenhouse gasses emitted.


The Carbon Disclosure Project, along with AECOM and the C40 Cities, have calculated this "economic efficiency" for dozens of global cities that participated in a questionnaire on how they are preparing for climate change...

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VetiVertical City: An Innovative & Sustainable Urban Solution for Shanghai

VetiVertical City:  An Innovative & Sustainable Urban Solution for Shanghai | green streets | Scoop.it

Shanghai is one of the Chinese cities with the highest levels of CO2 emissions per capital, and new material applications are being incorporated into architectural designs in order to address these urban issues. Vetiver is a tropical plant with uniquely structural, penetrating roots and the Vetiver System (VS) has been tested for slope stabilization, pollution control and water quality improvement.


The proposal for a new type of vertical city, featuring this sustainable technology, pursues dual objectives: first, the purification of wastewater produced by the building in order to recycle it and second, carbon dioxide reduction.

Achieving these goals is possible thanks to the combination between the properties of Vetiver with a new kind of skyscraper: VetiVertical City...

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A Vision of a Carbon-Zero Urban Future: An Interview with Alex Steffen

A Vision of a Carbon-Zero Urban Future: An Interview with Alex Steffen | green streets | Scoop.it
How the world's wealthiest cities can beat back climate change.


From the Atlantic Cities:


Alex Steffen calls himself a planetary futurist. That means he has confronted some grim realities in the nearly 10 years since he founded Worldchanging.com, an online publication that pioneered coverage of climate change and related issues in the early years of the 21st century.  
He’s kept busy writing and speaking about creative, sustainable solutions that could help us find a way to survive and even thrive in the face of a planetary challenge that political leaders in the United States have been reluctant to face.
His most recent book, which comes out November 26, is called Carbon Zero: Imagining Cities That Can Save the Planet. In it, he lays out his case that "remaking the world’s wealthiest cities over the next 20 years may prove the best—perhaps the only—chance we have of avoiding planetary catastrophe."

I talked with Steffen the other day via Skype about post-Sandy climate politics, how to "ruggedize" a city, and whether we’re all doomed. This is an edited version of our conversation.


Visit the link for the article & interview...

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How Urban Farming can Transform our Cities & our Agricultural System

How Urban Farming can Transform our Cities & our Agricultural System | green streets | Scoop.it

As concerns mount over the accessibility and quality of meals in cities, urban agriculture is becoming a practical solution to give communities more choice—all while helping address greenhouse gas emissions from centralized agriculture.
With more than 80 percent of the American population living in metropolitan centers, urban farming has the ability to dramatically enhance economic growth, increase food quality and build healthier communities.

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What Would It Take? The Carbon Neutral City

What Would It Take? The Carbon Neutral City | green streets | Scoop.it
What would it take to shape a planet on which people, other living things, and the systems that support us can sustainably coexist? For a special issue, Momentum magazine invited experts from around the world to share their thoughts on how we might craft solutions to some of earth’s toughest challenges. Jeremy Faludi spoke with optimist Alex Steffen about what it would take to make a city carbon neutral.

 

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New designs to breathe life back into our cities

New designs to breathe life back into our cities | green streets | Scoop.it
Urban buildings use up precious materials and cause pollution. We need visionary thinking to create more sustainable designs that respond to their environment.


By the middle of this century, our cities are likely to be hotter, experience more dramatic changes in weather, be noisier and have an increasingly tenuous relationship with our natural world.

There’s a problem. Not only are cities responsible for 40% of our total carbon emissions, but they also deal with a limited set of physical conditions, and assume that our weather is going to be constant. Our buildings are designed for dryness and therefore deteriorate in the presence of water. Modern architecture is also designed to just house people, not other life forms, and therefore does not inherently promote biodiversity.

We therefore need to think about architecture very differently. We must search for new models for constructing buildings, as well as searching for improvements to our current industrial processes.

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Artificial Forest Converts Sunlight Into Oxygen

Artificial Forest Converts Sunlight Into Oxygen | green streets | Scoop.it

Carbon levels in the atmosphere are at the highest levels in 3 million years and while politicians debate what to do about it, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California are putting forth a potential fuel solution, harnessing a carbon-neutral source of energy: the sun.

Solar energy is not a new concept but the team at the Berkeley Lab have created an artificial forest that captures solar energy, converts it into oxygen and hydrogen, which can then be used to power fuel cells and produce renewable energy. The ‘forest’ is actually nanowire trees which absorbs sunlight and then mimics the natural process of photosynthesis that trees and plants usually perform.

Read more and find links at the article.

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Norm Miller's curator insight, June 8, 2013 1:01 PM

If this could really happen it could be transformational. 

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Public Transportation: An Alternate View

Public Transportation: An Alternate View | green streets | Scoop.it

We’ve all heard the stats of pollution and we know that the built form being designed around the car has destroyed a walkable environment based on nuclear neighborhoods.


We’ve abandoned the charm and livability of almost all of our cities, and it will take centuries to get back. The car does take a lot of the blame...


'Urban designers and planners strive for perfect development: walkable, tree-lined streets, beautiful public spaces, and a car-free lifestyle. We search for this in our own personal lives, and in most cases we come up shorthanded. Unless you live in New York, Chicago, Portland, Seattle and San Francisco (our country’s gems) we often feel unsatisfied. However, I believe you can stay in your car (gasp!) and choose just as valuable of a sustainable lifestyle.'


Read the complete article for an urban designer's first-hand perspective on the value and benefits of living in a higher-density community, including those related to commute and neighborhood, as well as reasons why land use must be considered along with transportation, when planning for sustainability and new development.

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Green and Healthy Buildings: monitoring consumption & ecology in the built environment

Green and Healthy Buildings: monitoring consumption & ecology in the built environment | green streets | Scoop.it

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, buildings account for approximately 40 percent of worldwide energy use and are responsible for 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. They also play an important role in the health and wellbeing of those who inhabit them each day.

The mass of information about what makes a building green tends to concentrate on new and innovative designs that create beautiful photo spreads. While such examples are inspiring, they make up a very small percentage of all buildings in operation.

Green Buildings Alive is an environmental initiative aimed at collecting and sharing data on existing buildings between 10 and 60 years old. The data is collected from office towers in Australian Central Business Districts (CBDs) and shared on a public website.


For more on this innovative, environmental initiative that provides interactive visualizations of building-performance data to help understand the complexities and relationships among sustainability, health, and energy, read the complete article

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The High Cost of Losing Urban Trees

The High Cost of Losing Urban Trees | green streets | Scoop.it
Tennessee reaps a $638 million yearly benefit from its urban trees – and an $80 billion loss if they disappeared.

Through energy savings, air and water filtering and carbon storage, the urban trees of Tennessee account for more than $638 million in benefits, according to a report [PDF] conducted by the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and released earlier this year.

The biggest savings are attributed to carbon storage, which the authors of the report value at an estimated $350 million. Collectively, the state's urban trees store about 16.9 million tons, with each ton stored worth about $20.70 to the state every year. Air and water filtration is also one of the functional benefits of urban trees, and the report estimates the value of this work at $204 million per year. The trees are credited with removing 27,100 tons of pollutants each year, including ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. And because of the shading they provide, these urban trees are credited with saving about $66 million in energy costs annually.

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Shaun Scallan's curator insight, January 27, 2014 11:45 PM

The urban forest is part of the forest big picture.