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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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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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Hot in the City: Reducing Heat from Urban Waste

Hot in the City: Reducing Heat from Urban Waste | green streets | Scoop.it

Cities are hotbeds of sustainability, right? From urban agriculture to social enterprise, you’ll find lots of innovative approaches in urban centers, particularly those on the US coasts. Put a lot of people together in one place, and you generate a lot of ideas.


You also generate a lot of heat, it turns out: a new study in Nature Climate Change argues that urban centers (particularly on coasts) generate a lot of waste heat… and that heat is contributing to the weird weather patterns we’ve been seeing lately. This isn’t climate change (in the way we’ve conventionally considered it), nor is it the “urban heat island” effect. Rather, according to the research team that authored the study...


Via Susan Davis Cushing
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Gerry B's curator insight, February 11, 2013 12:58 AM

About time something should be done on exhausts coming from cities. 

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Climate-Proofing Urban Areas with Floating Housing

Climate-Proofing Urban Areas with Floating Housing | green streets | Scoop.it

The wave of floods that hit Britain in April focused attention, once again, on the vulnerability of homes in low-lying areas...

But what if a house could simply rise and fall with the waters? That’s the vision of Baca Architects, designers of the UK’s first ‘amphibious house’, which has just received planning permission for a site near Marlow, in Buckinghamshire, on the banks of the Thames.

The lightweight, timber-framed structure sits on a floating concrete base that is built within a fixed ‘wet dock’ foundation. In the event of a flood, the concrete base rises up as the dock fills with water, ensuring the house floats safely above the waves. The base effectively acts as a free-floating pontoon, and should have a lifetime of around 100 years before needing renewal or replacement.

Climate proofing’ urban areas is a growing area of focus for architects and planners. Amphibious architecture looks set to join rain gardens, green roofs and permeable paving in the array of techniques available...

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Hans De Keulenaer's comment, September 14, 2012 1:39 PM
Creative concept. I wonder how they plan to ensure grounding / earthing the electrical system.
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Urban Farming on the Streets of Paris

Urban Farming on the Streets of Paris | green streets | Scoop.it
Designs for greenhouses that would fit between buildings and grow, among other things, bananas.

When most people think of urban farming, they see in their mind’s eye small plots recovered from the rubble of demolished buildings, tomatoes on fire escapes, and planters on rooftops. But urban farming could be a lot simpler, says French firm SOA Architects. They propose “Urbanana,” a large greenhouse-like structure that can fill the gaps between Haussmann-period buildings along Paris’s boulevards. This facility would grow bananas, and other edible plants unsuited to Paris’s climate, obviating the waste of transporting these products thousands of miles.

Here, then, is a truly local agricultural practice, one that can produce produce in quantities large enough to sustain whole cities. A bit more investment would be required for this type of venture than for the average urban farm, but the returns would be larger as well. This type of structure will also give urbanites the ability to cultivate their own specimens and varieties of ‘exotic’ plant, just as gentleman farmers have been doing for centuries in their private greenhouses (or green homes?)...

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10 High-Tech, Green City Solutions for Beating the Heat

10 High-Tech, Green City Solutions for Beating the Heat | green streets | Scoop.it

From a solar mansion in China to a floating farm in New York, green buildings are sprouting up in cities around the world. Among their many benefits are curbing fossil-fuel use and reducing the urban heat island effect.


The Science Barge is a floating environmental education classroom and greenhouse on the Hudson River in New York. Fueled by solar power, wind, and biofuels, the barge, which was built in 2007, has zero carbon emissions.

Vegetables are grown hydroponically in an effort to preserve natural resources and adapt to urban environments, where healthy soil, or soil at all, is hard to come by. Rainwater and treated river water are used for irrigation.

The owner of the barge—New York Sun Works—designed it as a prototype for closed-loop and self-sufficient rooftop gardens in urban areas.


Visit the link for more examples of green urban projects and intiatives...

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Norm Miller's curator insight, June 2, 2013 10:39 AM

If the waters rise we could move those in places like New Orleans to floating cities?  or maybe we should move some of the policitians there and cut them loose?

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Creating a Sustainable Urban Landscape: Manama Urban Oasis by Aétrangère

Creating a Sustainable Urban Landscape: Manama Urban Oasis by Aétrangère | green streets | Scoop.it

Bab Al Bahrain Urban Oasis explores the value of the cultural and natural landscape inheritance as a design opportunity to address climate issues in public space, while catalyzing the urban potential of the site in the emerging new city urbanity.


Urban Oasis is considered to be the most important public space of Manama, embodying its dynamic character and showcasing its new sustainable identity.

An urban makeover is taking place at Bahrain and its capital, Manama. The city is evolving in the global economy as the financial hub of the Middle East, and witnessing a dramatic transformation of the urban fabric.

Urban Oasis represents its strategic position and historical importance, as an opportunity to create a lively metropolitan interface, able to link and gather both the historic urban fabric and the new modern city front.


The project is composed of layers evolving in a symbiotic and sustainable way. Responding to the climate, an urban canopy will provide shade, shelter, and comfort to the pedestrian areas below, offering an oasis from the stress of urban conditions. The public ground level, with its open spaces, water landscaping and main public pedestrian and car access, will host the principal cultural and urban facilities. 

The passively cooled terrace will provide an innovative urban place, lend a sense of fluidity to the open space and allow for great views of the waterfront, while a footbridge will create a continuous pedestrian pathway to the sea. Uses here would include cafes, small retail frontage, information points and restaurants.


Among the green areas proposed to reduce the ambient temperature while creating the new microclimate, ware numerous green features: Seven circular sunken gardens which will be showcased as world vegetal biomes, which will enhance local and foreign biodiversity. Those gardens of scents will be like glazed clusters, such a protected special areas...


Learn more about the project and see more photos and diagrams at the article link.

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10 High-Tech, Green City Solutions for Beating the Heat

10 High-Tech, Green City Solutions for Beating the Heat | green streets | Scoop.it
From a solar mansion in China to a floating farm in New York, green buildings are sprouting up in cities around the world. Among their many benefits are curbing fossil-fuel use and reducing the urban heat island effect.
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What Communities Should Do To Protect Against Climate Change

What Communities Should Do To Protect Against Climate Change | green streets | Scoop.it
Nine low-tech steps we can take to mitigate the effects of global warming.

Over the past 50 years, our average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in history. That is fact; this is not abstract, nor are the effects limited to the developing world.

 

These changes will have - indeed, are already having - major effects on our cities, suburbs, and towns.

 There are many things we can and must do to reduce the warming trajectory. First among these is reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common and potent greenhouse gas, particularly by transitioning to a clean energy economy. But turning this ship around is going to take time, even under the best scenarios.

Meanwhile, there are also measures we need to take right now inside our communities so that we are as prepared as possible for the warmer climate ahead. Some of them are related to technology, of course, perhaps including personal technology.

This article focuses on a few things that we can and should do for our cities, suburbs and towns that are low-tech. What’s below is by no means a definitive or complete list, but it’s a start...

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