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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
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International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2014: exploring the relationship between city and nature

International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2014: exploring the relationship between city and nature | green streets | Scoop.it

Blurring the boundaries between society and nature, this year’s International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam calls for a new approach to city-making, under the curation of Dutch landscape architect Dirk Sijmons. The theme, Urban by Nature, is explored through 96 projects in the main exhibition site at the Kunsthal, next door at the Natural History Museum, and in city-wide installations and interventions laid on to coincide with the IABR.

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MAD Envisions More ‘Natural’ Chinese Cities in the Future

MAD Envisions More ‘Natural’ Chinese Cities in the Future | green streets | Scoop.it

Ma Yansong of MAD recently presented a 600,000 square meter urban design proposal for the city of Nanjing titled, “Shanshui Experiment Complex,” at the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture in Shenzhen, China. The concept takes into account the culture, nature and history of Nanjing while reconsidering the methodology in which Chinese cities are built.

Yasong’s vision of a natural urban environment calls upon traditional Chinese values, veering away from a purely functionalist approach to city-making. Thus, the rigidness of the “box” is replaced with flowing lines that rhythmically rise to create a series of smooth spaces and volumes resulting in a more natural (looking) skyline.

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The Garden of Forking Paths by Beals & Lyon Architects

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

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 - MarketingHits.com
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How Urban Parks Enhance Your Brain

How Urban Parks Enhance Your Brain | green streets | Scoop.it
A break from the bustle of the city can do your mind good, recent research shows.

A couple weeks ago the folks at Cracked told readers that "living in a city makes you dumber." There are a number of flaws here — beyond the obvious one of getting your science news from Cracked — but the research at the center of the claim has some relevance to cities worth considering nonetheless. What it tells us is not so much a story about the hazards of city living as it is about the benefits of city parks.

The original study at issue here, which I'm familiar with from earlier work, was published back in 2008 in Psychological Science [PDF]. A research team led by Marc Berman of the University of Michigan gave participants a standard memory and attention test then assigned some of them to walk through downtown Ann Arbor, and others to walk through the impressive campus arboretum. The participants were tested again upon their return, and beyond a doubt the group that took the nature walk scored significantly better...

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Earth-Shaped City Adapts To Nature's Smart Design - EarthTechling

Earth-Shaped City Adapts To Nature's Smart Design - EarthTechling | green streets | Scoop.it
The year 2008 marked the first time in history that more than half of the world’s human population live in towns and cities rather than rural areas. The UN predicts that by 2030, this number will swell to almost 5 billion, with urban growth concentrated in African and Asian mega-cities. As cities get bigger, larger, and higher, it will become increasingly hard to maintain any sort of connection with wild, untouched nature. Although urban designers attempt to recreate it, no landscaped park will ever be able to match the feeling of standing in a field untouched by human hands.

Fear of losing our connection with nature compelled Swiss designer Charly Duchosal to imagine a city designed to adapt to nature, rather than forcing things to be the other way around. The result, which envisions life lived inside the Earth, rather than on its surface, recently won an honorable mention in eVolo’s 2012 Skyscraper competition...

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How Green Roofs can Improve our Cities

How Green Roofs can Improve our Cities | green streets | Scoop.it

We all love a room with a view, but when it comes to planning for the future of a building we tend to forget about the world beyond its walls. We home in on the structure itself – its foundations and floors, cavities and cracks – isolating it from its natural surroundings. But the performance of a building depends very much on conditions outside.

The smartest designs are an active part of local ecosystems: they harness heat from the sun, facilitate the flow of fresh air, or take advantage of trees and hillsides for shelter. And they give back, too: habitats for wildlife, drainage for stormwater, greenery to keep a dense city block cool.

The value that local ecosystems offer urban areas is just beginning to be recognised. A recent study in New York City found its trees to be worth $122 million thanks to their part in reducing pollution, improving aesthetics, and keeping inner city temperatures comfortable...

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Mapping the trees of New York, one by one

Mapping the trees of New York, one by one | green streets | Scoop.it
A project to map the location and condition of each tree in NYC opens up doors for citizen stewardship, inviting New Yorkers to be unlikely forest workers.
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A musical & visual homage to one of our greatest city parks

A musical & visual homage to one of our greatest city parks | green streets | Scoop.it
  I consider myself very fortunate to live a little over a mile from one of the country's great places of urban refuge, Washington's Rock Creek Park.  It's a rare weekend that I'm not there riding my bike, choosing from...
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AOR's floating platform, Viewpoint, offers glimpses of London canal-side wildlife

AOR's floating platform, Viewpoint, offers glimpses of London canal-side wildlife | green streets | Scoop.it

Finnish studio AOR has installed an angular canal-side platform in King's Cross, London, where visitors can make contact with some of the local wildlife.

Named Viewpoint, the floating structure sits over the Regent's Canal on the edge of the Camley Street nature reserve. It provides a habitat for birds and bats, as well as an outdoor classroom where people can learn about the surrounding flora and fauna.

"We hope that Viewpoint will have resonance beyond its modest footprint and allow the many visitors to Camley Street Natural Park to discover this natural environment - a rarity in a metropolitan city such as London," added the architects.

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How Living Infrastructure Will Save Our Cities

How Living Infrastructure Will Save Our Cities | green streets | Scoop.it
Super-typhoon Haiyan, the single most powerful storm ever recorded, is an unsettling harbinger of troubles to come.


Weather systems across the globe have gained intensity and force over the past few years due to our rapidly warming planet. New defenses are needed to protect our metropolitan centers, most of which are located within a stone's throw of the ocean. The solution: fight nature with nature.

Supplementing civil engineering projects with ecological defenses is only part of the overall solution to dealing with our rapidly changing environment. Early warning systems, effective evacuation strategies, education, and better building codes must be integrated into the larger scheme of of sustainable city development and planning if we plan on living anywhere near our growing oceans...

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'Spaces to Ramble': Why Cities Need More Central Parks

'Spaces to Ramble': Why Cities Need More Central Parks | green streets | Scoop.it
An interactive walk explores what a space like Central Park can provide to city dwellers.

Last weekened, Jon Cotner, who co-wrote a book of dialogues conducted from interactions around the city, led a small group on an interactive walk through Central Park.

Cotner told us that Frederick Law Olmsted, the park’s designer and one-time superintendent, had written that the park should “secure pure and wholesome air, to act through the lungs.” He also wanted to provide “an antithesis of objects of vision to those of the streets and houses.” And on a perfect day like Sunday, it’s easy to see that he succeeded, providing a place for urbanites to go, enjoy the natural environment and relax.

 

As an ever-growing portion of the population shifts to cities, natural spaces like these are becoming more important. At the beginning of the walk, Cotner told us, “Central Park wasn’t intended to be a condemnation of this intense progress”—the creep of buildings north along Manhattan. “It was meant to accommodate such developments.” Spaces like Central Park help people crowd together, saving land and energy: As he put it, the park “reconciles the urban with the rural.” If we’re going to live in cities, we’re going to need more places like Central Park, which can deliver the experience of the natural world to those who crave it...

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Urban Green Streets: City Gardens and Greenspace

Urban Green Streets: City Gardens and Greenspace | green streets | Scoop.it

City green space and city gardens are a way to create integration with nature in urban settings.

All cities were once expanses of trees and wildlife, and, sadly, they have been paved over with concrete. Joni Mitchell said it best – ‘They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.’ City residents are making a big effort to turn that around and bring nature back to the city and maybe slow down the hustle and bustle.
City street landscaping has generally been a line of trees along the curb, if there were any at all. Now, flower, herb and vegetable gardens are popping up along sidewalks to beautify neighborhoods...

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Walk the Green Carpet

Walk the Green Carpet | green streets | Scoop.it

Public artists Gaëlle Villedary helped the French village of Jaujac celebrate the 10th year of its arts and nature trail programs by cutting a new green path through its city center. Using some 168 rollers of turf grass, spanning 420 meters (or nearly 1,400 feet), the public artists wound 3.5 tons of natural material through the streets of the old town...

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New shade of green for the city

New shade of green for the city | green streets | Scoop.it

It's out with the old and in with a new tree canopy for Melbourne. 

Now that the solitary, gangly pine tree - 30 metres tall and all that remains of the celebrated Takata Matsubara forest in north-east Japan after the tsunami last March - is dying, all hopes are being pinned to grafting the tree and raising seedlings.

The pine, which until 10 months ago was just one amid 70,000, has come to mean more than its lean trunk and thin crown, something more than its materiality. It has become a symbol of hope and, for a time at least, survival.
Just as trees provide the bones of many private gardens, they help set the tone of the wider public landscape. Like the Japanese pine, this can be because of the emotions we pin to them as well as their physical presence.

Trees - ever-changing and ultimately dying, as they do - can never be viewed as a static part of the landscape and, under the strategy, the emphasis will be on increasing biodiversity and introducing a much wider range of plant species (both natives and exotics) with varying life expectancies, growth rates and growing conditions. Green roofs, walls and balconies will also play a bigger role...

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Can we make nature even better?

Can we make nature even better? | green streets | Scoop.it
A new book from Emma Marris reexamines traditional views of wilderness, asserting that human influence over nature is undeniable, and that instead of fighting it, we should figure out how to use it for good.
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10 Nature Inspired Urban Renewal Designs

10 Nature Inspired Urban Renewal Designs | green streets | Scoop.it
Rising sustainability concerns over the last decade have brought about a fascinating new tendency in landscape concepts for development and renewal of urban and even industrial areas. Nature is coming back to cities and that’s a wonderful opportunity for us to get back to it too. Experience the mesmerizing beauty of these nature bites inserted into urban context and let’s hope this is the future of landscape architecture!
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