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The future of the cities · The cities of the future
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Cities in the Digital Age

Cities in the Digital Age | #smartcities | Scoop.it

Interaction designers can shape “smart” urban environments...

For many people, the draw of cities is their pulse and flow, the veer and crush of humans, our shared machines, the vertical, the symmetrical, the seemingly impossible.

We connect, go forward, are thrust. We revel in the contrasts of urban materials—steel, stone, leaf, blade, glass, branch, Plexiglas, vinyl, flesh. The sheer matrix of it, the complexity of relationships and their potential outcomes, is almost a will unto itself, compelling us to be shaped, inviting us to form and move with it.

This type of interconnected environment has evolved into an interface to computation that is nowhere near as conversational as it might be, as philosopher-scientist Paul Dourish has noted. I’d argue that this makes interaction design evermore crucial in the world, as we work to support people and the technologies upon which they’ve come to rely within the built environment...


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The High Cost of Losing Urban Trees

The High Cost of Losing Urban Trees | #smartcities | 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.

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New Orleans school cultivates a generation of forward-thinking farmers

New Orleans school cultivates a generation of forward-thinking farmers | #smartcities | Scoop.it
Nat Turner and the hardworking young crew behind Our School at Blair Grocery are bringing healthy soil and fresh food to the Lower Ninth Ward.

 

Nat Turner, a former New York City public-school teacher, moved to New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward on Thanksgiving Day, 2008. He didn’t know anything about gardening — “I could barely keep a cactus alive” — but he had a vision to start an urban farm that would be a vehicle for educating and empowering the neighborhood’s youth. He’d been making service trips to the Big Easy with students, but he wanted an opportunity to dig deeper, literally and figuratively, into the city’s revitalization.

His first goal, Turner says, “is to figure out how to make the Lower Ninth food secure.” It seems fitting, then, that in a neighborhood with no supermarket, Turner set up shop in a falling-down building that had once housed a black-owned family business called the B&G Grocery.

He filled a pink bathtub in the backyard with soil and planted scallions, which floated away when the bathtub flooded in a rainstorm. That was the beginning of Our School at Blair Grocery (OSBG)...


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