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Urban Plunge: Swimming in the City

Urban Plunge: Swimming in the City | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

An exhibition at the Roca London Gallery presents a series of architectural proposals to reclaim natural water sources in London, New York and Copenhagen for recreational use. We spoke to curator Jane Withers about how we can better exploit our rivers and harbours.


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Top 7 Websites for creating Future Cities

Top 7 Websites for creating Future Cities | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

Over 50% of the world's population now lives in cities, so the conditions are ripe for improving, adjusting and rethinking the urban landscape and city life. The web flourishes with digital platforms for community discussion, since now it’s city dwellers - rather than governing executives - that actively take part in city-related decision-making...
Check out the following seven websites that harness the power, wisdom and knowledge of the crowds to cultivate smarter future cities.


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An Infographic Breakdown Of The World's Greenest Cities

An Infographic Breakdown Of The World's Greenest Cities | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

This infographic focuses on the cities of London, New York, Vancouver, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Stockholm.

 

It’s hard to quantify what makes a city "greener" than any other metropolis, but there are some clues: car ownership, green space, bicycle usage, solar installations, recycling, and water consumption are just a few factors that create environmentally responsible cities.

An infographic from HouseTrip lays out what different cities are doing in an easy-to-read format. A handful of major world cities stand out as leaders. This infographic focuses on London, New York, Vancouver, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Stockholm; three of these cities made it into our top 10 smart cities list (two others were runners-up). Each of these cities have statistics worth mentioning. Amsterdam has one bike for every 0.73 people, Copenhagen has legislation requiring all new buildings to have green roofs (this will add 5,000 square meters of vegetation), and only 44% of New Yorkers own a car, compared to 95% of Americans overall.

 

Visit the link to view the full infographic and to read more about the specific elements that make each featured city 'green'...


Via Lauren Moss, FarmRoof®, Digital Sustainability, Paulo Camargo
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Smart Cities and the Smart Grid

Smart Cities and the Smart Grid | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

Smart Cities and the Smart Grid: There are natural parallels between the Smart Grid and smart cities in terms of concepts and deployments, though cities have much more experience at evolution than the traditional electrical grid. After all, they have been adopting new technologies that disrupt the status quo for centuries. The Romans created aqueducts and fundamentally changed how water could be controlled and distributed in cities. Discoveries in hygiene and disease transmission and control allowed people to healthily live in population densities with minimized odds of large scale epidemics. And then automobiles exerted their influences on cities. In each case, city systems, policies, and people changed to accommodate new technologies, new knowledge and new practices.

 

Now, ambitious goals such as zero net energy buildings will change the relationships that physical structures have within cities, and in turn change the relationships that occupants (full or part-time) have within buildings and within cities.

 


Via Joan Tarruell, Stephane Bilodeau, Lauren Moss
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Seren's curator insight, August 26, 2013 5:09 PM

An article drawig parallels between ancient city grids and their evolution into the modern age.

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How can cities be designed for sustainable living?

How can cities be designed for sustainable living? | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
How can cities be designed for sustainable living?

 

A new interactive exhibition from the Guardian, 'Our Urban Future', explores the importance of cities in making the world a more sustainable place. The exhibition at The Crystal in London's Docklands seeks to challenge and reinvent the way we think about cities and gives visitors the chance to learn how they can make a contribution to sustainable living.

Scroll through the gallery showcasing snippets from the exhibition, and read responses on how cities can be designed for sustainable living and share what you think urban environments will look like in future...

 

Visit the link for a slideshow of exhibition highlights, including:

The immersive Forces of Change theatre: a global view of the challenges and opportunities that climate change, demographic change and urbanisation raise. The Creating Cities game: exploring issues around city management and urban planning. The Go Electric Zone: the challenges and solutions to balancing energy supply, demand and storage. The Water is Life Zone: harvested rainwater is used to shed light on desalination, purity and resources. The ‘Future Life’ film gallery: how London, New York and Copenhagen look forward to 2050, and envisioning how our cities could develop if sustainable solutions are embraced.
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Three Sustainable Cities on the Rise

Three Sustainable Cities on the Rise | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The green living lifestyle skyrocketed in the last decade and became a social injection of epic proportions. In no time shoes were being made from bamboo, college towns were turned into tiny Vespa cities, and the canvas bag market boomed like it was being shot from a cannon. Suddenly, shrinking America’s Shaq-sized carbon footprint seemed possible, and everything from water bottles to t-shirts changed their ingredients.

There are plenty of ways to go green and promote sustainable living in your home and community. Beyond simply rolling out the recycle bin to the curb and making eco-chic clutches out of Capri Sun pouches, you can get innovative with your recycling through local waste services like Republic Services in the US and other international equivalents who, by changing the way they take care of trash and recyclables, are making money from your waste. Earth consciousness is perpetually rising, and waste management is following suit. Here’s a quick trip around the globe, looking at three sustainable cities on the rise and what they’re doing to be friendly to the earth...


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Designing Buildings that Evolve with the City

Designing Buildings that Evolve with the City | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

Resilient cities need infrastructure that lasts and planning teams that are willing to step up to the plate. Designing structures that can sustain decades of use requires forethought beyond the basic combination of blocks, steel and glass. Just like sidewalks and street corners, city buildings have the power to connect people to one another. Buildings are shelters from unpredictable weather, places where people can have a good time or sit quietly and think. Buildings can also serve as checkpoints or another step in someone’s journey from point A to B.
Developing cities that thrive through the ebb and flow of time are not simply about creating infrastructure that can persist, but about designing buildings that evolve as cities evolve. Sustainable design transforms as cities develop visions for furthering connections among neighborhoods and city sectors. Design features such as energy efficiency, water conservation, and heat reduction that better regulates a building’s temperature are significant elements that replenish a city’s vitality through buildings that are capable of adapting to a city’s needs. Infrastructure that is greater than the sum of its parts also requires infrastructure that functions according to the changing needs of residents...


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The City In Motion: Architecture + Mobility

The City In Motion: Architecture + Mobility | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

Cities never stand still, so why should architecture? The future of buildings is adaptability, and mobility can augment the special powers of architecture to encompass greater experiences, while contributing more to the urban whole at large. Still, it’s not enough for buildings to move on their own; it’s the development and infrastructural connective tissues between and beyond city blocks that proves just as important.

The way we get around the city is changing, and so the services that the city has to offer are shifting as well. Fixed institutions like universities and libraries will need to be just as agile as food trucks. Commerce can venture out from their flagship shops on Soho and literally “pop-up” and sprout throughout the city. Similarly, more will be expected from cars and automobile circulation, just as larger urban developments will need to be embedded with urban spaces.

Motion is the key to the future of the city, and the A+: Mobility Award will honor the best project that reflects this fundamental shift...


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New green design methods to revolutionize the building industry...

New green design methods to revolutionize the building industry... | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

If you want a preview of the downtown Vancouver streetscape in 2035, start with a walk down Granville or Georgia Street today.

Most of the buildings will still be standing. There will be additions and replacements, but most of the changes that will transform downtown's living, work and retail space will be undetectable from the sidewalk. That includes upgrades to water and energy systems in buildings that in 2012 are models of inefficiency by contemporary standards, let alone future ones.

"If you are thinking 2035, realistically 80% of the buildings that will be in existence at that time have already been constructed," said Innes Hood, a professional engineer and senior associate with Stantec Consulting, a consulting firm with 12,000 planners, architects, engineers, project managers and experts, working in teams to break down the boundaries between designers, contractors and investors, while using advanced computer modelling programs.


Retrofits are crucial.

One of Hood's main assignments is overseeing the redevelopment of existing buildings. More often than not, that means uncovering, through energy audits, glaring examples of waste - air leaks, inadequate insulation, inefficient heating and ventilation systems.

"We are involved in residential projects where we can achieve 80-per-cent reduction in energy use and become essentially greenhouse gas neutral through the implementation of cost-effective technologies," Hood said. "We're not having to strive to the leading edge. These are tried and true technologies around good building enclosures and high-performance mechanical systems such as heat pump technology...


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An Infographic Breakdown Of The World's Greenest Cities

An Infographic Breakdown Of The World's Greenest Cities | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

This infographic focuses on the cities of London, New York, Vancouver, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Stockholm.

 

It’s hard to quantify what makes a city "greener" than any other metropolis, but there are some clues: car ownership, green space, bicycle usage, solar installations, recycling, and water consumption are just a few factors that create environmentally responsible cities.

An infographic from HouseTrip lays out what different cities are doing in an easy-to-read format. A handful of major world cities stand out as leaders. This infographic focuses on London, New York, Vancouver, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Stockholm; three of these cities made it into our top 10 smart cities list (two others were runners-up). Each of these cities have statistics worth mentioning. Amsterdam has one bike for every 0.73 people, Copenhagen has legislation requiring all new buildings to have green roofs (this will add 5,000 square meters of vegetation), and only 44% of New Yorkers own a car, compared to 95% of Americans overall.

 

Visit the link to view the full infographic and to read more about the specific elements that make each featured city 'green'...


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From relic to revolutionary: streetcars revitalize city transit | SmartPlanet

From relic to revolutionary: streetcars revitalize city transit | SmartPlanet | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
More than a half-century after streetcars were abandoned and burned, at least a dozen U.S. cities are working to revive them.

 

The revitalization of Portland, Ore.’s Pearl District, where empty warehouses were replaced with art galleries and abandoned rail yards gave way to multi-family housing, truly began for some when a streetcar line opened there in 2001. As the streetcar shuttled passengers around the once-decrepit neighborhood, it also swept billions of dollars of investments into the revived community.

What’s more, streetcars can protect the environment. “If you have clean electrical energy sources and feed them into the tram system,” said

Patrick Condon, a professor at the University of British Columbia and author of Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities- “it is greenhouse gas zero.” That combination of smart urban development and eco-friendly transit, he said, means more sustainable cities by 2050. “The real benefit of thinking about trams is not the vehicle itself,” Condon said, “but rather how the whole city works and how you move from place to place in a way that’s elegant, comfortable and greenhouse gas zero.”

 

Read on for details and examples that feature the potential positive benefits of reviving the streetcar- a 'clean alternative to cars'.


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A Master Plan for Cultural and Ecological Urbanism...

A Master Plan for Cultural and Ecological Urbanism... | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

“This planning proposal seeks to determine community and bio-diversity from its historical pattern. The concept finds fundamental inspiration in the strong historical identity of the local railway line, and the historic identity of industrialization of Kaohsiung city.

Inspired by the culturally and biologically responsive between the new city urban fabric and existing old town Yen Chan district, the guiding principle of the master plan is to inspire a meaningful sense of community and a shared commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

The proposal also introduces a series of urban agriculture farming and integrated parks. The strategy is to infiltrate and to conceal the community and biological diversity from the nearby Wan Shu Mountain. It also reflects the historical transformation of Kaohsiung city from industrial city to a contemporary cityscape.”


Via Lauren Moss, association concert urbain
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LA's Grand Park: renovated public space by Rios Clementi Hale

LA's Grand Park: renovated public space by Rios Clementi Hale | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Often the difference between a good city and a great one is its defining public park, which becomes a destination, a refuge, and a transformer of peoples’ conceptions of the place. Can you imagine New York without Central Park? Paris without the Tuileries or the Luxembourg Gardens? Contemporary Chicago without Millennium Park?

But when you think of Los Angeles, central urban spaces do not spring to mind. Downtown, which has been undergoing a metamorphosis in the last few years, is still culprit number one in this shortage. Its most notable park is Pershing Square, a concrete-dominated postmodern monstrosity that draws more vagrants than tourists or residents. Other small parks in the area suffer similar fates.

But the new Grand Park, whose first phase opens today (the second half should be done by the fall) is a huge step in the right direction...


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Water management for sustainable cities

Water management for sustainable cities | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

One of the greatest environmental and social challenges facing many countries is the development of urban water management strategies that will support significant population growth in an era of climate change.

By the middle of this century, about 70 per cent of the world’s population will be living in cities where existing water services and planning processes are ill equipped to handle such growth and the accompanying economic and climatic challenges. Climatic extremes of droughts, floods and heatwaves will place increasing pressure on the livability of cities.

Australia has responded by developing exceptional skills and innovation in water management. One of its most internationally respected experts is Professor Tony Wong, who co-founded the Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (the Centre) at Monash University in 2010.

“One of the biggest global challenges we face is urbanisation,” Wong says. “There is the issue of our natural water resources being able to support population growth, the vulnerability of that resource to climate change and urban pollution, and the issue of liveability in cities.”


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