“‘Conquering’ nature has long been the western way,” writes Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki. “Our hubris, and often our religious ideologies, have led us to believe we are above nature and have a right to subdue and control it. We let our technical abilities get ahead of our wisdom. We’re learning now that working with nature—understanding that we are part of it—is more cost-effective and efficient in the long run.”
At a secret location in the rolling pasture of west Devon lies a marshy patch of farmland protected by £35,000-worth of solar-powered electric fencing. This isn’t to keep people out but to restrain the tree-chomping, river-damming residents of these three hectares. Outside the fence is a typical small valley, with a trickle of a stream, willow thickets and pasture grazed by cattle. Inside the enclosure, the tiny stream has been blocked by 13 dams, creating pools and half-metre-wide canals. These have been built by Britain’s newest wild mammal, the beaver, which uses its waterways like we do – to transport goods. And as the beavers have coppiced trees, the willow thicket has been replaced with sunny glades of wild flowers – marsh thistles, watermint, meadowsweet – which dance with dragonflies and butterflies.
Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
Penda, collaborating with wood consultants from CLT-brand Tmber, has unveiled the design of ‘Tree Tower Toronto,’ an 18-story timber-framed mixed-use residential skyscraper for Canada’s largest city. Drawing inspiration from the distinctly Canadian traditional modular construction, including Moshe Safdie’s iconic Habitat 67, the tower is envisioned as a new model of sustainable high-rise architecture that can establish a reconnect urban areas to nature and natural materials.
Even a single urban tree can help moderate wind speeds and keep pedestrians comfortable as they walk down the street, according to a new University of British Columbia study that also found losing a single tree can increase wind pressure on nearby buildings and drive up heating costs.
Ties in with The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (definitely worth reading) where he discusses how trees in a forest create their own micro-climate and provide each other with physical support against wind and storms. But also read where he discusses the plight of urban trees forced to live without the forest community that they evolved for.
Today, the drug-running and dumping are contained, new residents are moving in, and the enclave is considered an example, both regionally and nationally, of how a community can organize itself and choose the future its residents want. Blocks of houses, some old, some renovated, some looking brand new radiate out from the renovated former fire station and boxing gym that’s the headquarters for the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, which drives the revitalization efforts. Next door is a small park with a playgrou
You look in your history-books to see who built Westminster Abbey, who built St Sophia at Constantinople, and they tell you Henry Ill, Justinian the Emperor. Did they? Or, rather, men like you and me, handicraftsmen, who have left no names behind them, nothing but their work?
William Morris, “The Lesser Arts” (1878) quoted in “VISTA – the culture and politics of gardens”
Canals, boats, bikes, trains – what more could you ask for? What is now tarmac and piles of chained up parked bikes will become a great public space.
Widened canals—and underground bike parking—will bring the city’s Central Station a little closer to nature and history.
Newark has been “coming back” since I went shopping there with my grandmother. This time it looks like it might actually succeed. Great transportation (PATH, AMTRAK, and NJ Transit train station), some great parks and neighborhoods, a great museum, corporate anchors, legal center, Rutgers University and an administration that wants to learn from Hoboken and Jersey City’s mistakes.
For years, downtown Newark’s Military Park, barren and surrounded by vacant buildings, was a symbol of the despair that set in after the 1967 riots. Now it’s at the center of hope that a long-sought recovery for New Jersey’s biggest city may finally be taking hold.
With construction due to start in the second half of 2017 HAUT is on track to become the world’s tallest timber tower The municipality of Amsterdam in the Netherlands has selected Team V Architecture with Lingotto, Nicole Maarsen, ARUP and brand partner NLE to develop a building that is a serious contender to become the tallest timber tower in the world.HAUT, will be a 21-storey wooden residential building by the Dutch River Amstel with construction work expected to start in the second half of 2017. HAUT promises to be a prototype of building in an innovative, sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner.
It seems like the Republicans hate nature – especially national parks and anything unspoiled. Especially if there a way to make money while destroying the environment.
Last weekend, more than 1,000 sportsmen, outdoor business owners, and public lands supporters joined Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) in Helena, Montana. Wednesday afternoon, a rally in New Mexico drew hundreds more people, all protesting congressional attempts to sell off or privatize public lands. The outcry was prompted in part by Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) introduction of a bill to sell off 3.3 million acres of public lands — an area the size of Connecticut.
Toronto’s skyline is entering the stratosphere… at least by North American standards. A look at what 10 new projects will mean to the city, its residents and its image.
Paris just passed a new law that allows anyone to plant an urban garden within the city’s limits. Upon receiving a permit, gardeners can grow plants on walls, in boxes, on rooftops, under trees, or on fences. They can cultivate greenery in front of their homes or offices. They can grow flowers, vegetables, and fruit. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo’s goal is to create 100 hectares of living walls and green roofs by the year 2020, with one third of that greenery dedicated to agriculture.
The annual list of the best planning, design, and development websites, representing some of the top online resources for news, information, and research on the built environment.
Not typically a big Hadid fan but this is definitely on “to visit” list.
Construction workers, cashiers and janitors are moving out of Washington, D.C., while doctors, economists and software developers are moving in. As the cost of housing increases in the city, it’s part of a larger trend, says the District of Columbia’s Office of Revenue Analysis (ORA), which has low-wage workers fleeing for the suburbs, and higher-wage workers flocking to urban cores.
Fascinating photos of European subway stations. Also check out link to site on Montreal’s stations.
Montreal Subway Stations
For places that were meant to be unseen, alleys take up a not-insubstantial amount of space. A 2011 report by Mary Fialko and Jennifer Hampton, graduate students at the University of Washington*, found that in Seattle, there are 217,000 square feet of public alley space downtown, 85 percent of which are underused. The report estimated that reinvigorating alleyways could increase the number of total public space in the city by 50 percent.Alleys, too, are vital players in a city’s overall ecosystem. As the need for cities to rely on more sustainable approaches has become more pressing, the proliferation of trash and flooding in alleyways has come to be seen not only an aesthetic blight, but an environmental one.And as Daniel Freedman of the Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative says, there’s a lot of crossover between sound environmental practices and livability. Revitalizing an alleyway creates an opportunity to introduce green infrastructure, but also, Freedman says, it invites the surrounding community to collaborate on improvements and make use of the space.
Created for client Marjolein Jonker, Walden Studio’s abode is the first tiny house to be legally placed with a temporary permit by a municipality in the Netherlands. Despite its small…
Germany is building the world’s biggest ‘bicycle autobahn’ to connect 10 cities and remove 50,000 cars from the road every day. With the popularity of e-bikes growing too, is Europe about to see a new era of long-distance cycle commuting?
Several modern public housing projects are not only beautiful living spaces, but smart, money-saving, eco-friendly designs using innovative technologies.