4 Projects That Show Mass Timber is the Future of American Cities

As architects face up to the need for ethical, sustainable design in the age of climate change awareness, timber architecture is making a comeback in a new, technologically impressive way. Largely overlooked in the age of Modernism, recent years have seen a plethora of advancements related to mass timber across the world. This year alone, Japan announced plans for a supertall wooden skyscraper in Tokyo by 2041, while the European continent has seen plans for the world’s largest timber building in the Netherlands, and the world’s tallest timber tower in Norway.

4 Projects That Show Mass Timber is the Future of American Cities https://www.archdaily.com/905601/4-projects-that-show-mass-timber-is-the-future-of-american-cities

As California’s largest lake dries up, it threatens nearby communities with clouds of toxic dust – The Verge

Dying lakes release dust, often polluted dust, that is literally killing people who can’t afford to move.

Though we often think of lakes as permanent landmarks, global warming, irrigation, and our constant thirst threaten these resources around the world. Terminal lakes like the Salton Sea, bodies of water that have no natural drain, are particularly vulnerable. Iran’s Lake Urmia — once the largest body of water in the Middle East — has shrunk by almost 90 percent over the last 30 years; Africa’s Lake Chad is also 90 percent smaller than it was in the 1960s; and Kazakhstan’s Aral Sea, once the fourth largest salt lake in the world, has practically been wiped off the map.

When these lakes evaporate, they can upend industries and erase surrounding communities. For residents near the Salton Sea, the most pressing problem is the threat of toxic dust. The receding Salton Sea will reveal at least 75 square miles of playa, the lake bed that the water once hid. When that soil dries, it will begin to emit dust laced with industrial runoff from the surrounding farms: up to 100 tons of dust could blow off the playa daily. If it isn’t captured, that dust will push the area’s asthma crisis from bad to dire. The Salton Sea is a dust bomb that has already begun going off.

Source: As California’s largest lake dries up, it threatens nearby communities with clouds of toxic dust – The Verge

What Does China’s ‘Ecological Civilization’ Mean for Humanity’s Future? | By Jeremy Lent | Common Dreams

China’s leader affirms an ecological vision aligned with progressive environmental thought. Whether it’s mere rhetoric or has a deeper resonance within Chinese culture may have a profound global effect

Propaganda or hope for the future?

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/02/10/what-does-chinas-ecological-civilization-mean-humanitys-future

Latest Renderings for Kearny Point, New Jersey’s Former Shipyard Being Transformed into a Small Business Hub | Untapped Cities

A very interesting project to track. Conversion of an industrial waterfront into a modern office park with exceptional architects/planners and a developer with a vision.

 

 

Aerial view of the Kearny Point site. Image via STUDIOS Architecture (Architecture) in collaboration with WXY architecture + urban design (Master Planning).

Kearny Point, which is located cross the Hudson River in Kearny between Newark and Jersey City, is being positioned as a sustainable business campus. The developer, Hugo Neu, is renovating and redesigning spaces that were once dedicated to one of the most well-known and most active shipbuilding sites, which opened in 1917 in the months leading up to the entrance of the United States in the first World War…..The developers have since renovated a first building, Building 78, that serves as Kearny Point’s proof of concept. It currently houses 150 small businesses, of which over 70% of which are minority or women-owned, a co-working space called Kearny Works, a cafe and a blue roof. The site also houses various companies, including a vertical farm, a bridal design company, a vitamin company, and much more.

A master plan has been developed by WXY, the architecture and urban design firm behind projects like the Spring Street Salt Shed and DSNY Manhattan District Garage, the Sea Glass Carousel in Battery Park, the redesign of Astor Place, and the reconstruction of the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk. At Kearny Point, WXY has envisioned a comprehensive plan that will densify the site, add public open space, offer new waterfront access, restore native habitat, and protect the site from flooding.

$1 billion is planned to be invested over the next decade, contributing to 7000 new permanent jobs and new tax revenue for the state and local jurisdiction. There will be three million square feet of converted or new office space. In addition, 15 acres of restored shoreline will accompany a new 4,100 foot waterfront promenade and 10 acres of publicly accessible civic and open space, including a 20,000 square foot amphitheater. It is anticipated that the waterfront area around the south basin and Building 197 will be completed this year, with another large portion of the historic yard anticipated to be completed between 2017 and 2018. A second waterfront phase is projected to be completed by 2023.

Source: Latest Renderings for Kearny Point, New Jersey’s Former Shipyard Being Transformed into a Small Business Hub | Untapped Cities

The Boomtown That Shouldn’t Exist – POLITICO Magazine

| Erika Larsen for Politico Magazine

Cape Coral may be the best place to gauge the future of the dream—and to see whether Florida has any hope of overcoming its zany developmental, political and environmental history—because Cape Coral is the ultimate microcosm of Florida. It’s literally a peninsula jutting off the peninsula, the least natural, worst-planned, craziest-growing piece of an unnatural, badly planned, crazy-growing state. Man has sculpted it into an almost comically artificial landscape, with a Seven Islands section featuring seven perfectly rectangular islands and an Eight Lakes neighborhood featuring eight perfectly square lakes. And while much of Florida now yo-yos between routine droughts and routine floods, Cape Coral’s fluctuations are particularly wild. This spring, the city faced a water shortage so dire that its fire department feared it couldn’t rely on its hydrants, yet this summer, the city endured a record-breaking flood. And that “50-year rain event” came two weeks before Irma, which was also supposedly a 50-year event.

Source: The Boomtown That Shouldn’t Exist – POLITICO Magazine

The Climate Change Land Rush: When Will People Start Leaving Coastal Cities? | naked capitalism

Flooding in Mumbai (image: bodom/Shutterstock)

“‘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.”

Source: The Climate Change Land Rush: When Will People Start Leaving Coastal Cities? | naked capitalism

Penda Designs Modular Timber Tower Inspired by Habitat 67 for Toronto | ArchDaily

Penda Designs Modular Timber Tower Inspired by Habitat 67 for Toronto,Courtesy of Penda

 

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.

Source: Penda Designs Modular Timber Tower Inspired by Habitat 67 for Toronto | ArchDaily

WAN:: Timber tower by Team V Architecture

 

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.

Source: WAN:: Timber tower by Team V Architecture

Got wood? Meet Australia’s tallest (proposed) timber building | News | Archinect

 

Combine cross laminated timber, glue laminated timber, and the desire to connect with nature while providing ample creative working space, and you have the 5 King Tower, a 52-meter timber structure with the strength of concrete and steel (but a much smaller carbon footprint).

Source: Got wood? Meet Australia’s tallest (proposed) timber building | News | Archinect

The shifting global landscape – The Boston Globe

If my view is broadly correct, the great foreign policy challenge of our age will be to manage cooperation among many competing and technologically advanced regions, and most urgently to face up to our common environmental and health crises. We should move past the age of empires, decolonization, and Cold Wars. The world is arriving at the “equality of courage and force” long ago foreseen by Adam Smith. We should gladly enter the Age of Sustainable Development, in which the preeminent aim of all countries, and especially the great powers, is to work together to protect the environment, end the remnants of extreme poverty, and guard against a senseless descent into violence based on antiquated ideas of the dominance of one place or people over another.

Jeffrey D. Sachs is University Professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, and author of “The Age of Sustainable Development.”

Source: The shifting global landscape – The Boston Globe

CBF’s Brock Environmental Center to be awarded prestigious ‘Living Building’ certification | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

One of the world’s greenest buildings 14 feet above sea level prepares for climate change

Source: CBF’s Brock Environmental Center to be awarded prestigious ‘Living Building’ certification | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Jetson Green – Net Zero Prefab That Can be Built in Just Three Days

Unity Homes has recently unveiled a prefab home, which is sustainable yet still made to last for at least as long as traditionally constructed homes. The home has a number of certifications, including LEED v4 Platinum, while it is also net-zero energy and can be constructed on site in three days or less. It is also fitted with the largest number of Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified building products used in a residential project to…

Source: Jetson Green – Net Zero Prefab That Can be Built in Just Three Days

Coastal property values could erode if nourishment subsidies end — ScienceDaily

The value of many oceanfront properties on the East Coast could drop dramatically if Congress were to suddenly end federal beach nourishment subsidies. Values could fall by as much as 17 percent in towns with high property values and almost 34 percent in towns with low property values. A gradual reduction of the subsidies, in contrast, is more likely to smooth the transition to more climate-resilient coastal communities.

via Coastal property values could erode if nourishment subsidies end — ScienceDaily.

Sprawl costs US more than a trillion dollars a year | Better! Cities & Towns Online

Sprawl costs the American economy more than $1 trillion annually, according to a new study by the New Climate Economy. That’s more than $3,000 for every man, woman, and child.

These costs include greater spending on infrastructure, public service delivery and transportation. The study finds that Americans living in sprawled communities directly bear $625 billion in extra costs. In addition, all residents and businesses, regardless of where they are located, bear an extra $400 billion in external costs.

via Sprawl costs US more than a trillion dollars a year | Better! Cities & Towns Online.

Maps and Measurments of the Expansion of Cities | Sustainable Cities Collective

 

We are living in the midst of the urban century. Though it is common knowledge that the world is urbanizing, it can be striking to visualize this growth on a map. This animation from Unicef maps countries’ urban populations from 1950 to 2050, and shows that urbanization is a global phenomenon set to continue for decades:

 

population-circle-urban-growth-asia-cities1

 

Maps and Measurements of the Expansion of Cities | Sustainable Cities Collective.

Pentagon Plans for Climate Wars

Now that the Pentagon wants to address climate change, progress may be possible.

After all we only implemented food assistance when the head of the Selective Service in WWII warned Congress that too many draftees were being rejected due to malnutrition, the interstate highway system is actually the  Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, and the internet and numerous other technologies were funded by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

No fear, no funds.

Pentagon says we could soon be fighting climate wars | Grist.