Urban farms springing up on rooftops

All across Manhattan urban farms are springing up across one of the densely built cities in the world. Urban Farms (community gardens) are nothing new but recently they are moving up onto the rooftops across the world as urbanites want to grow their own food and cool down their buildings.

The Washington Post has an article about the Urban Farms in Manhattan and how as the city has boomed with Community Gardens being sold for development gardens have moved up onto rooftops.

Read and See more at the Planting Roofs takes off in New York – Washingtonpost

Aboriginal landscape management used to reduce emissions

Dean Yibarbuk from the Bininj(Aborginal) man from Nangark of the Gurrguni clan has written an article in The Guardian about using ancient landscape management practices to manage Northern Australia. The article does not provide how the techniques are reducing emissions but the video below gives more of an insight.

Fighting carbon with fire – Arnhemland, Australia from UNUChannel on Vimeo.

SOURCE: The Guardian – Aboriginal fire management cuts CO2 in Australia
VIDEO SOURCE: Vimeo – Fighting carbon with fire – Arnhemland Australia – United Nations University

Australia is now world’s biggest carbon emitter per capita

Numerous news sources have reported that Australia has now surpassed the USA as the world biggest carbon emitter per capita. Emitting approximately 20.5 tons annually per person exceeding the USA’s 19.78 tons. Just as this news was reported, today the CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency) released The CSIRO Home Energy Saving Handbook – How to Save Energy, Save Money and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint launched by Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr.

The press release announces CSIRO scientists say householders can reduce their home and car energy use by as much as 50 per cent by making changes to daily activities.

The CSIRO blurb for the book

The handbook offers information and advice on how to measure and reduce an individual’s carbon footprint in all aspects of modern living, including:

  • simple energy-saving tricks around the house
  • maximising a home’s potential for easy heating and cooling
  • ways to save on shopping and transport
  • making the most of gardens
  • tips for building and renovating homes.

The book is available at bookstores for $AUD29.99

SOURCE: CSIRO

Ed note: I have to wonder why the book is not available in e-book version.

Increased Density could mean reduced emissions

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Last week the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL released a report titled DRIVING AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: THE EFFECTS OF COMPACT DEVELOPMENT ON MOTORIZED TRAVEL, ENERGY USE, AND CO2 EMISSIONS stating that

Increasing population and employment density in metropolitan areas could reduce vehicle travel, energy use, and CO2 emissions from less than 1 percent up to 11 percent by 2050 compared to a base case for household vehicle usage……

The report continues to give examples of if 75% of all new and replacement housing units were developed at twice the density and people drive 25% less then then CO2 emissions would be reduced by 7-8% by 2030, 8-11% by 2050. However if only 25% of housing was developed at twice the density and drove 12% less then the reduction in CO2 would only be 1% by 2030 and 1.7% by 2050.

The report also outlined the obstacles with trying achieve 75% dwellings at twice the denisty including local growth, local zoning regulations, concerns about congestion and home values.

The report also stated that

Government policies to support more compact, mixed-use development should be encouraged, the report says. The nation is likely to set ambitious goals to address climate change and, given the large contribution of the transportation sector to greenhouse gas emissions, changes in land use may have to be part of the effort.  If so, land use changes should be implemented soon, because current development patterns will take decades to reverse

For more information about the report go to the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL website.

SOURCE: NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

IMAGE SOURCE: Flickr austrini (suburbia)  Flickr DrPleishner (city)

2009 Open Architecture Competition winners announced

Teton School

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2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Challenge Winner

Teton Valley Community School Location: Victor, Idaho, USA Designed by: Section Eight [design]

The 2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom invited the global design and construction community to collaborate with primary and secondary school teachers and students to create smarter, safer, and more sustainable learning environments.

The Teton Valley Community School (TVCS) is a non-profit independent school located in Victor, Idaho. At the base of the Teton Mountain range, Victor is 6,200 feet above sea level and is a quickly developing alpine area. The town’s eclectic mix of pioneer families and new residents from around the globe exemplify Victor’s unique history and diversity.

TVCS’s master plan is to eventually build five of the proposed classroom buildings. The design allows for flexibility in their spacing and construction. The classroom buildings can be either site built or prefabricated in two modules that can be shipped to the site. The design objectives were to create flexible spatial configurations, reduce the school’s ecological footprint, and create a strong connection to the outdoors in response to the mountain climate.

Excepting the vegetable garden areas, the landscaping will incorporate native, drought resistant vegetation to reduce required irrigation. Zen rock gardens will be created using stones removed from the building sites during excavation. Perviousness will be promoted on the site by the use of pavers with grass and sand infill for the parking and pathway areas. Play areas will utilize the natural site features like trees, rocks, and berms.

Continue reading 2009 Open Architecture Competition winners announced

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