Pakistan mosque installs country’s first urban rainwater harvesting system

The Faisal Mosque complex installed Pakistan’s first urban rainwater harvesting system has been installed in the capital city Islamabad. The system was funded by the city’s Capital Development Authority, and will provide clean drinking water while recharging the local water table for the city’s nearly 1 million residents.

Known as the Pilot Rainwater Harvesting Project, the initiative was developed in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program and the Pakistan Council of Research for Water Resource.

[SOURCE: Circle of Blue Water News]

Autodesk releases AutoCAD freestyle

Autodesk recently announced the availability of AutoCAD Freestyle software, a new, easy-to-use application for 2D drawing and sketching that specialty contractors and do-it-yourselfers can use to create professional-looking drawings, layouts and plans.

I think this will be good for people who are just starting their landscape architecture firms or design and build company and can’t afford the $1200-$4500 for AutoCad LT or AutoCAD Full Version for every user. Some users could do the basic design and sketch work on Freestyle and than have someone finish off the full design in LT or full CAD.

Currently its on special short time offer of $49.00. The full retail price will be $149.

For more information go to the AutoCAD Freestyle site.

* UPDATE  [14 may 2010]*

The price for freestyle is now $79USD for a limited period before it goes to full RRP of $149USD

UK Sustainable Community to appear in TV show

24dash.com recently reported that Willmott Dixon Housing will appear in a TV show documenting the development of the community over one year. The community was designed by Glenn Howells Architects, and landscape architects Studio Engleback, the Triangle is part of Kevin McCloud’s vision to create housing supports sustainable lifestyles, with open public spaces, rainwater recycling and kitchen garden areas where residents can grow their own vegetables.

Read more @ the [SOURCE: 24dash.com - Willmott Dixon to build Kevin McCloud's sustainable community for new TV show]

The New Bund in Shanghai

With only 12 days to the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai you have probably seen images of the new Expo site with its amazing pavilions. But there is more going on in Shanghai in the last 2-3 years than the construction of Expo. Last month the main promenade in Shanghai known as the Bund or Waitan was recently reopened after a two years of renovation which involved removing the main elevated expressway onramp and constructing a new traffic tunnel under the fill length of the road and the pedestrian promenade was widened and extended.

The Bund is a historical piece of the city that has dramatically changed from in the last century from a mud flat riverbank with wooden planks for baording boats and ships whilst overlooking the opposite bank of farmland to becoming a thriving pedestrian promenade in front of buildings dating from 1880′s to 1930′s now overlooking a modern metropolis of contemporary architecture; most of which was built in the last decade.

The renovated Bund is 2000 metres long (1.25 miles) with three levels – roadside, promenade and lower level plazas beside the river. The new Bund has done away with the concrete upstand walls replaced with a curved balustrade which is more comfortable to lean against and watch the ships, barges and ferries go by whilst looking across at Lujiazui, the modern financial district.

The new expansive bund is accessed by long ramps that  create dramatic sense of arrival to the promenade which is paved in light coloured large unit granite paving and timber paving replacing the small sized pink ceramic tile (installed in a 1993 renovation). The new design also includes some new wave like glass sculptural roofs that give a different architectural dynamic although they are placed at the south end to ensure an unobstructed view of the historical buildings.

The renovation of  the Bund also includes renovated and new ferry terminal & jetties, a renovated weather station, thematic lighting and water sprays into the river. The lower roadside promenade and plazas are to include commercial shopping and restaurant areas.

The slideshow above can be enlarged to full screen by clicking on the four-arrow button (right side)

If you are coming for Expo or the 2010 IFLA Congress in Suzhou – the Bund is an interesting place to visit and take in the city. We will be featuring other posts about the changes that Shanghai has undergone in the last few years including Expo.

by Damian Holmes (Resident of Shanghai for almost 5 years)

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Harvard changing the profession

Karen Weintraub recently wrote an article for the Boston Globe – At Harvard, landscape architects reinvent roles, link disciplines in which Weintraub interviews Charles Waldheim on how the profession of landscape architecture is changing by winning and managing development projects as the chief consultant.

Waldheim is cited making some great statements about the profession and its future

“There’s an increasing sense that landscape architects are really able to better manage complex urban change over time’’ than people in other professions, he said. Landscape architecture “now ends up being a place where the arts, questions of urbanism, and questions of ecology can connect.’’

Waldhiem also cites work by department member Michael Van Valkenburgh and his role in changing the profession.

Van Valkenburgh’s development of Brooklyn Bridge Park, along the East River waterfront, for instance, reclaims previously industrialized land, knits together development and nature, and provides public space.

The article also cites other staff at Harvard and the role of landscape architecture.

I find the article interesting although stating most of what most in the field know it is great to see and article in the Business section of the major newspaper website discussing the role of landscape architecture in relation to development and climate change.

Read the full article by Karen Weintraub article at the [SOURCE: Boston Globe - At Harvard, landscape architects reinvent roles, link disciplines]

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