State’s wildflowers rise to new role –

A new grant is helping a budding industry in Florida take root. The $50,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will pay for new equipment and marketing for wildflower growers, who are currently harvesting and cleaning tiny seeds as they build their young industry.

Now, with rising gas prices and shrinking water supplies, wildflowers provide a low-impact alternative for landscaping lawns. State transportation officials are gunning for the locally produced seeds to replace grass along highways — mowing is expensive.

For years the state has planted wildflowers along highways, but they usually don’t grow back so they’re replanted annually. Now the focus is on getting wildflowers to reseed themselves — something locally produced seeds help with — and preserving existing stands along the roadways. Areas with flowers require less mowing and can save money — it costs about $250 to mow a mile of highway.

State’s wildflowers rise to new role —

Living Steel Announces Finalists for 3rd International Architecture Competition for Sustainable Hous – Living Steel

Brussels, Belgium, 2 June 2008 – Living Steel today divulged the 12 finalist architect teams who will submit concepts for sustainable steel housing in Cherepovets, Russia. Selected from 246 completed submissions from architects in 52 countries expressing interest to compete, the finalist teams are:

Short-listed Finalists
Ben Addy and Tim Murray Moxon Architects, Ltd United Kingdom
Rossana Atena and Fabio Cibinel ATENASTUDIO and modostudio Italy
Hugh Broughton and Philip Wells Hugh Broughton Architects United Kingdom
Chris Clarke and Joel Kelder Bligh Voller Nield Australia
Lourenço Gimenes and Rodrigo Silva FGMF Arquitetos Brazil
Sandeep Jagadeesh and Vimal Jain ARCHITECTURE PARADIGM India
Daniel Jenkins and David Turrent ECDA United Kingdom
Grigory Kuzhelev and Galina Budnikova LCA Russia
Lua Nitsche and Pedro Nitsche Nitsche Arquitetos Brazil
Pekka Pakkanen and Risto Huttunen H-L-P Architects Finland
Peter Stutchbury and Richard Smith Peter Stutchbury Architecture Australia
Kathy Velikov and Paul Raff RVTR Canada

The winning team will share a Jury Prize of €50,000 and the opportunity to see their design realised in Cherepovets.

SOURCE: Living Steel Press Release – Living Steel Announces Finalists for 3rd International Architecture Competition for Sustainable House .

Free Plastic Bag ban comes into force in China

Today is the first day of the ban on retailers supplying plastic bags to customers. Numerous
retailers have started charging customers between 0.3 to 0.5 yuan per bag and supplying the alternative of heshian or material bags for shopping.

The law has come into effect to try and reduce the the direct pollution of the environment and the indirect pollution through the production of plastic bags. The production of plastic bags uses thousands of litres of oil per day in China.


The urban farmer: One man’s crusade to plough up the inner city – Features, Food & Drink – The Independent

Fritz Haeg isn’t perhaps the obvious representative of a revolution in global farming. As an architecture and design academic and practitioner, the American has had his work exhibited at Tate Modern and the Whitney Museum of American Art, and has taught fine art at several US universities. Yet it is last year’s community-collaborative project on an inner-city council estate in south London that best showcases his current passion: the urban farm.

Read more @ the SOURCE: The IndependentThe urban farmer: One man’s crusade to plough up the inner city

Living roofs, solar panels – all standard in new homes – Northampton Chronicle and Echo

A living roof, drains which lead to sunken wetland, water heated with solar panels – it sounds like something from a green home in the future but these are all standard features of a new housing development in Northampton.
The properties, which all lie just off the A45 by Sixfields, boast a ‘sustainable urban drainage system’ which offers an alternative to traditional drains.

Instead of using sewers for rainwater, the development has specially designed reed-bed ditches which create habitats for wildlife, as well as reducing the risk of flooding in heavy rains.

Read more @ the SOURCE: Northampton Chronicle and EchoLiving roofs, solar panels – all standard in new homes 

Top 50 most expensive office spaces in the world – CBRE

According to CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. (CBRE) Research’s semi-annual Global Market Rents survey cities came in the Top 10 most expensive cities in the world. 

London’s West End is once again the world’s most expensive office market, while rapidly-rising Moscow climbed to second place, according to CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. (CBRE) Research’s semi-annual Global Market Rents survey. The report tracks world markets with the highest as well as fastest-growing occupancy costs for the 12 months ended March 31, 2008. Tokyo’s Inner Central Five Wards, Mumbai’s Nariman Point and Tokyo’s Outer Central Five Wards rounded out the top five most expensive markets.

“Office occupancy costs are continuing to defy sluggish economic conditions and the credit crunch, as they rise faster than global inflation,” said Dr. Raymond Torto, CBRE’s Global Chief Economist. “These cost increases are dominated by emerging markets, caused by both supply and demand imbalance and the depreciation of the dollar relative to local currencies. In some of these emerging markets, Class A office space is seriously lacking.”

Ho Chi Minh City had the fastest-growing occupancy costs during this period, up 94%. Moscow was not far behind at 93%, followed by Singapore at 86%. Overall, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) dominated the list of markets with the fastest growing occupancy costs, accounting for five of the top 10 and 19 of the top 50 markets. Worldwide, 88% of the 173 office markets monitored posted higher occupancy costs.

Among the most expensive markets, Singapore and Dubai were newcomers to the top 10. Singapore ranked ninth with an occupancy cost of $139.31 (occupancy cost in US$/sq. ft./annum used throughout this release), while Dubai debuted at number 10 with an occupancy cost of $128.49. With a near-doubling of occupancy costs, Moscow rose four places to second at $232.37. Midtown Manhattan was still the priciest market in North America, at $103.43, and ranked number 13 worldwide.

The Top 10 most expensive cities are
1. London (West End), England
2. Moscow, Russia
3. Tokyo (Inner Central), Japan
4. Mumbai, India
5. Tokyo (Outer Central), Japan
6. London (City), England
7. New Delhi, India
8. Paris, France
9. Singapore
10. Dubai, United Arab Emirate

read more @ the SOURCE: CB Richard Ellis – CBRE Research


Open international ideas competition
Competition period: 27 May to 26 September 2008
Final date for submission of questions: 4 August 2008
Questions and answers will be uploaded to this website
There is no deadline for registration.

CPH City and Port Development has launched an open international ideas competition for the Northern Harbour in Copenhagen, a new urban development area with room for 40,000 residents and 40,000 staff in buildings with a total floor area of three to four million square metres.

The competition is open to everyone, but is in particular aimed at urban planners, architects, landscape architects and traffic planners, who are very welcome to collaborate with experts in special fields, eg sustainability.

Total prize money amounts to DKK 3 million.

Read more @ AA – Nordhavn.

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