Vertical farms and future cities

What do vertical farms, green roofs, soft cars, breathing walls, and Dongtan, China, have in common? They were all subjects of discussion at Friday’s Future Cities event in New York City, part of the four-day 2008 World Science Festival.

To a packed house, Columbia University microbiologist Dickson Despommier described his vision for feeding the planet’s burgeoning, and increasingly urban, population. The vertical farm takes agriculture and stacks it into the tiers of a modern skyscraper. Instead of stopping at the corner pizzeria for dinner, Despommier suggested, you could pluck a nice head of lettuce, maybe some corn, and some tomatoes for a big salad, all in your own building, on the way to your apartment. You can’t get fresher or more local than that.

SOURCE: Gristmill – Vertical farms and future cities | Gristmill: The environmental news blog .

State’s wildflowers rise to new role – OrlandoSentinel.com

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 — OrlandoSentinel.com.

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

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