Plastic bags set to be banned in China

CHINA launched a crackdown on plastic bags yesterday, banning production of ultra-thin bags and forbidding supermarkets and shops from handing out free carriers from June 1.

China uses too many bags and fails to dispose of them properly, wasting valuable oil and littering the country, China’s cabinet, the State Council, said in a notice posted on the central government Website (www.gov.cn).

“Our country consumes huge amounts of plastic bags every year. While providing convenience to consumers, they have also caused serious pollution, and waste of energy and resources, because of excessive use and inadequate recycling,” it said.

Plastic bags set to be banned — Shanghai Daily | wå¥ — English Window to China News.

Could Harvard expansion restore Allston’s watery ways?

In the late 19th century, the banks of the Charles River near the Harvard campus were covered with marshes, cut through with small streams that advanced and retreated with the tides.
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Then engineers took over. The tidal marshes were filled, land was reclaimed, and many of the streams were buried underground in pipes.

Now, as Harvard begins its expansion on the Allston side of the Charles, there is a push to return the area to a more natural state – part of an emerging national movement that touts the environmental benefits of landscape restoration.

For the last two years, Harvard, the city, the local community, and various groups including the watershed association have worked – sometimes contentiously – to determine the best course for the project. Bowditch said her group’s main goal is to figure out how the drainage systems in North Allston work and how to make them work better.

Could Harvard expansion restore Allston’s watery ways? – The Boston Globe.

Stopping the flow of Chicago’s urban pollution

It’s a quest similar to those undertaken by neighboring communities after a six-year building boom that changed the landscape of the once mostly-rural suburbs southwest of Chicago. Since 2000, Will County’s population surged 33 percent, making it the fastest-growing county in Illinois and among the most rapidly expanding in the U.S.

Now that the building has slowed, many communities are taking a step back to identify areas straining under the weight of urbanization.

“We know the slowdown isn’t going to last forever,” DeVivo said. “Now is the perfect time to focus our attention toward protecting our natural environment.”

The environmental survey of Long Run Creek, released late last year and funded by an $80,000 state grant, revealed a creek under assault. Researchers documented garbage dumps similar to what DeVivo had seen, but also areas of the creek where natural buffers have eroded, contributing to a loss of native plants and insects.

Stopping the flow of urban pollution — chicagotribune.com.

Hammerson and Urban Splash selected in Swansea – Property Week

The developers, who last collaborated on the residential element of the Bullring in Birmingham city centre, were chosen for the scheme by the City and County of Swansea and the Welsh Assembly Government following a nine-month European-wide competition.

Hammerson and Urban Splash will now work on a phased development of the site, which encompasses the existing Quadrant shopping centre, and is bordered by Princess Way and Westway.
BDP undertook the Masterplan.

Hammerson and Urban Splash selected in Swansea – Property Week.
Developers chosed for 1billion redevelopment of Swansea – BBC

Environmentalists push $1 million program to save urban trees

Environmentalists eager to save urban trees are promoting the Evergreen Cities campaign, naming it one of their top four priorities for the legislative session that starts next Monday. They’re pushing a $1 million program to improve urban forests statewide.

Protections for urban trees vary widely in the Puget Sound region, contributing to a dramatic decline in the tree cover. Satellite images from the ’70s are dominated by green swaths with black specks of buildings and roads. Recent pictures are practically reversed, with black oozing across the image and green patches shining through.

It’s an urban deforestation seen nationwide. About 25 percent of city tree canopy vanished over the past 30 years, based on satellite image analysis by American Forests, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group.

Environmentalists push $1 million program to save urban trees. Seattle – LISA STIFFLER SeattlePI

Melbourne leads Australia in cleaning stormwater naturally

EVERY year, about 500 billion litres of stormwater washes off the roofs, roads and footpaths of Melbourne into our rivers and bays.

That’s about the same amount of water that Melburnians consume each year.

Often it comes in a thunderous rush, surging out of drains, damaging waterways, and pouring litter into Port Phillip and Western Port bays.

But a $20 million bid to use Melbourne’s stormwater on “rain gardens” across the metropolitan area has gathered speed since early last year.

Rain gardens are designed to absorb large volumes of water from downpipes, road surfaces and paved areas.

Melbourne leads Australia in cleaning stormwater naturally | Herald Sun.

Design visionary to present futuristic ‘building for today’ at Abu Dhabi World Future Energy Summit | World Future Energy Summit (WFES)

A conceptual design for a skyscraper that can do ‘everything a tree can do except replicate’ will be one of the highlights of the inaugural World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi next month.

William McDonough – recognised by Time magazine as a ‘Hero for the Planet’ – was commissioned by Fortune magazine to come up with a design for a skyscraper office tower that would anticipate a 100 percent positive impact on people and place. Since his firm of architects embarked on the project, he has been approached by numerous companies keen to turn the idea into reality.

‘We’re really excited,’ said McDonough in an interview, ‘because everyone in the building world that has seen it has said ‘can we do this together?’ So we are now looking for a patron to help us bring this to reality.’

Design visionary to present futuristic ‘building for today’ at Abu Dhabi World Future Energy Summit | World Future Energy Summit (WFES).

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