Urban forest grows in Soweto

The target is to plant 200 000 trees in dry and dusty Soweto by the end of the year. Already well on the way, City Parks has a number of tree-planting projects on the go.

WITH thousands more trees being planted in the dusty, denuded areas of Soweto, this area may reach its urban forest status sooner than expected.

The next big tree planting event planned by Johannesburg City Parks is on 22 April, when the world celebrates International Earth Day. Some 15 000 trees will be planted by the utility in Bram Fischerville and Meadowlands as part of the City’s drive to green Soweto and other marginalised areas.

City Parks has a target of planting 200 000 trees by the end of this year, says Jenny Moodley, its marketing and communications manager. With the Earth Day project and the 24-hour extreme park make-over planned in May for Diepkloof, the tally of trees planted since 2006 will grow to over 78 000.

Source: city of johannesburg – Urban forest grows in Soweto.

CABE – Designing streets for people – not traffic

Most streets in this country are failing pedestrians, and need to become destinations again, and not simply ways of getting traffic from A to B.

Radical new thinking in urban street design may point the way forward. Civilised streets, a new report from CABE, sets out the opportunities and challenges of new design approaches. It argues that the car still dominates and our streets will only become more civilised places if the needs of pedestrians are prioritised over cars.

CABE argues that streets which are designed to give all users more freedom of movement are ultimately slower, safer and more social places. These civilised streets are places where people of all ages can walk, cycle, play, talk and shop more easily. Civilised streets explores the contentious concept of shared space, which advocates removing signs and guard rails, obliging drivers and pedestrians to become more alert to each other, which in turn leads to more responsible driving.

Shared space is one way of rescuing our streets from the car. Director of CABE Space, Sarah Gaventa, highlights New Road in Brighton as one example of how redesigning a street can reinvent it. If the country is to get more streets of such quality, local authorities, highway engineers and planners must both understand and consider shared spaces as a means of delivering more civilised streets.

Go to CABE.org.uk now to download the series of publications

Source: CABE – Designing streets for people – not traffic | News | .

BWTC spins turbines for the first time

The Atkins designed Bahrain World Trade Center (BWTC) made history last week as the turbines on this pioneering project turned together for the first time.

The three 29m-diameter turbine blades on Bahrain’s iconic landmark are the first in the world to be integrated on such a scale into a commercial development and are forecast to provide the equivalent of 11-15% of the power for the two towers when fully operational.

The successful rotation of the blades involved collaboration between Atkins architects and engineers and turbine specialists Norwin, who were in Bahrain for the milestone event.

“Having all three turbines spinning simultaneously represents an historic achievement for this landmark project and Atkins is excited to have been a major player in turning the original idea into reality” says Simha LytheRao Senior Project Manager for Atkins in Bahrain.

Source: Atkins Press Release  

You can watch a video of the turbines here

The man who built Vancouver has a grand plan for Abu Dhabi

The man who built Vancouver has a grand plan for Abu Dhabi
By David George-Cosh, Canwest News Service
Published: Sunday, April 13, 2008

When Larry Beasley received an e-mail from Abu Dhabi government headhunters more than two years ago, he dismissed it as spam.

“I found out that they wanted me to develop a plan for [Abu Dhabi], that they wanted it to be one of the best cities in the world and that they had been doing a search for the person to lead the way,” Mr. Beasley said during an interview at the lavish “seven-star” Emirates Palace hotel.

The youthful-looking 59-year-old’s name kept popping up to the Emirati staffers, who were hearing about “the Vancouver Model,” a world-renowned planning concept that tightly packs in high-density buildings while discouraging car traffic as much as possible.

Read more @ the Source: Canada.com – The man who built Vancouver has a grand plan for Abu Dhabi.

China to hold 4th World Urban Forum

 World Urban Forum Theme: Harmonious Urbanization

World Urban Forum, 03 – 07 November 2008, Nanjing, China

The World Urban Forum was established by the United Nations to examine one of the most pressing issues facing the world today: rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies and policies. It is projected that in the next fifty years, two-thirds of humanity will be living in towns and cities. A major challenge is to minimize burgeoning poverty in cities, improve the urban poor’s access to basic facilities such as shelter, clean water and sanitation and achieve environment-friendly, sustainable urban growth and development.

The World Urban Forum is a biennial gathering that is attended by a wide range of partners, from non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, urban professionals, academics, to governments, local authorities and national and international associations of local governments. It gives all these actors a common platform to discuss urban issues in formal and informal ways and come up with action-oriented proposals to create sustainable cities.

The Fourth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF4) will be hosted by the Government of China and will be held in the ancient city of Nanjing from 03-07 November 2008. Situated in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the city of Nanjing dates back more than 2,000 years and is known as the ancient capital of the Six Dynasties of China. Today, home to 6 million people, it is a rapidly growing modern city and is one of the most dynamic in eastern China.

Read more at the Source: UN-HABITAT.:. World Urban Forum | Theme: Harmonious Urbanization: The Challenge of Balanced Territorial Development.

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