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.

Jamaican wins Boston community design competition – JAMAICAOBSERVER.COM

JAMAICAN Gregory Minott and team members Troy Depeiza and Snehal Intwala won the US$10,000 prize for Best Design for Building in the Dudley Square Community Charrette and Design Competition.

The Boston Society of Architects hosted the competition in association with the City of Boston, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Common Boston and the Roxbury Masterplan Oversight Committee, as part of the public programming for the American Institute of Architects’ 2008 National Convention in Boston.

SOURCE: JAMAICAOBSERVER.COM – Jamaican wins Boston community design competition –

Plan to Remake Tysons Corner Envisions Dense Urban Center – washingtonpost.com

The transformation of Tysons Corner from a car-dominated tangle of offices, malls and auto dealers into a livable city will start moving ahead in the coming weeks.

Fairfax County leaders and landowners are unveiling sweeping proposals to build densely packed high-rises, miles of new streets, and enough parks, schools, police stations and firehouses to serve an entirely new place.

The results could determine the future not only of Virginia’s mightiest jobs hub, but also what happens across the country. Urban-renewal leaders are looking to Tysons as a model.

read more @ the SOURCE: washingtonpost.comPlan to Remake Tysons Corner Envisions Dense Urban Center

$14-million gift launches transformation of architecture education at University of Toronto — News@UofT

The University of Toronto today announced an historic $14-million gift by John and Myrna Daniels to the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, the largest ever private gift to any architecture school in Canada.

The gift will fund a major physical expansion and renovation of the faculty and will also endow a scholarship fund for outstanding architecture, landscape and design students. In recognition of the powerful impact this gift will have on the university, U of T will name the Faculty the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape & Design. John Daniels received his bachelor of architecture degree from U of T in 1950 and went on to become one of Canada’s most important developers of residential communities.

“The Faculty of Architecture, Landscape & Design has a fabulous tradition of contributing to the creation of beautiful and functional buildings and sustainable cities,” said President David Naylor. “The Daniels’ remarkable benefaction will play a pivotal role in the education of the next generation of architecture leaders in Canada.”

Read more @ the SOURCE: University of Toronto – $14-million gift launches transformation of architecture education at U of T

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