Residents of the city that gave birth to the Italian Renaissance voted against a plan to build a controversial tramline through the historic center, but they will probably get one anyway, officials said Monday.
Of about 120,000 residents who voted in the referendum over the weekend, 53.5 percent voted against the tram while about 46 percent voted in favor. Despite the rejection, after a campaign that brought out fewer than 40 percent of eligible voters for the nonbinding poll, city officials said they would proceed with construction of the €560 million, or $820 million, project as planned.
Read more @ International Herald Tribune – Florence says no to new tramline; city says it will be built anyway by Elisabetta Povoledo- .
Last November, a southern Italian village of Torraca proclaimed itself as the world’s first “LED city.” The town installed 700 LED street lamps that are powered by photovoltaic panels, making it a self-sustainable system.
South Korean towns and regional governments are fast catching up. Along with many other towns, Bucheon city has replaced its old halogen street lamps on the city hall plaza with Fawoo’s LED bulbs. The new lamps have six times the life expectancy of halogen lamps, and consume about 28,000 won of electricity per year, compared to 85,000 won. Such a low maintenance cost, the firm says, is enough to offset the hefty price of 160,000 won per lamp in a few years, compared to 40,000 won of halogen lamps.
Read more @ The Korea Times Environmentalism Sheds Brighter Light on Low-Energy Lighting
The City Council is considering a proposed ordinance that would curtail “mansionization.” If the measure passes, the maximum allowable size of a house on many residential lots would drop from about 7,000 square feet (excluding garage) to about 3,000.
The use of the word “mansion” here is not complimentary. It’s meant to conjure up a scenario in which a residential street of, say, 1920s cottages or 1950s ranch houses suddenly gets a new neighbor — a 3,500- or 4,000-square-foot house with two full stories. Though meeting the required setbacks, the building’s bulk makes it more visually prominent than the older houses on the street. What’s more, it may have an architectural style or features that some find ugly — or simply out of place on the block. The result: unhappy longtime homeowners bemoaning the changing character of their neighborhood — loss of privacy, sunlight, views or charm — and demanding that City Hall do something.
Read more @ Los Angeles Times – The monstrosity next door – Todd Gish.
Robert Watson is often hailed as the father of LEED, the nationally recognized gold standard for green buildings. As a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council in the early 1990s, Watson, formerly senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, helped devise the now-popular rating system. But Watson has bigger aspirations yet: He is determined to turn LEED into a worldwide benchmark.
These days the New Yorker is busy bringing his green-building experience to China and India with his recently-founded enterprise, EcoTech International, a consultancy that provides green technology and project development expertise. He believes that market push, combined with government mandates, will spur sustainable development. Violet Law of Plenty magazine caught up with Watson in Hong Kong during his recent business trip to China.
Read more @ Greener Buildings | News & Columns | The Father of LEED Takes on China and India.
Scientists and property developers say green roofs on commercial buildings are good for the environment and good for the soul.
“Green roofs reduce energy through insulation, reduce stormwater run off and benefit individuals and communities,” says Green Roofs Australia president Geoff Wilson. “But Australia is behind the rest of the world. We have to act soon. Climate change is a fact.”
read more @ theage.com.au – Oases in the sky are a growing trend in our concrete jungles | .
The new feminine face of architecture
Architecture is being feminised. Amanda Levete of Future Systems discusses soft swoops, flowing loops, and why hard-edged modernism is so over
Read more @ The new feminine face of architecture – Times Online.
In late 2007, the Vietnam Import-Export and Construction Corporation (Vinaconex) kicked started its project at the Cai Gia – Cat Ba – Hai Phong Tourism and Urban Area by developing the infrastructure for Tung Thu artificial beach.
Tran Ngoc Quang, Director of the Management Board, said the project covers an area of 171 ha within Ha Long Bay. It is estimated to cost $600mil and will take 8-10 years to be completed.
Speaking on Vinaconex’s ambitious plan, Mr. Quang said this will become the new tourism center in the North and give Cat Ba Island both regional and global recognition and fame.
Read more @ VietNamNet – Coastal tourism taking off.