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.

Urban Splash founders sell 24 per cent to managers

The founders of property developer Urban Splash are to sell off almost a quarter of the company’s equity to its management team and have agreed a refinancing deal with three banks worth £125m.

Chairman Tom Bloxham and chief executive Jonathan Falkingham are selling 24 per cent of the shares to seven of its most senior staff, who will be given the option of buying between one and five per cent for an undisclosed price.

SOURCE: Crain’s Manchester BusinessUrban Splash founders sell 24 per cent to managers –

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 –

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.

 

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