Time to stop building cities without souls – China Daily

At his first sight of Las Vegas, a Chinese student of community participation in urban development remarked, “I feel as if I am back in Beijing’s second ring road!”

Indeed, the shadow of the American casino capital looms large over Beijing and many other Chinese cities, which vie with one another in copying the model of Las Vegas to become a mixture of something of everything.

With a messy combination of bits from New York City, Paris, Italy, Egypt and others, Las Vegas could satisfy a fancy of the wonderland.

Yet the city in the wild desert is a nightmare for urban planners, as it has developed with little planning. Even though Las Vegas hosted the centennial convention of the American Planning Association (APA) in late April, many American planners dismiss it as a good example of urban development.

To their regret, however, Las Vegas becomes a role model for too many Chinese cities in their drive for urban development. Like Las Vegas, these cities with entirely different cultural and socioeconomic contexts are sprawling ever wider with ever more and taller high-rises, until they become jungles of cement.

Perhaps the decision-makers and designers of Chinese cities should come to such a consensus. They should learn from the culture and traditions of their own cities before they set out to borrow others’ experiences. If they fail to develop a taste for the treasures under their eyes, it is doubtful that they can pick out something valuable elsewhere.

Read more at the Source: China Daily – to stop building cities without souls by Xiong Lei

Boston Sample Drop Shop

Architects and design professionals will have the opportunity to drop off outdated and unneeded samples as part of the Boston Sample Drop/Shop to be held May 8th-10th at the Boston Design Center. The event, organized by Burt Hill in association with Herman Miller, greenGoat, and Creative Office Pavilion, is intended to encourage local designers, manufacturers, retailers and the community to join together to exchange resources and divert waste from landfills.

Design firms will drop off separated materials in storage containers on May 8th and 9th from 11:30am-1:30 pm and from 4pm- 7pm at the Boston Design Center Loading Dock. The center is open to the public to shop on May 9th from 4-7pm and May 10th from 9am-4pm. There will be a wide variety of materials available at no cost. Materials will be sorted into the following categories: mixed paper, vinyl, carpet, aggregates, textiles, and miscellaneous. “The purpose of this event is to show designers that there is an alternative to throwing materials out. Both the design community and the greater local community can benefit from recycling materials,” said event organizer and Burt Hill architect Jenna Beltram.

At the end of the event, there will be a barbeque with free food and drinks for all those who participated. The Boston Sample Drop Shop was inspired by the success of the city of Cleveland’s ZeroLandfill Celebration which originated in 2006. For more information, please visit www.greengoat.org/dropshop.

Urban Land Institute will have program on green financing

he Northern New Jersey District Council of the Urban Land Institute will hold a program tiitled “Financing Green: How To Pay For and Incentivize Sustainable Investment In the Garden State.”

The program will be held from 3 to 6 p. m. on Thursday, April 24, at the Woodbridge Hilton.

The panel will consist of two members of the appraisal/financing industry, William Lashbrook III, senior vice president of PNC Bank, and Mario Silvestri, senior real estate evaluator at Wachovia Bank, and two developer/owners, Brian Cohen, vice president of Navy Yard Development & Marketing for Liberty Property Trust and David Welch, chief financial officer of SJP Properties. A representative from PSE&G, Fred Lynk, will also participate to discuss its new financing program for solar energy projects.

Source: Courier News Online – Urban Land Institute will have program on green financing.

“Asia-Pacific Gateway for Climate Change” – UN ESCAP

Countries from Asia and the Pacific, both developed and developing, are gathering in Bangkok to share experiences on “co-benefits approach to climate change” – win-win actions which cut greenhouse gas emissions while alleviating poverty.

The meeting today (23 April) is organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in cooperation with the Japanese Ministry of the Environment and the Japanese Overseas Environmental Cooperation Centre.

About 50 participants are sharing good practices on “co-benefits”. The use of landfill gas is an example. Decaying rubbish creates large amounts of greenhouse gasses. Other examples of co-benefits projects are springing up across the region.

In the Philippines, enhanced public transportation services are reducing commute times and carbon emissions at the same time. A project in Malaysia introduced innovative strategies for waste management which lower emission while at the same time reducing the build up of waste.

The meeting was opened by the Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Mr. Shigeru Mochida, and Japan’s Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Mr. Toshiro Kojima. Presentations are given by participants from China, Indonesia, Japan, the United States, Thailand, and from ESCAP and OECD, among others.

SOURCE: Bangkok (United Nations Information Services)

Designs of Calgary’s New World-Class Science Centre Unveiled

CALGARY, April 21 /CNW/ – TELUS World of Science – Calgary today proudly unveiled designs of Calgary’s new, world-class science centre. It will be located on a 15-acre parcel of land just north of the Calgary Zoo.

“This building was designed for Calgarians and southern Albertans. They’ve told us what they want in a science centre and we are delivering on those requests,” says Bill Peters, Chief Project Officer, New Science Centre 2011 Project. “We are very proud of the designs, what will result from them, who they will serve and what they will represent.”

Source:  2008 Canada Newswire Ltd Designs of Calgary’s New World-Class Science Centre Unveiled.

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