Force of nature weighs in on Presidio plan

If you don’t like Gap founder Donald Fisher’s proposal to erect a modern-looking modern art museum in San Francisco’s Presidio, Lawrence Halprin is on your side.

Colorful and commanding, the 91-year-old landscape architect is no stranger to the Presidio: He designed the romantic terrain that enfolds the Letterman Digital Arts Center at Lombard Gate. And when he saw the conceptual design for Fisher’s Contemporary Arts Museum of the Presidio – a glassy stack of white cubes by New York’s Gluckman Mayner Architects – he didn’t mince words.

“The proposed design … is absurdly inappropriate,” Halprin wrote to the Presidio Trust

PLACE / Force of nature weighs in on Presidio plan.

China Must Go Green, and Soon

When it comes to environmental issues like global warming, America and China behave like a couple in a bad marriage, playing the blame game. But to tackle the problem of global warming, neither country can go it alone.

The University of California at Berkeley held a recent “marriage counseling” conference titled: “China’s Environment: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It?” It brought scientists, environmentalists, journalists and venture capitalists from both sides together, to come up with solutions.

China’s air, water, energy, urban and rural spaces were discussed, as well as how its population is affected by environment-related diseases. Although it’s a cliché that “the color of water in Chinese rivers is somewhere between dark grey and black,” the fact that China adds two coal-based power plants per week is astonishing. Kirk Smith, professor of global environmental health at UC Berkeley, concludes that “the cleanest cities in China are about the same as the dirtiest American city.”

China Must Go Green, and Soon – New America Media – Jun Wang 

Renewable Energy Powers Italian Town and Its Economy

Europeans believe that renewable energy will bring economic benefits. But in Varese, Italy that prosperity has already arrived.
by , Contributing Writer

Varese, Italy has added 140 jobs in the past ten years. That’s pretty good for a town with a population of only 2,400. The town, which is located in Liguria in the northern part of Italy, is experiencing an economic boom fueled by renewable energy.

The town has seen a six-fold increase in tourists in the last ten years, many coming just to see its renewable energy network.

Varese became the first municipality in Europe to get 100 percent of its power from renewable energy sources six years ago. It now generates three times more electricity than the people living in Varese need and there are plans in the pipeline for even more renewables.

Renewable Energy Powers Italian Town and Its Economy – renewable energyaccess.com – Jane Burgermeister

‘Disneyfication’ of NY city Parks?

GREENWICH VILLAGE. Last week’s dispute over the cost of relocating Washington Square’s fountain is just the latest wrinkle in a longer debate that’s sure to continue.

A request to interview Parks Dept. designer George Vellonakis was denied, but the National Park Service’s former head of preservation called Metro to scold Vellonakis for the “Disneyfication” of historic parks.

“You don’t create revisionist history,” complained landscape architect Charles Birnbaum, president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation.

metro new york – paul arden

Russian City Risks Its World Heritage Status Over new tower

Saint Petersburg, the imperial capital of Russia famed for its elegance and beauty, risks losing status as a world heritage site under plans by a Scottish company to build the highest tower in Europe there.

RMJM, Edinburgh-based co-architects of the contro-versial Holyrood building, have designed the £1bn-plus, 396m Okhta Tower as headquarters for state-controlled Gazprom – one of the world’s largest energy companies.

The proposals have promp-ted an outcry from heritage and conservation groups that it would ruin St Petersburg’s historic skyline.

Russian City Risks Its World Heritage Status Over Scotsdesigned Tower (from The Herald – UK ).

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