Respekt: Landscape suffers from uncontrolled urban sprawl

Prague, (CTK) – Uncontrolled housing development around big cities in the Czech Republic since the 1990s has resulted in an “urban sprawl” devastating the landscape that has brought about more problems than benefits, the political weekly Respekt writes in its latest issue.

Czech cities are now surrounded by an ugly mixture of small family houses, large shopping centres and warehouses, built without any considerate zoning plan and regardless of logic.

Since the collapse of the communist regime in 1989, thousands and thousands of Czechs have fulfilled their dream about an own cosy house outside the urban tumult in the wild that is yet close to the “civilisation,” Respekt says.

Read more about the developing Czech Republic @ Respekt: Landscape suffers from uncontrolled urban sprawl – CTK

More green, less glitz will improve city life

We need more green, not glitz in the city. We need the soothing green, the trees and shade, the parks where we can amble for a bit of respite from the concrete jungle.

Lack of natural landscape for public recreation is a major weakness in our striving international metropolis. Trees take time and they don’t yield a profit, like high rises on valuable real estate. All the same, greenery is good city planning.

Dazzling neon lights, skyscrapers, hustle and bustle are all captivating, but without greenery one gets exhausted in the concrete jungle and longs for fresh air, space and peace.

Shanghai’s public green space per capita is now 12 square meters, nearly double the figure 20 years ago, according to 2007 statistics by the Shanghai Forestry Bureau.

Read more of the 3 page Special @ Shanghai Daily – More green, less glitz will improve city life

RIBA and CABE launch new award

RIBA and CABE have launched the RIBA CABE Public Space Award.

Any well designed and innovative public space is eligible. These external spaces need to be publicly accessible but can be urban or rural; publicly or privately owned; designed, redesigned or refurbished for public use. The award is part of the annual RIBA Awards and is sponsored by CABE.

Read more @ Landscape Institute – RIBA and CABE launch new award.

Buy forests to help environment – Environment –

AUSTRALIANS could buy a stake in the protection of endangered tropical forests under a groundbreaking scheme being devised by former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery.

Professor Flannery — Australia’s most prominent environmental campaigner — wants to set up an internet-based carbon market with a pilot scheme to be run in Papua New Guinea.

In a paper prepared for Professor Garnaut, Professor Flannery says 20% of global carbon emissions come from the wholesale destruction of tropical forests, so preservation must be part of any effective response to climate change.

Read more @ The Age – Flannery’s plan: buy forests to help environment – Environment

HOK Designs First LEED Gold for Latina America

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has certified the first LEED Gold building in Latin America. Located in Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, the HSBC Bank Headquarters Tower features a redesigned facade, public spaces, and interiors by architecture firm HOK.

The 400,000-square-foot, 24-story redesigned Torre Angel building is a pilot project for HSBC’s new global workplace standard initiative and serves as the firm’s Mexican headquarters.

HOK Designs First LEED Gold for Latina America – 1/28/2008 – Interior Design.

Big green ideas for the workplace

Last summer I had a vision of life in a world post-climate change catastrophe. It was around midday on July 20. I was sitting on the 5th floor of an office building in London when the sky suddenly and dramatically turned black, as though night had descended.

And then the heavens opened, dumping two month’s rain in just a few hours, leading to the worst flooding in years.

Whether last summer’s floods had anything to do with global warming is far from certain, but as the torrents rained down on that day last July, what did we all do? We went back to our desks and carried on working. The lights were already on, the air conditioning was on, and after a few moments’ distraction, we simply ignored it.

While at home we may compost, recycle and insulate our roofs; at work it’s just not our responsibility.

Or is it? If you are an eco-warrior at heart and really want to make a difference, then in many ways the workplace is actually your best chance. Rather than turning off a few lights in your house, at work you can turn off thousands.

Read more @ Big green ideas for the workplace by Adharanand Finn –

Green Buildings Don’t Have to Be New

JUST about every month, a glitzy tower rises somewhere in the country, boasting the latest in “green” design and technology. To many people, that is an encouraging trend, especially when considering that commercial buildings account for more than 60 percent of the nation’s electricity consumption, according to government estimates, and generate 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet these buildings represent a small fraction of the nation’s estimated 4.5 million commercial properties, many of which were erected decades ago before sustainable, or green, designs became de rigueur. This vast stock of older buildings presents a much bigger opportunity to cut down on energy consumption and carbon emissions that contribute to the warming of the planet.

Read more @ Green Buildings Don’t Have to Be New – By Amy Cortese – New York Times .

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