As our cities grew and our housing settlements changed, we began to separate the places where we live from the places where food is grown. The average North American food item now travels 1,500 kilometres to reach the grocery store shelves.
The quest for a more sustainable way of living is taking aim at this separation of people and food with a commitment to urban agriculture. There are few places in North America where urban agriculture is exploding as fast as it is in the Vancouver area.
The urban agricultural movement promises a new vision where people are living in harmony with the lands and ecosystems around them. Urban agriculture invites food production back into our communities through innovative planning and design.
Source – Vancouver Sun – Urban agriculture exploding in Vancouver by Bob Ransford
World Expo Shanghai has chosen up to 55 projects – almost twice the expected number – to exhibit in the Urban Best Practices Area of the Expo site, organizers announced yesterday.
A local green building project, called “Eco-house in Shanghai,” is among them. The building, now located in city’s southwest Xinzhuang area of Minhang District, will be rebuilt in the Expo site to demonstrate the energy efficiency concept.
55 urban projects to feature —
Source – Shanghai Daily
The country’s first eco-towns took a step closer to becoming reality today as Housing Minister Caroline Flint today announced 15 potential locations will go forward to the next stage, providing the opportunity for a major boost in affordable housing across the country whilst tackling climate change.
Housing Minister Caroline Flint stated that “We have a major shortfall of housing and with so many buyers struggling to find suitable homes, more affordable housing is a huge priority. To face up to the threat of climate change, we must also cut the carbon emissions from our housing. Eco-towns will help solve both of these challenges.
57 initial proposals were received from local authorities and developers across the country. The 15 shortlisted locations are:
- Pennbury, Leicestershire: 12-15,000 homes
- Manby and Strubby, Lincolnshire: 5,000 homes
- Curborough, Staffordshire: 5,000 homes
- Middle Quinton, Warwickshire: 6,000 homes
- Bordon-Whitehill, Hampshire: 5-8,000 homes
- Weston Otmoor, Oxfordshire: 10-15,000 homes
- Ford, West Sussex: 5,000 homes
Imerys China Clay Community, Cornwall: around 5,000 homes
- Rossington, South Yorkshire: Up to 15,000 homes
- Coltishall, Norfolk: 5,000 homes
- Hanley Grange, Cambridgeshire: 8,000 homes
- Marston Vale and New Marston, Bedfordshire: Up to 15,400 homes
- Elsenham, Essex: A minimum of 5,000 homes
- Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire: Possible sites still under review
- Leeds City Region, Yorkshire: Possible sites still under review
Read more at the Source: Communities and Local Government(UK Gov’t) – 15 locations shortlisted for next stage of eco-towns programme
Sometime in 2011, three twisting towers are set to shoot up along a man-made creek in the desert sheikhdom of Dubai.
Bent at the waist, the Signature Towers will be the work of the Pritzker prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid, who, with fellow Pritzker winners Norman Foster and Frank Gehry, is leading an architect rush to the Emirates.
“We are trying things out for the first time which we wanted to try out, but couldn’t,” said Patrik Schumacher, a partner at Zaha Hadid Architects. “We have found an unusual degree of receptiveness to new ideas in the Gulf.”
The Persian Gulf is home to more than $2 trillion worth of construction projects, fueled by a quadrupling of oil prices over the last five years. As the Gulf states – home to about 40 percent of the world’s proven crude-oil reserves – seek to diversify away from hydrocarbons, their appetite for landmark buildings is growing.
Read more at the Source: Hadid leading architectural rush to the Emirates International Herald Tribune.
“Once people become more aware of green issues, they recognize the advantages,” he says. “If a house, because it is well-insulated and has an efficient heating system, costs $300 less a month to maintain than a similar neighbouring house, that house is worth more.”
An Eco Home survey conducted by Royal LePage Real Estate suggests Canadians are looking for greener homes and are ready to put their real estate dollars on the line for these purchases. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of the 1,266 people surveyed said they would look for an environmentally improved property when buying their next home, and 63 per cent said they would pay more for an eco-friendly home.
Source: globeandmail.com: The push to greener housing.
Building on Foster + Partners’ pioneering work in the region and consolidating the practice’s long-term commitment to further development, HRH The Duke of York is to open a new Foster + Partners office in Abu Dhabi on April 3rd. The practice has been working in Abu Dhabi for the past two years, during which time it has developed an appreciation for and understanding of the specific design challenges faced by the local climate and culture.
Foster + Partners’ projects in the area – led by Senior Partner Gerard Evenden – include the design for Aldar Central Markets, a reinterpretation of the traditional market place and dynamic new quarter for Abu Dhabi, as well as the design for the Abu Dhabi World Trade Center, part of the Al Raha Beach Development. As a result of the Masdar Initiative, the Foster masterplan for Masdar will provide Abu Dhabi with a new sustainable city, a centre for new ideas for energy production and a sustainable urban blueprint for the future. Foster + Partners also won the international competition to design the new Sheikh al Zayed National Museum, an ambitious project to honour the legacy of the late ruler and founder of the nation.
Source: Foster + Partners
The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has been selected to redevelop the iconic Commonwealth Institute in Kensington and Chelsea, London, by Chelsfield, one of the United Kingdom’s major property development groups, and their partner Ilchester Estate. The project includes the addition of a major residential scheme alongside the rejuvenation of the 1960’s structure at the edge of Holland Park.
OMA to Redevelop Modernist London Icon.
Source: OMA Website