Beijing unveils ‘cool’ Water Cube swimming venue for Olympics

The National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube – one of the two iconic venues for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was unveiled here on Monday.

It was the public’s first look at the building after little more than three years of construction.

So far the venue has been dubbed the “cool” building of the Games with its translucent, blue-toned outside skin resembling a cube of bubbles?

The center, will host its first event – the “Good Luck Beijing Swimming China Open” – from January 31 to February 5.


Read & See more @ Chinadaily – Beijing unveils ‘cool’ Water Cube swimming venue for Olympics.

A Landscape in Winter, Dying Heroically

ON a cold January afternoon in this tiny village near the German border, the garden designer Piet Oudolf put on a heavy coat and led the way out of the 1850s farmhouse he shares with his wife, Anja, and into his garden. After a few steps he stopped and pointed with pride at a stalk of dead fennel standing in a bed of moribund, wheat-colored joe-pye weed. “Normally, people who garden would have cut this back by now,” he said. “The skeletons of the plants are for me as important as the flowers.”

Read more @ New York Times –  A Landscape in Winter, Dying Heroically .

Seaside the good the bad the ugly of New Urbanism

Seaside, Fla. might have been the backdrop town of Seahaven in the Oscar-nominated film “The Truman Show”, but some of the problems developers faced while creating the new-urbanist beachside community were anything but picturesque.

The Urban Land Institute heard about some of Seaside’s headaches and successes from Jacksonville attorney Doris Goldstein during its 2008 Breakfast Series kick-off Thursday. Goldstein specializes in the legal aspects of new towns, residential and mixed-use communities and condominiums and began working with Seaside’s developer in 1986.

Read more @ Jacksonville’s Financial News and Daily Record.

India polarised over water privatisation

Across India, there is a rising tide of water privatisation projects made possible in recent years by a radical departure in the way national policy views water.

Water is no longer just a public service to be delivered by governments but a resource to be managed well if need be, with the participation of the private sector.

Read more @ NDTV.com: India polarised over water privatisation by Supriya Sharma.

Managing Traffic in the Urban Age

The human species is, at this moment, in the process of becoming a mainly urban animal after a thousand generations spent mainly in rural conditions. Many economists and sociologists see this trend as our potential salvation in a world heading toward 9 billion people, although there are some big ifs.

Gridlock already is estimated by some experts to cost New York City up to $20 billion a year in lost productivity. India’s cities are mired in traffic. China is seeing ever more millions abandon bicycles in favor of autos. We’re heading toward a world of a billion cars sometime around 2020.

Do you live in or around a city, and if so how do you get to work? Would you take a train or bus if traffic thinned out? Should drivers essentially pay for transit riders?

Read more @ New York Times  – Managing Traffic in the Urban Age – Dot Earth – Climate Change and Sustainability by Andrew Revkin

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