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Monday News Roundup

Nov 15, 2010

Cities in Flux: Rebuilding New Orleans with better transportation (The City Fix)
How can transportation and urban development—from housing to public spaces to landscaping—repair a blighted American city?

Next Steps for Evergreen Line (The Buzzer Blog)
Here’s an update on TransLink’s proposed supplemental plan for 2011, which focuses on funding for the Evergreen Line, the North Fraser Perimeter Road, and several other key projects in our region

Pop-Up Cafes heading to New York City (Planetizen)
These “pop-up” cafes will be part of a two-year pilot program and up to 12 of them could begin to be installed in 2011. Participating restaurants will have to hire an architect to design the spaces, but the DOT will help with safety measures in the roadway.

Vancouver’s Transit Options with Pricetag (Planetizen)
Mayors in metropolitan Vancouver are facing two options for expanding transit service in the region — and a hard decision about how to generate the funding to make it happen.

New L.A. Planning codes could create transit sprawl (Planetizen)
A new group of activists in Los Angeles is warning that recently approved changes to the city’s planning code could make it easier for transit-related projects to be approved even if they are not in alignment with neighborhood planning documents.

Five materials improving sustainability in construction (Planetizen)
Joe Peach explains the technology behind five materials that will dramatically increase sustainability in the building industry. Among the list are wool bricks which are stronger, greater insulators and don’t require firing to set.

Futuristic Solar Skyscraper wins the Taiwan tower competition (Inhabitat)
This ultra-futuristic solar skyscraper by Romanian firm Dorin Stefan Birou Arhitectura was recently crowned the winner of the Taiwan Tower Competition. The 390-meter tower is designed to serve as an observation deck, office tower, museum, and urban park. The out-of-this-world skyscraper seems almost too far-fetched to be real — it even includes helium blimp elevators, a facade covered in photovoltaic panels, vertical axis wind turbines and a whole slew of sustainable strategies.

Why sustainable Agriculture is important to Walmart (Treehugger)
Guest post written by Beth Keck, senior director of sustainability at Walmart that talks about their global commitment to sustainable agriculture.

The future of tower renewal (Spacing Toronto)
Toronto’s Tower Neighbourhood Renewal plan (aka Mayor’s Tower Renewal) is an ambitious initiative with great potential to increase the quality of life of residents across the city through the combination of best practices in building retrofitting and neighbourhood revitalization.

Sustaiable hotel erected in 6 days (Treehugger)
This mesmerizing time-lapse video clip shows the rapid construction of the Ark Hotel in Changsha, China. It’s not amazing that this clip has been making the Internet rounds – it is amazing that a 15-story hotel could be erected in just under a week. There’s an even more fantastical element in the tale of this hotel: it’s builders claim it is an example of ‘sustainable’ architecture.

Cost effective Eco House made by hand for only $5000 (Green Building Elements)
Cash, that most basic element of our economy, can be in abysmally short supply for new young families scraping by on marginal jobs. Sustainable housebuilding may not be foremost in their minds.But one young couple in Wales managing on an annual income of just $10,000 went ahead and built their own cheap home anyway, sustainably, mostly out of materials from “a rubbish pile somewhere.”

12 year old makes homeless shelter from trash (Green Building Elements)
12-year-old Max Wallack stole the show at Design Squad’s Trash to Treasure contest with his “Home Dome.” The contest asked kids to repurpose trash into practical inventions.