April 23 2015

Montreal, Quebec’s City Center Turns into Camp to Advocate for Social Housing

Starting May 21, 2015, the Popular Action Front for Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU) will establish its "open-ended camp" in Montreal's city center, a camp that has received the support of around 20 celebrities. The Popular Action Front for Urban Redevelopment hopes that the municipal authorities will accept this "camp for the right to housing," which aims to put pressure on the governments of Quebec and Canada so that they provide better financing for social housing. During a meeting with the press, FRAPRU presented a list of celebrities who are giving their moral support to this camp for the right to housing. Among them are the comedian, Lise Dion, director Ro[...]
April 23 2015

Nature as the Textbook: A Review of Nelson’s Cultivating Outdoor Classrooms

“By suggestion and example, I believe children can be helped to hear the many voices about them. Take time to listen and talk about the voices of the earth and what they mean—the majestic voice of thunder, the winds, the sound of surf or flowing streams.” -Rachel Carson Take a moment and consider the instances of discovery you had as a child. Maybe you learned what plants need to grow, what materials it takes to build a fort, or how to protect yourself against the rain, wind, and heat. There is something to be said about reading books that describe the four seasons and then actually seeing leaves change colors as summer turns to fall. The discovery that takes place outdoors, combined w[...]
April 21 2015

Communes in Nièvre, France Weeding Chemicals Out of Landscaping Process

During the course of half a day, representatives of communes in Nièvre, France worked to create a common landscape architecture and weeding plan. The first portions outlined came from some of the City of Clamecy’s previous experiences. During 2008, Clamecy notably became involved in a zero-pesticide plan. Clamecy is a part of the group of communes in the Burgundy region with a positive energy label. Additionally, the commune of Brinon-sur-Beuvron has been engaged in a move towards zero pesticides since 2012. Today, in addition to working to construct the overall contract, these regional players are invited to engage in acts related to sustainable[...]
April 20 2015

Danger Reaching the Pastoral: Northeastern Connecticut’s Olmsted Opportunities

A regular theme throughout Northeastern Connecticut’s parks is their troublesome entry points and poor contiguity to other trail links. Entering a park from a state highway in the Quiet Corner, also known as Northeastern Connecticut, can be dangerous. I've never seen a turn lane accommodate a park entrance. Often, they don't have adequate signage. It’s almost as if we’re not welcome to enter them. Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision of the pastoral was that the park is meant as our escape from life’s turmoil. Why then must we experience the harrowing endeavor of oncoming traffic/tail-gaiting in order to reach it? Is a brutal nadir necessary to reach the pastora[...]
April 17 2015

Brussels, Belgium’s Latest Music Festival: The Sustainable Paradise City

It's that time of year again: the moment when Belgian music festivals reveal their programs. And this year, a number of them have taken to riding the wave of environmentalism. Besides LaSemo and Esperanzah, the latest to enter this group is Paradise City Festival. A long path bordered by trees and, at the end, an imposing castle dating from the 15th century. A large park with vast stretches of water. It is in this environment, at Château de Ribaucourt in Perk, Belgium outside of Brussels, that Paradise City Festival will take place this July 4-5, 2015. At the origins of this project are two young entrepreneurs, Dimitri Verschueren and Gilles De Decker. In 2013, [...]
April 17 2015

“Downtown East” Project Revitalizing Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Downtown East Development project in Minneapolis, Minnesota is revitalizing an aging portion of the city. Situated between the city’s Central Business District and the Mississippi Riverfront in the Mills District, this mixed-use development sits in a prime location. Here, many old milling buildings are ready to be converted into residential spaces. This surge of housing has created a dynamic shift for the Downtown East area, as more and more residents come to live in this part of the city. With a handful of existing public transportation options available on the site, which include bus lines and a light rail stop, it is also easily accessible[...]
April 16 2015

Montreal, Quebec’s Théâtre de Verdure Closed for Second Season Due to Disrepair

Once upon a time, there was a treasure located in the heart of one of the most beautiful parks in Montreal, Canada. A treasure with an uncertain future. This jewel is the Théâtre de Verdure. This open air stage can accommodate 3,000 spectators in an oasis nested very close to the La Fontaine Park pond in Plateau-Mont-Royal. The 3,000 seats have been full at almost every free show presented at the Théâtre de Verdure since its inauguration in 1956. Dance shows, films, concerts. An immense success. An inevitable gathering place during the beautiful summer evenings. But the Théâtre de Verdure is in a pitiful state. So much so that last summer, the City can[...]
April 15 2015

How to Attract a Young, Educated Workforce to Inland Empire, CA

Few people will argue against job growth in any region, and the Inland Empire, more than many other region, has reason to appreciate a growing job market. The Inland Empire (IE) was one of the hardest-hit regions in California during the recession, experiencing a peak unemployment level of 14.2% in 2009. But according to recent economic forecasts, unemployment is down to 7.3% as of January 2015, and that is good news. But it is important to look at what kinds of jobs are being created. Though there is considerable growth in the logistics sector, local economists have expressed concern that the fastest growing jobs are also the lowest paying. This raises an important que[...]
April 15 2015

Old Site of Grocer’s Market Continues Transformation in La Confluence, Lyon, France

[caption id="attachment_49290" align="aligncenter" width="735"] Credit: LC_018725 : © Infime / Icade (Designers : Herzog & de Meuron - Michel Desvigne)[/caption] The district of La Confluence, Lyon, France continues its transformation east of the Cours Charlemagne. The developer, Icade, invested in the land historically occupied by the grocer's market, and a team of six designers redesigned it in order to give life to Ynfluences Square: a multifunctional real estate program. Ynfluences Square faces the hotel of the region, designed by Christian de Portzamparc, and the Francois Mitterrand Esplanade. It is immediately next to the T1 tram line, the Confluence Commercial Cent[...]
April 14 2015

Heated Debate Persists Around Geneva, Switzerland’s Carless Sundays

Alfonso Gomez, Municipal Councilor (Green Party) of the City of Geneva, Switzerland With their proposition of one carless Sunday a month around the harbor, Geneva, Switzerland's Green Party (Les Verts) invites the population to re-appropriate the area surrounding the lake and take in some fresh air. In 1973, Switzerland called for three Sundays without cars in order to respond to the petrol crisis. This measure had a powerful and lasting effect on the population, who experienced those Sundays as moments of rediscovered liberty. In 1974, a federal initiative was launched to create "12 Sundays without cars." Since then, local examples have sprung up one by one i[...]
April 13 2015

Expo’s Gate is Full of Programs But Architecture Fails to Impress Milan

Expo Gate: Milan's Gateway to the Expo” is the slogan you can find on the Expo 2015 webpage describing the exhibition's entryway. The structure is located in Via Beltrami, in the city center of Milan, in front of the Castello Sforzesco. It connects the castle, which was the epicenter of the 1906 Universal Exhibition, and Via Dante, the strategic axis displaying the flags of all 130 countries participating in Expo 2015. The gate's location symbolizes the connection between the city and the universal exhibition, making reference to Milan's role as the "gateway between Italy and the rest of the world." The gate's purpose is to introduce the audience to[...]
April 13 2015

University of Connecticut’s Depot Campus: UConn’s Future Gateway

A correctional facility, a mental institution, and a school for the mentally challenged. Sounds like college, right? Surprisingly enough, buildings on the University of Connecticut’s Depot Campus used to be home to these very programs. The University’s acquisition of properties evolved with their closure over the later half of the 1900’s. The former correctional facility on Route 44 was added after it closed in 2011. Situated in a low-key area of Mansfield/Storrs, these buildings, with odd histories, give rise to haunted speculation. Some date back to the 1800’s. In varying condition, they sit amongst an assortment of sports fields, cottages, and newer buildings that mostly serve UCo[...]
April 10 2015

Clichy-Batignolles, France’s Eco-village Implements Pneumatic Waste Disposal

Since January 2015, the inhabitants of the new Clichy-Batignolles eco-neighborhood in Paris, France have been using a pneumatic waste collection system. This innovative waste management model, that will soon be implemented in the entire neighborhood, was born in Sweden 50 years ago and has already been adopted in numerous metropolises around the world. How does it work? Inhabitants of the first three apartment buildings in the Clichy-Batignolles eco-neighborhood (located in Paris’ 17th district) slide their garbage bags into the green-colored receptacle in the lobby of their building. Thanks to a pneumatic collection system, the waste is then transported at nearly 70 km/h through s[...]
April 09 2015

The Blossoming Murals Circuit of Sherbrooke, Quebec’s East District

The gigantic murals that have characterized Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada's city center since 2002 are now taking over the city's eastern side. Between now and the end of April 2015, ten works will be mounted on buildings on Rue King Est, between Bowen and 18th Avenue, in order to create the East Murals circuit. These murals were created live in Sherbrooke during August 2014 by local, national and international artists during the 9th Annual Global Mural Conference. The first mural, unveiled Friday, is the public's favorite at this symposium, depicting a peace mural with two youths, entitled "Global Desire" by the German Steffen Junemann. It was mounted on the wall of a new residen[...]
April 09 2015

La Remise Crowdfunds Villeray, Montreal’s First Tool Sharing Library

On occasion who doesn't need tools for a carpentry, gardening or renovation project? Rather than being forced to buy these tools, the people of Montreal will soon have access to a wide range of cheap equipment thanks to La Remise, a tools library, which plans to open its doors in Villeray, Montreal this spring. Such tool libraries exist elsewhere in Canada and the United States, notably in Toronto, Vancouver and Portland. Managed by volunteers, the library of La Remise's cooperative should begin its activities this May, in time for the gardening season and the period of renovations and moving. The principle is simple. In order to become a member of La R[...]
April 07 2015

Could Université Laval’s Course Schedules Be Causing Quebec’s Traffic Woes?

By starting its classes a half hour later, the Université Laval could reduce a lot of traffic in the capital, suggests a young architect. The question was raised during the Québec 2050 event, which gathered agents of the real estate sector around the future of the capital. Érick Rivard, architect and urban designer with Groupe A, approached the question during work on the  dilemma of "Transportation of People and Merchandise." "I've been in Québec for 15 years, and I still do not understand why no one has asked the Université Laval to change its schedules to start classes at 9 am? I think that would regulate traffic in Québec," he said during the exchanges.[...]
April 07 2015

Fighter Plane Shelters Transformed into Eco-Housing in Haute-Pyrénées, France

An entrepreneur in Haute-Pyrénées, France has developed a process for constructing individual eco-houses, sunk into the earth and built with recycled materials. And you only need sixty days to build one. Blended into the natural landscape, with practically zero net energy consumption, and for a construction cost of less than 1,200 Euros per square meter, NaturaDome is an inhabitable arch imagined and brought into existence by Benoît Darré, Director of Pomès-Darré SAS establishments, a family enterprise in the Hautes-Pyrénées territories. To obtain these results, the young entrepreneur came up with an original engineering and construction process, patented a self[...]
April 06 2015

Alternative Materials: Will Our Future Resilient Cities Rise from the Landfill?

1.3 billion tons of waste is generated each year in cities worldwide. With a rabid consumerist hunger, it is unsurprising that 30% of the world’s waste comes from America. San Francisco is hoping to change this by becoming the first major U.S. city to reach a “zero-waste” goal by 2020. This not only means recycling materials and composting biodegradable foods and packaging, but also preventing waste before it even happens so that nothing reaches the landfill. Currently the city has reached 80% zero-waste, but how are they going to close the remaining gap? Placing designated landfill, recycling, and compost bins throughout the city is a start. Could a more creative approach be the answer t[...]
April 03 2015

Foraging and Gleaning for Food Resiliency in Kitchener, Canada

Urban foraging is not new, and is gaining ground as a sustainable activity that makes ecological sense. While most people undoubtedly still rely on their cars and the weekly run to the supermarket to buy food, there is an increasing number of urbanites in Kitchener-Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) interested in living right off their neighborhood's backyard. In many places poverty is looked down upon, and trying to get free food in the city can be seen as a sign of lower social status. However, in Kitchener and many cities across North America, this is starting to change. As the movement to build sustainable settlements has grown, more people from all backgrounds are looking at how t[...]
April 03 2015

Château de Millemont, France Becomes an Open-Sourced Eco-Village

From August 15th to September 20, 2015, a hundred makers are going to build a village about energy transition at the Château de Millemont in Millemont, France. Benjamin Tincq, Co-founder of OuiShare, a group dedicated to the collaborative economy, is one of the innovators behind this project, baptized POC21. Here is our interview with him. Q: What exactly is the POC21 project? A: In the last few years, we have witnessed several highly inspiring, sustainable projects related to ecology, carried out through open-source innovation, fab labs, and makers. When it comes to housing, for example, there is the Wikihouse, a wooden house that is easy to construct and for which [...]

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