May 13 2015

Garuva, Brazil’s Mayor Launches Essential – and Free – Transportation Service

While most medium and large cities are having heated debates over tariffs, the municipality of northern Santa Catarina has created a completely public model. It’s so public that it seems informal. And it's free. The nearly 17,000 residents of Garuva, in the north of Santa Catarina, Brazil have free collective transport. While the majority of cities discuss tariff models, spreadsheets, concessions, free passes, and other technical terms, all that the users of the Garuva system have to worry about is holding up their arms to ask the driver to stop and open the door. The city has bought a bus and created circular lines that go through about 17 neighborhoods and su[...]
May 12 2015

ArchiTerre Festival 2015 in Adrar, Algeria Supports Ancestral Construction Techniques

One idea that is much discussed at the Information/Awareness Days for the 4th international ArchiTerre festival is the use of local materials in future construction projects. The festival, which promotes earthen architecture, took place at Ahmed Draia University in Adrar, Algeria. According to Abdelhamid Benouali from the National Center for Integrated Construction Research and Studies (CNERIB), local materials are those which are natural, clean, and offer low-energy consumption during production and use. “Soil is the oldest material used in Algeria. It is even older than locally-fabricated stone and plaster. In housing plans today, bricks and concrete blocks are the most commo[...]
May 12 2015

Paris, France Plans to Be the World’s Biking Capital by 2020

Following the recent particulate pollution episodes that touched Paris, City Hall has unveiled its solution: the 2015-2020 Bike Plan. Through this major 150 million Euro project, those in charge hope to not only improve air quality but the comfort and security of the capital city's 225,000 regular bikers. The goal: "turn Paris into the biking world capital." The "2015-2020 Bike Plan" is Paris' response following the recent rise in pollution. From now until 2020, the trips made on bikes in the capital could triple. Paris could even become "the biking world capital." At least, it's what everyone hopes. In order to accomplish this, it will be necessary to improve and review many t[...]
May 11 2015

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Campus Cherishes its Architectural Roots

Many universities in the United States work hard to preserve their campuses’ historic architecture. In fact, many schools cherish their old buildings so much that it even plays a part in their recruitment programs. The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota is no exception, boasting some of the finest and historic academic buildings in the country. This massive, 2,730-acre campus holds a total of 265 buildings. The Knoll area, which occupies the Northwestern portion of the East Bank area of campus (referring to its location on the East bank of the Mississippi River), is the oldest part of the University. This group of thirteen, century-o[...]
May 08 2015

São Paulo, Brazil Pedestrian Rights Association Forms to Advocate for Sidewalks

For a long time São Paulo, Brazil has suffered from a lack of quality sidewalks. However, the achievement of ciclovias in the city has begun to generate a broader discussion about active mobilityThus the Association for Mobility on Foot in São Paulo was born, which brings together people to fight for accessible sidewalks for all. “There are many of us who get around in the city on foot. There are several groups in the city, but we don’t have an organization that represents us,” stated Joana Canedo, one of the creators of the project. “Why were the cyclists able to achieve the ciclovias? Because they organized themselves and participated in hearin[...]
May 08 2015

Volunteers Plant 1,500 Flowers in Medians of Avenida São Luís in São Paulo, Brazil

It takes a lot of work to begin. You have to send letters calling upon the residents of the neighborhood. Speak with businesses to raise funds, fertilizer, or any other type of help. Knock on the Mayor’s door and ask support for transit, the seeds, and the paper work. Then it is off to join arms on an early Sunday, occupy the avenue, and plant. Such was the work of the collective Green SP, which plans to transform São Luís Avenue into the "most floral avenue in São Paulo." On Sunday April 26, 2015, a planting effort by at least 400 people (according to the event on Facebook) planted 1,500 flower seeds in the 12 central medians of the street. All tropical and semi-sh[...]
May 07 2015

The Most Beautiful Boulevard: Austria, Vienna Celebrates Ringstrasse’s 150th Birthday

With its resplendent marble museums, austere Habsburg palaces, and the soaring spires of government offices more beautiful than most cathedrals, Austria’s capital city is breathtaking. Visitors to central Vienna are often left enchanted by the Ringstrasse, the historic ring road encircling the city’s innermost district. But the five kilometre long promenade, which recently celebrated its 150th birthday on May 1st, is famous for more than just its grandeur. The Viennese Ring is one of the most culturally, architecturally and historically significant streets in the world. The Ringstrasse was built on the site of the former city walls after the short-lived[...]
May 07 2015

Apply to Arch Grants, “Pass Go,” and Collect $50,000 in St. Louis, Missouri

Grow your start-up with $50,000 -no strings attached. If that sounds too good to be true, there is just one catch: you have to move your business to St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis based non-profit organization, Arch Grants, is offering $50,000 of equity-free cash to qualifying start-ups, on the condition that they agree to pick up operations, move to St. Louis, and stay for at least one year. In a 2014 press release, Arch Grants announced forty-six finalists that were chosen from four different countries. The companies that were reviewed ranged from education and consumer products to biomedical and technological services. Of the funders for the competition, Emerson, Monsanto and Peabody [...]
May 07 2015

In Nova Tower in Bordeaux, France Escapes Super High Building Classification

The real estate developer group CARLE has called on Bordeaux architects Bernard Bühler and Frédérik Dain (Hobo Architecture) to design the IN NOVA tower, a building that will be 55 meters high. Superimposing nine floors of office space and seven floors of housing, it will be the first non-IGH, mixed-use tower in Bordeaux and France. The completion date is planned for the end of 2017. The IN NOVA tower will rise near the banks of the Garonne in the heart of the future ZAC Saint-Jean Belcier, which foresees the realization of a financial district, activities and housing over 160 hectares. This operation of national interest, whose ambition is to allow the Bordeaux agglomeration to rise[...]
May 06 2015

City of São Paulo, Brazil Launches Ban on Traditional Plastic Bags

Traditional white plastic bags distributed in Brazilian supermarkets are now prohibited by law in São Paulo, Brazil. The new bags were inspired by international standards and could be replicated in other parts of the country. “Unlike the petrol based white bags, these bags are sourced from sugarcane ethanol. Both plastics release the same quantity of carbon when they are discarded and degraded. The difference is that the sugar cane, while it’s in the ground, withdraws carbon gas from the atmosphere and returns oxygen,” explains Marco-Aurelio De Paoli, Chemistry Professor at the State University of Campinas. According to the Municipal Authority of Urban Clea[...]
May 06 2015

Most Dangerous Favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is First to Build Bike Lanes

Last month, the city launched the construction of a ciclovia in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's Maré Favela. The new route, which is set to open in 2016, will connect the community to the stations of the TransCarioca BRT as far as Fundão, and the future TransBrasil BRT (still currently under construction). In total, there will be 22 kilometers of exclusive or shared bike lanes, which will cost an estimated R$7 million (2.3 million USD), as reported by the journalist Ancelmo Gois. During the inauguration event, Mayor Eduardo Paes stated that the ciclovia is, in reality, symbolic since a good portion of the local population uses bikes daily. “The ciclovia is symboli[...]
May 05 2015

Marrakech, Morocco Gabion Basket Homes Provide Sustainable, Affordable Housing

In Marrakech, Morocco, a model home is being constructed as a part of a project that seeks to build houses made of gabion baskets in rural regions of Morocco. The association behind this initiative is Architecture & Development, an association focusing on international solidarity. They are currently bringing together architects who are engaged in the mission of constructing dignified, sustainable housing for everyone. Despite an affirmed desire to fight against shantytowns and rural exodus in the country, the construction of social housing in Morocco doesn’t reach far enough to cover a large sector of the population, which is left to fend for itself. It has become necessary [...]
May 05 2015

Recycl’art & Arts Dock to Animate Gatineau, Quebec in Summer 2015

Nearly 30 sculptures designed from recycled and reclaimed materials displayed in the open, the creation of five works in situ, conceptual performances as well as eco-craftsmen and antique bookseller fairs, among others. The first Recycl'art of Gatineau, in Quebec, Canada, intends to animate the banks of the Brasserie stream through images and sounds from July 4th to September 7, 2015. "It's the year of the official relaunching of Recycl'art, and in an urban setting this time!" said the artist Jacques Charbonneau, who is also President of the Administrative Council of the Outaouais Contemporary Art Centre (CACO). From 2004 to 2011, the Recycl'art Festival took place in Montpe[...]
May 04 2015

Building from Waste: San Francisco Glimpses Into the Future of Our Built Environments

Can waste have a second life as a building material? This is the question brought to surface through ETH Zurich’s Building from Waste exhibition. Held at Swissnex San Francisco, the exhibition is based on the book Building from Waste: Recovered Materials in Architecture and Construction from ETH Zurich and Future Cities Laboratories. Appropriately displayed upon wooden pallets, the exhibit invites visitors to handle, touch, and even smell more than twenty-five alternative construction materials derived from waste. What does the future feel and smell like? Newspapers, ground husks, and earth with a hint of coffee. Yes, you heard correctly caffeine fiends. A tile created by Raul Lau[...]
May 01 2015

Mayor Faces Opposition in Fight Against Light Pollution in Quesnoy-sur-Deûle, France

Quesnoy-sur-Deûle, France's environmental association, Le Halot-Chêne Vert, is known for being more or less critical of the municipal government, notably concerning l’Ange Gardien, a project for a future eco-neighborhood. However, they have just revealed support for the Mayor, Rose-Marie Hallynck, defending her decision to turn off public lights at night. Since her decision to turn off the lights, the Mayor has been attacked on all fronts, notably by the Lumière group, demanding the return of streetlight at night. But for the environmental association, that explains its position in an open letter transmitted by their Vice-President, Yves Gillet, turning[...]
April 30 2015

Thủ Thiêm Wetland of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Become Central Business District

How big is Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam? Any newcomer to this sprawling conurbation would be forgiven for thinking it infinite, especially if they find themselves in the labyrinthine, haphazard sprawl of its periphery. In reality of course, the city (known to most locals by its historical name, Saigon) has its limits, even if those limits are constantly being redefined. Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is growing— and growing rapidly. Current projections posit an expansion of the municipal population from approximately 9 million residents to 13.2 million by 2025, with almost all the growth occurring in suburban or peri-urban areas. Development is therefore outward rather[...]
April 30 2015

Montreal, Canada’s Real Estate Heavyweights Propose Distance Traveled Taxation

Montreal, Canada's city center risks being "marginalized" to the benefit of the suburbs if tolls are implemented, warns Quebec's largest group of real estate owners, which proposes the implementation of a "kilometric tax." The Institute for Urban Development of Quebec (IDU) will add its weight today to this hot topic by publishing a new study, which was obtained by La Presse Affaires. The organization, whose members hold real estate assets valued at 30 billion, believes that the imposition of a tax for each kilometer traveled represents - by far - the most equitable option among all the scenarios imagined by authorities. "The kilometric tax would entail the least distortion [...]
April 29 2015

County of Riverside’s Homeless Count Brings Solutions to Inland Empire, California

A few years ago, while walking from the Downtown Riverside Metrolink station to my office, I remember noticing what looked like a tent city hidden in the trees and bushes alongside the 91 freeway. Mostly hidden from view, it seemed to be a safe haven for dozens of homeless people, but it wasn’t long before all of that foliage was removed to make way for an expansion of the 91. As trees and bushes were cleared and the dirt hillside slowly gave way to an extra eastbound lane, I wondered where all of those people had gone, and it got me thinking a bit about the issue of homelessness in the Inland Empire. Tackling the problem of homelessness is always tough for cities, who have to strike a balanc[...]
April 29 2015

Pick your Milan Design Week 2015: Which Exhibition Area Best Expresses You?

2015 is an important year for Milan, Italy. Expo 2015 is attracting a lot of international attention, as time is ticking down to the great event. But even without Expo taking place, Milan is still a focal point during this time of year due to its prestigious Design Week. The International Furniture Fair, better known as the Salone del Mobile and FuoriSalone, takes place every year at the beginning of April, bringing design lovers from all around the world to the city. Salone del Mobile has always been held in the Rho Fiera. Companies involved in design and architecture exhibit their products, creating the perfect opportunity for economic development.<[...]
April 28 2015

McGill University Professor Releases App That Measures Street Pollution in Montreal

While biking is a good way to limit the rate of pollution in the city, most of the time, the cyclists who brave the traffic have their noses shoved into the exhaust gas of the cars they share the road with. In order to limit the inhalation of this toxic urban cocktail, researchers at McGill University have developed an online interactive tool that will give cyclists information about the level of pollution on the exact path they wish to take. This offers them a cleaner alternative, or at least one that is less traveled by cars. This BicyclAir map allows you to choose departure and arrival points through three options: a blue path, indicating the shortest route, a gre[...]
 

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