Colorful Carbon Footprint Maps Illustrates Energy Usage Trends

New!_Carbon_Footprint_Maps_CoolClimate_Network_-_2014-01-16_03.40.47

Source: UC Berkeley CoolClimate Network, Average Annual Household Carbon Footprint (2013)

University of California, Berkeley has released a new set of interactive maps illustrating national energy usage.  The visually striking if troubling images reveal a stark urban/suburban divide regarding carbon footprint, with the latter contributing far more in emissions than their city-dwelling counterparts.

Continue reading after the jump.

London Firm Wants Swimming Pools in the Thames

London-based firm Studio Octopi has a vision for a system of swimming pools that would make use of water redirected from the Thames.  The proposal comes on the heels of Thames Water‘s controversial plan to revamp the city’s Victorian sewerage system in order to prevent the flow of excess sewage into the river. Octopi developed the project in collaboration with fellow locals Civic Engineers and Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects.

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Pittsburgh’s New Mayor to “Focus On Underserved Neighborhoods”

City Terrain, Midwest, News, Urbanism
Friday, January 10, 2014
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Pittsburgh (Sakeeb Sabakka via flickr)

(Sakeeb Sabakka via flickr)

Pittsburgh’s new mayor took office this week, and with him comes a cabinet division dedicated to neighborhood development. The Steel City has largely scrubbed its image as an ailing post-industrial town in recent years, drawing in new artists and young professionals, but the revival has not touched all parts of the city equally.

Continue reading after the jump.

Silent Light Installation Illuminated Sound Pollution in Brooklyn

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Silent Lights at Night (New York City Department of Transportation/Flickr)

First proposed in 2011, Brooklyn’s Silent Light installation has finally become a reality.  Located at the intersection of Park Avenue and Navy Street under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) in Red Hook, the series of gates frames a pedestrian walkway that passes through an area of heavy vehicular traffic. The structures are covered in LED lights activated by surrounding noise from cars to create fleeting light shows of various colors and patterns.

Continue reading after the jump.

Bikers Go Airborne: Foster + Partners’ SkyCycle Would Wind Through London

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SkyCycle (Foster + Partners)

Foster + Partners have collaborated with London landscape architecture firm Exterior Architecture and urban planners Space Syntax in developing a proposal for an extensive system of elevated-bike paths in London.

The project entails the construction of over 130 miles of pathways along routes that parallel those of an existing system of rail lines that already weaves in and around the city. Suspended above the train tracks, cyclists would access SkyCycle through the over 200 hydraulic platforms and ramps that would act as entry points.

Continue reading after the jump.

Indianapolis Moves to Privatize Parks

City Terrain, Midwest, Urbanism
Thursday, January 2, 2014
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Indianapolis' parks system seeks proposals from private operators by Jan. 31.  (Jay Denney via Flickr)

Indianapolis’ parks system seeks proposals from private operators by Jan. 31. (Jay Denney via Flickr)

Indianapolis’ public parks system, Indy Parks, is looking for third parties interested in privatizing some or all of the city’s parks and recreation holdings. The move follows last year’s survey seeking ways to upgrade the city’s 207 parks properties.

Continue reading after the jump.

San Diego Re-Imagines Balboa Park With Car-Free Transportation, Increased Connectivity

NEWSCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN'S "BALBOA PARK EXPERIENCE" ALSO WON A MERIT AWARD (AIA SAN DIEGO)

NEWSCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN’S “BALBOA PARK EXPERIENCE” ALSO WON A MERIT AWARD (AIA SAN DIEGO)

It’s been nearly 100 years since the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the world’s fair celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal, was held in San Diego. In preparation for the centennial, AIA San Diego and the San Diego Museum of Art recently held an ideas competition for improvements to Balboa Park, the site of the fair. The 1,200-acre park is home to a number of museums and other cultural facilities, including the San Diego Air & Space Museum, the San Diego Art Institute, the San Diego Natural History Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Art, plus cultivated gardens and family-friendly amusements.

Continue reading after the jump.

Second Hinterlands Proposal Poses Urban Snow as an Asset, Not a Nuisance

City Terrain
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
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Second Hinterlands_NYC_2x

(Courtesy Natalya Egon)

Now that we’re well into this winter’s snow season in New York and elsewhere, Chicago-based designers Natalya Egon and Noel Turgeon offer up some inspiration for alternative means of dealing with the wintery accumulation. The duo calls for an approach to snow clearance more deliberate in nature than the hastily-formed soot-grey masses so often seen lining city streets. Their Second Hinterlands project advocates reshaping snow over outright removal, treating the snow as a material that can be used in the creation of interactive landscapes within designated urban areas.

Read more after the jump

Penn State Students Present Visions for Pittsburgh Neighborhood

(Courtesy Jessica Lock)

(Courtesy Jessica Lock)

Fourth and fifth-year landscape architecture students at Penn State’s College of Art and Architecture recently presented their proposals for reshaping a Pittsburgh neighborhood. The twelve participants in the school’s Pittsburgh Studio spent most of the semester focusing on Hazelwood, a neighborhood set to host a new site for a historic branch of the city’s Carnegie Library.

Read more after the jump

Zip Lines Over the Ohio River? Louisville Designer Says It’s Possible

City Terrain, Midwest, Transportation
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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(Russ Renbarger)

(Russ Renbarger)

Louisville, Kentucky has asked its residents for help in determining the future vision for the city, and citizens sent in thousands of ideas on how to improve Possibility City. Among the crowd-sourced suggestions were many promoting alternative transportation, whether improving bike infrastructure to building light rail to, well, even more alternative methods of getting around.

Local Russ Renbarger proposed what he calls RiverZips, a mile-long zip line across the Ohio River that would convey people between Kentucky and Indiana—more of a ride than an adventure, says Insider Louisville.

Continue reading after the jump.

Minneapolis City Council to vote on mixed-use makeover for Downtown East neighborhood

Minneapolis Downtown East could get an overhaul from developers looking to turn surface parking lots into mixed-use programming. (Ryan companies/DML)

Minneapolis Downtown East could get an overhaul from developers looking to turn surface parking lots into mixed-use programming. This rendering shows a park that would result. (Ryan companies/DML)

In its last scheduled meeting of the year, Minneapolis City Council could give the go-ahead on a $400 million mixed-use development near the new Vikings stadium. Surface parking lots currently occupy much of that land.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune editorial board called the Downtown East neighborhood “a part of the city’s commercial core in desperate need of new life.” The newspaper stands to benefit from the project, as the editorial announces—they plan to sell five blocks of nearby property, including their current headquarters, and move downtown.

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Chicago’s Divvy bikeshare wants your help placing new stations

A screenshot of Divvy stations, in blue, and suggestions in green. (Divvy)

A screenshot of Divvy stations, in blue, and suggestions in green. (Divvy)

Chicago’s Divvy bikesharing program wants your help placing new bicycle rental stations throughout the city. The Divvy Siting Team will consider your suggestions at suggest.divvybikes.com—they’ve already mapped many public suggestions alongside the 300 existing stations.

Last month the program announced its intent to become North America’s largest bikesharing system. Divvy will add 175 stations by the end of 2014 and, pending state and federal funding, bring another 75 online after that, raising the total to 550 stations.

As it expands, Divvy could address previous criticisms about equal access. Though it started by focusing on the Loop and other high-density downtown areas, the program has expanded into many neighborhoods. Still, many are unserved—Uptown is the northern terminus, while much of the West, Southwest, and South Sides have no stations.

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