Designed in Chicago, Made in China: Blair Kamin, Chicago designers mull Chinese urbanization

Chinese new year flags and lanterns in Shenzhen, the poster-city for rapid urbanization in China. (Flickr / dcmaster)

Chinese new year flags and lanterns in Shenzhen, the poster-city for rapid urbanization in China. (Flickr / dcmaster)

Blair Kamin convened a panel of designers at the Chicago Architecture Foundation last Wednesday for a discussion around themes explored in his recent series “Designed in Chicago, Made in China,” in which the Chicago Tribune architecture critic assessed the effects of that country’s rapid development on urbanism and design. Read More

Rebuild By Design> MIT’s Plan to Save New Jersey and Metropolitan New York

MIT's proposed site. (Courtesy MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism)

MIT’s proposed site. (Courtesy MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism)

In early April, the ten finalists in the Rebuild By Design competition unveiled their proposals to protect the Tri-state region from the next Hurricane Sandy. And in the near future, a jury will select a winner—or winners—to receive federal funding to pursue their plans. But before that final announcement is made, here is a closer look at each of the final ten proposals, beginning with the team led by MIT.

Continue reading after the jump.

UN Report: The Effects of Climate Change Will Be Catastrophic

Coal Plant in North Carolina. (Rainforest Action Network / Flickr)

Coal Plant in North Carolina. (Rainforest Action Network / Flickr)

If world leaders don’t take unprecedented action to reduce greenhouse gases, nearly all aspects of human existence will be threatened by  the “severe,” “pervasive,” and possibly “irreversible,” impacts of climate change. That’s according to a blockbuster new report by the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change, which lays out the devastating consequences of a warmer planet. The effects of climate change are already being felt, but, as the report warns, things are about to get much, much worse.

Continue reading after the jump.

Dangers of All-Glass Living: Report Details Heat Gain in Glass Buildings

East, Newsletter, Sustainability
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
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Three glass residential towers stand along Manhattan's West Street at dusk. (Dan Nguyen / Flickr)

Three glass residential towers stand along Manhattan’s West Street at dusk. (Dan Nguyen / Flickr)

As glass towers continue to fill-in New York City’s skyline, it’s easy to be jealous of the wealthy elites and their glossy homes in the clouds. While those floor-to-ceiling windows offer some killer views, they may also pose serious health threats to those inside the glass curtains.

Continue reading after the jump.

Michael Bloomberg Appointed UN Climate & Cities Envoy.  Michael Bloomberg Appointed UN Climate & Cities Envoy Just one month after leaving office, Michael Bloomberg (pictured) has been appointed a United Nations special envoy for cities and climate change. According to Reuters, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Bloomberg will help “raise political will and mobilize action among cities as part of his long-term strategy to advance efforts on climate change.” The former mayor is Johannesburg, South Africa this week for the fifth biennial C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Mayors Summit. Bloomberg is the President of C40’s board, which is a “a network of the world’s megacities taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” This year’s conference is focused on creating liveable and sustainable cities. (Photo: Spencer T. Tucker )

 

Cooling Los Angeles, From the Roof Down

UNDER LA'S NEW COOL ROOFS ORDINANCE, ALL NEW OR RENOVATED BUILDINGS MUST HAVE REFLECTIVE ROOFS (HEAT ISLAND GROUP - LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY)

UNDER LA’S NEW COOL ROOFS ORDINANCE, ALL NEW OR RENOVATED BUILDINGS MUST HAVE REFLECTIVE ROOFS (HEAT ISLAND GROUP – LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY)

What’s the coolest place in Los Angeles? It may be right over your head. Starting in 2014, thanks to an update of the Municipal Building Code, all new or refurbished buildings will be equipped with “cool roofs.” A cool roof is built of reflective rather than absorptive material. Compared to traditional roofs, cool roofs can be as much as 50 degrees cooler on the roof surface, and can lower interior building temperatures by several degrees. Los Angeles is the first major American city to pass a cool-roof ordinance.

Read more after the jump.

Fiber Dome Glows in Response to CO2 Levels in Saginaw, Michigan

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
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sol dome in Saginaw, Mich. (loop.ph)

sol dome in Saginaw, Mich. (loop.ph)

A web-like dome in Saginaw, Michigan changes colors to reflect the level of carbon dioxide in the air. Solar-powered LED lights connected to an onsite CO2 monitor illuminate the structure’s fibers in timed patterns to create the appearance of an organic response.

Continue reading after the jump.

Australian Factory To Turn Carbon Emissions Into Green Building Materials

International
Friday, September 13, 2013
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Air pollution smothers Shanghai, China. (Lei Han / Flickr)

Air pollution smothers Shanghai, China. (Lei Han / Flickr)

Australia has developed a tantalizing approach to curb humankind’s carbon footprint. Since the country signed the Kyoto Protocol in 2007, it has been actively fighting to moderate air pollution and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent below 2000 levels by 2020. Australia continues to adopt mainstream tactics such as cutting down on deforestation and land clearing, and has recently revealed a new technology that promises to turn carbon emissions into green building materials.

Continue reading after the jump.

HUD Secretary Announces a Comprehensive Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy

City Terrain, East
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
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HUD Secretary Donovan and Mayor Bloomberg announce Hurricane Sandy rebuilding strategy. (Nicole Anderson / AN)

HUD Secretary Donovan (right) and Mayor Bloomberg (left) announce Hurricane Sandy rebuilding strategy. (Nicole Anderson / AN)

On the roof of a construction site in Greenpoint, Brooklyn Monday, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the release of a new report outlining 69 rebuilding strategies designed to both help Hurricane Sandy–ravaged communities and to serve as a model for coastal regions across the country that are vulnerable to storm surges and rising sea levels. Close to the waterfront, the site overlooked the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant—one of the few sewage treatment facilities to survive Sandy intact. It was a fitting place for Secretary Donovan, who also serves as chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, to introduce this bundle of new recommendations that address both immediate and long-term needs of coastal communities, including resilient and region-wide approaches to rebuilding and infrastructure investment. A number of the initiatives in the report, such as HUD’s “Rebuild by Design” competition, are already underway.

Continue reading after the jump.

HUD Secretary Donovan Announces Kickoff of “Rebuild by Design” Competition

East
Friday, June 21, 2013
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Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey (Courtesy of spleeness/Flickr)

Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey (Courtesy of spleeness/Flickr)

Resiliency is a word that has become lodged in the vocabulary of nearly every lawmaker since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast last October. And this month, government officials—on a local, state, and federal level—are taking steps to ensure that coastal cities are more resilient and rebuilt to better withstand natural disasters in the future.

Yesterday, at a panel discussion on Innovation & Resilience Design in Sandy Rebuilding at NYU, Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, announced the launch of a new regional design competition, “Rebuild by Design” seeking teams—made up of the top engineers, architects, landscape designers, and other experts—to propose projects that tackle issues such as climate, economic, and infrastructure (and as the press release states, “will actually be built”). These proposals can run the gamut from green infrastructure to residential retrofits.

Continue reading after the jump.

President Obama to Nominate REI CEO to Lead Interior Department

National
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
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REI CEO Sally Jewell. (Courtesy REI)

REI CEO Sally Jewell. (Courtesy REI)

President Obama is expected to nominate Sally Jewell, the President and Chief Executive Officer of national outdoor retailer REI, to succeed Secretary Ken Salazar as the head of the Interior Department.

Jewell, a former engineer for Mobil Oil and commercial banker, has run the $1.8 billion company for over a decade and has established herself as a strong advocate for land conservation. The Washington Post reported reported that she is one of the founding board members of Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, and serves on the board of the National Parks Conservation Association.

The Department of the Interior manages and protects the country’s lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources, along with relations with tribal nations. As extreme weather patterns put climate change front and center of the policy debates in Washington DC, the Secretary of the Interior will take on an increasingly critical role this term.

Rising Flood Waters Inspire Floating Houses in the UK

International
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
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(Courtesy Baca Architects)

(Courtesy Baca Architects)

Floods last spring in the United Kingdom have inspired a flood-resistant housing design that works with floodwaters instead of against them—homes that rise from their foundations with floodwaters and return to ground level once waters have dissipated. Baca Architects has proposed the first “amphibious house” in the UK, on the banks of the Thames River in Buckinghamshire, that if successful could reverse a decision to ban new construction in low-lying areas.

Continue reading after the jump.

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