Mark Binelli ~ Meet Architect Bjarke Ingels, The Man Building The Future

The convoy of buses departed from the Palazzo on a cloudless spring morning, rolling onto a muted Las Vegas Strip and toward the Nevada desert. The buses carried a group of tech journalists, venture capitalists, curious engineers and startup-culture hype merchants – along with, not incidentally, one of the world’s most celebrated architects, Bjarke Ingels – passing sere mountain ranges and spiky yucca trees and a shimmering field of solar panels before finally arriving, after nearly an hour, at their destination: a compound of trailers and shipping containers surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. Someone made a nuclear-test-site joke.

We’d come to witness the first-ever public demonstration of a new super-sonic transportation venture called Hyperloop One. Tech billionaire Elon Musk had roughed out the concept in 2013 and given his blessing to the founders, though he wasn’t directly involved himself. Essentially, the plan was for Hyperloop to revolutionize freight and passenger travel by shooting pods through pressurized tubes at speeds of more than 700 mph – faster than a commercial airplane! – using a zero-emission electric-propulsion system. This could mean half-hour trips from Los Angeles to the Bay Area.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/meet-architect-bjarke-ingels

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Adele Peters ~ Meet The Man Building A Plastic Bottle Village In Panama

When Robert Bezeau moved from Montreal to Panama in 2009, one of the first things he noticed was the trash: the beaches surrounding the island where he lived were lined with plastic bottles. In a year and a half, working with volunteers, he estimates that he collected more than a million bottles for recycling.

Surrounded by piles of bottles, Bezeau started wondering if they could be used for something new—a building material for houses in what he calls the Plastic Bottle Village. In a new short documentary from Mel Films, filmmaker David Freid visits Panama to see one of the houses now under construction.

Read more: https://www.fastcoexist.com/meet-the-man-building

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David Satterthwaite & Cassidy Johnson ~ Ten Essentials For The New Urban Agenda In One Page

Ten concise points respond to the current draft of Habitat III’s New Urban Agenda which is lengthy, dense and gives too little attention to the key roles of local government and civil society.

Habitat III will seek global political commitment to making urban centres more sustainable, inclusive and resilient. But the latest draft of the New Urban Agenda – to be agreed at the summit – is long, impenetrable and gives little attention to urban governance. Frustrated by this unwieldy document, we have developed an alternative version of the New Urban Agenda – in one page.

Borrowing the format of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient (PDF) these short and practical points provide national governments with clear direction for a workable outcome from Habitat III.

The text does not include many important goals. It seeks instead to push attention away from long lists that repeat commitments already made to the means by which these can be met.

Ahead of the last negotiation meeting before the summit we share these guidelines and are keen to hear comments.

Read more: http://www.iied.org/ten-essentials-for-new-urban-agenda-one-page

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University Of Cambridge ~ Researchers In Colombia Are Trying To Reimagine Slums To Foster Equality

Dr Felipe Hernández was born and raised in Cali, Colombia’s third-biggest city and one of the country’s most dangerous – riven by fighting between drug trafficking gangs and the grinding poverty of its shanty towns.

One of the most violent neighbourhoods is Potrero Grande along the Cauca River. “When I was a child I never went to the settlements along the bank, although they were only nine or 10 miles away,” Hernández said. “They had a reputation for being dangerous. It took several years and some geographical distance for me to see how deeply divided Cali was then and remains today. As recently as 1997, the city’s most prestigious club denied membership to black people.”

Various schemes have been initiated to regulate the development of Cali and address the levels of violence in its notorious poorer districts. Although these schemes have commendable objectives, and valuable aspects, they fail to take people’s lived experiences, especially their social networks and productive capacity, into account

“Teaching music to poor children is useful because it gets them off the streets,” Hernández said. “But what happens when they grow up and need to earn a living? How many children have the opportunity to follow a career in music?”

Read more: http://scroll.in/researchers-in-colombia

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Building Homes From Plastic Bricks! Waste Product Homes Are The Future.

What if things we throw away could be put right in a block maker, and turned into bricks?  That’s beginning to happen in multiple ways!  From plastic bricks made of recycle waste to machines that crush boulders and rocks into liquid cement, and make bricks, there are great things on the horizon!

Building

These blocks can be made in the same size as standard concrete blocks, though don’t have the same weight-bearing capabilities. The blocks do have good acoustic and thermal insulation properties, which ByFusion says makes them ideal for use in road projects or fill-in building frames.

Read more: http://www.offgridquest.com/construction-methods/Plastic-b

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UNDP Cities Initiative

UNDPOur Work on sustainable, inclusive, safe, and resilient urbanization:
More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. By 2050, that figure will have risen to 6.5 billion people – two-thirds of humanity. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces.

The rapid growth of cities in the developing world, coupled with increasing rural to urban migration, has led to a boom in mega-cities. In 1950, only 30 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. In 2014, 54 percent was urban, with the proportion being far higher in developed countries. By 2020, however, the majority of people in developing countries will live in cities, with Africa and Asia urbanizing faster than other regions. Together with Latin America, they collectively account for more than 90 percent of global urban growth.

Many national, regional and local governments have struggled to create and implement policies that tackle the growing challenges faced by population growth in urban centers. Making cities safe and sustainable means ensuring access to safe and affordable housing, as well as improving slum and informal housing settlements. City leaders must invest in public transport, create and regenerate new public spaces for all urban residents, and improve urban planning and management in a way that is both participatory and inclusive. Sustainable city life is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

UNDP’s policy and programme support focuses on supporting countries (and cities) to implement policies and initiatives for achieving SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda. Given the scope of urban challenges, UNDP will continue to work with a diverse set of partners and stakeholders—as part of a ‘coalition’—in addressing challenges to urbanization at the local, regional and national levels.

Urban residents in well-planned cities enjoy better access to employment opportunities, healthcare, education and public services compared to their rural counterparts. This is an opportunity to ensure that the urban infrastructure being built is climate resilient [1] and provides a better quality of life for the people who will live there. Better governance, planning and management mechanisms and access to affordable financing will be critical determinants of the sustainability, resilience, and inclusiveness of future urban centers.

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