NASA scientists aimed to create more stable spaceships, but inadvertently found a way to make buildings safer during earthquakes. In an example of the hummingbird effect, an interstellar innovation presents an opportunity to change the way buildings are “earthquake proofed”. This has particular promise for cities on North America’s west coast as they prepare for the “really big one“. More broadly, the innovation underlines the potential to apply existing technology to new fields and the value of cross-sector cooperation.
Re-thinking human relationships with water is critical for climate change adaptation. Waterfront cities have undertaken a range of initiatives to address sea-level rise and future water deficiency. Shaped like an upside-down umbrella, Tåsinge Plads, a public space in Copenhagen, uses clever landscaping and materials to both manage flood control and increase quality of life. The collaborative designs overcame restraints of traditional engieneering solutions. Would you agree that today’s complicated issues are better served by creative multidisciplinary approaches?
Since it’s inception in 1999, vertical farming has developed from an experimental concept to a serious business opportunity that could enhance urban sustainability and resilience. Based on a simple concept of growing food where most people live, scientists and entrepreneurs have worked to reduce costs and overcome challenges. As City Metric writes, many issues have been resolved and discussions have moved on to more nuanced challenges. We may be on the verge of a major transformation in how we feed our cities.
Powered by demographic shifts coupled with a renewed interest in urban amenities, as well as transit, walking and biking, downtown cores have seen a major resurgence in recent years. And companies are taking notice. Through this shift, cities have learned many lessons. Now, Smart Growth America has distilled them into seven steps for downtown redevelopment. The full report, a valuable resource for cities, planners and councils looking to catch up, is available here.
After long nights, intense negotiating, and ultimately the most important international climate deal in history, it’s time to get to work. Home to the majority of the world’s population, and with about 1/3 of the carbon budget to stay under 2 degrees, cities have a big role to play. But how will they achieve this? Next City provides a review of key issues and opportunities for resilience, economies of scale, financing, cooperation among multiple levels of government and with the private sector.
Building with traditional construction materials requires the major exploitation of natural resources. As builders and consumers become more aware of the environmental impacts we have on the world, demand for viable alternatives has increased. In response, durable fabrics like as polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) have emerged as a popular green building material. Not only are these materials made of at least 85% recycle material, they can also be used to achieve almost any design.
Many cities see the attraction of tech jobs as the key to their socioeconomic success. There is truth in this, but for cities that have experienced considerable success, do the drawbacks outweigh the benefits? Zef Hemel, Amsterdam’s former chief planner, suggests that his city, and others in similar positions, should focus on maintaining social housing. An inclusive approach to urban economic development could be the path to sustained success.