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Building Materials

Is Tesla's Home-Powering Battery a Game-Changer?

May 4, 2015 by Brandon Donnelly

Tesla and Energy Innovation

Recently, Elon Musk announced something called the Powerwall home battery. Measuring about 3′ x 4′, the shield looking battery pack will charge using the electricity generated from solar panels (or from the grid when rates are at their lowest) and then power your home.[read more]

Nature as the Textbook: A Review of Nelson's Cultivating Outdoor Classrooms

Outdoor Classrooms

Consider the instances of discovery you had as a child. Learning what plants need to grow, what it takes to build a fort, or how to protect yourself against rain, wind, and heat. There is something to be said about reading books about the four seasons and then seeing leaves change colors as summer turns to fall.[read more]

Road Construction: A Sustainable Use for 'Trash Ash?'

May 3, 2015 by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

Trash Ash Recycling

I still struggle with burning trash as a form of “renewable” energy. While this approach does reduce landfill waste, and extracts energy without drilling or mining, it does create its own byproducts. While we tend to focus on emissions, ash is another resulting material that ends up in landfills.[read more]

Restoring Harbor City's Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park into an Ecological Oasis

Harbor City Restoration

Growing up in the housing projects of Harbor City, California, several of my childhood memories took place in the Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park. However, the last time that I visited this park—about three years ago—it had greatly deteriorated.[read more]

Weeding Cancer-Causing Chemicals Out of Landscape Maintenance

April 30, 2015 by Global Site Plans - The Grid

Urban Green Space Health

The World Health Organization recently declared that the herbicide glyphosate “probably” causes cancer. Monsanto Co.'s Round Up product's main ingredient is glyphosate. Many local administrations use the products to keep weeds down. They should now be phasing them out. Some already are.[read more]

In the Future, Will We Build Cities for Wildlife and Design the Countryside for People?

April 29, 2015 by The Nature of Cities
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Designing Places for Humans

Cities have long been known as hotspots for innovation. In the past, much of this could be attributed to cities being the centralized physical location and as nodes for connecting with other people and cities around the world. Yet in the new era of global communication this dependence on physical proximity is decoupling.[read more]

Rio's Carnival: An Allegory of the City

April 28, 2015 by The Dirt ASLA

Festivals and Culture in Rio

Gia Wolff, the inaugural winner of a $100,000 traveling fellowship, has returned after two years of funded research to present her discoveries, a story of how Rio de Janeiro's carnival takes place each year and is much more than just a spectacle, but a cyclical engine that powers the city.[read more]

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Are Shipping Containers the Sustainable Building Blocks We Need?

April 27, 2015 by Claire Smith

Housing Construction and Innovation

The first shipping container home, in the US, was built nearly ten years and since then shipping container homes have seen their popularity skyrocket. In-fact you’ve probably seen post’s like this form True Activist, showing just how many of these homes have been built in recent years.[read more]

Development Updates in the Gold Coast

April 25, 2015 by Future Cape Town

Gold Coast Development

Construction and development news and financial cost information for buildings in Australia's Gold Coast, including development precincts with sports facilities, tower construction in Broadbeach, and hotel construction and development of the tourism industry.[read more]

Artist, Vagabonds, and an Accidental Nature Reserve in San Francisco Bay

April 25, 2015 by The Nature of Cities

Art and Nature in San Francisco

For such a far-reaching social and ecological exposition, 'Refuge in Refuse: Homesteading Art and Culture' centers on a surprisingly small piece of man-made land known as the Albany Bulb. A decommissioned construction landfill, the “Bulb," as it is known, pokes out into the San Francisco Bay.[read more]

The Amazing Story of How Xoma Ayob Won His Dream House

April 24, 2015 by Cape Town Partnership

Housing in Informal Settlements

Xoma Ayob was born in the shadow of the Sentinel in the Hangberg informal settlement called Texas. He can recall a time before the factories when you could simply brush the seaweed aside to pluck a crayfish out of the water. He told Molo the story of his dream house.[read more]

Helping Civic Leaders to Make Buildings More Efficient

How ICLEI stakeholders evaluate policy options

Participants in a workshop at the 2015 ICLEI World Congress in Seoul Korea learnt how the Building Efficiency Accelerator of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative uses a variety of methods—including interactive workshops—to help city leaders learn about potential policy options and think realistically about implementation.[read more]