When the Dekalb Market opened in Brooklyn last Summer, the use of recycled shipping containers gave potential tenants a sense of stability: developers didn’t have long-term access to the land, so businesses could open shop in a structure that could be easily moved if that access dried up. Apparently, such flexibility has universal appeal (especially in a down economy): London’s new Boxpark development is also constructed from shipping containers, and designed to make relatively short-term use of land that might find buyers or other developers once the economy picks back up.
This year’s Park(ing) Day (an annual event I covered a few years ago) has come and gone and was another great success. In fact, it looks like they’re still counting the number of temporary “parks” people created in parking spaces around the world. Of course, all of those green spaces are gone now, but wouldn’t it be nice if parking spaces were being converted into spots for permanent enjoyment of the outdoors?
As someone who lives in an urban setting (and, yeah, I know, my NYC friends are snickering at that), I’m as guilty as anyone of sneering at the suburbs. I always associate the term with cookie-cutter subdivisions in driving distance (but probably not walking distance) of big box stores and chain restaurants. In many cases, that’s fair, but, as The Wall Street Journal noted last week, developers around the US have started to experiment with something different – and potentially more sustainable – in suburban design: the agricultural community.
Builders and architects have fallen in love with shipping containers and are using them to design and build everything from office buildings to prison space. It makes sense: they come in standard sizes (a bit like Legos), they’re sturdy, mobile, and readily available. This also makes shipping containers ideal for temporary developments, and a new open-air market in Brooklyn is putting that notion to the test.
When you think of international leadership towards a green economy, countries in Europe and Asia probably first come to mind: Germany’s leading the pack in terms of implementing clean technology, and China’s right there in terms of manufacturing it (even though it has a ways to go with its own environmental challenges). You might have a tough time thinking of an African nation contributing to the concept of economic growth through environmentally benign practices… and yet, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme, nations such as South Africa and Kenya are creating green economic models that could serve as templates for other countries, both developing and developed.
First Solar, Inc. and Southern California Edison have agreed to build two large-scale solar power projects in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in Southern California that together will generate enough electricity to provide power to about 170,000 homes.
Pope Benedict XVI added to his growing reputation as the “green Pope” yesterday (July 7) with the release of a new encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth). A call for sustainable development in the broadest sense, the Pope’s letter addressed the human and environmental costs of “business as usual,” and established “doing well by doing good” as the business philosophy most consistent with Church doctrine and Biblical teaching.
In May, Toronto became the first city in North America to enact a green roof mandate: “…any new development with floorspace of more than 2,000 square meters devote between 20 and 60 percent of its roof to vegetation.” A centuries-old technology, green roofs provide a wide range of benefits!
Are you looking for information on lightening your neighborhood’s or town’s environmental footprint? Want to figure out how to reduce your own energy and material consumption? Or, just need facts on hand for that annoying climate-change denying brother-in-law? Michigan’s largest universities have released new online tools that may have you covered in all of these…