The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on February 28, 2010

  • THIS is scary:
    (caption for photo accompanying article):
    “In a Chinese village, this man burns plastic circuit boards to recover the precious metals, releasing toxic smoke. (Photo courtesy StEP-EMPA)”

    tags: e_waste, waste_management, developing_countries, environment

  • Austria’s Passive House in Whistler, BC may be costly at $408 (subsidized) per square foot (although compared to downtown Vancouver or even some Victoria condo costs, it’s not that much), but it’s a beauty and fits right into the West Coast Modern architectural style, too:
    As explained in a story recently published by CBC News, the 3,000-sq.-ft. building cost about $1.23 million U.S. to build, including a $143,000 grant by the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, or about $408 per sq. ft. The overall cost might have been higher but for the fact that many of the construction materials, including the wood and interior materials, were donated by Austrian companies and then delivered via container ship to Canada. Also, Whistler donated the land for the project and paid for the piping and utilities. The project collaborators acknowledge that importing materials from Europe is not a green process, but it was done to highlight not only energy efficient design but Austrian products.

    tags: austria, passivhaus, whistler, green_buildings, architecture

  • This is kind of a mind-blowing article, or rather: this is an article that points at some mind-blowing concepts and work and potentials. It’s about using data (derived through geographic information systems) to design (or help structure the design impetus) of urban environments. In particular, it can help urban planners figure out what and how the many, many bits of unbuilt surface in an urban core might be utilized, and it can even be used to re-think “big” infrastructure projects. Some push-back in the comments, but overall this is truly fascinating to ponder…
    Looking through this lens also enables us to think about infrastructure in a new way. The era of massive, expensive, centralized projects like the Big Dig in Boston has passed. “Now, with the ability to model dynamic systems, we can show a much more decentralized collection of resources could provide greater benefit,” de Monchaux says. “If, in the 19th century, it was a biological metaphor that fueled the creation of Central and Golden Gate parks, the idea that a city needs hearts and lungs to grow, there’s now a networked metaphor. The city is a dense network of relationships. The best way to provide infrastructure is to not go in with a meat ax but to practice urban acupuncture, finding thousands of different spots to go into.”

    Much as Google Maps has given us all a staggering new perception of the world we inhabit, this methodology can provide an avenue to a wider understanding of data-driven design, which can most certainly be applied to any number of spatial dilemmas. Other projects in the same vein as Local Code are proliferating: The Long Island Index, for one, uses interactive mapping to highlight opportunities for downtown redevelopment, aggregating a different class of sites than Local Code but following the same path of inquiry.

    tags: nyt, allison_arieff, spatial_fix, spaces, infrastructure, surface_parking_lots, urban_design

  • Worth keeping an eye on:
    …what makes the Living City Block in Denver, Colorado such an important project, defining the ideal ‘cell structure’ for a healthy city in the 21st century. It’s mission? “To create a replicable, scalable and economically viable framework for the resource efficient regeneration of existing cities.“

    Scheduled to launch in Summer 2010, two adjacent city blocks (one street block) in LoDo (Lower Downtown) Denver will become a live demonstration and model for environmentally-conscious business and economic development, and livability.

    tags: denver, living_cities, city_block, urban_renewal, green_strategies

  • This is a great move:
    “The ordinance will allow code exemptions for up to 12 buildings seeking certification through the Living Building Challenge (LBC). The exemptions will allow the buildings to meet LBC prerequisites that require techniques, such as onsite water treatment, that conflict with current land-use and building codes in Seattle (as well as in many other areas of the U.S.). City officials will use the review process to inform future code changes that could make the regulatory landscape friendlier to onsite water and energy strategies. ”

    tags: seattle, planning, regulation, green_buildings, living_buildings

  • File this under amusing novelty?
    Chinese artist Shi Jinson created sculptures depicting baby accessories which would fit right in as toys for the Addams Family or for a future Terminator baby. Strollers, cribs, rattles, and walkers are made from razor-sharp blades, making a macabre and bizarre fine art collection.

    tags: art, web_urbanist, sculpture, shi_jinsong, subversive

  • A companion audio-slide-show by John Seabrook to his Dec.21/09 article about Zaha Hadid in The New Yorker. Very interesting, discussion of visual inspiration(s), form, etc., this is a lot better than comparing Hadid’s architecture to fast food snacks like chips (see FastCompany piece).

    tags: john_seabrook, newyorker, zaha_hadid, audiocasts, architecture, starchitecture, rome, maxxi

  • Inspired by John Seabrook’s description of Zaha Hadid’s lunch (which included potato chips), Alissa Walker compares Hadid’s buildings to fast food snacks (hence Snack-itecture). Lots of images – that work, incindentally. Not sure if this is just funny, very insightful, or nasty, …or what.

    tags: fast_company, alissa_walker, zaha_hadid, starchitecture, architecture

  • Illustrated (and linkified) commentary on the Independent UK’s anointing of seven well-known architects as globally recognized starchitects: Foster, Piano, Rogers, Hadid, Gehry, Herzog and de Meuron, Koolhaas. The Independent UK article also contrasts these seven with architecture’s workhorse firm, SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill).

    tags: architecture, starchitecture, flavorwire, kelsey_keith

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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