Archinect - News 2015-10-13T08:10:53-04:00 The 27 patterns that make up the world's cities and suburbs Amelia Taylor-Hochberg 2015-10-09T12:30:00-04:00 >2015-10-09T12:46:39-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="726" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>What's interesting about these 27 categories that Wheeler has defined, covering the full range of development patterns in two dozen metropolitan regions he has studied worldwide, is that most of them are new. [..] "We have had an explosion of different types of built landscapes in the last century," says Wheeler, who is working on a book about these patterns.</p></em><br /><br /><p>An example of the patterns identified by Stephen Wheeler, professor at UC Davis' Department of Human Ecology,&nbsp;culled from meticulous work with Google satellite imagery:</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>You can view more of his maps <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> Wim Wenders discusses the role of architecture and landscape in his films Julia Ingalls 2015-10-08T14:06:00-04:00 >2015-10-08T14:06:27-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="328" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>I slowly became more and more of a storyteller and less and less of a painter until I embraced film-making as the only profession that really included everything I liked. It was photography and architecture, music and writing and acting&mdash;everything I liked together into one package that was called &ldquo;film-making&rdquo;.</p></em><br /><br /><p>In an interview with The Economist, film director <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Wim Wenders</a> speaks about the relationship of landscape and architecture in his work, and how focusing on a scene absent of anyone often amplifies the stories of everyone.&nbsp;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>"I try to make places tell their stories about us," he says. Indeed: from "Paris, Texas" to "<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Wings of Desire</a>" to "Pina," Wenders' filmmaking agilely pairs emotional and physical terrain.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p> Pop quiz, hot shot: identify these world cities from above Amelia Taylor-Hochberg 2015-10-05T17:58:00-04:00 >2015-10-08T22:53:26-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="308" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>We&rsquo;ve stripped out the street names and lost the labels &ndash; but can you still recognise the cities from their aerial views?</p></em><br /><br /><p>This exercise in aerial recognition comes in quiz form, where the viewer must guess the city pictured in a monochrome-treated satellite image of an urban grid. Identifying some cities is far easier than others &ndash; the quiz will tell you how your response stacks up against others'.</p> Future Not Found: a "para-tour" of the Chicago Board of Trade led by GRNASFCK Nicholas Korody 2015-09-30T14:45:00-04:00 >2015-10-08T01:07:20-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="347" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>The Chicago Biennial is set to launch this weekend with a flurry of events and exhibitions, including Archinect's live podcasting event <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Next Up</a>. Alongside the Biennial&rsquo;s programming are a slew of periphery events located around the city and spanning the spectrum of architectural topics. Near the top of our list is&nbsp;<em>Future Not Found</em>, a "para-tour" of the&nbsp;Chicago Board of Trade led by Dry Futures jury members <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">GRNASFCK</a>&nbsp;on Friday morning.</p><p>Last year, we <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">profiled</a> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">GRNASFCK</a>, a nomadic landscape architecture studio that operates along the borderlands of ecology&nbsp;and architecture and focuses on&nbsp;"the geologic past and speculative future."&nbsp;Led by Colleen Tuite and Ian Quated, GRNASFCK leads research expeditions across diverse landscapes, with an eye towards the invisible forces that shape our cities &ndash; from extremophile bacteria to resource speculation.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>Abandoning their sampling kits for the weekend (or maybe not), Tuite and Quate will lead an archaeologic tour of the world's largest futures and opt...</p> Tarmac has invented a "thirsty concrete," to help mitigate flooding Nicholas Korody 2015-09-28T16:57:00-04:00 >2015-09-30T13:55:07-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="212" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>During the first few weeks of August 2007, the American Midwest was devastated by heavy and repeated flash flooding as a result of Hurricane Dean and Tropical Storm Erin dumping massive amounts of rain on several states. And of the US$549 million or so in property damage that came from it, more than two-thirds was caused by water running off pavements or overflowing from drainage systems. So what's the solution?</p></em><br /><br /><p>Alongside a video that's quickly circulating on social media, Tarmac has announced a new type of porous concrete meant to help mitigate flooding by absorbing water.<br><br>Capable of taking in some 4,000 litres in the first minute and an average of 600 liters per minute, per meter squared, the concrete has been named "Topmix Permeable."</p><p>The material comprises a permeable surface layer of large pebbles, with an "attenuation layer" below that diverts the water flow back to groundwater and drainage systems, helping to not only prevent flooding, but reduce waste as well.&nbsp;<br><br>Alas &ndash; the concrete wouldn't work in freezing temperatures, so it's only really applicable for regions that are both temperate and vulnerable to flooding.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">h/t Science Alert</a><br><br>Check out the video below:<br>&nbsp;</p> NASA discovers liquid water on Mars Nicholas Korody 2015-09-28T14:57:00-04:00 >2015-09-28T16:27:45-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="267" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>&ldquo;It took multiple spacecraft over several years to solve this mystery, and now we know there is liquid water on the surface of this cold, desert planet,&rdquo; said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA&rsquo;s Mars Exploration Program at the agency&rsquo;s headquarters in Washington. &ldquo;It seems that the more we study Mars, the more we learn how life could be supported and where there are resources to support life in the future.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p></em><br /><br /><p>In an announcement made this morning, NASA stated that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has detected "the strongest evidence yet" of liquid water on the fourth planet from the Sun.&nbsp;<br><br>The new evidence emerged from data collected by an imaging spectrometer mounted on the spacecraft, which was launched in 2005 and has been orbiting Mars since 2006. According to the announcement, "researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet." The signatures appear to corroborate existing hypotheses.</p><p>Known as recurring slop lineae (RSL), the streaks seem to ebb and flow, apparently in accord with seasonal fluctuations. Previously suggested as an indicator of the presence of water, the discovery of hydrated salts further validates this idea.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>The salts &ndash; likely a mixture of magnesium perchlorate, magnesium chlorate, and sodium perchlorate &ndash; would help lower the freezing point of what is likely a subsurface flow that occasionally breach...</p> Explore Manhattan When It Was Just Forests and Creeks With the 1609 Welikia Map Alyssa Alimurung 2015-09-28T14:29:00-04:00 >2015-09-28T14:28:57-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="325" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The Welikia Project, formerly known as the Mannahatta Project, has gotten a powerful update that now lets you explore New York City's historic ecology using a satellite map that imagines how Manhattan might have looked back in 1609&mdash;and all the years between then and now.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> L.A.'s urban heat island effect accounts for temperatures up to 19 degrees hotter Amelia Taylor-Hochberg 2015-09-22T17:44:00-04:00 >2015-09-28T23:55:22-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="397" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>the greater L.A. area sees more additional heat than any other region, in part because of how urbanized it is. [...] Solutions include planting more trees and bushes, painting roofs white so they don&rsquo;t absorb as much heat and using lighter colored concrete on streets and sidewalks.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> Rotterdam's smog transformed into jewelry thanks to an outdoor air filter Julia Ingalls 2015-09-17T15:21:00-04:00 >2015-09-28T23:36:51-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="343" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>After [the 23-foot-tall air filter designed by Daan Roosegaarde] filters smog from the air, it compresses the collected waste particles into cubes that can be embedded into jewelry such as rings and cufflinks &mdash; and, hopefully, prompt further conversations about extreme air pollution.</p></em><br /><br /><p>For more on how designers are creatively tackling pollution:</p><p>&bull;&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Delhi&rsquo;s air pollution is worse than Beijing's. A new app measures the air quality in real time.</a></p><p>&bull;&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Beijing mayor says air pollution makes his city "unlivable"</a></p><p>&bull;&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Air Pollution Google Earth Mashup</a></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p> A world divided: mapping border fences globally Nicholas Korody 2015-09-17T13:31:00-04:00 >2015-09-28T21:31:27-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="381" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Europe will soon have more physical barriers on its national borders than it did during the Cold War.&nbsp;This year&rsquo;s refugee crisis, combined with Ukraine's ongoing conflict with Russia, has seen governments plan and construct border walls and security fences across Mediterranean&nbsp;and eastern Europe... Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, 40 countries around the world have built fences against 64 of their neighbours.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The Economist takes a look at the world's borders, (mostly) new and old. Of the 40 countries that have built physical border walls since the fall of the Berlin Wall, 30 of those happened after 9/11, and 15 this year alone. Check it out the interactive graphic&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a>.<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>Related coverage:</p><ul><li><a title="Passage: an architectural intervention to span the Mediterranean Sea" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Passage: an architectural intervention to span the Mediterranean Sea</a></li><li><a title="From asylum seeker to award-winning architect: the story of Perparim Rama" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">From asylum seeker to award-winning architect: the story of Perparim Rama</a></li><li><a title="What Does the Syrian Refugee Crisis Mean to Architecture?" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">What Does the Syrian Refugee Crisis Mean to Architecture?</a><br>&nbsp;</li></ul> Study finds antibacterial soap no more effective than regular soap Nicholas Korody 2015-09-17T11:22:00-04:00 >2015-09-18T08:58:34-04:00 <img src="" width="500" height="375" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Scientists in Korea have discovered that using antibacterial soap when hand-washing is no more effective than using plain soap, according to a paper published today in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy... The study examined the effect of triclosan...on bacteria in two ways. The first was to examine the bactericidal effects of triclosan in soaps against all 20 strains, and the second compared the ability of antibacterial and non-antibacterial soap to remove bacteria from human hands...</p></em><br /><br /><p>For related Archinect articles:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Between Sampling and Dowsing: Field Notes from GRNASFCK</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Architecture of the Anthropocene, Pt. 2: Haunted Houses, Living Buildings, and Other Horror Stories</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Even bacteria are architects</a></li></ul> "Grassroots Cactivism," 1st place winner in Dry Futures Speculative category Nicholas Korody 2015-09-16T14:00:00-04:00 >2015-09-21T00:09:40-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="274" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p><em><strong>Grassroots Cactivism</strong></em>, by Ali Chen<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>California is entering the fourth year of an epic drought. Urban households have reduced water usage by 25%. However, legislation does not apply to farmers, while 80% of the state's water usage goes towards agricultural production. A large percentage of that water goes towards crops that feed livestock. Efforts to conserve water need to target these water-intensive aspects of the farming industry.</p><p>California's unique arid and mediterranean climate plays host to a variety of indigenous species. Among these is the drought-tolerant nopales cactus, otherwise known as the prickly pear. It has existed as a food source in local culinary traditions for many centuries, and is also commonly used as fodder for livestock in times of drought.</p><p><br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>There is another lesser-known use of the nopales: its pulp acts as a cleaning agent for water. Locals in Mexico have often dumped the water used to cook cactus into polluted rivers and streams. The 'mucilage' or inner cactus ...</p> "Urban Swales: Subterranean Reservoir Network for Los Angeles," 2nd place winner in Dry Futures Speculative category Nicholas Korody 2015-09-16T14:00:00-04:00 >2015-10-06T12:42:57-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="386" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p><em><strong>Urban Swales: Subterranean Reservoir Network for Los Angeles</strong></em>, by&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Geofutures @ Rensselaer School of Architecture</a> / Muhammad Ahmad Khan (student); Chris Perry (program director), Ted Ngai, Fleet Hower, Kelly Winn, Lydia Xynogala (program faculty).&nbsp;Acknowledgements: Evan Douglis, Dean of the Rensselaer School of Architecture.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Urban Swales proposes a series of medium-scale urban excavations throughout the City of Los Angeles, micro-reservoirs that, in addition to collecting periodic storm water runoff for remediation, storage, and redistribution to local communities, provides a new typology of shaded &ldquo;urban caverns&rdquo; for human as well as nonhuman forms of occupation. As such, Urban Swales not only functions as a distributed form of water management infrastructure, the general ambition of which is intended to relieve the city&rsquo;s excessive dependence on imported water, but a new form of public space and wildlife refuge as well.<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>Located at select intersections throughout the city, these &ldquo;swal...</p> "Analogue Sustainability: The Climate Refugees of San Francisco," 3rd place winner in Dry Futures Speculative category Nicholas Korody 2015-09-16T14:00:00-04:00 >2015-09-21T00:14:22-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="528" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p><em><strong>Analogue Sustainability: 'The Climate Refugees of San Francisco,'</strong></em> by Rosa&nbsp;Prichard<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>The project is sited on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. The scheme tackles the Californian paradox of too much vs too little water. While the area is in a state of drought, San Francisco Bay is still at risk of flooding both from seasonal heavy rainfall and rising sea levels. The project is an inhabited flood defence wall that wraps around the island, housing those displaced by rising sea levels in the bay. A field condition of maize is planted over the island to draw out the radiation remaining from the island&rsquo;s naval occupation. The island becomes a self-sustaining system, where analogue technologies that hark back to industrial mechanisms are used. The island offers a celebration of a more simple and natural way of life, in contrast to that of San Francisco and Silicon Valley.<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>Sustainable systems of water purification and energy production become central to the building. The burning of the maiz...</p> L.A. seeks to accelerate infrastructure projects in advance of potential Olympics Nicholas Korody 2015-09-10T15:10:00-04:00 >2015-09-10T15:49:33-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="336" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Citing L.A.'s quest to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles County transportation officials are seeking to fast-track two of Metro's most anticipated rail projects. In letters sent Tuesday and obtained by The Times, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority formally asked to join a Federal Transit Administration pilot program that could accelerate construction on a subway to the Westside and a rail connection to Los Angeles International Airport...</p></em><br /><br /><p>Pending federal approval (and cash &ndash; $1 billion, to be precise), Metro hopes to pursue an "extremely aggressive" schedule, completing the Purple Line subway extension as well as the LAX "people-mover" by the potential opening of a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">2024 Los Angeles Olympics</a>.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>Currently, the Purple Line is scheduled to extend from its current terminus in Koreatown towards the Westside over the course of 16 years, and in three stages. According to the Times, the new plan would mean that all three stages would be worked concurrently: Koreatown to Mid-Wilshire, Mid-Wilshire to Century City, Century City to West LA.</p><p>The LAX "people-mover," a much-need and anticipated terminal train, is currently scheduled to start service by 2028. Under the accelerated timeline, that would be moved to 2024 as well. In addition, it would be linked to the currently-planned connection between the Green Line, which runs across the South Bay, and the Expo Line, which cuts across Mid-City.&nbsp;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>Alongside the hoped-for $1-billion federa...</p> New standing stones discovered near Stonehenge Julia Ingalls 2015-09-09T14:44:00-04:00 >2015-09-09T14:44:39-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="343" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>Using high-resolution ground penetrating radar, archaeologists have discovered a series of up to 90 standing stones buried in the earth&nbsp;less than 3 kilometres from <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Stonehenge</a>. Archaeologists speculate that the stones, which form a rough 'C' shape underneath the 4,500-year old Durrington Walls super-henge, were pushed under the bank of the relatively newer super-henge, and may have once demarcated springs leading into the nearby Avon.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>While the precise age of the stones has not been determined yet, the discovery adds new dimensions to the narrative, scope, and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">historical and architectural significance</a> of Stonehenge. As&nbsp;Dr Phil McMahon of Historic England noted, "The World Heritage Site around Stonehenge has been the focus of extensive archaeological research for at least two centuries. However this new research by the Hidden Landscapes Project is providing exciting new insights into the archaeology within it. This latest work has given us intriguing evidence for previously unknown fea...</p> Proposed 30-acre green roof would be the world's largest Nicholas Korody 2015-09-09T14:16:00-04:00 >2015-09-09T14:27:48-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="289" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>A South Bay developer is reimagining&nbsp;an outdated Cupertino mall by building the world&rsquo;s largest green roof on top of it. The Vallco Shopping Mall, bought by Sand Hill Property Company for $316 million last year, is destined to become a 30-acre elevated public park that will connect shops to offices, trails and vineyards. The $3 billion design was inspired by&nbsp;&ldquo;starchitect&rdquo; Rafael Vi&ntilde;oly, who is working alongside&nbsp;Olin Landscape Architects to replace most [of] the Valleco Shopping Mall...</p></em><br /><br /><p><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>&nbsp;</p> The architect who wants New Orleans learn a lesson or two from Amsterdam Alexander Walter 2015-09-03T14:54:00-04:00 >2015-09-03T15:03:21-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="343" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>David Waggonner is an urban and environmental architect. Since Hurricane Katrina decimated his city, he&rsquo;s been focusing on urban stormwater management, mapping out designs for New Orleans that would mimic the way Dutch cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam deal with water. In the Netherlands, people &ldquo;invite water into the city,&rdquo; meaning water is visible everywhere. [...] &ldquo;In New Orleans, we&rsquo;ve hidden and squandered the asset.&rdquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p>Related on Archinect and our sister site Bustler:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Louisiana is Disappearing into the Sea</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Post-Katrina: Will New Orleans still be New Orleans?</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Changing Course teams present final 100-year plans to restore Lower Mississippi River Delta</a> (Bustler)</li></ul> Google Street View captures beautiful public space transformations Julia Ingalls 2015-09-02T20:02:00-04:00 >2015-09-04T14:16:19-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="489" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>A Brazilian urban planning collective called Urb-i...scoured Google Street View images to find the most stunning public space transformations from around the world. The results give us hope that our cities are becoming more beautiful places to live.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Cheer up: not everything is getting worse, at least not if you check out these comparison shots of real places from around the globe captured on <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Google Street View</a>. Compiled by Urb-i, these 41 intersections and urban streets are studies in <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">pedestrian-friendliness</a>; as the years melt by, many of the municipalities and cities strip away traffic lanes and replace them with sidewalk planters, pavers, and other traffic-calming elements. In some cases, cars are removed entirely, letting people (and greenery) retake the streets. Here's a view of&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Hungary</a>:</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>A street in <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Detroit</a>:</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>Also in <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Montreal</a>:</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p> Sea level rise accelerating, according to new data from NASA Nicholas Korody 2015-08-31T18:53:00-04:00 >2015-09-01T18:16:15-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="276" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>NASA has <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">released</a> new images that show an acceleration in global sea level rise, from about 1 millimeter per year at the beginning of the last century to 3 millimeters per year today.</p><p>&ldquo;NASA&rsquo;s been looking down at the oceans from space for about the last 23 years,&rdquo; explains Josh Willis, a NASA climate scientist, in a video posted below. &ldquo;And when they do we see the sea levels are rising &ndash; rapidly. Much more rapidly than they have any time in the last thousand years."</p><p>Since 1992, NASA has noted about 7 centimeters of sea level rise total. While this may not seem like much, it's spread over about two-thirds of the planet's surface. And as the planet continues to heat up, glacier and ice sheets will melt, further contributing to sea level rise. According to Willis, the implications will be profound.&nbsp;</p><p>"We live in a society that loves the ocean. We love the beaches and we put a lot of infrastructure there," Willis states. "Across the world, there are hundreds of millions of people that will ...</p> Obama changes the name of tallest mountain from Mt McKinley to Denali Nicholas Korody 2015-08-31T15:49:00-04:00 >2015-09-04T11:52:06-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="386" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The Obama administration will change the name of North America's tallest mountain peak from Mount McKinley to Denali, the White House said Sunday, a major symbolic gesture to Alaska Natives on the eve of President Barack Obama's historic visit to Alaska. By renaming the peak Denali, an Athabascan word meaning "the high one," Obama waded into a sensitive and decades-old conflict between residents of Alaska and Ohio.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"Alaskans have informally called the mountain Denali for years, but the federal government recognizes its name invoking the 25th president, William McKinley, who was born in Ohio and assassinated early in his second term."</p> Why hypoallergenic landscaping needs more priority in urban planning Justine Testado 2015-08-28T13:50:00-04:00 >2015-08-28T13:50:06-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="283" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>[Botany professor Paloma Cari&ntilde;anos] found it surprising that the design of these green spaces thought about landscaping, climate, and fashion criteria, but didn't think about pollen problems. [She] says that in the future, urban green spaces 'will become 'comfort islands' inside 'urban heat islands.''...Cari&ntilde;anos and her team stress that their research is a tool for planning and prevention. They hope that other cities will be able to use their methods to prevent high allergen levels.</p></em><br /><br /><p>You can read more of Cari&ntilde;anos' team's research in the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><em>Journal of Environmental Quality</em></a>.</p><p>More on Archinect:</p><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Welcome to the jungle: Sou Fujimoto lectures on applying natural infrastructure to urban design</a></p><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Delhi&rsquo;s air pollution is worse than Beijing's. A new app measures the air quality in real time</a></p><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">KKT architects envision tornado-shaped tower for downtown Tulsa</a></p><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">New Zealand landscaper shapes church out of trees</a></p><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Japan's largest treehouse is also a high-tech engineering feat</a></p> The Grand Canyon is contaminated with mercury Nicholas Korody 2015-08-26T21:59:00-04:00 >2015-08-26T21:59:26-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="343" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Sadly, even the Grand Canyon, a symbolic landmark of America&rsquo;s natural environment, unfortunately isn&rsquo;t immune to the ravages of pollution. Concentrations of&nbsp;mercury&nbsp;and&nbsp;selenium&nbsp;in canyon&rsquo;s food webs &mdash; the interconnected food chains in the environment &mdash; regularly exceed levels considered risky for fish and wildlife. Those findings are from a&nbsp;study&nbsp;from the U.S. Geological Survey scientists published in the journal Environmental Toxicity and Chemistry.</p></em><br /><br /><p>It's the kind of news that reads like <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Anthropocene</a> poetry &ndash; both existentially dark and metaphorically potent. This vast&nbsp;fissure in&nbsp;the Earth's crust, which presents us with two billion years of&nbsp;geologic history and basically defines our image of the sublime, has been thoroughly contaminated by a relatively short period of industrial agriculture and other human activities.</p><p>More precisely, the selenium likely comes from agriculture and mining (although it also exists in the soil naturally). The mercury is thought to have been brought in by algae from Lake Powell, originating in "distant coal-burning electrical plants."</p><p>The researchers explained, "The findings of the present study add to a growing body of evidence showing that remote ecosystems are vulnerable to long-range transport and subsequent bioaccumulation of contaminants."</p><p>Researcher studied minnows, invertebrates and fish at six sites along the Colorado River and recorded mercury and selenium levels that exceed toxicity threshol...</p> Buy your own private island off the coast of Copenhagen, just $8.5 m Nicholas Korody 2015-08-26T15:42:00-04:00 >2015-08-26T15:42:48-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="343" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>It may not have palm trees or tiki torches, but &ndash; if you're in the market for a private island &ndash; you should probably check out&nbsp;Flakfortet, some 3.5 miles off the coast of lovely Copenhagen.&nbsp;</p><p>An artificial island constructed in 1915 as a naval base to protect the city during World War I, Flakfortet is a protected landmark and was in use until 1968.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>A restaurant was added to the&nbsp;330,000 sq ft island and draws around 20,000 people a year. Bingo! It basically pays for itself!</p><p>Not only would you (conceivably) gain access to the perks of Denmark's robust welfare state, you could also have fun exploring the 1km network of underground tunnels.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>Have friends visiting? Have them park their yacht in the marina.</p><p>For just&nbsp;&nbsp;&pound;5.5 million (56 million Danish Krone or USD $8.5 million), Flakfortet could be yours!&nbsp;</p><p>via&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Claus Borg &amp; Partner</a>, h/t&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">The Spaces</a></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p> Waikiki Beach closed after heavy rains cause sewage spills Nicholas Korody 2015-08-25T14:31:00-04:00 >2015-08-25T14:31:23-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="289" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Waikiki Beach closed on Monday after heavy rains caused by a tropical storm set off the spills. Tropical Storm Kilo caused 500,00 gallons of wastewater to come gushing out of manholes, making the waterfront unsafe for beachgoers. "Now's not the time to go swimming," said Lori Kahikina, Honolulu's director of environmental services. The beachfront sees about 4.5m tourists annually. It will be a few days before the ocean is safe for people to swim in again, Ms Kahikina said...</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> How is water used in California? Amelia Taylor-Hochberg 2015-08-25T12:12:00-04:00 >2015-08-26T20:10:53-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="343" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>No California resident can claim ignorance of the current drought conditions: things are bad, and they'll probably stay that way for a while. <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Governor Jerry Brown called for statewide water restrictions earlier this year</a>, and news coverage of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">dwindling supplies</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">dry rivers</a> and sinking farmland have flooded the local and national media for months. While the drought is on every Californian&rsquo;s mind in some way, it can still be hard to imagine the sheer physical extent of our water: where it comes from, and how exactly we use it. Making drought conditions tangible can be difficult for anyone, in or out of California.</p><p>In the final week of Archinect&rsquo;s open call for submissions to our <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><strong>Dry Futures</strong></a> competition, we&rsquo;ve compiled some helpful stats and figures for better understanding water use in California. These are basic numbers, intended to be used as a framing context for how water flows through the state. But first, let&rsquo;s clarify some <strong>water-based terminology</strong>, courtesy of the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">US Geological S...</a></p> What if the California drought continues? Nicholas Korody 2015-08-21T11:52:00-04:00 >2015-08-25T18:25:14-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="359" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Should the current drought extend for another two or three years, most California cities and much of the state's agriculture would be able to manage, but the toll on small rural communities dependent on well-water and on wetlands and wildlife could be extensive. That was the assessment of a new study from the Public Policy Institute of California, released late Tuesday. ...the report cautions that &ldquo;it would not be prudent to count on El Nino to end the drought.&rdquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p>The report is titled "What if the drought continues?" Apparently, this is quite possible. If the drought extends 2 or 3 years, the report notes, agriculture and urban areas should be able to scrape by. But, like with other ecological crises, the worst will be experienced by lower-income, rural communities. In addition, some 18 species of native fish could face extinction, and migratory waterfowl would experience much higher rates of mortality.</p><p>For more coverage on California's drought:</p><ul><li><a title="Drought, climate change, misuse: SPIEGEL takes an in-depth look at the global water shortage" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Drought, climate change, misuse: SPIEGEL takes an in-depth look at the global water shortage</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Selling residents on a water park during a drought</a></li><li><a title="Will California's drought turn the state into something like the Australian outback?" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Will California's drought turn the state into something like the Australian outback?</a></li><li><a title='Coating the LA reservoir in "shade balls" will save 300M gallons of water' href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Coating the LA reservoir in "shade balls" will save 300M gallons of water</a></li><li><a title="California drought sucks San Jose's Guadalupe river dry" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">California drought sucks San Jose's Guadalupe river dry</a></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img title="" alt="" src=""></a></p><p><em>Have an idea for how to address the drought with design? Submit your ideas to the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Dry Futures competition</a>!</em></p> Think you live in a nice county? Find out where it stands on the nationwide Natural Amenities Index. Alexander Walter 2015-08-20T12:01:00-04:00 >2015-08-24T22:36:05-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="479" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Ventura County, Calif., is the absolute most desirable place to live in America. I know this because in the late 1990s the federal government devised a measure of the best and worst places to live in America, from the standpoint of scenery and climate. The "natural amenities index" is intended as "a measure of the physical characteristics of a county area that enhance the location as a place to live."</p></em><br /><br /><p>Wanna find out how well or how poorly your home county scored? Head over to the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em> article</a> and hover your mouse over the interactive map. (Residents of the Great Lakes Region - prepare yourselves for disappointment.)</p> Drought, climate change, misuse: SPIEGEL takes an in-depth look at the global water shortage Alexander Walter 2015-08-19T11:00:00-04:00 >2015-08-24T22:30:15-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="336" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>It is a region where America, the global superpower, looks more like a developing nation [...]. Indeed, the water crisis is becoming a humanitarian one -- because the absurd agricultural policy of many arid regions in California is being carried to extremes. More recklessly than elsewhere, wetlands in the state are being dried out to make irrigated agriculture possible. Agriculture makes up 2 percent of California's GDP, and yet it consumes 80 percent of the state's water.</p></em><br /><br /><p>More on California's drought:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Selling residents on a water park during a drought</a></li><li><a title="Will California's drought turn the state into something like the Australian outback?" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Will California's drought turn the state into something like the Australian outback?</a></li><li><a title='Coating the LA reservoir in "shade balls" will save 300M gallons of water' href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Coating the LA reservoir in "shade balls" will save 300M gallons of water</a></li><li><a title="California drought sucks San Jose's Guadalupe river dry" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">California drought sucks San Jose's Guadalupe river dry</a></li><li><a title="Archinect's &quot;Dry Futures&quot; competition featured by MSNBC; juror and NASA hydrologist Jay Famiglietti interviewed" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Archinect's "Dry Futures" competition featured by MSNBC; juror and NASA hydrologist Jay Famiglietti interviewed</a></li></ul><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="" src=""></a></p><p><em>Have an idea for how to address the drought with design? Submit your ideas to the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Dry Futures competition</a>!</em></p> Building New York City's sixth borough Alexander Walter 2015-08-18T11:40:00-04:00 >2015-08-24T21:54:11-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="348" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>If it is possible, financially and technologically, to build a three-acre park in the river west of New York City, then why isn&rsquo;t it possible to construct an artificial island at a higher elevation than downtown Manhattan that would serve as New York City&rsquo;s sixth borough? Many of the city&rsquo;s problems&mdash;real estate prices, developers purchasing blocks at a time, the astronomical cost of parking a car, or even a bicycle, even shoreline erosion&mdash;are problems of space. So why not just build more space?</p></em><br /><br /><p>Related:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Visions of LoLo, a Neighborhood Rising From Landfill</a></p>