A handful of scientists and policy makers are...grappling with the long-term environmental effect of an economy that runs increasingly on gotta-have-it-now gratification [...]
The environmental cost can include the additional cardboard — 35.4 million tons of containerboard were produced in 2014 in the United States, with e-commerce companies among the fastest-growing users — and the emissions from increasingly personalized freight services. — NY Times
As internet retailers compete to provide as-close-to-instant services to satiate our increasing desire for rapid gratification, our collective ecological footprint grows. The problem isn't just the cardboard boxes piling up on your doorstep, but also the carbon emissions required to get that...
The appetite of western consumers for home furnishings has reached its peak – according to Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer.
The Swedish company’s head of sustainability told a Guardian conference that consumption of many familiar goods was at its limit.
“If we look on a global basis, in the west we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff … peak home furnishings,” Steve Howard said [...] — the Guardian
Related:Ikea and Airbnb: a match made in globalized heaven?Get a glimpse of these hacked IKEA kitchens by BIG, Henning Larsen, and NORM ArchitectsUN Refugee Agency Commissions 10k Ikea-designed Better SheltersWhy is Ikea a Non-profit?
The Digital Junkyard is an experiment in virtual salvage. It is a repository of donated digital information that is used to generate real physical and spatial objects...This project is an embodiment of the growing collective intelligence that technology affords us; and an experiment in ideas about digital ecology. It also honours the time and energy that designers put into testing and making mistakes. — digital junkyard
No, this isn't some snarky Craigslist ad. Recently launched by architecturally trained designer and artist Car Martin, the Digital Junkyard is a website with a mission to transform as much of your unwanted vector files into a new physical object or creative idea of sorts, in the real world. In...
Since the capping and closure of Fresh Kills’ five mounds, this 2,200-acre expanse of wetlands, marshlands, dry lowlands, forests, and grasslands has evolved into an unusual combination of natural and engineered beauty. — urbanomnibus.net
Originally a patch of creeks and marshland on the western shore of Staten Island, the area now known as Fresh Kills became a major landfill for New York City in 1948, once Robert Moses bought the land for housing development. His plan was to solidify the marshland with waste for a few years, and...
Even on a dry day, tens of millions of gallons of dirty water dumps into the ocean through the region’s vast storm drain system. The 3,500-mile network was designed and built to empty streets of rainwater, but tons of litter also flow into the ocean through the intricate system of curbside drainages, underground channels, pumps and creeks. Stormwater pollution puts beach swimmers at risk, particularly after it rains. Marine animals and plants can also get sick or die — LA Times
This is a really fascinating piece that attempts to trace how a cigarette butt flicked into a gutter in Bel Air could make its way across LA and end up in the ocean via Marina del Rey. Visualizations like this feel important because, while we may notice signs on the sides of the sidewalk saying...
Nicholas Korody recapped Michael Maltzan’s recent talk at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles, in which Maltzan explained "the relationship his projects hold to their infrastructural, urban and social contexts". Justine Testado reported in from the WUHO Gallery in Hollywood...
Nicholas Korody penned, Shitting Architecture: the dirty practice of waste removal. Therein drawing lessons; from Slavoj Zizek on the toilet and Timothy Morton (of Object-Oriented Ontology [OOO]) on sustainability as the preservation of the status quo, he argues that "Under the weight of the...
A team of researchers from Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia are working on another solution: A swarm of tiny robots that could cover the construction site of the future, quickly and cheaply building greener buildings of any size. [...]
"The robots can work simultaneously while performing different tasks, and having a fixed size they can create objects of virtually any scale, as far as material properties permit” — fastcoexist.com
The long and varied history of waste and its removal in New York from the 18th century onwards is the subject of Elizabeth Royte’s 2005 book Garbage Land and of the Urban Omnibus City of Systems video she narrates. In the video, Royte describes how her research into where exactly her trash was going after she threw it out has led her to become a more ecological citizen, with “a systems view” of our interconnected processes of manufacturing, transportation, disposal and re-use. — Urban Omnibus
It works like this: people empty their latrines into a sewage receptacle (currently, latrines are often emptied into rivers), the waste gets funneled through a series of tubes and is pressurized at extreme temperatures, and the byproduct is clean, possibly drinkable water. Deshusses describes the process as “a pressure cooker on steroids.” — wunc.org
What if the rubbish was refabricated to become real urban spaces or buildings? If it is plausible to adapt current machinery, how much material is available? At first sight, any sanitary landfill may be viewed as an ample supply of building materials. Heavy industrial technologies crush cars or to automatically sort out garbage are readily available. 3-D printing has exhausting capabilities if adjusted to larger scales. — bbc.com
'[R]emember that a place like Dubai really emerged in the last 50 years. It was a sleepy, you know, Bedouin town half a century ago. And what you do is when you bring in the world’s, you know, most sophisticated architects and engineers, you can literally build anything, including a building of 140 or 150 stories. But designing a municipal network of sewage treatment is in some ways more complex. - KATE ASCHER — Boing Boing
Terry Gross recently interviewed Kate Ascher about her skyscraper book, and ended up discussing the common lack of sewage connections in Dubai - including the Burj Khalifa. So they end up using trucks to cart the sewage to the central treatment plant, where they often end up queuing for 24-hours...
Corner’s plan identifies five main areas in Freshkills, each with distinct offerings, designed and programmed to maximize specific site opportunities and constraints. Planned features include nature preserves, animal habitats, a seed plot, walking and bike paths, picnic areas, comfort stations, event staging areas, and every other amenity you could possibly ask for in a public park. — blogs.smithsonianmag.com
Designed by Brighton-based architect Duncan Baker-Brown, it will be built on the University of Brighton's campus in the city centre from waste and surplus material from local building sites and other local industries.
The walls will be made of waste timber products. Ply "cassettes" containing waste material will be slotted in between the timber structure. These cassettes will be removable so that new building technologies can be added easily. — guardian.co.uk
As contemporary governments and citizens increasingly demand that reclaimed landfills be many things to many people — energy producers, social nodes, memorials — and also that they interface with local infrastructure, we would do well to study the historical precedent of Monte Testaccio... [whose] longevity and vitality make it an ideal model of what a landfill can become: an agent of civic engagement and an urban catalyst. This is the promise of landfill reclamation. — Places Journal
The reuse of waste and remediation of landfills have inspired some of the most innovative contemporary landscape and urban design projects. On Places, Michael Ezban looks back two millennia and explores Monte Testaccio, the great garbage dump of imperial Rome. In this enduring landform — "a...
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