Archives for category: Sustainability

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What could our cities look and feel like if we kept the sensory experience and local ecology in mind when we design and manage urban environments? I have the sneaking suspicion that they would be be happier and healthier places to live.

Designing in a more holistic way is well within our reach and it just requires us to collaborate more across sectors and disciplines. It’s in this vein that our McGill Sounds in the City team, in collaboration with the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), Laval University and the Direction de la Santé Publique de Montréal, brought together professionals (urban planners, sound professionals, health professionals, engineers, designers, elected officials, researchers, etc.) from the public, private, academic and non-profit sectors for an afternoon participatory workshop to collaborate on ways to help our cities sound better. Multidisciplinary teams shared their expertise and experiences with one another as they worked to improve the sound environments on three different case studies: 1.) a quiet zone park area being disrupted by construction; 2.) a high rise building being constructed adjacent to an artery; and 3.) a residential area undergoing significant commercial development. New connections were formed amongst the participants, which we hope will seed interesting future collaborations.

Our urban populations will continue to increase and we can no longer afford to work in isolation if we want to tackle system challenges our cities face now and in the future. As Buckminster Fuller put it, “We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.”

Visit the following URL to view some photos from the event: https://www.behance.net/gallery/83068631/Sounds-in-the-City-(July-2019)

Our July 9th McGill participatory workshop was hosted by ÉTS and also created in partnership with the Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux (MSSS) and the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC).

Art of Cities Conference, Vancouver, May 24-26, 2017 (Photo: Christine Kerrigan)

Art of Cities Conference, Vancouver, May 24-26, 2017 (Photo: Christine Kerrigan)

Had a fantastic visit with CityStudio to learn how their innovation hub is collaborating with City staff, faculty, students, and community to co-create experimental projects to make Vancouver a more sustainable and enjoyable city. A big thank you to the CityStudio founders Duane Elverum and Janet Moore, the CityStudio staff, students and alum, as well as the University Faculty members and City staff for sharing your stories and giving us such a warm welcome to Vancouver.

Jeanie Morton, Janet Moore and Duane Elverum share their story. (Photo: Christine Kerrigan)

Jeanie Morton, Janet Moore and Duane Elverum share their story. (Photo: Christine Kerrigan)

Many fruitful group discussions during the Art of Cities Conference in Vancouver. (Photo: CityStudio)

Many group discussions during the Art of Cities Conference in Vancouver. (Photo: CityStudio)

Jeanie Morton explains how she plays matchmaker between CityStudio, Faculty, City staff, Community organizations and students. (Photo: Christine Kerrigan)

Jeanie Morton explains how she plays matchmaker between CityStudio, Faculty, City staff, Community organizations and students. (Photo: Christine Kerrigan)

Mayor Gregor Robertson gave us a warm welcome. (Photo: Christine Kerrigan)

Mayor Gregor Robertson gave us a warm welcome. (Photo: Christine Kerrigan)

Mayor Gregor Robertson shows his support for how  CityStudio is enhancing the city of Vancouver. (Photo: Christine Kerrigan)

Mayor Gregor Robertson shows his support for how CityStudio is enhancing the city of Vancouver. (Photo: Christine Kerrigan)

Lunch meetings with City staff and University faculty to discuss their involvement with CityStudio. (Photo: Christine Kerrigan)

Lunch meetings with City staff and University faculty to discuss their collaborative projects with CityStudio. (Photo: Christine Kerrigan)

Learning from one another in break-out sessions. (Photo: CityStudio)

Learning from one another in break-out sessions. (Photo: CityStudio)

Sandstorm by Marco Casagrande, Photo by Nikita Wu

Sandstorm by Marco Casagrande, Photo by Nikita Wu

Sandstorm by Marco Casagrande, Photo by Nikita Wu

Sandstorm by Marco Casagrande, Photo by Nikita Wu

Sandstorm by Marco Casagrande, Photo by Nikita Wu

Sandstorm by Marco Casagrande, Photo by Nikita Wu

Sandstorm by Marco Casagrande, Photo by Nikita Wu

Sandstorm by Marco Casagrande, Photo by Nikita Wu

Sandstorm by Marco Casagrande, Photo by Nikita Wu

Sandstorm by Marco Casagrande, Photo by Nikita Wu

Sandstorm by Marco Casagrande, Photo by Nikita Wu

Sandstorm by Marco Casagrande, Photo by Nikita Wu

Really nice use of natural light in this architectural installation by Marco Casagrande in Wenduine, Belgium. For more info and photos, check out this article in ArchDaily.

 

Since a bit more than one fourth of the Netherlands is below sea level, we often forget how human interventions and machines (dams, pumps, etc.) have changed the natural landscape and altered the interaction between people and nature. Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde and his team at Studio Roosegaarde created Waterlicht, an installation of wavy lines of light composed of LEDs, software, lenses and steam machines to create a virtual flood and simulate waves and currents passing overhead. The installation is an interesting reminder of the delicate and constantly evolving interaction between humans and nature.

Waterlicht has been on display at the Museumplein from May 11-13, 2015. It was originally commissioned by the Dutch Water Board and was previously displayed in the flood channel of the River IJssel near Westervoort.

WaterLicht

The Future is Cities

The Future is Cities


I’m glad we’re moving more toward sharing and co-ownership of possessions slowly but surely (Uber, AirBnB, Bixi/Hubway, co-working spaces, etc.). It’s a win win for society and the planet without a doubt. As stats show, our cities will be accommodating exponentially larger population as we move forward and the numbers are only expected to continue to climb. Since we can teach our toddlers to get past the “Mine!” phase, I’m confident that we can too. Here’s a good read: The Future is Cities.

bund_tree_concert_1

bund_tree_concert_2

I simply loved this project! It’s clever, aesthetically interesting and extremely effective.

BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) ran a unique charity concert in Berlin to raise awareness of the 15,000 trees the city had lost over the last few years. A nearly 100-year-old chestnut tree was transformed into a street musician and played music for the preservation of all his fellow trees. When the first chestnut in the Berlin park of Monbijou began to fall in early September 2012, a construction of membranes installed underneath the tree translated the bounce of every chestnut into sound sequences. In a harmonious concert with the wind and the creaking of the tree, a unique organic sound composition was created. Visitors were invited to listen to the concert and donate to the cause. If someone sent in his donation and name by text, the tree would thank the donor through a personal greeting that appeared on the membrane. Online donors also received an exclusive download track. The Tree Concert lasted for one week (17-23 September, 2012) and after the concert, Berlin DJ star Robot Koch produced a remix which continues to raise funds.

The project was created by BBDO Proximity Berlin, Ketchum (PR), and a creative pool of artists from the Gang of Berlin. The campaign won a Gold Design Lion at Cannes International Festival of Creativity.
Location: Monbijoupark, Berlin, Germany

 

A project called “Tree Philly” is looking to Citizenvestor for seed money

We’ve all heard of crowdfunding, so nothing new there. However, crowdfunding for public works projects? Interesting…Citizinvestor is a start-up that is connecting municipalities and citizens to fund public work projects of their choice. Municipalities submit projects and citizens also have the opportunity to petition for new projects as well. I’m curious to see how this concept pans out and I may have to test it out first hand.

Radio Boston aired a spot on crowdfunding public works projects: http://radioboston.wbur.org/2012/11/06/crowdfunding

Citizinvestor: http://www.citizinvestor.com

OK, I don’t want to freak my NYC peeps out, but I had to share this video. I thought it was a great use of storytelling, visuals and data to make the issue of carbon emissions a lot more tangible and real. It’s tough to duck or hide from those heaping mounds of blue bubbles piling one on top of the other at alarming rates.

The good news? Many people are consciously changing their behaviors related to purchase decisions, energy consumption and transport choices, and governments and cities are rethinking how we structure urban environments. However, we clearly have lots of opportunities to make improvements for the future.

NYC's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A single hour’s emissions from New York City: 6,204 one-tonne spheres

For more info on the video: http://ht.ly/eUKLn

Design by the architecture firm BIG


Design by architecture firm BIG


Was at TEDxEast in NYC on Monday. Favorite talk? Bjarke Ingels from the Danish architecture firm BIG speaking on “Hedonistic Sustainability.” Anyone who can turn a waste treatment plant into a ski slope that puffs smoke rings to display consumption impact is doing some BIG time creative think’n!
More on the project…


A building that generates more energy than it consumes? Now, that’s what I like to hear! Designed by Kiss + Cathcart Architects, Arup Engineers and Wallace Robertson Todd Landscape Architects, the Solar 2 – Green Energy, Arts and Education Center is New York City’s first carbon-neutral, net-zero energy building.