FEATURE REPORT/ ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Human impact on the environment worldwide has led to a growing imbalance in the food chain, with disruptive and unpredictable consequences on the ecosystem. This critical issue of a broken food chain raises an almost obvious question of how can man create a healthier, more equitable, truly regenerative food system without learning from the natural ecosystems and organisms that are an inextricable part of it?
Earlier in 2015, The Biomimicry Institute’s Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, asked participants to tackle any aspect of the food system that could be improved by looking to nature for design guidance. The focus was on key food and agriculture issues like waste, packaging, agricultural pest management, food distribution, energy use, and other solutions. The finalists who were chosen from an ocean of designers, architects, biologists, engineers, students, nature-lovers, and big thinkers have proposed solutions which careen on a hopeful, albeit fantastic future prediction. Taking the competition a step further, is the opportunity to prototype these proposals through the Biomimicry Institute’s first ever bio-mimicry accelerator focused on food system innovation. For full list of project summaries from the Raycanderson Foundation, check this out.
Read the whole piece here.
Published by Grist.
ONLINE PUBLICATION OF THE WEEK
‘Residential Apartments Sustainability Plan’
Published by City of Sydney
In August 2015, the city council of Sydney approved the Residential Apartments Sustainability Plan. This plan is designed to reduce the environmental impact of apartments by setting targets, outcome areas and practical actions for increasing sustainability in apartment buildings. As part of this plan, Sydney will work towards higher Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) standards, investigate BASIX certificates, pilot Electronic Building Passports and create a High-Rise Leaders Retrofit Program for existing buildings.
The plan comes in response to the increasing number of apartments but with minimum sustainability targets. By 2030, 80% of the City’s residents will live in apartments and 90% of all new homes built will be in high rise apartment buildings. Prospective buyers of new apartments will now be shown a BASIX ratings certificate, so they can be aware of how well the building performs environmentally. Buildings with better sustainability standards can reduce bills for owners and tenants in the long run, and this is being used as a major selling point for new apartments.
Sydney has also secured a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Urban Sustainability Directors Network to implement the High Rise Leaders Retrofit Program, which aims to make existing apartment buildings more sustainable.
Read or download the publication here.
VIDEO/ PODCAST OF THE WEEK
‘How we shut out smallness in our cities – and how to get it back!’
Created by Massive Small
Andrew Campbell of Massive Small explains a simple story of the phases architecture went through: From the emergent, timeless way of building, through classical formalism, to the point of modernism, where the city began to be perceived as a design solution that the architect could solve. Then finally to the neoliberal period, where architecture has been relegated to a simple product. Watch this talk to find out why we no longer love the places that we live, and how to regain the human centric, sustainable power of smallness in our cities, that comes about whenever we take control and responsibility over the places that we live and work.