A Rebel Architect in Vietnam Creates Green Space

Al Jazeera has a series on rebel architects who are improving the world around them. In the documentary they released today they look at award-winning architect Vo Trong Nghia’s work in reshaping Vietnamese buildings to contain more green space.

This film follows Nghia as he tries to find support for his vision to create a vertical farming city; and at the same time to implement low-cost housing solutions for those left behind by Vietnam’s economic boom.

“Green architecture helps people live harmoniously with nature and elevates human life by embracing the powers of the sun, wind and water into living space. If the current way of thinking does not change, sooner or later citizens will actually live in concrete jungles. For a modern architect, the most important mission is to bring green spaces back to the earth.

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Adding Bike Lanes Reduces Traffic Delays

Bike lanes are wonderful. We’ve already seen that bike lanes create jobs, save lives, and help local economies. Now from New York City there is a transportation report that says adding bike lanes can reduce traffic delays.

So what happened here to overcome the traditional idea that bike lanes lead to car delay? No doubt many factors were involved, but a DOT spokesperson tells CityLab that the steady traffic flow was largely the result of adding left-turn pockets. In the old street configurations, cars turned left from a general traffic lane; in the new one, they merged into a left-turn slot beside the protected bike lane (below, an example from 8th and 23rd). This design has two key advantages: first, traffic doesn’t have to slow down until the left turn is complete, and second, drivers have an easier time seeing bike riders coming up beside them.

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TreeCanada Maps Its Impact

TreeCanada has planted around 80 million trees! They do this because trees make the world a better, healthier place for everybody. They also plant trees to rejuvenate school yards (ones that got paved over at some point) and to bring back areas damaged by industrial uses to their . This past month they launched an interactive map of their plantings.

The map displays a satellite image of Canada with interactive buttons that allow you to explore its tree planting initiatives. By clicking on an icon, visitors can learn about the location and number of trees planted, as well as the program and sponsor associated with that project. Below the map, further details are available, including the species of the trees planted and the environmental benefit expected. The map is currently populated with trees planted in 2013, however, over time the map will grow to include planting sites from past and present years.

“At Tree Canada, we believe that investing in trees will benefit both human and environmental health,” Mr. Rosen said. “Trees help communities by providing shade, absorbing excess water, producing oxygen and providing habitat for wildlife. As our many sponsors can attest to, when you invest in trees, you invest in a legacy that will benefit communities for decades to come.”

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You Should Replace Should With Could

Some new research hints that you should change how you think about issues and what to do. Often we think about things we should do and what we ought to do is ask what we could do.

Asking yourself, for example, “What should I do with my life?” tacitly implies that there’s a right and a wrong answer to that question. It seems that the word should can cause us to think in black and white, while could reveals the in-between shades of gray. “What initially seems like a problem that involves competing and incompatible principles turned out to be a problem that can be solved when we approach it with a ‘could’ mind-set,” Francesca Gino, one of the paper’s co-authors and author of Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan, said in an email to Science of Us.

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Using Fashion to Charge Electronics

Battery life on mobiles is never very good and this causes a drain on the electrical system. What if we were able to power our mobiles by just wearing clothes? Well, that’s a new field that is gaining more and more attention. The Guardian looked at a few ways we can use fashion to power our wares.

Kinetic energy
Professor Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman is a designer and author of Designing With Smart Textiles, due to be published in 2015. She says, “If you think about what traditional fashion is, it’s such a small part of the real world, but then when you look at performance fashion, clothing that has to do something, you see a much larger part of the population using them.”

Pailes-Friedman focuses her research on light and movement in smart textiles. “Really good design is when you don’t notice it. We have always lived and worked in clothing so we know how it functions, 98% of how we wear it is no mystery to us so technology being incorporated needs to be part of and as intuitive as our clothing.” An example of this seamless design might be kinetic energy, where movement generates energy.

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