The Tube is Heating up While London is Trying to Stay Cool

London’s tube system is literally heating up the city – and that’s a problem. A hundred years ago their subway stations were places to cool down during hot summer days and people had to wear sweaters while commuting. Today, this is no longer the case. The trains are heating the earth which in turn makes the entire tube too hot.

Cooling the tube is now a pressing issue and nifty ideas are being tried. New systems being tested tend to be green and benefit other parts of the city. Basically they are trying to transfer the heat to places that want it to save costs.

An experiment in Islington is trying that very thing using heat from the tube tunnels to warm up a municipal heating service provided to a housing estate. The advantage of this scheme is that it can remove heat in winter when it’s needed above ground. It may seem mildly annoying that surface users don’t want heat in summer when you’d think the tunnels are at their most oppressive, but in fact removing heat in winter helps during the summer.

If the clay surrounding the tunnel can be cooled in winter, it has more capacity to absorb heat in the summer.

As it happens, at this particular trial, the fans can also be reversed so that during the summer months, they can suck cool night time air down into the tunnels as well.

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Proof Protests Work: Trump’s Cancelled Plans

protest

‘Protesting it pointless’ is a refrain heard around the world by people who disavow public displays of disaffection. For the most part the idea of protesting being useless comes from the people in power who don’t want to be protested (or even questioned). This is evident when it comes to the thin-skinned president of the United States. President Trump has cancelled his trip to London because he’s worried that people will protest his presence.

He has apparently, in a recent telephone call to the prime minister, declared that he does not want to come if there are to be large-scale protests. The visit, we are told, is on hold.

Some may be surprised by this. From the violence and menace that became features of his ugly campaign, it was easy to assume that he liked a bit of edge at his public appearances. But on those occasions, he knew he would always have the support of far-right thugs and hangers-on who could drown out dissent and, if need be, throw a few punches at protesters, passers-by, anyone who would dare to question him. That intimidation, unprecedented in recent history, would have been more difficult to replicate here; he could hardly bring his street fighters with him. There are only so many seats on Air Force One.

Maybe he didn’t fancy the trip without Theresa there to hold his hand; to keep him strong and stable, as it were. Even he might blanch – all the way from Tango orange to the whitest white – at the idea of skipping through the Downing Street rose garden hand in hand with Phil the spreadsheet Hammond or Boris Johnson.

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A Farm in a Bomb Shelter

Zero Carbon Food is a new company that has started a farm in downtown London. If that doesn’t sound strange enough, the farm is a in a bomb shelter.

The company is using hydroponics and other modern technological approaches to food harvesting in order to make food even more local for Londoners. Has shipping costs and the time it takes to transport food increases there will be growing demand for urban farms.

Hopefully we’ll see even more hydroponic farms in dense urban centres soon!

The subterranean farm is optimized for growing crops like pea shoots, coriander, mustard leaf, rocket, radish and garlic chive: small, leafy greens with a short growth cycle – made even shorter through careful manipulation of the environment. Unlike outdoor fields at the mercy of variable weather, Zero Carbon Food can deliver a consistent product all year round. (A consistency that attracted at least one inquiry from an entrepreneurial druglord seeking a discreet cannabis farm).

The plants are picked and packed by hand in another part of the tunnel before distribution to restaurants, caterers and retailers under the brand Growing Underground. It’s already partnered with hyper-local food delivery company Farmdrop and is in discussions with supermarket Whole Foods.

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Artists Bring Peace to the Streets

le-policier-amoureux (digital)

Street art about peace is getting special attention in London these next few weeks. Artists from all over the world are going to explore the idea of ‘peace in our streets’ and what it means to them. It looks like it’ll be a great exhibit.

If you’re in London you should check it out.

The show will be titled Peace from the street up! and will feature work inspired by the theme of ‘peace in our cities’. The artists, some of whom come from conflict-affected regions, will reflect on opportunities for peaceful change in an increasingly urbanised world.

“Urban and street art has a long history of engaging with important social issues and harnessing peaceful social change through creativity and humour. We thought it would be fascinating to invite urban and street artists from around the world to reflect on what peace in their cities could look like.”

The exhibition will be part of Alert’s second Talking Peace Festival, a month-long series of events designed to spark conversations about peace through creativity. Exhibition and auction information, and a full list of participating artists will be available on www.talkingpeacefestival.org.

London Lowered Speed Limits to Save Lives

Cars kill. Or is it like the gun debate – cars don’t kill people drivers kill people? Regardless of fault the results of car use as a primary means of transportation causes health problems and needless death. Cities around the world are taking steps to try and hold back cars (or is it drivers?) from killing people. One sure-fire way that works is to lower the speed limit.

The City of London lowered their local speed limits and found that it made for safer streets. Other cities are finding the same strategy equally effective, yet here in Toronto will we ever see this? Our local councillors and crack-consuming mayor went out of their way to spend $300,000 to ensure cars can move faster at the expense of cyclists. The mayor himself has stated multiple times that the lives of non-drivers are worth less than taxpaying drivers. Torontotist looks into the issue while sharing the success of smarter cities than Toronto.

The move to reduce driving speeds in cities is based on some convincing statistics. Greater London contains roughly 400 zones with 20 mph speed limits, and these are credited with reducing traffic fatalities by 42 per cent. In London, Barcelona, Brussels, and a handful of other European cities, low-speed zones have resulted in significantly increased bike and foot traffic, according to a 2013 study, as people have begun to feel safer on city streets.

The U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in 2011 found that decreasing average driving speeds by just one mile per hour would reduce the accident rate by about 5 per cent. There has even been academic research on the success of lowered-speed zones in the U.K.

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