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.

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Living Architecture Tour of Toronto

If you’re in Toronto or visiting you can now go on a special tour of the city that will reveal all the cool living architecture! It’s a free tour that you can download and go on anytime you’d like.

Toronto abounds with green roofs and walls, but most people aren’t aware since living infrastructure is often hidden atop buildings or behind closed doors. This tour reveals our city’s vegetative roofs and walls.

Living architecture offers a cornucopia of benefits, which you can experience by looking, smelling, touching and listening. #LivingArchTOur helps Torontonians and visitors to our wonderful city experience these benefits for themselves.

Try the tour!

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A Futuristic Conclusion to HIGHRISE

HIGHRISE is back with another look into how we humans live in our built environments. We’ve looked at HIGHRISE before (Out My Window and One Millionth Tower) and this last iteration is just as captivating.

We are becoming a vertical—and digital—species. Billions of us live in highrises, and three billion of us are connected to the Internet. Universe Within takes us into the apartments, hearts, minds and computers of vertical citizens around the world to reveal the digital human condition in the 21st century. Trapped in our highrise units, can we find love, hate, peace, God, community—or a better world—online?

Stories include a mother in Ramallah who tries to stay connected with her family in Gaza; a team of competitive video game players in Seoul who live, work and train together in a highrise compound; a Mumbai teenager who records corrupt government officials in the hopes of saving her building from illegal demolition; as well as young Iraqi refugees in a Toronto suburban highrise, taking part in a “Girls Learning Code” program to learn how to create video games.

Check it out.

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Seoul Starts Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is a possible food production solution as suburban sprawl consumes arable land. The new style of farming essentially is a farm in a skyscraper; they have yet to demonstrate commercial value but it’s inevitable that these farms will be normal fixtures in urban centres; Korea wants to be on the leading edge of this.

The farms would be three stories high, with vegetables and crops grown on the second and third floors, while the first floor would serve as a classroom for teaching agriculture, city officials said Tuesday.

The farms will be computer controlled to provide the right light, temperature and humidity, and check carbon dioxide levels.

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Urban Living Cheaper, More Sustainable Than Suburban

UrbanVSuburban

Years of car-focused suburban designs have unleashed problems in the 21st century that we will have to deal with and accommodate. The years of the suburbs are coming to an end and it can’t be soon enough. With every passing years more and more municipalities discover that urban design is the better choice.

The above image is composed of data taken from a report done by Halifax in 2005. Undoubtably the costs of supporting suburban households has only increased relative to urban housing.

Recently, the New Climate Economy released a report titled Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl and advocates for a change to policies to encourage better urban design.

The report, Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl—written for the New Climate Economy by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, in partnership with LSE Cities—details planning and market distortions that foster sprawl, and smart growth policies that can help correct these distortions.

Sprawl increases the distance between homes, businesses, services and jobs, which raises the cost of providing infrastructure and public services by at least 10% and up to 40%. The most sprawled American cities spend an average of $750 on infrastructure per person each year, while the least sprawled cities spend close to $500. In its Better Growth, Better Climate report, the New Climate Economy has found that acting to implement smarter urban growth policies on a global scale could reduce urban infrastructure capital requirements by more than US$3 trillion over the next 15 years.

The New York Times ran an article on urban versus suburban costs back in 2010.

So we set out to do the math, based on an apartment and a house in the New York metropolitan area. Here’s what we found: a suburban lifestyle costs about 18 percent more than living in the city. Even a house in the suburbs with a price tag substantially lower than an urban apartment will, on a monthly basis, often cost more to keep running.

It’s very clear that as we populations grow urban design needs to focus on sustainable infrastructure planning and all of us should encourage it.

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