Dystopian Farm

Eric Vergne’s Dystopian Farm project is all about urban vertical farming. He envisions urban farming in New York City to be done vertically in some really strange looking skyscrapers.

Designed for the Hudson Yard area of Manhattan, Eric Vergne’s Dystopian Farm aims to provide New York with a sustainable food source while creating a dynamic social space that integrates producers with consumers. Based upon the “material logic of plant mechanics”, the biomorphic skyscraper is modeled after the plant cells of ferns and provides space for farms, residential areas, and markets. These organic structures will harness systems such as airoponic watering, nutrient technology and controlled lighting and CO2 levels to meet the food demands of future populations.

IllegalSigns.ca Helps Toronto Win Right to Remove Billboards

We’ve followed the hard work of IllegaSigns.ca before and now they’ve helped Toronto city council win a case in court against billboards companies. The Ontario Supreme Court ruled that Toronto has the right to take down illegal billboards primarily because there is a large public outcry. This is a far cry from banning billboards (like in Sao Paulo), but this a huge step for Toronto.

From IllegalSigns.ca:

Because Strategic Media’s case against the City was brought for the purpose of delay — so they can earn revenue from their illegal billboards while their frivolous case drags through the courts — this represents a complete victory for Toronto.

Here are some highlights of the decision, which basically proves that being a pest really pays off:

  • The City has been inundated with complaints since 2006 from a public interest group regarding the proliferation of signs in Toronto’s downtown core. Moreover, in the process of harmonizing the various sign by-laws, the City received public input to the effect that there are too many signs and regulation of the City’s streetscape is inadequate. Thus, the City argues, there is evidence of actual public interest in this issue and harm to that interest if the injunction is granted.” Paragraph 33
  • “While I can assume that the public interest favours compliance with the existing sign by-laws, there is also evidence of specific public interest in this case in the form of the complaints by a public interest group and the comments obtained by the City in the process of harmonizing its sign by-laws.” Paragraph 40

Seed Bank Saves Seeds

The ‘doomsday vault’ is getting more attention and love to save seeds. They’ve created a new, expanded, goal to save 100,000 seeds. This is good news because having a well-kept seed bank to preserve biodiversity can prove invaluable if some of the plants die out or are struck by a horrible disease. THink of it has a global insurance policy on plants.

Countries participating in the programme including Ireland, have assembled extensive duplicate seed collections to match those held at home. These are then to be delivered to the vault which will hold them in perpetuity at -18 degrees, something that should keep them safe for thousands of years, Dr Fowler said.

By the end of February there will be about 400,000 varieties in the vault.

Ireland’s seeds are expected to arrive either later this month or by April, Dr Fowler said.

The ongoing project is separate to this new initiative to rescue threatened seed collections in 46 countries, he continued.

Many countries struggle to maintain their seed banks to an international standard, leaving them at risk of partial or even total loss.

“There are a number of small seed banks around the world where the facilities are pretty poor. The seeds are basically dying in their packages,” he said.

“If we sit and wait we will have another wave of extinctions in agricultural biodiversity.”

Trust staff will visit 49 institutes where seeds are held, using funding provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

Minds in Motion

Minds in Motion is an international online community and learning network on sustainable mobility, supported by the Dutch Ministry of Transport and Platform Sustainable Mobility.

Our mission is to speed up the adoption of sustainable mobility technologies and behaviour across Europe and beyond. We hope to do this by enabling people interested in sustainable mobility to connect to each other, discuss projects, form partnerships, exchange ideas, and generally contribute to the spread of knowledge, experience and best practice in sustainable mobility.

The MindsinMotion.net Community has members from all around Europe and beyond. Currently, our focal countries are Austria, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. However, we do keep track of the most interesting developments in other countries as well.

Greener Homes for Aussies and Brits

Both the British and Australian governments have announced that they will help home owners green their homes. Australia is offering 2.2 million homes a free insulation upgrade and more financial incentives for solar water heating. In the UK, it was announced that the government will help people with a full ‘eco-makeover’.

More than one in four homes in the UK will be offered a complete eco-makeover under ambitious plans expected to be announced this week to slash fuel bills and cut global warming pollution.

The campaign is thought to involve giving 7m houses and flats a complete refit to improve insulation, and will be compared to the 10-year programme that converted British homes to gas central heating in the 1960s and 1970s. Householders could also be encouraged to install small-scale renewable and low-carbon heating systems such as solar panels and wood-burning boilers.

In total, it is thought the Department of Energy and Climate Change will commit to cutting a third of greenhouse gas emissions from households by 2020.

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