How to improve food systems by looking to nature for design solutions – this was the brief given to entrants in the Biomimicry Institute’s Global Design Challenge, which announced its finalists this week. The selection committee has drawn up a list of eight teams, each of which has been invited to prototype its solution in an accelerator program that will award US$100,000 to the winner.
A new farm-to-table community, said to be the first in California, has
opened in the city of Davis. The Cannery is made up of more than 500 energy-efficient homes, open spaces and trails surrounded and fed by a 7.4-ac (3-ha) working
With the exceptions of wood and bamboo, bicycle frames usually aren't made from sustainable resources. And although some programs
do exist, we generally don't think of old bike frames getting recycled.
Italian design studio Eurocompositi is setting out to change that,
however, with its 3D-printed Bhulk mountain bike frame.
A community space, garden and kitchen in the King's Cross area of London
is feeding its customers with food grown in skips (aka dumpsters). The Skip Garden is
designed to be easily moved around unused development spaces. It is
built with recycled materials and employs organic farming techniques.
A Welsh university claims to have built the UK’s first smart low-carbon energy-positive house. The Solcer House was built by Cardiff University’s Solcer Project, part of the LCRI Programme (Low Carbon Research Institute). It was designed as a prototype with off-the-shelf technologies to show how low-carbon targets could be met.
An Austrian company is building trailer homes that are designed not only to be compact, but with self-sufficiency in mind, too. Wohnwagon's trailers provide 25 sq m (269 sq ft) of living space and have their own off-grid electricity, water and waste systems. They can also be used as offices, guest rooms or cafes.
An organization in which Paypal founder Peter Thiel is an investor is
aiming to build a floating city-state by 2020. The Seasteading Institute
says semi-independent floating cities would provide an opportunity to
try out new modes of government and could also tackle a number of other
Motivated by the grim reality of agricultural vulnerabilities to climate change and the growing recognition of the health and productivity benefits of plants in the workplace, Chris Wilkins spent almost a decade developing a PodPlants – a portable, lightweight, modular vertical garden with a unique design and watering system.
A new living wall is being claimed as the largest in Europe. Measuring 1,027 sq m (11,055 sq ft), it comprises around 97,000 plants and is installed along the sides of a recently built multistory parking structure at the headquarters of the UK's National Grid on the outskirts of Warwick.
For most of human history, we've lived in groups a lot larger than our family unit, and reaped considerable benefits from it. Modern urban life, on the other hand, has moved in a different direction; privacy, disconnection, self sufficiency. Eco-village communities are aiming to buck that trend, and to that end Smart Urban Villages is planning to create medium-density, sustainably designed housing communities with optional shared meals, mortgage-free long term leases and pools of shared vehicles to cut down on car ownership costs.