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John Hantz, of the financial services firm Hantz Group, hopes to rejuvenate the city of Detroit by creating the world’s largest urban farm. Hantz Farms – owned, operated and staffed by residents of Detroit – could provide the city with “hundreds of “green” jobs and a generous supply of fresh, local, safe produce for local families and the region in general.” You can read about the project in more detail at hantzfarmsdetroit.
The city of Masdar – a planned community near Abu Dhabi that’s due to be completed by 2016 – is slated to become the world’s first zero carbon, zero waste city powered entirely by renewable energy sources.
The city center (which includes a plaza, retail shops, entertainment complex, convention center, and two hotels) will be covered by giant “sunflower umbrellas” which will provide shade, store heat during the day, and warm the area by night.
Hat Tip: designboom.com
Mudgirls is a network of women on the gulf islands and remote areas of Vancouver Island, Canada, who build natural structures and offer assistance to owner-builders who are “embarking on their own natural building adventure.” They build with cob* as well as other natural material such as strawbale, driftwood, adobe, cordwood and recycled materials like glass, car tires, glass bottles and more.
* Cob is a sculptable mixture of sand, clay, straw and water. It is mixed by hand and by foot, and is applied by hand. Cob construction, also known as earthen building or natural building, is an ancient tradition used by people all over the world. Cob construction creates structures that provide excellent thermal mass and is great in passive solar heating (using the sun’s light to help with heating.)
The Roundhouse is “an eco-home of wood frame, cobwood and recycled window walls, straw-insulated turf roof; with solar power and wind turbine for electricity, compost toilet and reed beds for grey water. “ For over 10 years, it has faced demolition after the Pembrokeshire (UK) Coast National Park Authority claimed it threatened biodiversity. Huge public support, however, helped lead to a 2008 decision to permit several low impact roundhouses and the project continues to survive.
The Earthship Internship Program is open to anyone with an interest in sustainability and a willingness to work hard. People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Accepted interns will have the opportunity to learn Earthship building concepts and techniques while working full time alongside the Earthship contruction crew for approximately one month.
More information about Earthship Internships here.
On the road for the fifth year in a row, The Big Green Bus is a vegetable-oil powered classroom on wheels manned by 15 Dartmouth University students who’re helping promote climate change awareness and action. The bus is outfitted with solar panels and an interior made entirely of sustainable materials. You can follow the Big Green Bus at thebiggreenbus.org. While you’re there, check to see when they plan to be in your neighborhood.
The High Line was a 1.5-mile-long unused elevated rail structure running through NYC’s lower west side. Today, thanks to community-based group Friends of the High Line and famed architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, the amazing public space is being reclaimed and refitted with pathways resembling train tracks, weed-like plants and benches made of wood, concrete and steel. The southern section, from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street, is now open to the public. For details, visit thehighline.org.
Hat Tip: coolhunting.com
Join three urbanites (one American, one Finn, one dog of no fixed nationality), displaced to the Finnish countryside, as they explore the nature around them, attempt to grow their own vegetables on a steep, rocky hill in a northern climate, compost all of their organic waste, forage for mushrooms, berries and other wild foods in the Finnish forest, bake pies, and knit their own socks. Blog at ahousecallednut.com.
The Findhorn Foundation is a spiritual community, eco-village and an international centre for holistic education in Moray, Scotland, helping to unfold a new human consciousness and create a positive and sustainable future. The Park is the hub of the community, welcoming residential guests and day visitors. It is the site of many ecological buildings and initiatives, and home to 300 people.
Findhorn has less impact on the environment than any other community in the developed world, despite the fact that its thousands of visitors and residents still fly too much.