I greatly appreciate new innovations and ideas, especially ones that strive to be more sustainable and invested in the long-term preservation of our world. I recently came across some enlightening philosophies and projects that provide insight into ways we can live and exist more responsibly and thoughtfully.
While these may not necessarily be the solutions that save our world, I certainly like to acknowledge creative, energetic and intelligent people who follow through on concepts and propose novel approaches to improving our civilization.
Here are four ideas I am particularly motivated by:
Idea 1 – Closed Loop
Michael Pawlyn is a progressive and idea-driven architect, who has made some revolutionary propositions for ways we can make our world more sustainable by using nature. His notions are holistic, idealistic and inspiring, and predominately use nature’s design as the foundation. One of his primary theories is implementing a closed loop system to replace our linear way of living. In nature, everything is reused and recycled. As a society, we’ve drifted so far away from nature and behaviors that were once instinctive to man that we have to make significant efforts to get back there. The open loop in which we live is damaging and means we are no longer sustainable. The closed loop methodology essentially means turning waste into opportunities and reusable resources. If executed properly, it could save money and the environment.
Idea 2- Vertical Farming and Urban Farming
According to www.verticalfarm.com, by 2050, 80% of the earth’s population will reside in urban centers. It seems counterintuitive to farm thousands of miles away in rural areas where there are smaller populations and increased costs to transport the goods. With vertical farming, in which crops can grow in urban buildings and be available to those many individuals in the direct community. Architecturally, this is fairly simple to execute with the proper resources.
Similarly, urban farming encourages safe, organic and locally grown food. However, the process is still too expensive to execute because of the significant electricity costs associated with the hydroponic system and high-efficiency LED lighting, but it is none-the-less thought provoking.
Idea 3 – Greening Infrastructure
Many major cities in recent years have transformed previously cemented and railroad jungles, to green and pedestrian-friendly parks. The High Line in New York City for example, has provided a raised garden walkway on the west side, allowing people to walk above on the old railroad tracks and avoid fossil fuel transportation. Detroit is also embracing this idea with a newly developed GreenWays Initiative which connects much of the major city pockets to be more conducive to a green lifestyle. The Dequindre Cut, is particularly noteworthy because it connects the Detroit riverfront with the local farmer’s market.
Dequindre Cut Before
Dequindre Cut After
Idea 4 – Portable Housing
A portable, multipurpose and eco-friendly housing solution by Felipe Campolina, a Brazilian freelance architect brings to mind ways we can think outside the box – literally. His concept features a skyscraper composed of hundreds of mobile units in modular design to increase efficiency and transportability. In theory, the design allows for people to move their home easily and sustainably. Some of the eco-friendly features include:
1) Solar paneling to heat water
2) Wind powered electricity generation
3) Recyclable building materials
4) Reuse of water
These people, designs and theories inspire me to think more creatively both architecturally and in my own behaviors.