The Net Zero Elementary School: Modeling Sustainability for Kids and Design Community

Maker: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) Challenge: Compared to other municipal buildings within New York’s five boroughs, schools account for 40% of emissions—amounting to a significant impact on the city’s carbon footprint. Solution: SOM architects designed an energy efficient school on Staten Island, The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability, which generates all of its own power from renewable on-site …

Read: The Untapped Value of Organic Waste in Construction

What if instead of sending our organic waste to the landfill, incinerator or compost pile, we could give it another life as bricks, panels, carpets or insulation? Arup, the design and engineer firm, says this is not only possible, it’s a very valuable opportunity. In their latest report, The Urban Bio Loop, Arup aims to demonstrate a different, circular paradigm for …

Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future

This book is a valuable resource for architects and designers who want to implement innovative and sustainable materials in their work. Written by architect Blaine Brownell,  Transmaterial Next  catalogs sustainable materials “that redefine our physical environment.” Materials which not only have low to no environmental impact, but also deliver when it comes to performance and applicability. The catalog also exists digitally, as a …

Lillestrøm Bicycle Hotel Promotes Health and Reduces CO2

Maker: Architect Ibrahim Elhayawan and team from Various Architects. Commissioned by Norwegian National Railways and ROM Eiendom AS. Challenge: Encouraging more people in the city of Lillestrøm to use bicycles for their daily commute and general transportation, instead of emission producing cars and other motor vehicles. Solution:  A Bicycle Hotel that offers a safe and economical place for bike storage, conveniently located next to the train …

Jets Pearl: The Vacuum Toilet That Uses 90% Less Water to Flush

Maker: Jets Challenge: Increasing volumes of sewage worldwide that requires sanitation, coupled with traditional gravity water toilets which demand far too much of our precious energy and fresh water resources to function. Solution: The Jets Pearl vacuum toilet uses 90% less water than the conventional toilet—which comes out to less than 1 litre (1/4 gallon) of water per flush. This toilet, and Jets’ other vacuum systems, use …

How Do You Apply Gender Mainstreaming to Urban Planning?

First of all, let’s talk about what is Gender Mainstreaming is. According to UN Women, “Gender Mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy for promoting gender equality… Mainstreaming involves ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities.” Beyond the more obvious applications of policy development, programmes, and legislation, Gender Mainstreaming can even be applied to …

+ POOL: The World’s First Water-Filtering, Floating Pool

Maker: PlayLab, Inc.  Challenge: The water in New York City’s East River is too dirty and contaminated for the city’s 8 million plus people to swim in. Solution: A floating, plus-shaped community pool with a layered filtration system to remove bacteria and contaminants without the use of chemicals or additives. Results: This is a solution that helps ensure the sustainable management and sanitation of …

Felyx: Urban E-Scooter Sharing System

Maker: Felyx  Challenge: Finding a sustainable and affordable solution for people who get to the city by car, as well as a car alternative for city dwellers looking for a complementary mode of transportation. Solution: A citywide electronic scooter sharing system. System users locate and pick up scooters via an app, pay for only the minutes they use, then park the scooter wherever they want. The scooters are emission and …