Water scarcity is a profound challenge for designers of the built environment. Beyond looking for water sources and creating sustainable ecosystems, how can we begin to create cities and buildings that will help us to celebrate and mitigate hydro-logical concerns? Hadley and Peter Arnold, co-directors of the Arid Land Institute (ALI) at Woodbury University, have decided to tackle this problem around Los Angeles. With the support of the World Water Forum and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, they recently developed a high-resolution geospatial model to strategically identify and quantify the potential for improving storm water capture within urban areas.
One of the United States’ most polluted bodies of water is about to receive a much needed make-over: In early 2014, construction will begin on a pollution-preventing greenscape that will run alongside Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. The proposal, dubbed Sponge Park, was envisioned more than five years ago by Susannah Drake of dlandstudio and has just now “soaked up” enough funds to move forward.
According to the UN, about 60% of the world’s population will be living in cities within the next 8 years – a human migration that adds more and more strain on cities’ sanitation and resources. One of these many urban centers is Lima, Peru, the second largest desert capital in the world that receives less than 2 inches of rain a year. Despite its nearly nonexistent rainfall, Peru has some of the highest atmospheric humidity anywhere – 98%.
The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) and an ad agency called Mayo DraftFCBand saw great opportunity in this invisible source of water and created a billboard that can capture this humidity and turn it into potable drinking water for nearby residents.
Read on to find out how it’s done.
Who will run the world for the next 100 years? Envision Solar President and CEO Desmond Wheatley argues that it will be whoever has abundant sources of power. That is constructive power, rather than destructive power, which is essential to run the information and technology industries that our world is entirely dependent on. Additionally, Wheatley states that energy equals water. And, with less than 1% of the world’s fresh water available for use, desalination is becoming an increasingly plausible solution. The only problem now is that energy is expensive. But, once cities have the will to switch over to renewables, that will no longer be an issue. Could you imagine San Diego as an net exporter of water? Desmond Wheatley can.
The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has announced Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) Urban Design and Planning Partner Philip J. Enquist, FAIA, as the recipient of the inaugural SAH Award for Excellence in Design, Planning and Sustainability. The recognition honors Enquist’s leadership on the Vision for the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River Region, a pro-bono initiative that sets forth a 100-year vision for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River watershed. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin is one of 263 watersheds that spans national boundaries and Enquist believes that planning must address the basin comprehensively.
“It’s humbling that the SAH is honoring us for this future-oriented project,” Enquist says. “We have a responsibility to be stewards of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin, which represents 20 percent of the planet’s fresh surface water. We must design our cities and region to eliminate waste, relying on innovative and sustainable strategies. We can and must ensure fresh water for all future generations.”