Seattle’s Emerging EcoDistrict

scientiste:

Woo-hoo! More cool projects from Seattle focused on improving and enriching urban environments.

Originally posted on The Dirt:

eco1

eco2 Pollinator Pathway / Bergmann

EcoDistrict planning and design can accelerate local efforts to improve sustainability. EcoDistricts offer a framework through which communities can discuss, prioritize, and enact initiatives that address climate change — by providing clean energy, conserving wildlife habitat, and encouraging low-impact development — and also social equity. If more neighborhoods begin to adopt the EcoDistrict model — wherein a range of partner organizations work in concert — we could see stronger bottom-up pushes toward city-wide sustainability.

Since 2011, the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, which is funded by the Bullitt Foundation and led by Capitol Hill Housing, has sought to improve the sustainability of the community and the equity of its constituents. This EcoDistrict is partnering with the Seattle 2030 District, a high-performance business district in downtown Seattle, that aims to reduce carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030. In 2015, Seattle’s City Council formally…

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Artist Creates Water-Activated Street Art To Make People Smile On A Rainy Day | Bored Panda

It makes sense that this would be developed in Seattle, where it is wet a good portion of the year.

Like a new modern version of invisible ink, superhydrophobic coatings can also be used to create hidden street art that stays invisible until it gets wet. Peregrine Chuch, a Seattle-based street artist, created a series of public works of street art called Rainworks using the same sort of hydrophobic coatings that we saw being used in Germany to combat public urination.

Church creates the artwork spontaneously because he has been assured by the city authorities that what he is doing is legal – the coating is non-toxic, non-permanent, only sometimes visible, and his works don’t advertise anything. He says that, depending on how much the sidewalk in question is used, his pieces may last between 4 months and a year, but are most vivid within the first few weeks of application.

His works are diverse, and range from artistic drawings to fun and motivational messages to a hop-scotch game that can only be played when it’s wet.

more via Artist Creates Water-Activated Street Art To Make People Smile On A Rainy Day | Bored Panda.

Seattle Department of Transportation: Seattle Parklet Program & Streatery Pilot Program

Way to go Seattle!

After a successful year-and-a-half long pilot, we’re excited to announce that the Parklet Program is now a permanent program! This means that Seattle businesses and community groups have even more opportunities to enhance our streets with public spaces.

As part of this launch, we’re also rolling out a brand-new approach to activating our streets: the Streateries Pilot Program. What’s a “streatery” you ask? Streateries combine the best features of a parklet and a sidewalk café by allowing a restaurant, café, or bar to use a parking space to create outdoor seating for their customers during business hours (like a café) and for the public during non-business hours (like a parklet).

there is still time to sign up your company if you’re interested via Seattle Department of Transportation: Seattle Parklet Program & Streatery Pilot Program.

I look forward to seeing lots of little Parklets spring up around the city as we start to emerge from the winter wet and dark.

Parkour for Kids

scientiste:

I would argue parkour was developed by kids and IS for kids, but still a nice profile on the better parks that this company is building.

Originally posted on The Dirt:

zorlu1 Zorlu Center playground / © IJreka

Since its founding nearly 20 years ago, Carve Landscape Architecture in the Netherlands has become one of the most interesting landscape architecture firms creating adventure-filled playgrounds. Their projects are immediately recognizable, with their use of bold colors, architectural forms, and incorporation of challenging obstacles, including steep-looking climbing objects and chutes and slides. Their embrace of strong forms and color and adventurous play makes the typical American playground, which has been made so safe out of the fear of lawsuits, look rather bland and tame in comparison. Their playgrounds are like parkour courses for kids, of all ages. Increasingly international, they’ve moved beyond the Netherlands to create exciting new projects in Turkey and Singapore.

In Istanbul, Turkey, Carve partnered with mutlti-disciplinary design firm WATG last year to create Zorlu Center playground, the largest in Istanbul. The result is a play space like no…

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Super-sized Pop-up Parks

scientiste:

When does a “pop up” park become a full on park? Does the size matter? The permanence? The use?

Originally posted on The Dirt:

park1 A’Beckett Square / © John Gollings

Typically, pop-up parks tend to be fairly small — just a few thousand square feet, if that — but a few noteworthy ones show temporary places can be super-sized, too. In Melbourne, Australia, RMIT University turned a 30,000-square-foot parking lot into a vibrant community space for a game of pick-up basketball or just hanging out. Designed by Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design, A’Beckett Urban Square shows the amazing potential of really any empty urban lot. At a cost of $1.2 million Australian dollars ($970,000 U.S.), the park is not cheap, but still less than a more fully-realized, permanent park.

The designers told Landezine RMIT students and local residents can now take advantage of a multi-use sports court set up for basketball and volleyball and surrounded by spectator seating.

park2 A’Beckett Square / © John Gollings

Around the perimeter, there are ping-pong tables, BBQs…

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This Throwable Computer Teaches Kids How To Code | Co.Design

Learning is fun. Or at least it should be fun. Little kids are always exploring, experimenting, asking “why, why, where, when, why?!” (can you tell I have a toddler at home?). This is a great example of trying to keep learning fun.

This Throwable Computer Teaches Kids How To Code | Co.Design | business + design

Coding is a great skill for kids to learn but it can be a lonely, sedentary endeavor. Hackaball, a new toy created from a partnership between the design agencies MAP and Made By Many, promises to get kids off their butts and playing outside—all while teaching basic coding skills and empowering kids to invent their own kind of play.

It’s a lot to ask from one product which is why Hackaball had to be meticulously designed. The ball is bigger than a baseball but smaller than a soccer ball, and it comes with several simple parts that can be put together using basic instructions, so kids understand what’s inside, and get the chance to start creating from the get-go. Once it’s put together, the toy can glow different colors, make noises, and even vibrate. As for how to use it? The kids get to decide.

Using a space-themed app, kids write if-then rules, learning the syntax of basic coding. An example: if you drop a ball, then it turns red. Or if the ball hits something, then it will make a noise. These games can be as complicated or as simple as kids want.

read more at This Throwable Computer Teaches Kids How To Code | Co.Design | business + design.

The Hackaball is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, where you can pre-order one for $69.

Changing Skyline: Redesigning playgrounds to promote ‘loose play’ – think pop-up play spaces

Great article about the evolution of the playground, as well as the next generation of playgrounds emerging in cities:

After World War II, European architects turned out custom playgrounds that challenged kids both physically and intellectually. Inspired by their work, a few American architects, including Philadelphia’s Louis Kahn, tried their hands at the form. But the movement didn’t get very far. Playgrounds were a casualty of the breakdown of American cities in the ’60s and ’70s. As maintenance was deferred, they fell into ruin. By the time cities began to recover in the ’90s, Solomon says, all that local officials wanted was equipment that was indestructible and vetted for safety.

Moore, a professor at North Carolina State University who has been studying children’s play for 50 years, sees a connection between those designs and the increase in such childhood ailments as obesity, anxiety, and attention-deficit disorder. In the simple act of scrambling up the branches of a tree, a kid learns to monitor risk and deal with fear. But on most playgrounds, the climbing frames are lower than ever.

The concern about such controlled environments has sparked any number of popular books advocating less programming: Free Range Kids, 50 Dangerous Things (you should let your children do), Last Child in the Woods. All see our culture’s fear of risk as worse than the occasional scraped knee or broken bone.

So what’s the alternative to standard-issue playgrounds? Solomon envisions multipurpose, multigenerational urban parks that incorporate spaces where kids can take charge of their own play. Instead of a fixed bridge in a plastic fort, they would have to use their imagination to decide which objects could be converted to play equipment. Such a challenging play space also would include nooks where kids could temporarily escape the nervous gaze of their caregivers. There would be no fences, plenty of trees and bushes, and good seating.

read more of their ideas for better playgrounds via Changing Skyline: Redesigning playgrounds to promote ‘loose play’ – think pop-up play spaces.

My favorite playground growing up was made of mostly huge sewer pipe pieces, a monkey cage, and random cement shapes. What was your favorite playground as a kid? Or now? Describe it in the comments below.

F. Kaid Benfield: How to Create Healthy Environments for People

scientiste:

Great criteria for building human habitats.

Originally posted on The Dirt:

russellsquare Russell Square, London / Ali Amir Moayed.com

“Just as all parts of an ecosystem must be healthy if the system is going to work,” an environment for people — a “people habitat” — must have “homes, shops, businesses, and the environment that fit in a harmonious way,” said urban thinker and author F. Kaid Benfield at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. For the past 50 years, “we have not been living in harmony with our environment.” To undo the damage, Benfield proposes a wiser approach, set out in his new book People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities. He covered a few ways to achieve these healthy environments in his talk:

1. Focus on Regions and Neighborhoods, Not Cities: Regions, Benfield argues, actually define the way we live today. Cities extend far beyond their jurisdictional boundaries. For example, “the functional region of Atlanta…

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40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative | Sorry That It’s Buzzfeed

Need some creative inspiration? How about a creative, inspiring environment? Not a lot of patterns here, although I’d love to see a behavioral scientist try and spot one?

Mark Twain, author.

Ruth Reichl, food writer.

From tiny writing desks to giant painting studios, the only thing all of these creative studios have in common is that they inspired their successful inhabitants to create greatness.

Georgia O’Keefe, painter.

Alexander Calder, sculptor.

see all forty via 40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative.

Artist Spent One Year In The Woods Creating Surreal Sculptures From Organic Materials | Bored Panda

I love seeing people working WITH their environments to create art.

Sculptural artist Spencer Byles spent a year creating beautiful sculptures out of natural and found materials throughout the unmanaged forests of La Colle Sur Loup (where he lived with his family), Villeneuve Loubet and Mougins. He worked together with elements of his natural surroundings to create artwork that blends seamlessly with the environment.

Byles’ project is intentionally secretive – the only way you’ll see these work short of his photos is by going into the woods and finding them yourself. I imagine that coming upon such a fantastic structure unexpectedly in the woods is sure to be quite a magical surprise.

One of the most beautiful things about his work is its temporary nature. The pieces were not intended to last, and each sculpture will eventually be reclaimed by the natural environment that helped Byles shape it. This full circle gives the organic pieces a powerful poetic and philosophical touch.

more via Artist Spent One Year In The Woods Creating Surreal Sculptures From Organic Materials | Bored Panda.