Green City Living and Thinking – Houses
I have found a fascinating article in the New York Times, it is exceptionally well written and is definitely worth your time to read.
I love the insight into the Inuit lifestyle, I was completely absorbed into the why’s and wherefore’s of the building of igloos, totally new to me!
But there is much, much more… I have included a taster here but it well worth your time to click through to read the complete article about Green City living especially if you would like to improve your knowledge of eco housing.
By DIANE ACKERMAN in the New York Times
In the sizzling summer heat I’ve been thinking about igloos. To chill out in, of course, but also because I admire their elemental simplicity.
Inuits traditionally used bone knives to carve bricks from quarries of hardened snow. A short, low tunnel led to the front door, trapping heat in and keeping out fierce cold and critters.
Mortar wasn’t needed, because the snow bricks were shaved to fit, and at night the dome ossified into a glistening ice fort.
The human warmth inside melted the ice just enough to seal the seams.
The idea behind such homes was refuge from elements and predators, based on a watchful understanding of both.
The igloo was really an extension of the self — shoulder blades of snow and backbone of ice, beneath which a family slept, swathed in thick animal fur, beside one or two small lamps burning blubber.
All the building materials lay at hand, perpetually recycled, costing nothing but effort.
The beginnings of the ultimate Green City!?
Picture most of our houses and apartment buildings today — full of sharp angles, lighted by bulbs and colors one doesn’t find in nature, built from plywood, linoleum, iron, cement and glass.
Despite their style, efficiency and maybe good location, they don’t always offer us a sense of sanctuary, rest or well-being.
Because we can’t escape our ancient hunger to live close to nature, we encircle the house with lawns and gardens, install picture windows, adopt pets and Boston ferns, and scent everything that touches our lives.
This tradition of doing and undoing doesn’t really make sense or promote healthy living or a sustainable planet, so there’s an impassioned trend worldwide toward building green cities with living walls and roofs and urban farms in skyscrapers.
Vertical gardens and living roofs are sprouting up everywhere.
Mexico City’s three eco-sculptures, carpeted in over 50,000 plants, tower above car-clogged avenues. Not quite what we are looking for in our ideal green city.
A blooming tapestry of plants adorns the exterior walls of the Quai Branly Museum in Paris.
Inside Lisbon’s Dolce Vita shopping center, a plush vertical meadow undulates.
In Milan’s Café Trussardi, diners and flâneurs sit in a glass-box courtyard beneath a hint of heaven: a vibrant cloud of frizzy greens, cascading vines and flowers.
The Plant, an old meatpacking building in Chicago, has morphed into an eco farm, home to tilapia fish breeders, mushroom gardeners and hydroponically grown vegetables.
Xero Flor America, based in North Carolina, has already sold 1.2 million square feet of living roofs.
Patrick Blanc, a botanist and a pioneer of the vertical garden (whose own house in the suburbs of Paris includes growing walls and an aquarium floor), has designed or inspired living walls for the New York Botanical Garden and a luxury apartment building in Sydney, among dozens of businesses, homes, schools and museums, whose walls whisper and bloom.
The green city goal, is homes and public spaces that are live organisms that will scrub the air of pollutants, increase oxygen, reduce noise, save energy and refresh the spirit.
Big cities are hot spots, on average 13 to 16 degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside.
Three and a half billion people now live in cities, and scientists predict that by 2050 cities will contain two-thirds of the world’s population and most of its pollution.
As people flock to urban centers where ground space is limited, Green Cities with green walls and roofs and skyscraper farms offer improved health and well-being, renewable resources, reliable food supply, and relief to the environment.
More at… New York Times
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Below is a picture of my ideal Green City “we can dream”!
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
This hand-colored engraving mistakenly attributed to the 16th-century Dutch artist Martin Heemskerck, probably made in 19th century after the first excavations in the Assyrian capitals, depicts the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
According to the tradition, the gardens did not hang, but grew on the roofs and terraces of the royal palace in Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar II, the Chaldean king, is supposed to have had the gardens built in about 600 BC as a consolation to his Median wife, who missed the natural surroundings of her homeland.
Information courtesy of… Wikipedia