Six steps for designing healthy cities: reuse heat, make them a sponge for water, use waste to make farms, and more

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Architects are often mobilising themselves to shape their designs towards the hard challenges of sustainability and climate crisis. Here’s a fertile 6 point plan (reported on by Arch Daily) from the FABRICations studio, and their amazing speculative work on eco-design (archive here).

1. Re-use residual heat from the city to warm up cycle-pathways, and provide energy for other sustainable services

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“The enormous amount of residual heat of the industrial area of the city was captured to acclimatize households, office buildings, greenhouses and ultimately public space”

2. Transform modern cities into sponges, able to flexibly store stormwater

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“The ‘green fingers’ breaking the urban grid were designed according to the landscape, to become a versatile space for food production, recreation, and biodiversity."

3. Collect and process organic waste to fertilize urban farms and produce sustainable energy

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“A system to capture the nutrients and phosphates in water streams was proposed. Normally valuable substances are washed off by agricultural processes and flow into the river, whereas alternatively they could be reused in aquaculture and energy production infrastructure.”

4. Re-use construction waste, reduce demolition, and build on architectural heritage, by creating sustainable communities

"In the design of “Bajes Kwartier”, a former prison complex that will be transformed into the ‘sustainable residential neighborhood of the future’, CO2 emissions for new construction were drastically reduced by processing and reusing 95% of construction material on site”

5. Take advantage of neglected urban pockets to bring ecology into the urban environment, thereby encouraging healthy lifestyles through direct contact with nature

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“The ‘Ecological Energy Network’ proposes a strategic design to transform areas in the proximity of power lines into the largest biodiversity corridor of The Netherlands”.

6. Build dedicated infrastructure for electric vehicles - but combine them with renewable energy provision

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“Major mobility lanes in Amsterdam could be transformed into urban boulevards, with enhanced access for pedestrians and bicycles, charging stations for electric vehicles and underground traffic routes”

More here.