Do the Health Benefits of Bike Sharing Outweigh the Risks?

bike share photo: Health Benefits Bike Sharing Outweigh Risks?

Doctors at Boston Medical Center can now write a prescription for $5 access to Hubway, the city’s bike-share program.

Do the Health Benefits of Bike Sharing Outweigh the Risks?

Bike-sharing programs have grown in popularity in recent years, with schemes now operating more than 643,000 bikes in more than 50 countries.

 A recent innovation comes from Boston, Mass., where doctors at Boston Medical Center can now write a prescription for $5 access to Hubway, the city’s bike-share program. Memberships regularly cost $80.

The full story is here.

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Will Your Next House Be Printed?

Will Your Next House Be Printed?

3D printing is now a reality for small structures, and may soon be able to “print” larger buildings on site.

 Will Your Next House Be Printed?

Using recycled industrial waste, construction waste, and concrete, a Chinese company recently “printed” 10 small buildings at their factory near Shanghai. The process involves grinding the materials and creating a thick, quick-drying slurry that the machine lays down layer by layer. The company says the buildings cost just under $5000 USD each.

This process offers great potential for creating affordable housing and other buildings all over the world. Some people envision taking the printer to the job site and printing a structure all at once. Others think modular components could be printed at the factory and delivered to the job site ready to assemble.

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Looking to the Village for Tomorrow’s City Design

Looking to the Village for Tomorrow’s City Design; photo of dense urban city

Some dense urban cities grew from multiple villages, today’s neighborhoods.

 Looking to the Village for Tomorrow’s City Design

This article for Sourceable examines Kent Larson’s ideas about city design. He says, “Paris was a series of these little villages that came together, and you still see that structure today.” “The 20 arrondissements of Paris are these little neighborhoods. When you have that kind of structure, you get a very even distribution of shops, physicians, pharmacies, cafes, in Paris.”Larson, an architect and researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, advises a similar type of urban planning for today’s growing cities. He calls a neighborhood a “compact urban cell.” They’re about 1.5 kilometres across, and may house 20,000 to 50,000 residents, as well as most businesses and services the residents need on a daily basis.

“Most of what people need in life can be within a 5- or 10-minute walk,” Larson said in his TED Talk.

With 300–400 million Chinese moving to the cities in the next dozen years, accommodating more residents is crucial. His team at M.I.T. has been working on a city car and an “open loft chassis” that, he says, enable more people to live comfortably in a neighborhood.

The article continues here.

And here’s more interesting info about cities:

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Dee Williams Tiny House

Dee Williams tiny house photo

Dee Williams tiny house

Here’s a New York Times article about Dee Williams’ tiny house. With just 84 square feet, this one is really tiny. It’s well designed and beautifully crafted, and a couple photovoltaic panels provide her electricity. She has it parked on a friend’s lot, which seems to be the major issue with tiny houses—where do you put it?

More about tiny homes:

Tiny Homes Can Serve Diverse Housing Needs

Is This the Best Tiny House Design?

Tiny Homes with Great Design

A Tiny House in the Back Yard

A Tiny House Village

Tiny Homes and Green Neighborhoods

Does LEED-ND Work for Established Neighborhoods?

image of established neighborhood; Does LEED-ND Work for Established Neighborhoods?

LEED-ND was developed jointly by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Congress for The New Urbanism, and the United States Green Building Council.

Does LEED-ND Work for Established Neighborhoods?

Similar in ambition and execution to GBCA’s Green Star – Communities program, LEED-ND provides a framework for “greener” development on a neighbourhood scale. Thanks to the different missions of the principles involved in its genesis, LEED-ND combines elements of green building, New Urbanism, and smart growth.

More about LEED:

Ohio Senate Votes to Ban LEED

Do Green Ratings Impact Affordable Housing?

 

‘Sustainable’ Doesn’t Have to Cost More

 

 

 

 

Which Is Greener, White Roofs or Green Roofs?

house roofs in white reflect heat

Are white roofs or green roofs more better for the environment?

Which Is Greener, White Roofs or Green Roofs?

In this article for Sourceable.net, I looked into the environmental benefits of white roofs compared to green, or living roofs, as stated in a new report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It turns out that white roofs are most cost effective overall, and most effective at mitigating climate change by reflecting heat back into the atmosphere.

Green roofs, however, offer other benefits, and last roughly twice as long as white roofs or traditional black roofs. Green roofs of living plants can absorb pollutants such as particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides. Green roofs also produce oxygen, consume carbon dioxide, and help to manage stormwater and runoff. Over their lifespan, green roofs are not necessarily substantially more expensive than white roofs.

Is Sprawl Development Simply Unaffordable?

photo of sprawling city; is sprawl development simply unaffordable?

Sprawling development costs more than it pays back.

Is sprawl development simply unaffordable? Also called “suburban sprawl,” this has been the dominant development pattern in the U.S. since World War II.

This article for Sourceable.net cites Sustainable Prosperity, a think tank at the University of Ottawa. The group published a report about sprawl in 2013. “Suburban Sprawl: Exposing Hidden Costs, Identifying Innovations,” offers a number of observations and conclusions regarding sprawl.

Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns calls the traditional suburban development pattern a “Ponzi scheme.”

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Are Prefab Homes Ready for the Mass Market?

are prefab homes ready for the mass market? prefab home

Prefab homes come in a variety of styles, such as this modern style.

Are Prefab Homes Ready for the Mass Market?

Prefab, or prefabricated, homes are not a new idea. The idea dates back England in the 19th century, though they really looked poised for success in the U.S. in the 20th century. Bucky Fuller’s Dymaxion Home, steel Lustron Homes, modular homes, manufactured homes, and panelized homes all offered people a new way to get a new house.

Are prefab homes ready for the mass market? The homes themselves are better than ever, and offer solutions from very low cost to completely custom homes.

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Sustainable Doesn’t Have to Cost More

sustainable homes, Sourceable, sustainable doesn't have to cost more

Builders and architects are learning how to build energy efficient homes at cost parity.

 Sustainable doesn’t have to cost more

Here’s another article for Sourceable.net. Builders and architects are making loads of progress and are learning how to build extremely energy-efficient homes at a competitive cost. It’s now true: sustainable doesn’t have to cost more.

Adam Cohen of Structures Design/Build has now built an eye-catching, traditionally styled home in Virginia for about $150/square foot. And it’s a certified Passive House, no less!

Here’s another approach, from Blue Ridge Energy Systems in North Carolina.

And here’s the Newenhouse, a Passive House in Viroqua, Wisconsin, with yet another approach.

Newenhouse, Passive House, sustainable doesn't have to cost more

The NewenHouse front facade, as seen from Hickory Street.

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Landscape Architecture and the Developing World

New York City's Central Park

Landscape architecture has has a lot to offer the developing world, such as adapting to climate change.

 

In this article about landscape architecture and the developing world for Sourceable.net, I took a look at what landscape architecture can do for the developing world. In particular,  landscape architects can address climate change, urbanization, and population growth. These factors combine for a certain synergy, making each one more destructive to the landscapes that people need.

More information about this topic here, here, and here.

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

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