Posts tagged with "Water":

NatureStructure Sketch Workshop

What would it be like to approach the city from the perspective of an animal pushed out of its home by development, water falling during rain, or a windblown seed wanting to take root? What structures and spaces could be created or adjusted to make the city a more welcoming place for nature and wildlife? How could nature improve the urban environment if things were designed to welcome the natural world instead of seeing wildlife as unwelcomed invaders? This special event will start with a short tour around NatureStructure by exhibition curator Scott Burnham, followed by a session in which participants will brainstorm ideas for a more nature-centric city and draw on the windows of BSA Space gallery, sketching their ideas for a more harmonious relationship between nature and the city. All skill levels are welcome. You do not need to be a master sketcher to participate. Snacks, beer, and wine will be provided. Places are limited so reserve your spot today!
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Columbia professor Anthony Acciavatti on the technical engineering of India’s sacred river

Anthony Acciavatti, Columbia GSAPP Professor and award-winning author, delivered a lecture at Greenpoint creative space A/D/O earlier this week on his 2015 book titled Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River. The event is part of the company's #Waterfutures Research Program that challenges designers and researchers to rethink the global drinking water crisis. Acciavatti reflected on his decade-long fieldwork where he traveled by foot, boat, and car to document the Ganges River basin from its source in the Himalayas to the historic city of Patna nearly 1,000 kilometers downstream. During the lecture, Acciavatti explained the difficulties of obtaining satellite imagery at a time when web-mapping services such as Google Maps were not yet invented. Instead, he resorted to designing and building his own instruments to map and visualize the region’s data. As a founding partner at Somatic Collaborative, Acciavatti is now actively working with his partner Felipe Correa, who was recently named Chair of Architecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, as well as Indian authorities to realize his research and designs for the region. The Ganges is a trans-boundary river, which crosses India, Bangladesh, and other South Asian countries. According to various reports, the Ganges is highly polluted by human activity, but it still is the source of drinking water for over 400 million people. Acciavatti's book doesn't focus on the region’s pollution, but instead investigates the 19th century British engineering that made the network of irrigation canals and aqueducts possible. He was also interested in identifying the political implications of how water became a powerful political resource throughout the river’s historical evolution and what it means today.
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A Milwaukee project creates a live atlas of city’s water system

Milwaukee has a complex relationship with water. Along with its location on the shore of Lake Michigan, three major rivers flow through the city. Historically, the city has relied upon these water sources to drive industry, including leather tanning, food processing, and, of course, beer brewing. Since the decline of its heavy industry starting in the mid-20th century, the city has grappled with how to remediate its water system. Now a group of artists have a proposal to help bring the public into the conversation about the city’s water use. Currently all rain water and sewage in the city is filtered through the Jones Island water treatment facility on the lakefront before being returned to the lake. During typical rain events, this system works to keep polluted water out of the lake, but when extreme rainfall hits the city, the system can quickly become overwhelmed, resulting in sewage being discharged directly into the lake, which is also where all of the city’s drinking water is drawn from. WaterMarks is an initiative to help educate and engage with the public surrounding water issues. Launched by City as Living Laboratory: Sustainability Made Tangible through the Arts (CALL), the program hopes to install physical markers throughout the city to inform the public about major water events and educate them on the water systems that are often right under their feet. WaterMarks intends to “create a city scaled 3-D diagram of the multi-faceted manifestations of water” in the form of large-scale lettered markers, like dropped map pins throughout the city. Each marker would correspond with a different water system. Residents will also be able to access a WaterMarks app, which will supplement the markers and give information about additional public programming associated with the project. The first phase of the project proposes to engage with the Jones Island smoke stack, which sits in a highly visible space in Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor. WaterMarks’ plan is to illuminate the stack in order to signify the state of the water system. Blue will indicate the system is functioning at normal levels, while red will be shown ahead of impending heavy rains to encourage residents to think about their water usage and prepare. WaterMarks has been developed over the last three years with the support of Marquette University and a recent grant from Institute of Museum and Library Services. That grant will go towards initial prototyping and developing programming for the project with the help of Haggerty Museum at Marquette. The projected budget of $3.6 million was arrived at through conversations with the public as well as the Development Department, Department of Public Works and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewer Department, who helped identify the city’s needs. WaterMarks: An Atlas of Water for the City of Milwaukee from City as Living Laboratory on Vimeo.  
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Cuomo announces $2.5 million competition to reimagine New York’s canal system

Canal lovers near and far, gird your loins. In his latest infrastructural move, Governor Cuomo announced a global competition to re-imagine the New York State Canal System as a tourist destination and an economic driver for upstate communities. Up to $2.5 million will be awarded to the finalists and winners to implement their designs. Many may not realize that it is possible to get from Whitehall, New York all the way to Buffalo entirely by canal (there should be a Paddle to the Sea for this), but with this announcement Governor Cuomo is looking to draw the public eye back to one of the state's greatest historic, economic, ecological, and recreational resources – and to the urban spaces dotting the blueway end to end. The competition was timed to coincide with the bicentennial celebration of the Erie Canal that begins this year and will continue until 2025, which commemorates its construction from 1817 to 1825. Additionally, next year will mark the centennial of the New York State Canal System, 524 miles in total, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2016. The competition's goals are admittedly somewhat vague and broad at this stage, with a charge to promote the canal system as a "recreational asset," encourage "sustainable economic development" along its route, celebrate its heritage, and so on. However, the challenge is clearly divided into two tracks: one focused on the infrastructure itself, another focused on the development of recreation and tourism opportunities. Submissions for the first round of entries are due at the beginning of December 2017. The finalists will receive $50,000 to implement their proposal in partnership with a municipality adjacent to a canal or a non-profit whose work relates to the canal system. The final winner or winners will receive anywhere from $250,00 to $1.5 million – a fairly large range, by our estimation – to plan and build their projects. With the Regional Plan Association's recent announcement of a plan to connect and expand New York's trail systems up into the mid-Hudson valley, Cuomo's canal competition has AN wondering: if both plans are implemented, will it be possible to depart from our Tribeca office, hike to Albany on public lands, and set off for the Great Lakes via canoe through the newly revamped canal system? Only time will tell.
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A controversial decision will allow a Wisconsin city to draw water out of Lake Michigan

Waukesha, Wisconsin, has a water problem. The deep wells of the state’s fourth largest city are tainted with radium, a naturally occurring radioactive element. With a 2018 deadline to comply with federal drinking water standards, the city is scrambling to find a sustainable, long-term source of fresh water. A recent decision will allow the city to draw its drinking water from Lake Michigan, but tapping into the Great Lakes system is complicated, both politically and ecologically.

For over a decade, Waukesha has been studying and petitioning to have the right to draw water from the lake, which is only 20 miles east of the city. Restricting the city’s access to the water is the Great Lakes Compact, a 2008 federal law that stipulates that in order to draw water from the lakes, a community must be in the Great Lakes watershed. Despite the city’s proximity to the lake, it sits just west of the Saint Lawrence River Divide, outside of the watershed.

Two governing bodies maintain the Great Lakes Compact: the Great Lakes Council in the United States and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Water Resources Regional Body in Canada. The councils, consisting of governors from eight states and two Canadian provinces, would have to unanimously approve the city’s request. After the initial application in 2010, the council and city negotiated for six years, until the councils finally approved the request this June. The approval is based on the fact that the City of Waukesha is in a county that straddles the divide and the city’s aquifers are already partially naturally replenished from within the Great Lakes watershed. The decision also requires the city to return an equal amount of clean, treated water to the lake as it draws out. Not everyone is pleased with the decision though, and legal action is already pending.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSL Cities Initiative) has issued a formal appeal to the Compact members to reverse the decision. The GLSL Cities Initiative is comprised of over 120 Great Lakes region city mayors, and it feels that a dangerous precedent is being set by allowing water to be taken from the lakes. It is also critical of the lack of transparency in the process of approval, which it says did not involve enough input from the public or local governments. The initiative has also written to U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the International Joint Commission, claiming the decision “exceeds the scope of authority granted in the Compact.”

As it stands the Waukesha has begun the permit process to build a $207-million system of pipelines to draw and return water to the lake. The water would not come directly from the lake, but from a town near the lake. Water would be returned by way of the Lake Michigan tributary Root River.

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Texas planners envision a county-wide “grid” to provide clean water during droughts

In and around Waco, Texas, public officials are working to create a county-wide “water grid” that would enable various water suppliers to work together to conserve and share water during droughts.

According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, McLennan County, Texas, has launched a study to determine the best way to make sure water is available to the residents of Waco and the surrounding region by pooling the resources of various suppliers.

County judge Scott Felton, an advocate for sustainable water planning and conservation, is leading the effort. Last year, Felton brought together the McLennan County Water Resources Group to help communities plan for shortages of clean water and the advent of contaminated water. The group secured a $75,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to help fund the study.

Others working with McLennan County on the study include cities in the region, water supply corporations, the Brazos River Authority, a groundwater conservation district, and local residents and businesses.

Felton told the Waco Tribune-Herald that good planning is necessary to make sure water is available when it’s needed.

“Ultimately, the idea is not to waste water,” he told the newspaper. “This grant allows us to customize a plan specific for our county and our different water districts on how we can better utilize… water and how to conserve water to be prepared for those very dry seasons like we’ve seen recently.”

Even though the Greater Waco region’s water supply is more plentiful than some areas in Texas, Felton warns that communities need to become less dependent on groundwater from the shrinking Trinity Aquifer, which extends across central and northeastern Texas.

“What’s constant in this county is that our groundwater is going down, whether it’s raining or dry,” he said.

Tom Ray, water resources coordinator with Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam in Waco, the lead consultant on the study, told the Waco Tribune-Herald that the Trinity Aquifer is expected to drop between 250 and 450 feet by 2040. That’s as much as 19 feet a year in the Hewitt and Bellmead areas, which are expected to see the biggest drops.

County and city leaders say they envision a network of pipelines that could connect water users around the county and allow them to share water as needed. The final cost of that pipeline network is still under study.

The completed plan will establish a process for monitoring short-and long-term water availability, predict the probability for future droughts, evaluate the risks and impacts of drought, and prioritize mitigation actions.

Other ideas under study, according to the planners, include reclaiming more treated water from a regional sewer plant, making use of extensive water rights that the city has held in the Brazos River since 1914 (but does not use), and making more use of the Bluebonnet Water System, which draws water from Lake Belton.

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An artist’s floating garden on the Hudson River will create new public and performance space

For artists living in a city that thousands of creatives call home, finding space to showcase your art is a never-ending struggle. Added to the pressure of paying rent and putting food on the table, it can feel like an impossible undertaking. But visual artist Mary Mattingly has discovered a unique (and legal) way to create her own space: calling the Hudson River its home, "Swale" will be a community garden erected on a barge. Its soil will contain an assortment of vegetable and fruit trees; all of the plants on board will be edible. Mattingly also envisions a mobile greenhouse where the public can harvest and cultivate their own crops. Expected to run in the summer, the 80 x 30 foot structure will travel to different piers in the five boroughs. Mattingly is aware that the project is a risky endeavor. Since "Swale" is a vessel open to the public, it will be regulated by the US Coast Guard. On top of the community garden will be a 12 x 12 foot pavilion built by Sally Bozzuto of Biome Arts. The triangular prism will be an open meeting place for performance artists, activists, and visitors. Digital sensors embedded in plant beds will capture temperature rates, soil moisture and pH content to give visitors an idea of the inner workings of the nautical garden.
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Jean Nouvel’s vegetated Miami tower touted for its man-made lagoon

West Avenue in Miami Beach is set for a Jean Nouvel high rise surrounded by an elaborate man-made lagoon.  The tower will be covered with suspended vegetation that, at least in renderings, casts the structure in a distinctly green hue. This is Nouvel's second attempt at building in the city after his Grove Heights project lost a competition in 2013. "Monad Terrace" as the 14-story tower is known, is set to top out at 149 feet, just a hair below the city's height limit of 150 feet. Developers JDS also recruited Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design to work on the scheme which boasts a glass facade encircled by water and a green wall, covered in foliage on one side. Inside, the structure will hold approximately 80 residential units that will offer two–five bedroom layouts, each with views out three or four sides of the building. Topping the structure are two penthouses, each with its own private pool. To maintain privacy, reflective screens—that allow views out but obscure view in—sit in front windows, creating a staggered facade. The lagoon, however, is the complex's showpiece. Occupants can stroll up to seating in the middle and edges of the lagoon or take a dip in the swimming pool along the bay where a waterfall is planned. According to managing partner at JDS Development Group, Michael Stern, the pool will be visible from the bay. It's not all good news though. Elaborate water features may be easy on the eye, but rising sea levels are a very real threat to those along the coast on Miami's South Beach. The issue surfaced late last year when The New Yorker published findings that said the idyllic retreats of the area could be underwater in under 50 years. Nouvel's design however, looks to be high and dry. "Our design is very conscious of what is going on to changes to the streets and concerns about sea level rise," said Stern speaking to Curbed Miami. Monad Terrace will be the first building in the West Avenue vicinity to encompass the higher street level requirements. Nouvel has been inclusive of the potential disastrous surroundings in his design. Landscaping dotted around the building can absorb water, meanwhile below street-level garages can act as water-tight "bathtubs." Speaking on the matter, Stern commented that "the landscape is designed that if any salt water intruded it is tough enough to live through that event."
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On View> “Streamlines” sculptures and performances stoke climate conversations in southern Indiana

Art has washed up on the banks of southern Indiana's White River. Converging south of Indianapolis near Columbus, Indiana, the river's two forks draw from a series of small tributaries, which an artist working with grant money from the National Science Foundation has chosen as the setting for an interactive public art series meant to provoke discussions on water, environment, and climate. New York–based Mary Miss and City as Living Laboratory kick off Streamlines on Thursday, ushering in “a multi-faceted project to foster science learning through the arts in the public realm” in five communities along tributaries to Indiana's White River. Miss’ StreamLine installations include sculpture, music, dance, and poetry, and will take place over two years. The work is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation to Butler University Center for Urban Ecology.
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Los Angeles unleashes 96 million “Shade Balls” into its reservoirs to help conserve water

What appears to be an explosive invasion of tiny black orbs is actually one small part of the solution to Los Angeles' four-year drought. Colloquially called "shade balls," these 36 cent buoyant spheres are a part of a $34.5 million water quality protection project by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The department deployed the last 20,000 of the approximately 96 million shade balls this past week. The simple technology helps prevent water contamination and evaporation. According to NPR, LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards applauded the innovative alternative to a dam and tarp solution, which would have cost a whopping $300 million. "This is a blend of how engineering really meets common sense," Edwards told NPR. "We saved a lot of money; we did all the right things." The 4-inch-diameter polyethylene balls, produced by California startup XavierC, help slow evaporation and are chemically coated to block ultraviolet rays that can potentially cause a chemical reaction that could produce the cancer-causing chemical bromate. The hollow, water filled plastic spheres are expected to save 300 million gallons of water annually, enough to quench the thirst of 8,100 individuals a year.
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AN Exclusive: Andres Jaque Explains Why This Year’s YAP Winner “COSMO” Is Being Built In Spain

Each year, the MoMA/PS1 Young Architect’s Program features an exciting design by an up-and-coming architect in the courtyard for the Warm-Up series. This year Madrid- and New York–based Andres Jaque and his Office for Political Innovation will build a huge, roving sprinkler system called COSMO that will surely liven up the event. However, it is different from years past: It will be built in Spain and shipped over by boat. Why? “Architecture is no longer about sign or form,” Jaque told AN. “It is about social networks, and how materials move through those networks. Architecture is nothing if it doesn’t engage these networks.” The design for COSMO is made from off-the-rack parts that are not altered in anyway as they are assembled on site. They remain as generic as possible so that they can be reused more easily. “We are designing them so that we don’t have to cut them. If we cut them we would be minimizing their reuse potential.” This could mean making something locally, or shipping it globally. It is a rethinking of what something means to be local. Much of COSMO could be made anywhere in the world. The parts are put together with wires, which are also reusable. The novel tectonics of COSMO are derived from the new, specific ways that the generic parts are put together. When the parts are allowed to have life after architecture, they take on 2nd and 3rd lives elsewhere. “It is a new way to relate to the land,” Jaque said, “It is an alternative to consumption. We want to give things more lives. It is a different culture of materiality that we want to bring to PS1.” Irrigations systems have been a recurring theme in Jaque’s work. He sees them as one of the original and most complete, open source knowledge systems. Since the 1940s, the collective intelligence of irrigation systems have been evolving so that anyone can use the technology. This radical way of thinking about objects and their networks is something the Spanish architect has researched extensively over his career, since growing up. “My family comes from Madrid but also from Aquitaine in France. Both parts of my family had their lives divided between cities and countryside. In France I remember spending summers looking and playing with the centered pivot irrigation systems that my uncle had in his farm,” said Jaque. “I also saw the way he transformed them and exchange parts of it with his neighbors. I guest it all started with that. It was part of a neighbors-based economy.” COSMO is not the first PS1 project to give afterlife to building materials. Past winners such as SO-IL, CODA, HWKN, and Interboro Partners have used ready-made parts that can be re-used after the summer, such as scaffolding, ping-pong tables, skateboard decks, and a host of other objects. “Billion Oyster Pavilion,” one of the 2015 Figment pavilions on Governor’s Island, is specifically designed to be thrown into the New York Harbor later this summer, where it will take on new life as an oyster habitat. According to Jaque, bringing in parts from all over the world is actually better for the environment. This new, global way of producing an architecture is actually more energy-efficient and causes less emissions, due to the sheer volume of freight that a boat can handle compared to a truck. So shipping tires from Turkey is better for the environment than bringing them from somewhere in the U.S., since New York has a harbor. The team also found irrigation pyramids in Spain, where they were more easily procured. The parts are expected to arrive in New York sometime in May, and should be ready for the June 27 opening Warm-Up.
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Chicago wants your ideas for the future of the Chicago River

What's downstream for the Chicago River? Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week directed a panel of experts to draft a long-term plan for the network of Chicago-area waterways, announcing $350,000 in grants from the Joyce Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, and steel company ArcelorMittal to start a project dubbed “Great Rivers Chicago.” With the expansion of the Chicago Riverwalk well underway—the Sasaki Associates–led project is supposed to open its first portions over Memorial Day weekend—the river is enjoying a surge of attention once unimaginable for a body of water better known historically for its pollution than its public space. Over the next 15 months, however, the city-appointed group—the Metropolitan Planning Council and Friends of the Chicago River, as well as “topical experts and community stakeholders”—will seek ideas for all the rivers that comprise the subwatershed known as the Chicago Area Waterway System, including the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the Cal-Sag Channel, and the Calumet Rivers. The city launched a website, greatriverschicago.com, which so far just lists facts about the area's rivers and links to a survey meant to inform their future planning process. It asks Chicagoans to describe their current interaction with the river system, and how they'd like that to change. (The full riverwalk team includes lead architects Ross Barney Architects, as well as Jacobs Ryan Associates, Alfred Benesch & Company, and Schuler & Shook, in addition to Sasaki Associates.)