As part of our knowledge sharing we are always invited to bring new ideas or pop-up thoughts to the table at our ‘Thursday Lunch Meetings’. Recently Louise motivated reflections on reverse questions and how they could kick-start new projects. By coincidence I stumbled across an article on the collaboration between Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard and Snøhetta who challenged or maybe expanded the ways of how when building a house we aim to create a house that is good to live in. Instead they started a project of building B. Melgaard’s home by asking:” what about a house to die in?” This made me curious about asking:” how about an urban space to die in?”… Well, I’ll leave it at that and find my way back to knowledge sharing…
With a background in architectural engineering I feel the need to give the blog an injection in the form of engineered urban methodology – not to worry it will be a diet version…. for now. So why this urge? It has become more and more common to think of sustainability in different aspects. Certification systems underline the importance of this by weighting and giving points for economically, socially and environmentally sustainable actions. Last year the Danish Green Building Council decided to work with the German certification system DGNB – Urban Districts which through 45 criteria (and many more sub-criteria) tries to reach every corner of these 3 sustainability aspects. So an urban space to die in would be a hodgepodge of best practice innovative architectural engineered elements.
Some of the points are already widely implemented in urban design and others are pop-up thoughts:
1. Neighbourhood Technical Core
A local technical core which displays the current incoming amount of wind power. This display will raise the awareness of renewable energy sources and will have low energy consuming LEDs which will glow more intensely the more the wind blows and thereby will have an embedded educational effect. By having a local technical core the adjustment to transition to a new power system are easy to handle.
2. Wind Adjusting Screens
To increase to the perfect breeze in (too) hot summer days.
To calm the wind in the midseason, to extend the outdoor season.
3. Waste Management
Instead of individual waste containers, the trash is separated in each home and at almost un-noticeable neighbourhood waste bins, the trash is thrown into a waste system where the waste is shredded and compressed and transported by suction to a local waste centre.
4. Local Rainwater Management
Instead of overloading with rainwater it can be detained in basins for evaporation or seepage. It can be obtained by vegetation or after a natural filtration system is used in a recreational function such as a paddling pool.
5. Stormwater Management
To prevent overflowing streets and severe damage to buildings the public space will be lowered and serve as an emergency stormwater basin from where the water slowly seeps into the ground or evaporates.
6. Pontoon Bridge
When the public space is overflowing with storm water the pontoon will adjust with the water level and ensure safe crossing and dry feet.
7. Bioreactor Installations
Algae growing when exposed to sunlight – from this process heat can be harvested and the biomass can be extracted and transported to a biofuel production site.
8. Heated Pavement
Surplus heating from the surrounding buildings is lead into the pavement to prevent it from becoming dangerously icy during winter. It will remove the need to salt the streets which speeds up the deterioration of the streets and messes up ecology, your footwear, your dog’s paws and last but certainly not least, for a Copenhagen resident it completely ruins your bike!
9. Noise Reducing Pavement
To prevent the many adverse effects on human health by traffic noise in the city.
10. Wave Energy / Stepping Stones / Kayaking Docks
To harvest energy from the movement of waves and making these generators directly usable for citizens.
11. Tempered Street Furniture
By using thermal mass in street furniture they could be perfectly tempered.
12. Playground / Street Fitness/ Piezo-electric Pavement
By walking on the street or interacting with instruments on the playground (trampolines, swings) piezo-electric systems are activated and provide power to the street light.
13. Green Surfaces
The lung of the city, filtrating the air. Casts shadow during hot summer days. Local food production; community vegetable gardens/ beekeeping on rooftops – bees more easily process pollution than pesticides.
14. Light Reflective Elements
For narrow streets where sun and daylight haven’t been prioritised, highly reflective materials and/ or shapes will cast light down to the street.
15. Non-toxic materials
Keep away from materials which cause acidification of the ground.