Rebecca Tomas

Can Green Architecture help save us from Pollution?

For task Two my groups Scenario was in regards to Over population in an ecological environment. The city contained ecological sustainable urban high-rise apartment buildings that introduced solar heating and electricity and also in Task three we extended our scenario to even a more distant time and situation where the city is very much over populated as it has lead to the increase of air pollution and many of the buildings were surrounded by toxic air.

During my research into finding a designer who deals with the above scenario, I came across an Italian Architect Stefan Boeri. He has come to the realisation that as earths population has gone beyond the level of sustainability, there is a high demand in the reduce of Co2 emissions. One of Stefans main goals as a designer is to reduce the air pollutant in Milan the worlds first Vertical forest. Vertical gardens are widely popular and an example is the Central Park apartment complex in Sydney designed by Architect Jean Nouvel. Although it is virtually self-sufficient plants attached to the exterior of the building. Boeris design is much more complex as he takes the idea to new heights.

His main proposal includes two apartment towers which can accomodate “20,000 plants, shrubs, perennial flowers and trees” (Sampson, 2014). Carefully being thought out in relation to Boeri’s concept “the trees are being placed on a series of overlapping concrete balconies and will work as multipurpose filter as they absorb CO2 and dust, produce oxygen, and create a microclimate within the apartments.” (Sampson, 2014). The plants are self maintained as the buildings have a system which provides energy and a grey-water filtration system to water the plants with used sink and shower water.  With this in mind, three times a year a professional team of gardeners will maintain the vegetation along the balconies and around both buildings.

Now that the building has officially been completed, each individual apartment hosts a private garden- which is similar to the one my group thought out in our scenario. Which helps keep safe the inside space from CO2 and dust particles, air and noise pollution, strong winds and sunlight while also producing oxygen throughout the interior of the room. Throughout our scenario we also mentioned the form of solar power being used in the apartment complex. Boeri has also thought to use solar panels around the ‘Bosco Verticale’. Which is also a popular feature and technology to utilise in surrounding architecture recently.

From researching the above, a question arises: Can Architects solve the problem to Air pollution with the help of Green architecture and sustainable design? That question is still up to debate however Thornbush suggests that “The contribution that urban greening, particularly green architecture roofs and facades can make towards achieving low-carbon polluted cities” (Thornbush, 2015). With vegetated roofs and other varieties of vegetation can absorb CO2 and have a positive effect on the surrounding environment.


References

Architecture & Design 2014, ‘Boeri Studio’s ‘Vertical Forest’ opens in Milan’, Architecture & Design, 22 October, viewed 23 October 2015, <http://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/news/stefano-boeri-architect-s-vertical-forest-opens-in&gt;.

Sampson, T. 2014, ‘Green Architecture Reaches New Heights with Milan’s Vertical Forest,’ UTNE Reader, 30 January, viewed 23 October 2015, <http://www.utne.com/green%20architecture%20reaches%20new%20heights%20with%20vertical%20forest.aspx&gt;.

Thornbush, M.J. 2015, Vehicular Air Pollution and Urban Sustainability: An Assessment from Central Oxford, UK, 1st edn, Springer, New York.

Little, S. 2015, What Are Architects Doing In Response To Population Growth, Freshome.com, viewed 23 October 2015, <http://freshome.com/what-architects-doing-in-response-to-population-growth&gt;.

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Rebecca Tomas

Interview: Into The Future of Technology

For my interview I interviewed my friend Chris who is studying a Bachelor of Science at UNSW. I was lucky enough for him to let me interview him as he is extremely busy.

For my first question I asked how he envisions the future from now? Chris said he envisions the future will be more open. With more open minded people, more relaxed and newer laws to adapt this, and of course more new and advance technologies. Though how will it change from now? Chris: With a newer generation entering the fields of politics and higher positions of major corporations and institutes, how input and the way we perceive the future will greatly impact it. We inevitably create our future and also how we are constantly glued into this wired network, always online, our lives tend to revolve around technology and at this day and age its still not 100 percent reliable, however in the future I’m sure it will be and we will still be very much attached to it more so than now.

Bringing up a topic which many people refer to when trying to envision the future I asked ‘Do you think technology will change dramatically as we see in films or do you think that is more so a myth? If so why?’ Chris: If there is one thing that science fiction has taught us, is that technology isn’t going be restricted to a screen anymore. Technology will be out in the environment, where we will continue to touch, but speak, and think in order to control it. I would too, have to agree with this answer. I believe technology is developing at such a rapid pace and there are constantly new methods and innovative ways on how to do tasks that I definitely believe that technology will not be restricted to a screen as it is more so now.

What new technology can you see humans using regularly?

Chris: Wearable and integrated technology. Technology will find itself in every aspect of life. This including items we wear. Technology will advance in the medical field. Providing better support for those in loss of limb or inbuilt technologies in the internals of a human. – I can definitely see new break through in the medical word for people with difficulties and maybe new break throughs with our medical research in regards to illnesses and diseases that do not yet have a cure.

Do you think everyday life will change dramatically in 20-30 years time from now?

Chris: No, not really. From watching films and what my parents etc have told be, the basis and structure of an ‘everyday life’ hasn’t changed that dramatically, and I foresee it to be the same in the next 20-30 years ahead. Of course small differences will be apparent.

In what new ways will technology evolve more so than it has today?

Chris: More advancements and innovations around sustainability. Using lesser fuels and other ways of producing energy in a more eco friendly method.

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Thank you to Chris for letting me interview him. I think from a general and somewhat of a scientific point of view. We got a solid understanding of how one human sees our future and how that might look from a technological point of view.

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Rebecca Tomas

The Anthropocene Vs Urbanisation

In 2015- the present. We are currently living in the Anthropocene. Which has created an influence on our earth today to create an Anthropogenic change which has been a change on a global scale. It has changed the earths climate, land, biosphere and sea. However it also relates the actions of us humans and how we have influenced the earth we live in today. Humans have stopped being influenced by this planet and we have now influenced the geology of our world. The more humans that take place living on our earth, leads to the world being more populated which can very easily lead to overpopulation which isn’t too far off and could very well happen in the near future. If this were to occur in the Anthropocene it would effect food production, health care losses and housing affordability would grow substaintially. Urban cultures have spread rapidly causing urbanisation to accelerate now more than ever and has caused a population explosion”, in 2000 the population has risen from 1 billion to 6.5 billion which has lead to an estimated 6.5 billion in 2050.

With the population count contimnuming to rise, so has urbanisation. It has been estimated that over the next two decades the urban population will grow “by more than 300 million people” whom all need the same nessescities that we have in our daily lives now such as housing, water, food and jobs. Though by this big population boom, that could occur in the next two decades there is still issues that have risen that would still most likely to be a problem in the future such as pollution and social inequality would have to be addressed. (Vince, 2015) Though a positive from this can be taken from Chinas  economic growth and industralisation- in which they have provided labour and consumers within a building hysteria they are currently in.

Due to bringing more consumers and the spike in the population, more buildings are being built to accomodate these new people. However this is being done in a way that impacts the environment in a negative way. This is being performed by cheap and poor construction methods which is not helping out the end product being built. Due to concrete being one of the worlds most used products in the world, reining in second in comparison to water, majority of it is manufactured in China. By being manufactured in this part of the world it is emitting more than one tonne of carbon dioxide to making one tonne of cement. Though due to the poor construction methods that have been utilised in the past, the buildings have been destroyed and been rebuilt- which in the end uses more materials and produces more carbon dioxide which has evidently created a negative end result on our earth by humans rebuilding more high rise towers due to the rapid increase of the human population. Which continues to grow everyday and if the same construction and urbanisation methods are being utilised than we will continue to live in the Anthropocene.


References

Vince, G. 2014, Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made, Milkweed Editions, United States.

The Royal Institution 2015, ‘The Anthropocene – with Jan Zalasiewicz and Christian Schwägerl,’ YouTube, viewed 23 August 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP9P2i5jx-4&gt;.

McMichael, A.J. 2014, ‘Population health in the Anthropocene: Gains, losses and emerging trends,’ The Anthropocene Review, vol. 1, no. 44-56.

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Rebecca Tomas

THEY KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER

As humans we collect information about our world and we collect data. This data is called evidence, the more evidence we collect the more questions we ask. It is a cycle. A major factor of this cycle is Social media, which is contributing to big data. We are constantly glued to our phones and technological devices. Tweeting, updating our Facebook page and uploading a Instagram photo to show followers that we have a life. Therefore social media is contributing to the flood of big data. It is everywhere and it is the number one priority of businesses according to Kirk Borne. It is the highest level of conversation of the Government. From this setting, big data acts as a form of revenue and discovery.

In the early 1980’s to now 2015, many changes have occurred with both the cost of storage data and also the risk of how much data people will see and be able to access. In 1980 the cost of storage for 1GB was $300 thousand. Today? It is free with websites such as BOX, GoogleDrive & iCloud offering anywhere from 5GB-50GB for free. This may be convenient and cheap for many people, however it also poses a increased risk in available data and how easy it is to access. For example BookDepostory.com mines its customers purchase logs to recommend books to you “People who bought this book also bought this one”. This is also similar to Youtube and Netflix offering users recommendations based on what other users and customers have watched and rented.

In December 2009, Google made changes with their search engine in which it would be personalised according to signals, location, machine, history and what you browse. Yet the privacy policy of google did state that by signing in you allow it to collect information about you— including whatever you give them. Such as name, address, phone number and maybe even a credit card number. This works as a trade off as the user benefits from googles services and google collects information about users and their data. As usual people were alarmed by this matter (yet who even really ever reads the terms and conditions of websites? exactly) It was said that the search engine was recognising your browser and not you.  As surveillance technologies do not monitor people but operate through processes.

However some others may disagree and feel as though they are being tracked online/. An investigation was done by The Wall Street Journal investigating into Staples which is similar to Officeworks here in Australia. Which looked into two users Kim Wamble and Trude Frizzell – the website seemed to show two different prices on an item based on where the website seemed to think they were located. No matter what privacy settings we try to change, either way it is now a matter of life that our information is all being stored and collected.


References

TEDx Talks 2013, ‘Big Data, Small World: Kirk Borne at TEDxGeorgeMasonU,’ YouTube, viewed 19 August 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr02fMBfuRA >.

Lazer, D., Kennedy, R., King, G. & Vespignani, A. 2014, ‘The Parable of Google Flu: Traps in Big Data Analysis,’ Science Mag, vol. 343, pp. 1203–1205.

Baetens, J. 2014, ‘“Raw Data” Is an Oxymoron edited by Lisa Gitelman. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2013. 208 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 9780262518284’, Leonardo, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 303–304.

Carpentier, M. 2013, ‘What Your Search History Says About You (And How to Shut It Up),’ Huffington Post, 31 December, viewed 19 August 2015, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/megan-carpentier/what-your-search-history-_b_4179728.html?ir=Australia&gt;.

Valentino-DeVries, J., Soltani, A. & Singer-Vine, J. 2012, ‘Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users’ Information,’ The Wall Street Journal, 24 December, viewed 19 August 2015, <http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323777204578189391813881534&gt;.

Main Image Designed By Myself

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