Melissa Breyer of Treehugger writes about the importance of urban trees based on a new study published in the e-journal Ecological Modelling. The study found that the urban trees provide about $500 million worth of services a year in each megacity studied.
Dancing Orchards moving through an alley in Jätkäsaari, Helsinki.
The high tech CityTree by Green City Solutions cleans up air as effectively as 275 trees. The moss in the installation filters city air of pollutants like nitrogen oxide, ozone and particulate matter. And behind the living layer there’s a high-tech, solar powered control and metering system. Nothing will replace the biosphere of real trees, but since the CityTree needs only 1% of the space the 275 trees would take, it’s certainly a welcome addition to dense cities.
Architect Hiroshi Sambuichi has designed an interesting underground installation called ‘The Water’ at the Cisterns in Copenhagen, Denmark. Sambuichi talks about bringing out the natural beauty of the place. ”I want people to understand that they live in beautiful places”. The installation is certainly ethereal and features, among others, a small moss covered island that bathes in natural light amidst the darkness of the Cisterns.
This nine story apartment building in Bogotá, Columbia is clad almost entirely in beautiful green walls. The large project is a collaboration between builder and designer Exacta Proyecto Total, Paisajismo Urbano and Groncol. In a dense area like this, I would imagine also the neighbours to be delighted about the green walls. The whole system is pretty impressive and the video is very informative about the benefits of the living walls.
Vuosaarenhuippu hill in eastern Helsinki is an ecologically interesting destination. The 65 meter high hill used to be a dumping ground for construction waste until the late ’80s. During the ’90s and early ’00s the area was converted into a wild fell-like recreational area. Today the hill has an impressive wealth of flora and fauna. There are currently over 400 species of plants, some of which are endangered. Also many wild animals such as fox, moose, viper, short-toed snake eagle and even lynx have been seen on the site.
Because of the dumping ground history the hill has metering, collection and treatment systems for potential gas and leakage emissions. The area works also as a refuge for doomed plants: many plants have been moved there from urban development areas around Helsinki. Also some land masses are still brought in from these areas. The seeds in these land masses are expected to further strengthen the biodiversity on the site.
Today the place still looks like a man made mound with lots of rocks, transplanted stumps, deadwood and other seemingly out of place quirks. But it is interesting to witness the biodiversity and to see how nature is really reclaiming the area.
The plant filled Forest Bus delights passengers in Taiwan. Local florist Alfie Lin and designer Xiao Qing-Yang converted the bus into a relaxing oasis with moss, flowers and ferns. The pleased passengers have hoped that the refreshing conversion could be permanent and it is easy to see why.
In Rotterdam we saw this fabulous Bobbing Forest installation by the Dutch artist Jorge Bakker. The installation consists of floating buoys that have live trees planted in them. In the winds and waves of the Rijnhaven bay, the trees bob and sway around beautifully. The Bobbing Forest creates an interesting, new type of forest close to a very concrete-jungle part of Rotterdam. Kudos for the people who have made this happen!
Northern Europe’s first floating trash collector was just installed in Helsinki. The small sea cleaning gizmo called Seabin was placed in front Uunisaari island. The pilot project is a collaboration between the Seabin Project and the technology group Wärtsilä. Another Seabin will be added to the area in June. It will be interesting to see how successful this device is in cleaning the litter from the waters. Currently the seabin needs frequent maintenance and trash collection but we’ll see how the design evolves.
Happy International Compost Awareness Week! The Compost Story by by Kiss The Ground and Elevate tells about the importance of composting. In Finland we have pretty good public composting systems in many cities, but globally most of the food waste goes to landfills. If you don’t have much space you might even build a small compost on your balcony.