Introducing the Tesla Semi Truck.

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In a time where emissions regulation is more critical than ever before, Tesla is leading in the way we innovate towards a cleaner future. When we think of traditional semi trucks, we are brought to the thought of large, gas-guzzling, polluting machines – not really the staple of an environmental shift. But, Tesla took the idea of electric cars and applied it to a larger vehicle. The company simply asked the question of “why hasn’t someone done this yet?” “Why hasn’t someone tackle one of the biggest exhaust/emissions problems by starting with the easiest target – the truck?” So, they did just that.

Introducing the Tesla Semi Truck. The next big thing in green innovation.

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According Zac Estrada of The Verge, “Musk appeared Thursday night in Hawthorne, California, to show off his company’s newest vehicle, promising a range in the neighborhood of 500 miles for the Class 8 heavy-duty vehicle. Earlier reports pegged the range between 200 and 300 miles, but Musk delighted in besting those numbers in his remarks, including his claim that the truck has a 400-mile range with 30 minutes of charging. Musk had also promised self-driving abilities, and Tesla says this delivers at least semi-autonomous capability” (Estrada, 1).

“After the reveal, it’s clear Tesla hopes its innovative packaging and approach will resonate with truck drivers and fleet managers who are tired of the way the vehicles have been designed for decades. After all, it won’t be alone in the electric truck market. Companies with experience in large trucks, such as Cummins and Daimler, have already announced plans for electrified models, with immense pressure coming from cities and countries anxious to reduce air pollution in heavily populated areas” (Estrada, 1).

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Tesla has curated a heavy-power vehicle capable of providing clean transit for over 500 miles on a single, 30-minute charge. This is something unmatched, but will eventually face competition. The Verge made it clear that Tesla has now paved the way for the adoption of this new product. Companies across the globe will be empowered by large cities to push these vehicles onto the road. In order to combat pollution and create a more efficient world, this may be the right step in that direction.

For more information on the Tesla Semi Truck, explore the following links:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/16/16667366/tesla-semi-truck-announced-price-release-date-electric-self-driving

https://www.tesla.com/semi/

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/11/17/564777998/tesla-unveils-its-electric-semi-truck-and-adds-a-roadster

http://fortune.com/2017/11/20/inside-tesla-electric-semi-truck/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2017/11/16/tesla-semi-electric-big-rig-truck-rolls-into-reality/873162001/

https://www.autoblog.com/2017/11/19/tesla-semi-trucker-questions/

 

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Ouarzazate: “The Door of the Desert”

ait-benhaddou-ouarzazate-morocco-m.jpgOn a bare plateau within the High Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco lies the city of Ouarzazate. Despite it being a major hub for tourism, Ouarzazate’s location makes it highly susceptible to desert storms, desertification of land and a loss of biodiversity. In order to combat this, the people of Ouarzazate -with the help from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Korea Forest Service (KFS)- have devised a plan; in essence, the project involved the development of a greenbelt of trees which surrounded the city as well as the greening of drylands with treated wastewater.

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In addition to this plan, the city is currently developing a large series of solar panels which involves five different projects, spread over 10,000 hectares and is estimated to be finished around 2020. According to a report by the UNEP, once it is complete contribute the plant will “contribute 18 per cent to Morocco’s annual electricity generation. It will save the country 1 million tons of oil equivalent and prevent the emission of 3.7 million tons of CO2.”

In a nutshell, the greenbelt project has planted over 400 hectares of trees which has naturally protected it form several storms. Moreover, this project has empowered the local people with engagement since this meant for the creation of new job opportunities.

Much of the greenbelt has been created as recreational spaces which has also raised community awareness and encouraged public participation. The first showings of this project had generated so much positive change that Ouarzazate’s government decided to launch a second phase. This phase focused more on sparking awareness, creating partnerships and even sharing local experiences to neighboring cities and places around the world. As more and more attention is brought to the city of Ouarzazate’s strides to build a more sustainable future, perhaps they may serve as a shining example for cities all around the world.

“This project will offer a better living environment for the population in Ouarzazate. I am proud of all partners who made it a success. I hope that this project will be a model to control desertification and loss of biodiversity in the world”   – H.E. Dongil Park, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea

Sources:

 

A city of future in China

As the year go through, millions of people are joining China’s urban population. By 2030, Chinese cities are expected to have one billion residents. Hence, those cities need smart, efficient strategies for development that make urban spaces comfortable, prosperous and sustainable. The urban planning decision in china have huge consequences for how the cities will become in decades. So, how does the project address the factors for sustainable development? The current comprehensive urban project is located in a underdeveloped neighborhood in Shenzhen, who has served the needs of local residents by upgrading existing bullrings and factories, rather than tearing them down.  The city is focusing on low-carbon industrial project and economic development. The Shenzhen low Carbon city plan many important principles of sound urban design, such as emphasis on mixed use neighborhoods, transit-oriented development, and dense, pedestrian-friendly street networks.   Furthermore, urban planning will not only benefit the air quality which is a well known problem in China , but also create job opportunities since there are millions of people in china who are looking for a job after graduation.

 

 

 

 

https://www.virgin.com/virgin-unite/business-innovation/city-future-china

 

A Land Down Under

With rising global temperatures and an increase in severe weather, some cities are turning to underground pedestrian systems to provide refuge. These underground networks help provide shelter from the elements and allow for travel between buildings without having to go up to street level (Cui, Allen, and Lin). Many of these networks also include commercial areas and provide transport links between different lines. Two of the most notable underground pedestrian systems are the Chicago Pedway and Toronto PATH which were both originally constructed to prevent sidewalk congestion at street level (Cui et. al).

 

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Map Courtesy of Park Millennium

 

In Chicago, many areas of the Pedway are poorly marked or maintained leading to it being underutilized. In response to this, the Environmental Law & Policy Center has announced plans to redevelop and modernize large sections of the Pedway while incorporating better lighting, access to more buildings, and residential areas (Buchan). These plans also include sustainable features such as LED lighting, efficient toilets, and reclaimed materials. Future upgrades to the heating and air conditioning units within the system would ensure for comfortable conditions whatever the season. With assistance from the City of Chicago the size of the Pedway could expand dramatically through tax incentives and infrastructure improvements. This type of expansion could lead to more construction and commercial jobs for people across the city. If enacted the plan set forth by the Environmental Law & Policy Center, would turn the Pedway into another tourist attraction leading to increased economic activity.

Works Cited

Buchan, Ella. “‘Underground city’ set to become Chicago’s next attraction …” The Guardian, 9 Sept. 2017, http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/sep/09/chicago-pedway-underground-plans-for-tourist-attraction.

Cui, Jianqiang, et al. “Underground pedestrian systems development in cities: Influencing factors and implications.” Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, vol. 35, 2013, pp. 152–160., doi:10.1016/j.tust.2012.12.009.

 

 

Makin’ My Way Downtown… To a Greener City.

In 2011, the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, decided to take matters into their own hands and decided to work to convert itself into a greener city. They have taken the initiative to lower the use of cars and increase public transportation, biking, and walking. Their goal is to become the greenest city by the year 2020. Because Vancouver is a coastal city, they are an easy target for rising sea levels. Global warming is causing the ice from glaciers and ice sheets to melt, therefore causing the rise in sea level. Vancouver wants to make walking the top transportation priority. Cities are very hectic with cars honking and the pollution they cause. So walking is a great way to cut back, plus, it’s good for you.

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To enhance walkability, maps are oriented in the direction pedestrians are facing, not always on a north-south axis. PHOTO: CITY OF VANCOUVER

Some of Vancouver’s roadways have been altered in ways to favor pedestrians. One example is installing “pedestrian-controlled traffic signals on busy streets.” Another thing they have done is made more places within walking distance. “Downtown buildings have storefronts and restaurants on the street level, while residential neighborhoods feature townhouses with raised porches.” (Totty 2016) Thus, making it easier for residents to access whatever they need without having to use their cars. According to their Greenest City 2020 action plan, there has been a 32% decrease in distance driven per person since 2007. “VIVA Vancouver has been innovating public spaces, transforming road spaces into vibrant pedestrian spaces, and encouraging community, walking and cycling, and local businesses since 2011.” (City of Vancouver. Greenest City- 2020 Action Plan 2016) Mr. Lon La Clair said, “Vehicle trips have declined citywide over the past 15 years, and the number of cars entering downtown has dropped 20% since 1996. As a result, Vancouver is ranked fifth by Walk Score, a unit of Redfin, which measures the walkability of more than 140 North American cities.” (Totty 2016) If they continue like this, they’ll be able to become a greener city in no time.

 

 

Works Cited
2016. City of Vancouver. Greenest City- 2020 Action Plan . Vancouver, British Columbia.

Totty, Michael. 2016. “Five Cities That Are Leading the Way in Urban Innovation.” The                     Wall Street Journal. April 21. https://www.wsj.com/articles/five-cities-that-are-                     leading-the-way-in-urban-innovation-1461549789.

 

 

City Underground Space

As long as the urban area is expanding quickly, exploring the underground area is the main thing to be considered currently. When people start gathering around the center of cities, it will cause the issue of lack of living space, traffic congestion and so on. Most of the issues may affect the urban environment. Therefore, how to manage the underground space of a city will be seen as the solution of the over-crowded city. Tokyo is one of the city that started to utilize the underground space. The use of underground space in Tokyo is mainly supported by three points: First, it could provide the lifeline for emergency relief in the case of natural disaster; second, since some infrastructure could build underground, it could improve the environment of the ground of Tokyo; third, it could contribute the formation of the urban structure.

The most beneficial program of underground space should be the transportation. Present, the traffic congestion is one of the biggest issues of an urban area. To create an underground transportation system could be the best way to solve that. Besides, the traffic, especially on the high way, can make a lot of noise and emissions, which influenced a lot of people around the high way. Therefore, people should use more public transit rather than personal vehicles. The underground transportation system would help with that to a great extent and it could also save more use of energy than personal vehicles. Also, the underground structure can offer a better protection during the destructive weather or seismic events. After people moved some infrastructure underground, they could get more space on the ground, which means more space for recreation or green. Then, it will help to improve the urban environment. There are a lot of benefits that developing underground space could bring to us, therefore, use the space wisely will be one of the problems to consider in the future.

“tokyo underground system”的图片搜索结果

“tokyo underground”的图片搜索结果

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0886779815302923

http://global.ctbuh.org/resources/papers/download/1590-utilization-of-deep-underground-space-in-tokyo-urban-renewal-with-the-citys-new-backbone-lifeline.pdf

Creative Corridors Coalition

Creative Corridors is a volunteer nonprofit organization based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. According to their website, they are a “once-in-a-generation opportunity for the city of Winston-Salem”. They vision is a plan to rebuild or replace 11 aging bridges to create a creative corridor of pedestrian bridges and vehicular overpasses that stretch across a one-mile strip of highway that cuts right through the heart of its downtown. The vision of Creative Corridors is to significantly upgrade 8 of the bridges, while the 3 other bridges will receive major redesigns to transform them into symbols of their city. The Coalition has worked alongside city and state officials to ensure that the bridges capture the devotion to arts, culture and innovation that Winston-Salem has.

Creative Corridors is attempting to turn a routine transportation infrastructure project into an economic, aesthetic and social GAIN. The organization uses that acronym, GAIN, to serve as their motto. To me, it symbolizes the different goals of the organization as it stands for Green, Artful, Iconic, and Network. Green being how they design, construct and maintain structures that work with nature instead of against it. Artful being both the inclusion of artwork plus the artful design of specific corridor elements. Iconic is what they hope to achieve by creating memorable structures that define a place and become a part of the community’s identity. Finally, network representing the integration of and connection to the community, therefore drawing its citizens together and promoting economic development in the area. The design and enhancements are expected to cost around $20 million dollars, but a large part of that was raised through investors and community events. Work began on the project last October.

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This project reminds me of the High Line in New York and the 606 Trail here in Chicago. I believe has a great vision and are following along with the trend of repurposing old infrastructure into corridors or parks that has been increasing in cities and I am all for it.

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Works Cited

“Creative Corridors Coalition.” Creative Corridors Coalition Home Comments, creativecorridors.org/.

Zimmerman, Eileen. “The Many Faces of Innovation in U.S. Cities.” The New York Times, 20 July 2016.

Smart Street Poles

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Walking around the city of Chicago, you may notice that every street pole only focus on one specific use. It either provides light, security, or its there signs but each one only serves one purpose. Don’t you think there can be a better way to just combine these different aspects in one single pole? I think having intelligent street poles can help reduce the amount of poles in the city, which increases urban efficiency through the reduction of energy costs. Having intelligent street poles that include sensors or software controls, can have a large impact on the data that is transmitted which can later help manage the amount of traffic and other issues that are big as of right now.

One major aspect of this project that I believe would be the most efficient is that the multi-sensor can logically control the system carried inside of the poles. Therefore, it can reduce the amount of illumination based on the time of day and how many cars are passing by. For example, if it is already dark out and only a couple cars pass every 4 minutes, the poles sensor will be triggered at whatever distance the car is. If there is no sensor being triggered, then the lights will be dimmed so that it also provides light for pedestrians. Overall, the point of these poles is to provide as many services in one single pole so that it makes it easier for people to receive these services in just one area instead of scattered around while also reducing the power consumption that the poles use.

 

Sources:

Lumca SmartPole en, lumca.com/en/component/html5flippingbook/publication/lumca-smartpole-en/4.
“Smart poles for smart cities.” Sapa is now Hydro, http://www.hydroextrusions.com/en/industry/infrastructure/poles/smart-poles/.

The driverless bus

When most people envision driverless vehicles, they think of personal cars or taxies zipping around or more likely being stuck in the same traffic as before. The Achilles’ heel of these cars is the high likelihood that they would only be carrying a single person, much like today leading to even more traffic as more driverless cars can cram themselves onto the road. Instead, the real quantum leap forward is driverless buses and trains. Automated trains have been a thing since the late 1960s with the opening of the Victoria Line in London. Some system such as the Copenhagen Metro was entirely built using driverless technology. However, cost and difficulties with retrofitting have prevented this from becoming a standard feature. New York City’s BMT Canarsie Line took nine years to become fully automated after due to numerous setbacks during construction. This is where the driverless bus comes into play to change our transport outlook once more. There are two distinct kinds of driverless buses, shuttles, and route service. Route service buses would theoretically be similar to the vehicles currently operating on the CTA, but these have yet to be fully developed. Instead, companies are focusing on easier to test shuttle buses such as the French Ligier EZ10 EasyMile that is being tested right now in cities across the world. These shuttle buses have an insufficient range of around 14 hours of driving on a pre-determined route but are an essential step in perfecting the technology. A future city could use a combination of automated buses and trains that would make the driverless car unnecessary for most people. In the suburbs, on-demand shuttles would ferry customers around to key destinations such as train stations or downtowns. From there people could jump on an automated commuter train heading to the city center. On the city end of things driverless buses would go down pre-determined routes as before but with more efficiency thanks to the automation.  What is left to make this vision a reality is for governments to stand up and make the investments that are needed. Our transportation networks will change dramatically over the next few years as driverless technology makes more progress so it is vital to prepare and to remember that cars are not the only vehicles that can and are being automated right now.

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Sources:

http://easymile.com/

http://library.rpa.org/pdf/RPA-Moving-Forward.pdf

http://www.trainweb.org/tubeprune/Victoria%20Line%20ATO.htm

http://www.ansaldo-sts.com/sites/ansaldosts/files/brochures/copenhagen_metro.pdf

Blog 3- Science, Innovation & Technology for Urban Sustainability

what is edible landscapingWhen community gardens are created in any neighborhood, it has many benefits to that area and much more. For the social equity aspect of the garden, it enables people who participated in community gardens for the access to fresh food, health benefits, and time outdoors. Gardens in low-income areas also included impacts such as citizenship, activism, and social mobilization. The environmental aspect is that there is more social equity for the alternative food movement. In Katharine Bradley’s research article “Practicing food justice at Dig Deep Farms & Produce, East Bay Area, California: self-determination as a guiding value and intersections with foodie logic,” it talks about the social aspect of community gardens stating ” It also reduced crime, more employment opportunities, and self-determination for those who live in the area. It also makes the air and soil quality, and it reduces water runoff.” Economic wise, many citizens who live near a community garden or farm, claims to save a couple hundred dollars on groceries. It keeps the community think differently about what they eat and how they are becoming more conscious of where they buy food from. Health benefits of community gardens are the most dramatic part of having on in the community. Like it reduces the intake of pesticides and other chemicals from fruits and veggies that companies mass produce. in the article “A Changing Environment: The Impact of Edible Landscaping & Urban Gardening.” it states about energy is that “straight to a garden removes the energy used for going to a store using transportation and refrigeration. Plus it’s going to be using less energy unlike farms that use to play, plant, spray, and harvest produce.” In Chicago, there’s an organization called “Chicago Urban Agriculture Mapping Project.” It maps the inventory agriculture and community gardens throughout the Chicago area. The collection of information is available to the public as a resource. The more available fresh fruits and veggies are more convenient in community gardens, the more people bands together to ensure everyone has access to it.

sources: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13549839.2013.790350

http://www.urbaneapts.com/urban-gardening/17033/