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Design for Good

Chicago's Urban Turbines

Wind turbines are more likely to prompt an association with the Northern California hills, where wind farms grace the vast landscape with their unseemly efficiency, than with the hustle-and-bustle of urban epicenters. But one unlikely innovator is out to change that.

Dubbed "Chicago's first earth-friendly parking garage," Greenway Self-Park is powered by 12 urban turbines that counter one of the biggest gripes against wind turbines – their atrocious, landscape-defacing appearance – through sleek, modern design.

Designed by the Chicago office of global architecture firm HOK, the turbines started spinning this summer and present a refreshing upgrade to parking garages in two unexpected ways: sustainabile operations and beautiful design. But perhaps more importantly, the project offers hope for urban turbines, which have so far remained somewhere in the limbo between technological pipe dream and architectural nightmare.

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Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.

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