from the world's big
Researchers discover a massive ceremonial structure of the ancient Mayans using lasers.
- Archaeologists used laser-based aerial surveys to discover the oldest and largest Mayan structure ever found.
- The 3,000-year-old complex in the Mexican state of Tabasco was likely used as a ceremonial center.
- Researchers believe the site represents a communal society rather than one based on worshipping elites.
Whether building from scratch or changing a room's design, this program will guide your way.
- Building additions to homes can be an expensive and cumbersome undertaking.
- Remodeling is exciting, but finding the starting point is challenging.
- The vision for your dream home or new living room can be quickly sketched up on your laptop.
An Italian firm has put forward an idea for a green city that would be completely self-sustaining, modern, and green.
- An Italian architecture firm has proposed a sustainable city for Mexico.
- The plans call for a 100 percent self-sufficient metropolis, with renewable energy, Venetian canals, and endless green space.
- This design is one of many "smart city" proposals as of late that point to a new form of urbanism.
Eco-Utopia?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjA5MzU5NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMzQ4NzEyNn0.u7NCkt3nOkHQpvVC1YuicZv4yPdS68gSBAIoSo3HbUc/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=40%2C148%2C62%2C0&height=700" id="43a8d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b8209c37caa45aa01f4d6e477cbe4845" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
An aerial view of the proposed city. Notice the surrounding green space and extensive canal system.
Image source: Stefano Boeri Architetti<p>According to the firm's <a href="https://www.stefanoboeriarchitetti.net/en/project/smart-forest-city-cancun/" target="_blank">press release</a>, the city will cover 557 hectares, 400 of which will be green spaces containing 7,500,000 plants. Designed for 130,000 people to live and work there, it will feature a wide variety of housing types to accommodate the needs of its residents.</p><p>The economy of the city will be circular, with all of its food, water, and energy needs being self-generated. The designs also include a grand research center so that the city can host university departments, conferences, and curious scholars of all ages. </p><p>The city even has plans to improve the way we interact with our data. The architects told <a href="https://www.dezeen.com/2019/10/25/smart-forest-city-stefano-boeri-cancun-mexico/" target="_blank"><em>Dezeen</em></a> that "Big data management is used to improve the governance of the city, hence, the life of its citizens. Sensors are distributed within the building fabric: they collect and share relevant information, which is then centrally analyzed and turned into suggestions in support of everyday life. For example, by mapping on an app the expected outdoor comfort experience within certain areas of the city."</p><p>This data will be handled with "full respect of the privacy of the citizens."</p> If all goes according to plan, the city will be built on an area currently used as a sand quarry for hotels that is tentatively scheduled to become a shopping center.
Can it really be self-sustaining?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjA5MzYzNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTA3NzAxOX0.lcfdnkWau8tCVIoQaGVgOvEJgb5IA1veJQIQweRihUs/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C25%2C0%2C187&height=700" id="da28d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b5613babdafaa1d65a88746fe459971f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Artist's impression of the fresh water canals.
Image source: Stefano Boeri Architetti<p>The city is designed to fully sustain itself through an ingenious system of energy production and water desalination. A ring of solar panels will surround the city, generating enough power for all of the inhabitants. Water will be pulled from the Caribbean and desalinized using a solar tower. This water would be used to irrigate crops through a system of navigable canals.</p><p>Transportation will be handled by an entirely electric public "Mobility in Chain" transit system. Cars will all be left outside of the <a href="https://interestingengineering.com/architecture-firm-designs-smart-forest-city-cancun-thats-fully-self-sufficient" target="_blank">city</a>. </p><p>What carbon emissions there are will be captured by the endless <a href="https://www.dezeen.com/2019/10/25/smart-forest-city-stefano-boeri-cancun-mexico/" target="_blank">plants</a>. The firm notes, with evident pride, that "thanks to the new public parks and private gardens, thanks to the green roofs and to the green facades, the areas actually occupied will be given back by nature through a perfect balance between the amount of green areas and building footprint. The Smart Forest City will absorb 116.000 tons of carbon dioxide with 5.800 tons of CO<sub>2 </sub>stocked per year."</p><p>While it currently only exists on paper, the visionaries who have dreamed this plan into existence hope the city can be an example for the world and a testing place for ideas on sustainable urbanism. It will join the ranks of several other smart cities that have been <a href="https://www.dezeen.com/2019/10/28/five-smart-cities-north-america/" target="_blank">proposed</a> as ways to improve our existence, make the world more <a href="https://www.dezeen.com/2017/06/28/liuzhou-forest-city-stefano-boeri-proposes-plant-covered-city-to-eat-up-chinas-smog/" target="_blank">sustainable</a>, and move beyond the limitations of our current urban planning paradigms. </p>
Electrochemical methods such as this could someday dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the planet.
- Cement production accounts for 8 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.
- The new method uses renewable electricity to generate heat for the mixing process, while an electrochemical technique allows for carbon dioxide to be captured and stored.
- This method isn't likely to be implemented at scale anytime soon, but it's an "important first step," the researchers said.
Preventing and capturing emissions<p>In a paper published in the journal <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/09/10/1821673116" target="_blank"><em>PNAS</em></a> on September 16, the researchers explain how CO2 is emitted at two main steps during the cement production process. The first occurs when coal is burned to cook limestone with sand and clay, the ingredients of the widely used Portland cement variety. In the new method, these materials would be heated using electricity generated from renewable sources.</p><p>"In many geographies renewable electricity is the lowest-cost electricity we have today, and its cost is still dropping," Yet-Ming Chiang, lead researcher and the Kyocera Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, told <em><a href="http://news.mit.edu/2019/carbon-dioxide-emissions-free-cement-0916" target="_blank">MIT News.</a></em></p><p>Emissions also occur during the chemical reactions of these materials. That's why the new approach depends on an electrolyzer, a device which uses electrodes to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. At one electrode, pulverized limestone is dissolved in acid, releasing a stream of highly pure carbon dioxide, which can be captured, stored, and potentially used for other manufacturing purposes.</p>
Scheme for a low-emission, electrochemically based cement plant. An electrochemical decarbonation reactor powered by renewable electricity converts CaCO3 to Ca(OH)2 for use in cement synthesis
Chiang et al.
An 'important first step'<p>Still, there's no guarantee that the method can be scaled in a cost-effective manner. For Chiang and his team, the main goal was to spur people in the electrochemical sector to "start thinking" about ways to clean up the cement production process — to come up some innovative solutions.</p><p>"It's an important first step, but not yet a fully developed solution," Chiang told <em>MIT News.</em></p>
With little progress on other avenues to preventing mass shootings, one firm has employed architecture to save students.
- A school in Michigan is being remodeled in a way to minimize the effect of a shooter should the worst happen.
- It features limited sight lines, bullet proof windows, and doors that can be locked at the push of a button.
- Some research casts doubt on how effective the plans will actually be.