Category: Building

Rough, Ready, But Very Real – a November 2013 Update on the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’ Site)

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Project from above, featuring a garbage-accumulating fence edge Well, you would be hard pressed to find a tougher block of land — a 400m below sea level, West facing slope, in an extremely hot, arid climate, with extremely poor, shallow highly alkaline top ‘soil’, covered in rocks, with a limited water supply and in a mostly Palestinian refugee-populated village. When we first started working on the site local farmers thought […]

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The Architect Has No Clothes

by Michael Mehaffy & Nikos A. Salingaros 1. Seeing the World Differently For 40 years, people have been talking about how to fix Boston’s City Hall Plaza. Have you ever looked at a bizarre building design and wondered, “what were the architects thinking?” Have you looked at a supposedly “ecological” industrial-looking building, and questioned how it could be truly ecological? Or have you simply felt frustrated by a building that […]

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Bamboo Village Kuala Lumpur Hosts PDC with Rhamis Kent (January 2014)

A fellow by the name of Mr. Ramadan has created this unique resort just outside of Kuala Lumpur in an area known as Hulu Langat. Mr. Ramadan, who studied mechanical engineering, majoring in automotive diesel, worked at a bank for 24 years of his life and in 2008 he decided to stop his office job and to do real work with his hands. He wanted to be outdoors instead of […]

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Creating Buildings and Environments that Support Life (Podcast)

by James Alexander Arnfinsen Our society is drunk, it is intoxicated on pursuing novelty, it is pursuing novelty at all costs, even at the cost of civilization itself. — Nikos Salingaros, from the interview In this episode I have the delight of connecting with Nikos Salingaros, who is a Professor in Mathematics, an Urbanist and Architectural Theorist. He is originally from Greece, but lives now in San Antonio, USA. Nikos […]

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Zero Net Energy Households

A "zero net" home is a household with zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions annually — essentially, the idea of a zero net home is a building with a virtually invisible carbon footprint. As renewable and clean energy sources become more affordable and accessible to everyday homeowners, we should hopefully see an increase in both zero net homes, and homes that consume slightly more energy than they produce, […]

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Permaculture in the Bahamas

At the same time as the 36-inch snow storm hit the East Coast of the US in early February, 2013, I found myself standing on an island in the Bahamas. With no way to ‘escape’ I decided to accept my situation and make the best of it. I had been invited to speak at a Peace Symposium hosted by the Sivananda Yoga Retreat located on Paradise Island just north of […]

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The Three Legs of the Integrated Permaculture Design Stool

by Rob Avis I woke up this morning with a realization — nothing I didn’t already know in principle, just a clearer understanding of how certain principles fit together to create good design. My epiphany was visualizing integrated design as a three-legged stool which requires all three legs to make a stable seat/design. The three legs of the design stool are The Elements (food forest, roof, solar panel) The Placement […]

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Dezhou Solar City (China)

For one day only we were able to make a stop in Dezhou, one of China’s famed ‘Solar Cities.’ As a bright and cheery advertisement explained, "Just like the Silicon Valley, this is the Solar Valley." The ad was remarkable for several reasons. First, China’s economic development plan of copying hallmark Western institutions was essentially nicely summarized in that simple slogan. Second, the peppy poster instilled in me images of […]

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Emergency Shelters Made From Paper (TED video)

Long before sustainability became a buzzword, architect Shigeru Ban had begun his experiments with ecologically-sound building materials such as cardboard tubes and paper. His remarkable structures are often intended as temporary housing, designed to help the dispossessed in disaster-struck nations such as Haiti, Rwanda or Japan. Yet equally often the buildings remain a beloved part of the landscape long after they have served their intended purpose. (Filmed at TEDxTokyo.) Most […]

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Come On Out, The Water’s Fine: Rob Talks Rain Tanks!

by Rob Avis, Verge Permaculture //www.youtube.com/embed/gPJFa2KUoUc Hey everyone. I just shot a short video on setting up a low-tech rainwater harvesting system that can be employed for an urban yard. The tank that I used is typically used for shipping food all over the world. Some might say it is indigenous to the planet. While the volume of these tanks are relatively small, they work for small irrigation projects like […]

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Extendable/Retractable Roof Overhang for Sun and Shade Harvesting

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This video highlights how properly designed roof overhangs and window awnings can provide free shade and cooling in the hot summer months, as well as maximizing sun exposure and free light and heating in the cold winter months. For more info, see: Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond – Volume I, Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into your Life and Landscape Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond – Volume II, […]

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We the Tiny House People (Video)

What does it mean to have a house? What defines a home? Is there an appropriate size or should there be a legal amount of space per inhabitant? What is enough or too much? Our Western education teaches us to own a house at all costs, to move away from our parents and build our own nest. But it seems that the so-called trees are lacking and that the branches […]

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