The Engineering Living Materials program – a house that can grow and repair itself

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has certainly had its hand in turning the gizmos and gadgets we used to dream of into a reality. The agency is still hard at work blazing the trail for future tech, issuing challenges for the creation of the most advanced things on this Earth. It has now taken on a new challenge, this …

Kasita: the cheap, movable, smart apartment

An Austin-based startup has created a prototype of a prefabricated micro dwelling that can be slotted into a framework like a bottle into a wine rack. The micro-housing startup called Kasita – adapted from the Spanish word for a small house – was launched by a professor-turned-entrepreneur who once lived in a dumpster. The mobile structure is a …

Urban sprawl vs. compact cities: what’s the smart solution?

When discussing smart cities, a structural question has been creating intense debate among experts – should a smart city be compact or allow ‘urban sprawl’, outward expansion into surrounding rural areas? Many argue that urban sprawl is a dangerous process because it takes over valuable farmland, at a time when food production is already not …

Solar energy and the city

We are seeing the use of solar energy increasing every year, at the expense of coal which is slowly, but surely being replaced – according to Spencer Dale, BP chief economist, it doubles its capacity every 20 months. How can solar technologies be made more attractive to businesses, institutions and, most importantly, regular citizens? One …

New York hotels commit to becoming greener

Famous properties such as the Waldorf Astoria, Grand Hyatt, Loews Regency and the Peninsula are among 17 hotels in New York that have joined the NYC Carbon Challenge through which they commit to becoming greener, together with other buildings like hospitals, universities and multifamily residences. The 17 hotels contain more than 11,000 guest rooms, and …

The sustainable house shaped like the Eye of Horus

The Eye of Horus is a fully sustainable house designed by Spanish architect Luis de Garrido, built on the Playa de Cleopatra Island in Turkey. The island is known for the exceptional quality of its sand, said to be different from other nearby beaches. Local legends say that Roman emperor Marc Antony imported the sand especially for Cleopatra …

Biophilic cities lead the way to urban sustainability

The biophilic cities network is part of the global movement towards green cities. By innovative, multi-sensory driven design and green architecture, these cities are forging a symbiotic relationship with nature. “We need density but we also need connections to nature,” said University of Virginia professor Timothy Beatley during an event at the University of the …

Smart buildings, today and tomorrow

LEED certificates prove that smart buildings can and must be both environmentally friendly and economical. Smart, in the context of buildings, means using energy and resources efficiently and integrating automation technology to maximize user comfort and building functionality. Essentially, smart buildings are made to provide enjoyable, green and high-tech environments that enable users to live …