Trend: Recycled Resource Systems Help Build Sustainable Cities [My Ideal City]

Designers are rethinking infrastructure in favor of regenerative systems that harness wasted energy and redistribute it where needed.

Engineers and architects are rethinking the current design of architectural and environmental infrastructure, in favor of regenerative systems that are capable of harnessing wasted energy and resources and redistributing them where needed. Whether converting the kinetic energy from foot traffic into electricity or recycling grey water for other residential uses, these closed-loop recycled resource systems help deliver greater efficiencies that lower resource consumption and cut back on costs.

Gary Hack, a celebrated urban planner with experience directing large-scale revitalization projects like NYC’s West Side highway and Rockefeller Park at Battery Park City in lower Manhattan, has most recently lent his expertise to a crowdsourced plan in Bogota, Colombia called MyIdealCity. He believes that the future of urban planning is in recycled resource systems:

The term ‘waste’ is a social label. Waste only exists when we don’t know what to do with resources. Finding new ways to use every bit of energy and resources that find their way into the city can lead to a new economy.

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A good example of this a recycled resource system is an award-winning architectural concept created for the city of Cassablanca, Morocco. The structure features a leaf-like pavilion that will store and recycle rainwater for use in public toilets. Created by TomDavid Architecten, the design consists of enormous petal-shaped structures that collect rainwater and channel it into underground tanks for future use. In addition, the structure provide infrastructure for markets operating in the neighboring streets. The elegant design combines both visual appeal and environmental use value.

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Similarly, design firm Grant Associates has envisioned a series of ‘supertrees‘ for downtown Singapore which capture and redistribute resources to the surrounding area. On one level they are vertical gardens which serve as parks, however their main purpose is to serve as environmental engines for the Cooled Conservatories incorporating devices for water harvesting and storage, air intake, cooling and exhaust, photovoltaic arrays and solar collectors.

Eric Corey Freed is the founder of organicARCHITECT, a firm that specializes in sustainable and innovative urban design. He told PSFK.com that he believes that recycled resource systems can augment the built environment:

We really need to get back in touch with our buildings, and connecting them back to nature, and understanding those systems better.

It is also important for cities to be able to protect from the potential damage of natural forces. The Organization For Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projects that some $35 trillion of the world’s assets will be at stake due to flooding in coastal cities by 2070, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warns that natural disasters that can derail economic growth and development are becoming increasingly endemic.

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Another good example of a recycled resource system is Eole Water. This project utilizes innovative technology which is able to turn this moisture content from the air into drinking water. Powered by a wind turbine, the device forces air into a condensor, and the condensation is then put through a series of filters to create drinking water. The machine is able to create up to 1500 liters per day and provides safe drinking water in remote locations off of the grid.

Whether converting the kinetic energy from foot traffic into electricity or recycling grey water for other residential uses, these closed-loop recycled resource systems help deliver greater efficiencies that lower resource consumption and cut back on costs.

Q. What local resources should be better recycled and reused?

Submit your answer now at the MyIdealCity site – or tweet your suggestion using #MyIdealCity and #GreenScaping

recycled-resourceOver the next 6 months, PSFK and a team of experts imaging the future of a city will be asking you what you envision as ‘My Ideal City’. Tweet us your ideas and view all the submissions at the MyIdealCity site.

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