New Organic Underdog Serves Up A Twist in the Grocery Market Industry

Watch out Whole Foods, In.grediaents is spicing things up with a self packaging, open market programing for those health conscious shoppers!  "The Revolution Begins", the food revolution that is, although technically it's already begun and well on its way, but leave it to In.gredients to open as the fnirst package-free and zero waste grocery store in the United States.

In Austin, Texas, home to the Health food supergiant Whole Foods, a group of local entrepreneurs is daring enough to serve up some healthy competition.  The new store In.gredients will also specialize in local and organic ingredients, but with a catch..... "package-free and zero waste".  Shoppers will be encouraged to bring their own containers to pack up items like, grains, oils, and dairy.  If a shopper doesn't have his own container, the store will provide compost-able ones.  Unhealthy, over-packaged junk will be replaced with local organic, and natural foods, as well as serve as a community center with cooking classes, gardening workshops, and art shows on the side.  C0-founder Christian Lane said in a press release, "Americans add 570 million pounds of food packaging to their landfills each day, while pre-packaged foods force consumers to buy more than they need.  27 percent of food brought into U.S. kitchens ends up getting tossed out".

In.gredients's founders hope to open the grocery store in East Austin this Fall.


High Speed Rail with a Pantheonic Twist

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP are the architects of the new Tianjin High Speed Rail Station.  Located east of Beijing in the city of Tianjin, the Tanggu district is planned as a modern city for approximately 15 million residents.  China's premier long-range, high-speed rail line, capable of traveling at speeds of upwards 400 Kilometers per hour, terminates at the Tianjin Station.  The rail station situated within a large 22 hectare park, acts as an intermodal hub serving over 6,000 passengers during park hours, and will allow transfers between rail, subway and bus lines.

The station's roof is based on lenticular lines that define the path of load along the surface of the building, while its shape is related to growth patterns found in nature.  Placing the bulk of of the station facilities below grade, allowed for high performance skylights which allow light to filter down to the platform level 21 meters below grade.  The skylights are the most impressive design feature for a station of this magnitude.  The metal framed dome and punctured oculus at its center is very reminiscent of the coffered concrete dome and oculus of the Pantheon in Rome, built by Apollodorus of Damascus. Both structures relate in beauty but the latter still reigns as pure perfection.  With its massive spanning steel trusses and brilliant luminescence the Tianjin station is sure to be admired and treasure by many.

Pantheon, Rome Italy


G8 Updates!! 2200 & 2400 Amber, 2061 E. Susquehanna

Progression not recession is what I say is going on in the 19125! G8 is swiftly breezing through the construction and renovation of its most recent projects in New Kensington; 2200 Amber 2400 Amber and 2061 E. Susquehanna.  The amber street residences are stuccoed out and waiting for cement board installation, drywall is up, plumbing and electrical are in, the homes should be ready for finishing touches in a few weeks.  2061 Susquehanna is looking pretty handsome! Give it a clean shave and a splash of the good stuff and you're ready for occupancy!   The Bamboo out front is a nice touch too, a neat alternative to the usual street tree.  These buildings, once complete, will compliment the existing and new developments respectively, solidifying the evolving character of architecture for this up and coming zip.

2200 Amber

2400 Amber

2061 E. Susquehanna


Philly's First Green Roof Bus Shelter

As an initiative to promote storm water runoff prevention methods in public and private places, the Philadelphia Water Department constructed a demonstration Green Roof Bus Shelter located across from City Hall, at a highly visible and busy intersection of 15th and Market.

Most green roofs are out of sight and mind to most pedestrians, but the City of Philadelphia is aimed at making sustainability more visible than ever, and to a larger demographic of its residents.  The Philadelphia Water Department's green roof bus shelter gives people on the street a chance to see and experience green roofs.  Green roofs offer many benefits; they help to ease the summer heat island effect and reduce the amount of rainwater run off and slow the flow of water to storm drains, relieving pressure on our sewer systems, which can lead to flooding and overflows into our rivers. Hence, this also reduces the pollution and flooding that impacts our streams and rivers.

Green Roof Bus Shelter at 15th and Market

Green roofs are just one of many green infrastructure tools PWD is using to transform the health of our city and our waters.  The goal of this project is to inspire individuals to take on their own green storm-water management project at home and in their community.  Visit this link to find out what you can do with the PWD's online guide to green storm-water tools.

Check out this more in depth video from the PWD on storm water management in Philadelphia!!

Green City, Clean Waters from GreenTreks Network on Vimeo.

Visit PhillyWaterSheds.org


The New Vision for the Delaware Waterfront is Finally Unveiled

Although I am excited about the planning progress for The Delaware Waterfront, I am still not convinced that planners exhausted and fought for all the necessary solutions to changing the status quo from a disconnected oasis to one with a diverse array of access points and means of transportation.  Transportation was mentioned in the form of a new bus route, but emphasis on light rail seemed disappointingly slack.  Honestly from a planning perspective a new clean Light Rail system would fare way more tangible and promising to private developers and future residents than a new bus route.  Buses have a reputation of faring less comfortable than light rail and more congested due to seating configurations, and they are not as pleasant to look at.  Light rail just seems more progressive!

The four priority zones of focus are Washington Ave, Penn's Landing, Spring Garden, and Penn Treaty.  The 5.7 mile concentration zone contains pockets of land already in the city's control; the festival pier at the foot of Spring Garden Street, land around Penn Treaty Park, Penn's Landing, and areas at the foot of Washington Ave.  Besides being in public control, these parcels are also near transit.  The belief is a public funding effort at these sites will spur private investment nearby.  The planners pointed to a spike in interest in Pier 9 following the recent opening of Race Street Pier park, showing that private investors will surely follow positive investment by the city.

Washington Ave Before

Washington Ave After

Spring Garden Before

Spring Garden After

Penn's landing Before

Penn's Landing After
Photos Provided by Plan Philly

Most development in the areas highlighted will be low-to-midrise, and heavily residential and mixed-use.  There are plans for some taller buildings flanking Spring Garden.  Green space is key in the development of this plan with parks spaced every half mile along the six-mile stretch between Oregon and Allegheny Avenues.  Connections with existing neighborhoods are also vital, with the revamping of 16 east-west streets to improve water-neighborhood connection.  Get there was no mention of camping any portions of 95, not even in the two sections previously proposed.  Although revamping underpasses is an improvement, its still nothing compared to elimination highway obstruction altogether.  In the end, the highway still rules in this situation.

The entire transformation is expected to take 25 or more years, and $770 million in public funding, spread out over 30 years.  Of that, $356 million will be needed in the earlier years to facilitate the developments planned in those priority sites.  About $10 million has been spent to date on Race Street Pier, Washington Avenue Green, the multi-use trail, the dredging of the DRWC marina and other projects.


New York High Line Extension Revealed

The treasured New York City High Line project is putting the final touches on the completion of Phase 2 of the soon to be 1.5 mile elevated park stretching from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues.  Section 1 of the High Line, which opened to the public on June 9, 2009, runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street.  Section 2, which opened to the public on Wednesday spans from West 20th Street to West 30th Street.

The long awaited second section of the High Line, designed by James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, opened last tuesday for a press preview and ceremonial ribbon cutting.  Built on a former elevated rail line, the park has become a treasure public space in the city with over two million visitors a year since its opening in 2009. The parks success stands as a testament to what can be done with our skeletons of the industrial age.  Hopefully this inspires many cites like Philadelphia to use such gems like abandoned high lines and electric factories to serve as catalyst in reviving and connecting struggling communities.