Trade trash for food

According to Co.exist: “To eliminate landfills and encourage local agriculture, a new program lets residents exchange their recyclable trash in exchange for credits with nearby farms. Mexico City is turning its trash into food. The government’s environmental agency recently launched the Mercado de Trueque, a barter market where recyclable materials are exchanged for fresh food to support the city’s farmlands. “This innovative program is designed to show citizens directly and tangibly how what we call trash becomes raw materials. If solid waste is properly separated, it still has value,” writes the Ministry of Environment (in Spanish). The market accepts glass, paper and cardboard, aluminum beverage cans, PET plastic bottles, and returns “green points” redeemable for agricultural products grown in and around Mexico City, including lettuce, prickly pears, spinach, tomatoes, plants, and flowers. “The intention is to encourage and support the producers of soil conservation in order to raise public awareness of the local supply,” writes the Ministry. “It’s important to consume local products to avoid large shipments of goods, reduce the carbon footprint, generate fair trade and maintain agricultural lands south of the city. “Collecting and sorting recyclables is already a big business in some developing countries, but it’s not a habit for many households. Drawing a direct link between sorting and exchanging waste and a sustainable food supply may bring a new awareness into the mix. The first market, held on one Sunday this March, sold out, exchanging nearly three tons of 60 agricultural products for trash.”

Reuse of vacant officebuilding

This week, October 1st, the Hogeschool has openend its doors in a former vacant office building. More than 2500 students and 500 employees (re)use the building in the heart of Rotterdam.

Rotterdam University maintains a number of educational clusters through Rotterdam. The Academieplein-site needed to expand to be able to accommodate the growing number of students. The vacant office block next door offered an opportunity to enlarge the school’s volume in short term. Zandbelt&vandenberg made the design for the transformation of the office building into a new educational facility. Just one year after the first design proposels the transformation of the former office building has been finished.

Ten new elevators, new staircases, replaced entrances, a compltet new lay-out and adapted installations changed the office building into a state of the art school building. The reuse of this vacant officebuilding sets the example for other innercity real estate to be redeveloped. It is possible.

Loft Project Etagi

Loft Project Etagi in the heart of St. Petersburg is a good example of how to intensify the inner city. Two St. Petersburg architects took up the initiative to converse the former Smolinsky Bread Factory into an urban meeting point and creative space.The conversed factory houses three galleries, two exhibition spaces, a couple of design- and bookshops, a hostel and the cafe-bar. Café Green Room has a great summer terrace on the roof of the factory. One floor below you find a huge loft space which offers workspace for numerous free-lancers and small businesses on demand. Hidden behind a small door at the street the programmatic ensemble makes use of a potential space which is all over the city in the courtyards of the typical Petersburg building block. Key feature of this complex is the combination with attractors like the hostel and the summer terrace. The kitchen prepares good food and drinks without any profit but is an important driver behind the liveability of the whole.