Today’s Solutions: October 16, 2021

In most cities, buildings are responsible for more than half of emissions. Especially considering that more people are living in cities than ever before, the need for more innovative buildings that use resources sparingly is of extreme importance if we want to solve the climate crisis.

With this in mind, Reinventing Cities, a competition launched two years ago by C40 Cities, a network of mayors focused on finding solutions to climate change, asked architects to reimagine new uses for vacant and abandoned spaces in six cities: Chicago, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Oslo, and Reykjavík. Not only are the winning designs breathtaking, but they’re also an extraordinary example of what future cities could look like.

For instance, one of the winning designs in Chicago reimagines two vacant lots in the city’s Garfield Park neighborhood into a new net-zero carbon housing development designed to run on renewable energy, grow food on the roof, and process stormwater onsite. The ultra-efficient buildings, designed to “passive house” standards, would be built in a local modular factory.

Meanwhile, in Milan, a former freight terminal site could soon become the first social housing project in Italy to be carbon neutral. The design limits space for personal cars and has extra space for bike parking, charging stations for electric cars, and a neighborhood car-sharing scheme.

The winning designs aren’t simply pipe dreams that will remain on paper. Rather, the winning teams now have the city’s approval to buy or lease each site to develop the projects. If you’re interested in viewing the winning designs yourself, have a look here.

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