10/21/2009

Eco-friendly urban environment? on Neville Mars's Solar Forest

I will not write a long post. I just read Neville Mars's article entitled Solar Forest that he updated last August, and I would like to respond to its fascinating project. This post that I include the abstract of the concept of Solar Forest:
Many of the most unpleasant aspects of urban life are caused by cars, for both driver and the city itself. Large sweltering expanses of tarmac in cities contribute heavily to the urban heat island effect, whilst cars also become unbearably hot in summer sitting in these urban deserts.
Optimizing the heliostatic photovoltaic panels ultimately resulted in their leaflike shape. Although never intentionally conceived to mimic the form of a tree, the panels rotate to follow the path of the sun throughout the day – much like sunflowers – absorbing light whilst also providing optimal shading for cars. Although all parked cars can benefit from shading, electric vehicles can directly charge their batteries by plugging into the ‘solar trees.’
Neville Mars's project is an example of a large number of various projects on sustainable urban space that are recently developed, particularly those which deal with the issue of electricity car.

[Image by Burb]


[Image by Burb]


The images above are two examples of this project. As for the video, it is available on Youtube and as embedded video on burb.tv. It shows the concept of this project, how these heliostatic photovoltaic panels work. These panels look like trees, and work as trees: following the sun throughout the day, it absorbs light whilst providing shadow for cars. In the same way, Ecosistema Urbano's Ecoboulevard is another sustainable project based on the mechanism of tree.
This project might be utopian, it, however, illustrates the mentality change regarding transports and urban environment. In most cities, car dominates. Los Angeles, for instance, is considered as an Automobile City where 81 % of the population use cars compared with, as we know, 21 % of population of Tokyo, and approx. 32 % of population of London. In China, according to many Think Tank like Urban Age, bicycle which dominated cities in the 20th Century becomes obsolete : Car dominates the 21st century Chinese city. Yesterday, Ricky Burdett in his lecture at Harvard GSD mentioned that for many local municipalities and people, bicycle is holding up the traffic.
Now that we're aware of oil scarcity, engineers are working hard with shifting into electric cars. I remember of a French journalist who, several months ago, was wondering how those electric cars would get electricity to move, and what kind of infrastructure could be constructed for this type of automobile. Since we became aware of oil scarcity, some designers, architects and urban planners develop research on city redevelopments, precisely infrastructures for electric cars. Neville Mars/Burb's project is one among these numerous examples.

Information on Neville Mars
Neville Mars is a Dutch architect based in Beijing. He founded Burb and the Dynamic City Foundation in 2003. DCF is a Dutch-Chinese researcg and design institute based in Beijing. It focuses on sustainable architecture and urban planning. Burb functions as a platform for the DCF projects. His last editorial project is The Chinese Dream (010 Publishers) a heavy books on Chinese.


All pictures : courtesy : Neville Mars,/Burb.

No comments:

Pageviews last month