Eliza Barclay

PV-TV: A Multifunctional, Eco-Friendly Building Material

A skyscraper’s exterior skin adds structural support and helps maintain the building’s internal temperature; some skins also offer aesthetic value, shimmering in the light and reflecting the landscape in pleasing ways. But what if a skyscraper’s outside wrapping could take a more active role in sustaining the building’s operational needs and engaging passers-by? One result might be PV-TV. Developed last…

Artspace Helps Artists Remain in Neighborhoods They Revitalize

It’s a paradox that artists who pioneer the renaissance of blighted industrial neighborhoods often are displaced when the areas become gentrified. Artspace Projects, Inc., a non-profit, real-estate developer, offers an alternate solution. The organization, which was founded in Minneapolis in 1979, rehabilitates and manages mixed-use buildings in rundown areas, paving the way for neighborhood revitalization but ensuring that affordable work…

Composting that Plastic

Finally materials scientists and designers have picked up on cellophane’s greatest ecological asset: biodegradability. And they are running with it. The cellulose-based packaging material now has many plant-based cousins, each able to disappear into a compost heap within 180 days, the requirement of the < href=”http://www.bpiworld.org/”>Biodegradable Products Institute’s “Specifications for Compostable Plastics.” These new corn and potato-based plastics can work…

Gardens Renew Cuba’s Urban Core

Although the streets of Havana, Cuba, are dominated by decrepit buildings, it is rare to come upon an abandoned lot strewn with rubble and weeds. Instead, these disused plots are coveted prizes: sites that precipitate heated standoffs between gardeners with trowels and boys carrying baseballs and bats. But, because the Cuban state favors redistributing vacant plots to those willing to…

New Orleans’ Earth-Friendly Termite Solutions

A tiny creature with a voracious appetite, the Formosan termite is wreaking havoc on New Orleans: The city spends about $300 million per year on efforts to repair and prevent building damage caused by the bug, which originally hails from China. Although the Formosans have been a presence in New Orleans for several decades, new termite defense strategies are beginning…

An Unlikely Village Marked by Eco Prowess

“Ecovillage” is not a term that comes to mind when describing Shaw, a low-income neighborhood in northwest Washington, D.C. For starters, there aren’t any lush vistas and protected natural areas—this is the inner city—nor are there brightly colored roofs with glinting, environmentally friendly solar panels. There’s no clearly organized “village” center, unless you count the Metro stop. Yet Shaw does…