Monday, February 28, 2011

Tree Hotel

I want to live there.......

Well, at least go and stay there. Tree Hotel, Sweden.


I have been watching David Attenborough's new show on the Beeb, Madagascar and can't get enough of lemurs at the moment...... I know it's wrong to want one, they are better off in the wild, but when they turn their big eyes on you (at around the 9 second mark), it's hard not to resist....

Fantastic stuff. My kids loved it too.

The clip above is from 1961, and there are loads more to watch here.

Intelligent cities

Following on from my previous post, check out The National Building Museum's website. They are based in Washington DC and have an interactive program called Intelligent Cities where they believe people make cities intelligent and are looking for feedback.

Like the logo.....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

For all those Landscape Architects out there.....

It's about time the profession was at the forefront of policy making, there'd be a lot more nature around in our cities if that was the case. This article over at The Boston Globe talks about the rivalry that's happening between architects and landscape architects, aka New Urbanists versus Landscape Urbanism.

"The landscape urbanist vision propounded by Waldheim and his allies comes down to two central insights. The first is that American cities in the 21st century are not like American cities from the 19th century, and should not be expected to function the same way. The second is that the best way for urban designers to protect the environment is to prioritize the natural landscape. Design should accommodate the waterways and the wildlife that were there before you arrived; it should preserve the rainfall instead of shunting it into sewers, and perhaps use it to irrigate nearby vegetation."

Now I know I may be biased...... but I know who I'd vote for.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Case for Play

Great article by Tom Bartlett over at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

" supposedly improves working memory and self-regulation; in other words, it makes kids sharper and better-behaved. So, ironically, by shortchanging them on play in favor of academics, we may actually be inhibiting their development. Hirsh-Pasek, a psychology professor at Temple University, considers the move away from play to be a crisis, even comparing it to global warming, in the sense that it may take years for the consequences to be felt."

(Thanks for the link Cathy.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Benefits of Outdoor Adventure

I know it appears to be the same old same old, but here's a great article over at the RSA by Randall Williams, Chair of the English Outdoor Council. As I love a good quote.....

"For many young people, a school journey will be their only experience of life outside the city. They may never have seen the stars unimpeded by the glare of sodium lights. Some will need persuading that it is safe to pick and eat blackberries. Yet, without first hand awareness of the natural world, how can we expect our children to rise to the challenge of being responsible custodians of the planet? Children need to experience the world outside the city. Nature needs children."

There are also some good links within the article itself, i.e. an animated talk called The Empathetic Civilization, to name just one.

(Image is from the movie "House of Flying Daggers" where, for me, nature plays a huge part.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Michael Pawlyn: Using Nature's Genius in Architecture

Love, love, love this.....

Don't even know where to begin with all things I love about it. Found at TED.

Here's the link to his firms website, Exploration.

Robert Bateman

An interview with the artist/naturalist Robert Bateman, here. He is a huge proponent of getting kids outside,

"........ That young boy may not live to a ripe old age for a variety of reasons, including depression, suicide, drug abuse, early onset diabetes, or self-inflicted accidents. Even if he does reach senior age, his brain will have been rewired through endless hours staring mindlessly at screens. He might be in his 50s, but his brain will be much younger. The questions begin to pile up. What kind of parent will he be? What kind of voter will be, especially when it comes to environmental issues? Will he even care about natural places, now that his sense of place is virtual? What sorts of stories will he tell his grandchildren—Grand Theft Auto ones? This technologically obsessed environment for young people is a juggernaut rolling over an entire generation."

Here's his website as well.

(Found via Children and Nature Network.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

No Right Brain Left Behind

Love the title of this new innovation challenge and the website is called They are asking creative industries to come up with ideas to help the creativity crisis in US schools today.

"It’s about giving the students tools to solve 21st century problems. We must understand that creativity is a key constituent that can no longer be neglected in the school systems."

Sir Ken Robinson will be on the panel..... 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cool It

Bit behind on this as the movie came out in November of last year, but the DVD will be released in March. Check out the trailer above. Here's a link to Bjørn Lomborg's website.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Little Things

Found via Kickcan & Conkers, a wonderful short film make for TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) study.

Save England's ancient forests

Please follow the link and sign the petition.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Love Outdoor Play

From The Geography Collective who brought you Mission:Explore, there is now a campaign called Love Outdoor Play. Their mission statement is:

"Having the freedom to play outdoors improves the well-being of children and their communities.

Together, we are building a visible community to support reasonably safe exploration, adventure and play.

Wherever you see a Love Outdoor Play sticker or symbol, you’ll find people who welcome play and are looking out for young people."

Woo Hoo. If you're in the UK, get your sticker today and join in.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

5% of UK adults think trees that don't lose their leaves during winter are called carnivores.

Unbelievable... Still. Time to change all that, I think. An article over at Treehugger talks of a great new campaign by Arla Foods UK, called Kids Closer to Nature.

They are starting their campaign by doing a six-month project to find out if the public are losing touch with the outdoors. I'm all in favour of private companies doing their bit, money is always a great incentive and if it means we find new and exciting ways to get kids outside, who am I to disagree.....

More trees

The most amazing photographs of trees by Berco de Ruijter I saw over at BLDGBLOG. Truly beautiful. I could sit in a room full of them for hours and hours.....


A great article over at the BBC magazine about the governments plans to privatize England's forests and why we feel so protective of them.

It does seem wrong to be selling something that is for everyone.

Must add this book to my reading list.... The Secret Life of Trees.