community · happiness · mental health

North America’s Largest Urban Orchard Transforms an Old Gas Station in Downtown Vancouver | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

While most of my blog posts focus on playful design and things that create a playful atmosphere, a lot of us don’t have all of our basic needs met in order to be in a playful state. We are often overstressed, underslept, overworked, and detached from community. Play researchers have found evidence that goes along with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that find we need these things in order to be ready to explore, create, and be healthy. That’s why I also like to talk about what it takes to get us to a space where we feel safe, healthy, and ready to be playful.

Going with the philosophy that gardening is good for the soul, as well as aiming for convenience, a group in Vancouver has opened a huge urban farm and orchard.

Vancouver’s Sole Food Farms has transformed an old gas station into North American’s largest urban orchard! Located in Downtown Eastside, the orchard provides jobs to recovering addicts and those with mental illness, giving them a chance to make a living while raising organic food. The organic fruit, along with produce from three other sites, is sold to local restaurants and grocery stores.

more via North America’s Largest Urban Orchard Transforms an Old Gas Station in Downtown Vancouver | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

Adding green space to a city, whether it’s a garden, park, or a single tree, has also repeatedly shown to be valuable even to those who just observe the space, they don’t need to even be actively engaged in maintaining it. The garden adds connection to and investment in the land, which is good for building community, and provides a sense of agency for those who might not otherwise have one.

Where have you seen community gardens spring up? What works, what doesn’t? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

children · creativity · design · learning · play

Designs for Children Showcased at ‘Play In Progress’ During Milan Design Week

Happy Friday! I hope you get a chance to go out and play this weekend. Speaking of play, here is another great find from Milan’s Design week (remember the edible mini furniture from earlier this week?). This exhibit of design focused specifically on children’s spaces, with a focus that was very playful, creative, and also a great idea for grown-ups to incorporate into their own environments.

From Inhabitat:

Students from the HDK master program Child Culture Design created an exhibit to explore new ways of bringing play into everyday objects to help foster imagination and creativity. Dubbed “Play In Progress“, the exhibit was one of our favorites at the Salone Mobile.

Johanna Larsson‘s cool table features transparent color plates that can be arranged and rearranged to create different tabletop scenes that push imaginative thinking.
At first look of Hide||show appears to be nothing special, but just put a kid in front of one of these and you’ll realize that there is definitely something more to this cabinet. The cabinet features two pairs of handles — one ordinary set for adults and a pint-sized set of hole-like handles for children. The variation indicates different accesses to function, and give children the feeling of exclusivity in their own world.
Inspired by the game of “hide and seek”, Behind the Curtain blocks out part of a white curtain with color to create a secret space for a child to be alone in his/her world.
Griet Boucique has designed an ‘Alternative Playground’ – a landscape of soft seats – that questions what is a ‘good’ play environment for a child? The design considers material usage, its impact on the environment, and how different textiles can the way a child engages in play.

Check out more great designs at Inhabitat (I love the block table, for example!)

architecture · creativity · culture · design · environment

Top stories in architecture from Inhabitat

Happy New Year! This has been a pretty crazy year for me. One of change, growth, more change, more growth… but hopefully all of it has paid off to create a better, more enriching space for me both at work and at home.

In honor of enriching spaces, I figured I’d share Inhabitat’s top six (why six? Not sure) architecture stories of the year:

2011 saw more exciting, innovative and record-breaking green buildingsthan ever before, and judging from the popularity of our eco architecture stories, many of you agree! From the world’s largest wooden structure in Seville to the world’s first vertical forest beginning construction in Milan, if you want to see some of the most mind-blowing designs that made waves this year, then check out 2011′s most popular stories below — and be sure to vote for your favorite!

Finca Bella Vista
Where do Ewoks go when they're bored with Endor? Why, to Finca Bellavista village of course.

 

Bosco Verticale

 

sunken pedestrian bridge in the netherlands parts moat waters like moses

See the other three and vote for them here: Top 6 Green Architecture Stories of 2011 – Vote for Your Favorite! | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World