‘Bioconcrete’ Uses Bacteria to Heal Self | ThisBigCity

No product evokes a sense of solidity and sturdiness the way concrete does. However, the tiniest of cracks in an otherwise colossal slab will inevitably lead to structural degradation, leakages and costly repairs.

It is precisely this problem that two Dutch researchers from Delft Technical University have been working on. Beginning in 2006, Henk Jonkers, a microbiologist, and Eric Schlangen, a specialist in concrete development, sought to develop a self-healing cement [pictured] that would stop cracks from forming in the concrete, thereby extending the life of constructions.
Improved buildings could make a big dent in climate change

The construction and operation of buildings accounts for approximately 40 percent of all U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases. The most-used building material in the world, concrete, is used to construct many of the nation’s homes and office buildings – but a new MIT report says a variety of measures could drastically reduce, and ultimately even eliminate, the carbon footprint of most new concrete buildings, as well as some older ones.

Eco-Friendly Student Flat | Design Milk

Chances are you’ve experienced dorm life or student housing to some degree and know that it’s sometimes less than desirable. Swedish architecture firm Tengbom Architects aims to change all that with a really cool idea for student housing in the form of a smart student flat. The student flat is not only affordable and environmentally friendly, the design and material choices are incredibly smart. Each individual unit measure 10 square meters (approx. 108 square feet) and is built from cross-laminated wood due to its carbon positive qualities.

A (Dimming) City of Light | Scientific American

The French are taking a stand against light pollution. Starting this summer, most non-residential buildings in the country will have to shut off their lights at night in order to “reduce the print of artificial lighting on the nocturnal environment.”

According to France’s environment minister, Delphine Batho, this shift will reduce total annual energy consumption by the equivalent of 750,000 households. But, the main motivation behind the new decree is public health. According to Ms. Batho’s statement, artificial light can cause “significant disruptions on ecosystems” by disturbing sleep and migration patterns.
Smart cities: what urban life will be like in 2050 | London Evening Standard

Buildings of the future will be made from self-healing concrete, be powered by their solar paint and even have flying robots, says Jasmine Gardner

“Smart cities” is the buzz phrase of the moment. It refers to energy-efficient and spacially economical urban worlds in which we’ll live in years to come — all thanks to technology. Smarter cities are now a focus of both big business, such as Shell and IBM, and small entrepreneurs and scientists, such as the Dutch microbiologists who have developed a self-healing concrete. Cracks in the buildings of the future will be filled by calcium carbonate, produced by a bacteria feeding on nutrients, both incorporated into the cement. The bacteria are only activated when rainwater gets into a crack.

Did You Know: Buildings Account for 30% of Greenhouse-Gas Emissions in the U.S.

Innovative energy solutions for buildings and homes are key to protecting the environment and ensuring the livability of cities. Read these posts to see how creativity, technology and analytics are laying the foundation for smarter structures.

Sounds and the City | SmartPlanet

MEXICO CITY – This chaotic capital rarely whispers.

Mexico City howls, roars, whistles, wails, shouts and sings. These noises and infinite others –- nuisances to many -– make the metropolis sound like nowhere else.

How Mexico City sounds is part of the country’s cultural patrimony, according to the Fonoteca Nacional, the National Sound Archive, whose latest exposition features “aural landscapes” of the capital’s neighborhoods. The exhibit coincides with a new effort to enforce a law limiting noise in the city.