for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant

THE NEWSPAPER HOUSE: AT LAST A USE FOR LONDON’S FREESHEETS

newspaper-house

Yesterday’s Guardian Media Briefing pointed me to The Newspaper House, a public art installation as social and environmental statement currently under construction in East London. Over a one-week period artist Sumer Erek in partnership with Creative City and a team of helpful volunteers, is erecting a five-metre tall house made entirely out of freesheet newspapers contributed by members of the public. The frame for the building is currently being put in place in Dalston’s Gillett Square, built of course from sustainably sourced wood, ready for the week-long paper extravaganza which starts next Monday. The project’s MySpace page explains further:

‘ London has a growing problem with the large quantities of free newspapers that clutter our streets and public transport. Tube passengers alone discard approximately nine-and-a-half tonnes of freesheet newspapers a day.

This is a lot of paper. What do about it?

On March 3rd, sculptor and installation artist Sumer Erek will construct a (5 m3) ‘House’ in Gillett Square, out of newspapers brought by members of the public. Visitors will insert their own observations, secrets, etc into the newspapers and add them to the structure. In this way, the public connects with the Newspaper House; their action is a contribution to the building of a public project.

The Newspaper House as an interactive public artwork is an opportunity to invite the public to participate and actually be involved in creating an artwork.

The theme of the project is “the city is our home” and as well as being an art work in its own right – exploring a variety of themes around the concept of “house” and the materiality of paper, the notion of waste and value – the project also encourages people to think about protecting and improving the environment, so that we can enjoy a cleaner, healthier world, together with a sense of belonging to their neighbourhood, and a wish of all to make it a pleasant place to live in.’

newspaperhouse2

Getting in on the action, online campaign Project Freesheet took to the streets last night to collect up as many discarded papers as possible within two hours. the 70 volunteers collected close to 8000 free papers- weighing in at 800kg of paper – all of which will be used in the Newspaper House, and then we assume recycled? Despite the project’s huge environmental statement that is being proudly supported by the local Hackney Council, there is so far no mention of what will happen after the big unveiling, nor of the glue being used to hold every rolled-up paper in place or the plastic strips being used to bind each bundle- we can only assume that these are biodegradable and it has all been planned with the highest eco-morals. Otherwise isn’t it just a case of greenwashing for artistic purposes?

Visit The Newspaper House from Monday

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Filed under: arts & culture, clever promotion, ,

TERENCE CONRAN BUILDS UK ECO-HAMLET

According to the Sunday Times, planners at Broadland district council in Norfolk have just approved a 22-home “green hamlet” designed by Conran & Partners, Terence Conran’s architecture and design studio, to be built in natural clearings in preserved woodland a few miles from Norwich. With these homes – 17 detached, plus a terrace of five affordable houses – Conran, the creator of Habitat and a major design force in many UK households, is putting his stamp of approval on affordable housing and sustainable living:

The Drayton scheme is the pilot for a larger eco-community of 4,000 homes, and Conran & Partners is part of a consortium of players in the housebuilding industry hoping to work with one of the developers chosen to build one of the 10 zero-carbon eco-towns planned in Britain.

“I passionately believe that as designers – whether we are working on buildings, products or even modes of transport – we have a great deal of responsibility to find eco-friendly solutions to the serious and real problems that threaten future generations. Eco-towns are going to be very much part of the future, and it is vital they are affordable and comfortable and that they function as places to live in their own right.”

The Drayton hamlet is a mix of three, four- and five-bedroom homes. No trees will be felled to make way for the properties, which will have pitched clay-tile roofs and be finished in render and timber cladding, with triple glazing and an array of eco-features. The hot-water system will be solar-powered, and rainwater, harvested and stored underground, will be used to flush lavatories and water gardens. The homes will be as airtight as possible and highly insulated: wood-burning stoves and small gas-fired boilers will provide top-up heating.

The big question is: will his eco-homes sell? They’re not cheap. The price of the smallest three-bed detached is expected to start at £300,000; a five-bedder will cost £500,000, and prices for the affordable homes are yet to be finalised. Given that five-bed new-builds in nearby estates are priced at £350,000 and the average house price in Drayton is £250,000, others aren’t so sure. “Eco-homes come at a premium, and I do not think there are enough people willing to pay those prices yet,” says Dave Richardson, head of group marketing for Howards, a local estate agency. He nevertheless predicts the affordable properties will be snapped up: “If people can have an eco-home and qualify for an affordable property, I’m sure they will.”

Times: The eco-hamlet that Sir Terence Conran built

Filed under: future cities, visions of the future, ,

Recycle-More Helps You Text Your Waste Away

Recycle-more.co.uk, the recycling information website from Valpak, (the UK’s largest compliance scheme) have made their impressive advice service even better with the introduction of a text location tool. Users can simply text ‘waste’ or ‘elec’ and their postcode to 60060 from anywhere in the UK, and receive a text back with details of the closest location for their recycling needs.

Not only does this help to correctly dispose of the items that the council doesn’t pick up, but more importantly it helps you to continue recycling wherever you may be in the country. As recycle-more’s web manager Sam Blades explains “the text service allows people to recycle materials ‘on the move’. If you’re on holiday in the UK and want to keep up the good work you do at home, it’s now quick and easy to locate your nearest recycling site. It also gives those without internet access a convenient way to find recycling facilites”.

Texts will cost a rather pricey 50p plus standard network charge (why does it always cost to be good?!), made more acceptable by the fact that the company will put any money made directly back into its educational services. Next stop gps mapped locations for truly mobile recycling? Or how about a mobile operator offering this as a free service???

via newconsumer

Filed under: mobile lifestyles,

Ecopods for the Cross River Tram in London

With the 100-year-old London Underground system struggling to cope with the ever-increasing number of daily commuters and still not able to deal with the unpredictable British weather, Transport For London have been looking to introduce a new tram system that would connect North and South London and offer ‘a safe, green and reliable form of transport’. Planning to run between Euston and Waterloo, with branches to Camden Town and King’s Cross in the north and Peckham and Brixton in the south, the Cross River Tram will help connect multiple areas in 4 of London’s boroughs quickly and easily to central locations, in some cases halving journey time (though that’s probably just due to being programmed to run on time).

tram

The system is not expected to reach construction phase until after the 2012 Olympics, with the aim of starting service by 2016, however local councils are already working on drumming up public support for the project. As a major part of this, TFL and UK initiative ConnectingSouthwark.com hired design agency Wire to develop an eco-friendly identity and campaign, the main focus of which is the ‘Ecopod’ that has appeared opposite the Elephant and Castle shopping centre. The prototype tram station is environmentally friendly (made from a recycled shipping container and powered by solar panels and wind turbines) and offers news and information about the tram and the regeneration programme to all passers-by, both inside the pod itself and through a video presentation projected onto the outside wall. An impressive campaign for a government initiative- plus you gotta love the t-shirts!

tram t

via Inhabitat

Filed under: future cities, stuff on the streets, , ,

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