Fungi Farm Prototype Turns Waste Plastic into Edible Treats

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[ By WebUrbanist in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

fungi muratium toxic waste

Breaking down one of the most difficult types of trash, this incredible working incubator turns sterilized plastic remnants into nutritional biomass humans can consume and digest, in short: food. Texture, taste and flavor depend upon the strain of fungus, but reportedly can be quite strong as well as quite sweet.

fungus growth system

fungi plastic utensil set

fungi eating good

Livin Studio, an Austrian design group known for innovative work on insect farms, has built a working model of this growth sphere (dubbed the Fungi Mutarium) that takes parts of mushrooms usually left uneaten and grows them into fresh snacks.

fungi eating growth sphere

From the creators: “We were working with fungi named Schizophyllum Commune and Pleurotus Ostreatus. They are found throughout the world and can be seen on a wide range of timbers and many other plant-based substrates virtually anywhere in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Australia. Next to the property of digesting toxic waste materials, they are also commonly eaten. As the fungi break down the plastic ingredients and don’t store them, like they do with metals, they are edible.”

fungi incubation chamber diagram

In terms of the process, “Fungi Mutarium is a prototype that grows edible fungal biomass, mainly the mycelium, as a novel food product. Fungi is cultivated on specifically designed agar shapes that the designers called FU.  Agar is a seaweed based gelatin substitute and acts, mixed with starch and sugar, as a nutrient base for the fungi. The FUs are filled with plastics. The fungi is then inserted, it digests the plastic and overgrows the whole substrate. The shape of the FU is designed so that it holds the plastic and to offer the fungi a lot of surface to grow on. “

fungus diagram design

For now, the digestion is a relatively slow process, taking up to a few months for a set of cultures to fully mature, but by the standards of plastic biodegrading in nature this is still an extraordinary feat. The team continues to work with university researchers to make the process faster and more efficient. “Scientific research has shown that fungi can degrade toxic and persistent waste materials such as plastics, converting them into edible fungal biomass.”

fungi edible grown creaiton

fungi plastic eating design

This novel application comes just a few years after a group of Yale students discovered a species of fungi on a trip to Ecuador as part of a Rainforest Expedition and Labratory led by a molecular biochemist. Even in the absence of light and air, the species they examined thrived in landfill environments, suggesting potential near-future and larger-scale solution for existing waste sites as well.


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Vertical City Farming: Undulating Mixed-Use Urban Community

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

urban farming city concept

Designed to provide a spaces for public gardening as well as senior living, this hybrid complex has a rich array of green roofs, terraces and facades allowing for locally-grown produce as well as civic interaction.

urban farm terrace plan

urban farm gardening community

Responding to the fact that by 2030 a full 20% of Singapore’s population will be retirement-aged, SPARK Architects sought to address high-density housing, sustainable architecture and urban agriculture in this complex.

urban farm design concept

urban farm walkway singapore

The layered concept involves ground-level farms and gardens open to the citizenry as well as individual, upper-level plots that retired persons can work at their leisure.

urban farming design section

urban farming aquaponics module

urban farming design diagram

Further, “the environmental sustainability and efficiency of ‘Home Farm’ [is] enhanced by proposed features such as the collection of rainwater, for use in aquaponic systems, and the use of plant waste for energy production.”

urban farm ground floor

urban farm undulating form

The curvilinear master plan provides maximum sun exposure and variegated views throughout the complex, encouraging residents to walk around to exercise, interact with neighbors and experience a diverse set of internal and city views.


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Seabed City: Chinese Company Designs Underwater Ocean Spiral

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[ By WebUrbanist in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

ocean city side view

Slated to cost over $25 billion and take 5 years to complete, this incredible proposal starts a with a living sphere that spans over 1,500 feet below the surface of the ocean.

ocean city surface view

ocean city spherical center

Designed by the Shimizu Corp’s, the spherical portion of the so-called Ocean Spiral forms a residential and commercial core from which a winding path spirals 9 further miles into the deep, ultimately terminating at the ocean floor.

ocean city sketchi dea

ocean spiral earth factory

Occupants would live and work both in triangular neighborhoods along the periphery as well as within a tapering, hourglass-shaped, skyscraper-like segment stretching up from the bottom to the top of the sphere’s center.

ocean city section diagram

ocean city core rendering

The ‘Earth Factory’ portion of the project below is set to use generate eco-friendly energy from temperature differentials and organically-driven chemical conversion processes.

ocean spiral underwater city

ocean spiral concept drawings copy

ocean thumbnail

For anyone wondering just when they can expect this marvel to materialize: its would-be creators concede the technology is just not in place yet to make it a reality, but hope and presume it will be soon.


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Starry Night: Glow-in-the-Dark Bike Path Inspired by Van Gogh

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[ By WebUrbanist in Technology & Vehicles & Mods. ]

night cycling visibility green

Opening last night in Nuenen, Holland, this illuminated cycling surface is free to the public, storing sunlight during the day to create stellar patterns to guide riders after dark. Its swirling shapes are recognizably inspired by one of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous paintings.

night path now open

night cycling path glowing

Developed by Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde in conjunction with infrastructure specialists from Heijmans, this pathway is a conceptual extension of a series of glow-in-the-dark highway projects and other urban improvement proposals.

night path standing view

night cycling rider shot

Part practical lighting scheme and part installation art project, the path is located along a stretch of a bicycling route passing through Noord Brabant, the region from which van Gogh originated, which in turn connects various notable sites from his personal life and work. Its creator explains: “I wanted to create a place that people will experience in a special way, the technical combined with experience – that’s what techno-poetry means to me.”

night cycling image large

night path holland biking

night biking path lights

The semi-abstract pixelated swirls are a high-tech reference to Starry Night, painted in 1889 and depicting an idealized view from the east-facing window of the painter’s asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City).

night cycling aerial view

starry night inspired path

night cycling path image

night path cyclist picture

Studio Roosegaarde is known for “tactile high-tech environments in which viewer and space become one. This connection, established between ideology and technology, results in what Roosegaarde calls ‘techno-poetry’. His often interactive work connects people with art and people with people.”


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Guerrilla Moss Graffiti: 8-Step DIY Guide to Green Wall Art

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

moss graffit artwork examples

Seed bombs and shotgun shell sprouts are not the only weapons in a guerrilla war for urban gardens and green street art – moss is a great material that can be rapidly adapted and deployed to make statements on city surfaces as well.

moss wall art making

Indeed, using mosses allows artists to go above and beyond the ground, shifting from horizontal to vertical spans for a different look and added visibility. And, as it turns out, creating moss wall art is not as difficult as you might guess – do-it-yourself directions are shown in detail below.

moss art recipe process

First, you have to gather some moss, naturally, which you can then mix with water-retention gardening gel and some buttermilk then blend together for a few minutes to form a gelatinous substance.

moss graffiti guide steps

Shift your creation into a portable container then select and paint it onto a surface of choice – if the area will not be exposed to moisture, you may want to come back by and spray on some water from time to time.

anna garforth grow moss

Remember, too, that there are many ways to take this process further and create additional kinds of green artwork, mossy or otherwise.

moss graffiti removal subtraction

Meanwhile, if you find a surface already mossed over thanks to time and nature, selectively erasing sections of growth can be a fun form of expression as well.


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Aerial Urbanism: Hyper-Dense ‘Cloud City’ Redefines Skylines

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

cloud city side view

A complex spanning in seemingly all directions, this sky-oriented, cloud-shaped, forward-thinking design has just won the Shenzhen Super City Competition in China.

cloud city in rain

cloud city project proposal

Dubbed Cloud Citizen, this winning proposal was a collaboration Urban Future Organization and CR-Design in conjunction with a team from Chalmers Technical University.

cloud city parks peds

cloud city from above

The design is aimed at tackling the Shenzhen Bay, an area adjacent to Hong Kong facing long-standing and still-growing issues of urban density and pollution. Of course, the visually-striking aspects also help form an iconic identity from this mega-structure as well.

cloud city at night

cloud city boardwalk water

The idea involves suspending residential, commercial and institutional nodes of activity in the air, interspersing homes with cultural facilities and leisure centers and allowing small pieces to add up to a larger whole. Instead of a straight vertical skyscraper, the organic form branches out with three-dimensional complexity to create interconnections in the sky.

cloud city site plan

cloud city design concept

cloud city winning design

Aside from its mesmerizing aesthetics, the project boasts a slew of sustainable strategies: “All 170 hectares of the 680 meter-tall super city work in cooperation with nature to make that future a reality; lush gardens act as ‘green lungs’ connecting each of Cloud Citizen’s public spaces; built-in mechanisms harvest rainwater, and power the city with solar, wind, and algae-based energy, special sections of the city will store carbon and filter particles from the air, while housing sanctuaries for plant life; localized food production modules and housing will cut down on carbon emissions from transportation. These diverse elements work together to create a harmonious vision of the cities of the future.”


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Color-Changing Hammocks: Swing on 20 LED-Lit Circular Chairs

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

circular art swing project

Transforming an outdoor recreational space into an interactive evening wonderland, this series of variously-sized swings (and accompanying activities) encourages playful nighttime interactions.

circular swing park area

circular swing set design

Designed by Howler + Yoon Architecture (images by John Horner Photography) and located at Lawn on D in Boston, the focal point of the installation is the set of round hammocks filled with LEDs that change color as you sit on, swing or spin them.

circular round color changing

circular urban swing art

The lights use customized micro-controllers, converting motion into changes in hue and luminosity, starting as a standard white by default. Also on offer: free wireless internet and various backyard-type ball games.

circular swing art installation

circular crescent moon swings

circular light up hammock

The swings come in three sizes and are set to be on display (and open to the public for play) through November, but it might be best to enjoy them now while the summer weather still lingers. But don’t worry: rain or snow, they will leave a light on.


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See-Through Solar: Crystal Clear Panels Are 100% Transparent

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[ By WebUrbanist in Drawing & Digital. ]

clear transparent solar energy

Applied to anything from the surface of your smartphone to the the sides of a skyscraper, the possible applications of this innovation are beyond amazing.

clear solar material scientists

Developed by a team of chemical engineers and material scientists from the University of Michigan’s School of Engineering, this solar concentrator leaves a clear surface while collecting energy.

clear solar power panel

Unlike similar previous attempts, this project avoids coloration and distortion entirely behind: “The solar harvesting system uses small organic molecules developed by Lunt and his team to absorb specific nonvisible wavelengths of sunlight.” The goal now is to iterate on the design, continuing to improve its efficiency, scale and cost-effectiveness toward eventual mass-production on surfaces both small and large.

solar energy see through

Operating out of the normally-visible spectrum, they look effectively transparent to a human viewer. The captured power is redirected to and collected at the edges of the panel, out of sight and out of mind, leaving in the center a transparent surface that could cover (or even replace) windows on a building or the surfaces of smartphones. The goal is for energy generation to disappear entirely – in the near future, you might never know that homes and phones are creating, collecting and deploying clean power passively all around you.


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Endless City: Skyscraper Wraps Upward with Walkable Ramps

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

endless city vertical view

An urban pedestrian paradise, this conceptual design proposes to turn cities skyward with a system of flexible open spaces that gradually rise as floor plates curve up around its core.

endless city interior atrium

This winning  entry to the SkyScrapers & SuperSkyscraper Competition by SURE Architecture, dubbed Endless City, is more than just visually compelling – it also creates an argument about urban pathways and civic connectivity.

endless city floor plates

endless city top level

Its design boasts a series of sustainable strategies deployed throughout the structure, including passive energy, heating, cooling and lighting systems as well as advanced waste and water management.

skycraper - diagramme- structure OK

The structure is framed around a series of vertical steel-tress columns that in turn support a pair of ramps connected periodically by bridges.

endless city ramped section

The program features a mix of commercial, residential and institutional functions, with larger community areas mixed periodically throughout.

SERVERwork 22013-033 Skycraper-London CompetitionCADLondon

endless city top down

The core concept, though, is to commingle these programmatic elements with circulation, allowing visitors and occupants to mix on its various levels and traverse the structure vertically – skyways taken to a new extreme. Its modular construction also theoretically enables further additions, allowing it to grow upward with time.


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