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Weekend Roundup: Tweenbots, Livable Streets and Climigrations

Kacie Kinzer has developed a unique and irresistible crowd-sourcing experiment that caught my eye this week, and seems particularly apropos in the wake of Jer's article on persuasive design. Kinzer's low-tech tweenbots (pictured at right) wobble haplessly through the streets of Manhattan, inspiring "a complex network powered by human intelligence and asynchronous interactions" – in other words, New Yorkers are going out of their way to help guide the smiley little machines out of harm's way and toward their ultimate random destinations. Kinzer's project is part of her graduate work at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program. Find more robots to coo over here. (JL)

The Greening of Southie
This week we were treated to a preview screening of The Greening of Southie, a new documentary from Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis of Wicked Delicate Films. The film follows the story of the luxury mixed-use Macallan Building, a LEED Gold-accredited development in Boston's Southie neighborhood. But rather than serving up a late-to-the-table promo for the LEED system, Cheney and Ellis chose a unique lens for their film: the eyes of the workers who built it. As you follow the blue-collar teams who rolled out the recycled cotton insulation and poured soil on the Macallan's green roof, you start to see the big-picture change that green building represents not just to business and the environment, but also to culture and the economy. And there's not a hint of schlock – which will make this a refreshing choice for Earth Day 2009. We definitely recommend catching a screening of this film, which will be shown free in union halls nationwide during Earth Week, as well as at a slew of high-profile festivals throughout 2009. And check out former Worldchanging Managing Editor Sarah's Rich's recent interview with the filmmakers on (JL)

Trailer - The Greening of Southie from Wicked Delicate Films on Vimeo.

Livable Streets 101
If you're still stumbling to find the words to describe "complete streets" to a non-believer, look no further. Carly Clark and Aaron Naparstek make the case crystal clear in this recent article for GOOD Magazine, which breaks it down with effective before-and-after imagery (below) and a quick rundown of the current complete streets technology, from bulb-outs to bollards. (JL)



Venice.jpgVenice to Use Algae for Power
Clinging to ships, shipyard pilings and docks, algae is a regular character, and sometimes nuisance, in many coastal cities. But the infamously watery city of Venice is planning to use the overly abundant seaweed to their advantage. New advances in algaculture production will soon allow the Italian city to produce 50 percent of its electricity needs from algae-based power.

According to EcoWorldly, the City plans to spend $264 million to build cultivation and treatment laboratories where the algae will be turned into fuel. To insure that the process is carbon neutral, any CO2 resulting from the production will be fed back to the algae farm. The project should be up and running by 2011. (SK)

Update: NetSquared Finalists Announced
A few weeks ago, we wrote about this year's NetSquared Challenge, in which designers, entrepreneurs and others are competing for the chance to get their innovative social benefit projects off the ground. The 2009 entrants were required to zero in on mobile phone-focused initiatives. Among the 15 finalists announced this week are two innovations we've featured before: The Extraordinaries, which connects cell phone users with real-time volunteer projects they can participate in remotely, and SeeClickFix, an interactive network for non-emergency community improvements (which we've discussed on Worldchanging Canada). Check out the other finalists, and learn how you can get involved, on the NetSquared website. (JL)

"Idaho Stop" Animation
Oregon's Bill 2690, if passed, will legalize a practice known among cyclists as "the Idaho stop," where a cyclist slows and yields at intersections, rather than coming to a complete stop as a car must. This animation by Spencer Boomhower shows beautifully why this law makes sense, and how it will encourage efficient cycling while still deterring dangerous behavior. We really enjoyed the clip, and are psyched about the big picture: legislation that recognizes the benefit of bikes, and works to remove some unnecessary barriers. (JL)

Bicycles, Rolling Stops, and the Idaho Stop from Spencer Boomhower on Vimeo.

6degrees.jpgClimate Change is a Global Justice Issue
If you are a human rights advocate, climigration is probably a term you're becoming increasingly familiar with. This phenomenon is predicted to happen once repetitive, climate-induced disasters force populations to permanently move to more habitable areas. In a recent article for The Guardian, human rights attorney Robin Bronen exemplifies the numerous indigenous tribes near the Arctic who will soon be forced to move off the land. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that about 150 million environmental refugees will be climigrating by the end of 2050. (SK)

Image credit: Flickr/stevewhis, CC License; Flickr/ClimateSafety, CC License

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("Idaho's Bill 2690" should read "Oregon's...")

Posted by: hapa on 18 Apr 09

Thanks for catching that, hapa. Change has been made.

Posted by: Julia on 20 Apr 09

With 2 billion people without affordable water in 20 years, climigration will take on a whole new meaning. I expect any remaining climate change skeptics will be converted quickly when they see the unintended consequences of the ensuing disasters.

Posted by: Glenn on 26 Apr 09

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