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New York City Revitalizes the Life Between Buildings

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(Thanks in part to Gehl Architects)

Over the past decade or so, New York City has been making dramatic improvements that emphasize the quality of life on the street, urban vitality, and sustainability. This is a most welcome shift that is part of a most welcome sea change. Specifically, the city has been carving out more spaces for pedestrians, bicycles, public transit, public gathering, and parks. New York City has no lack of pedestrians, and these improvements invite more. Planting a million trees and creating 200 miles of bike lanes are certainly New York City-sized moves. Like many cities, New York City is correcting the problems created by modernist planning and the predominance of the automobile, including damage to ordinary life for people on the street, where valuable urban vitality was traded for more lanes of traffic and parking lots.

ROI Behind Geothermal Systems

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As the green building movement begins to hit its stride, geothermal systems are quickly gaining prominence as efficient and attractive choices for projects featuring alternative energy. Although fewer subsidies for geothermal systems are available when compared to solar, the initial investment for the installation of a geothermal system can be lower. This makes a geothermal system’s return on investment (ROI) extremely favorable. It is this financial analysis that may lead to the inclusion of geothermal systems in more building projects as its awareness grows.

Mitigating Elevator Noise in Multifamily Residential Buildings

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Today’s modern mid rise and high rise luxury condominiums and apartment buildings offer numerous amenities to attract potential owners. They can offer spectacular vistas through floor to ceiling walls of glass, high end finishes on the floor, gourmet style kitchens with all the modern features one could ever want, and a master bedroom suite that offers a tranquil and quiet place to escape. In these building types, elevators become a necessary component for vertical circulation to access the floors. For those residences that are adjacent to the elevator equipment room or the elevator hoistway, the noise and vibration caused by the operation of the elevator can be a potential source of sound intrusion. Because today’s buildings are constructed with lightweight materials, and because there is a need to generate maximum useable square footage, sound transmission issues are compounded. All this combined can result in unsatisfactory living conditions for tens of thousands who live in condominiums or apartments.

Slabs for Colder Climates, Part 3: Installing Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations for Unheated Buildings

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Fernando Pages Ruiz continues his educational series on constructing frost-protected shallow foundations, focusing here on unheated structures.

Although neither the International Residential Code (IRC) nor the International Code Council (ICC) provides a prescriptive path, design criteria do exist to design frost-protected shallow foundations (FPSFs) for unheated buildings, including garages and porches attached to heated structures. The standard for unheated buildings developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), ASCE 32-01, Standard for the Design and Construction of Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations, is available for purchase at asce.org.

Ecocity Malmö: Sustainable Urban Development

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Malmö, a city in southern Sweden that is connected by bridge to nearby Copenhagen, has undergone an amazing transformation over the last 20 years. What was a place at risk of becoming a post-industrial city in crisis has instead become a thriving inspiration for Sustainable Development. Apparently at least 20,000 international guests have been attracted to the city, not to experience Malmö as tourists, but to experience Malmö’s approach to environmentally friendly architecture and urban development. Malmö is the flagship of urban sustainability for Sweden and has won numerous awards for this commitment from the United Nations, Worldwatch Institute, and others.

Standing Up and Bracing Off Walls

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Contractor to Contractor: Follow professional Interior Contractor Robert Thimmes as he demonstrates how to stand up and brace off walls. This second in a series of articles, Framing Walls With Light Gauge Metal Studs, starts with your walls located, lines chalked and bottom track already shot down (for details on this process, see Metal Stud Track Layout and Shoot-Down).

In the previous installment of “Contractor to Contractor,” we reviewed the details of how to perform the track layout and shoot-down for metal stud walls. Now we move on to the second part of our discussion: standing up and bracing.

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