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This Week in Tech: How Race and Income Determine Access to Green Spaces | Architect Magazine

Plus, silica bricks that incorporate plastic waste, an anti-racist reading list from Harvard GSD, and an economic recovery plan from the International Energy Agency.

Courtesy Rhino Machines
Courtesy Rhino Machines

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Arising from a commitment to achieve zero waste for their sand reclamation plant, the India-based manufacturing company Rhino Machines has developed a waste-reducing “silica plastic block,” a brick composed of 80% foundry dust and sand waste and 20% mixed plastic waste. Developed in partnership with R+D labs, the research and development wing of the Gurgaon, India–based firm R+D Studio, the silica plastic blocks use plastic as a bonding agent, eliminating the curing process required by traditional bricks, and are 2.5 times stronger than red clay bricks. With potential applications ranging from walls, paving, and toilets to health clinic construction, Rhino Machines is working to develop a system for foundries across India to produce and distribute the eco-friendly blocks. [Core77, Rhino Machines]

Researchers from the Ohio State University have found that access to green spaces such as public parks, trails, and even trees lining a sidewalk, is strongly related to an individual’s race and income. Examining census-block-group demographic, socioeconomic data, and satellite imagery from Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio, researchers found that “less wealthy, racial-minority suburban and exurban communities outside the cities” often have limited access to green spaces or public parks. On the other hand, more affluent, white communities, typically concentrated in suburbs near cities, often have a variety of green spaces to choose from. “Having close and convenient access to green spaces and vegetation within one’s neighborhood can bring many ecological and health benefits,” said Yujin Park, the study’s lead author. “These green resources should be available to anyone, and to any community, and we wanted to see whether this availability was affected by socioeconomic status, income, ethnicity, or race.” [Ohio State University]

Courtesy Washington University in St. Louis
Courtesy Washington University in St. Louis

Engineers from the Washington University in St. Louis have developed a high-power direct borohydride fuel cell that operates at double the voltage of hydrogen-powered fuel cells, a discovery that could invigorate electric transportation. These liquid-powered fuel cells sidestep the need for the transportation and storage of hydrogen fuel, an advantage in the development of electric marine vehicles or electric airplanes. The researchers’ “reactor-transport approach” allowed them to pursue a streamlined fuel cell design. “The reactant-transport engineering approach provides an elegant and facile way to significantly boost the performance of these fuel cells while still using existing components,” said lead researcher and WUSTL professor Vijay Ramani. “By following our guidelines, even current, commercially deployed liquid fuel cells can see gains in performance.” [WUSTL]

Read on >>>> Source: Architect This Week in Tech: How Race and Income Determine Access to Green Spaces | Architect Magazine

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