Blog Post Favorites for the Week of August 6





Ocean polluted with coffee? Scientists have found elevated concentrations of caffeine in the Pacific Ocean in areas off the coast of Oregon, according to a new study published by Marine Pollution Bulletin.

The study suggests that the contaminants were predominantly coming from small-scale waste treatment systems such as household septic tanks. Other research indicates that evidence of caffeine contamination serves as a good indicator of other potentially harmful pollutants that have found their way into waterways, such as prescription medication and hormones.

Via Inhabitat

Asthma and the built environment. Eleven Americans die from asthma every day and many indoor substances are linked to specifically to asthma.

Because Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, Perkins+Will developed a report, on behalf of the National Institutes of Health, that includes a list of substances linked to asthma to “improve awareness of the causes of the disease and inform the decision-making in the design and construction of buildings and the specification of building products.

Via Lake | Flato Architects’ The Dogrun

New public space in Philadelphia. The Porch at 30th Street Station, which opened last fall, is a very promising plaza just outside Philadelphia’s iconic train station.

The new 50-foot-wide, block-long plaza replaces an unnecessary outer parking lane and barren sidewalk on one side of the station with seating, tables, shade, plantings and, depending on the week or day, there is music, a farmers’ market, a beer garden and miniature golf. University City District, who created the plaza, sees this new space as “Philadelphia’s front porch, a welcoming entryway to the city, as well as a place to linger and socialize, and to entertain and be entertained. The Porch serves to balance the indoor grandeur of 30th Street Station with the wonder and expanse of Philadelphia."

Via The Atlantic Cities

Basements not free space. There is a misconception with residential basements as this space often doesn’t count as developable area a city’s zoning ordinance. If you are building a new house or doing a significant remodel many people see this as “free” space, but that’s not the case.

Basements can add a lot to a project, including significant cost. This includes keeping basements dry which requires expensive waterproofing and drainage systems, mechanical ventilation to keep air circulating, sewage ejectors and dealing with the complicated drainage in and around a basement.

Via Cody Anderson Wasney Blog