Heroes

It's not an elaborate treehouse — it's a new affordable housing concept.

This Dutch architect's big idea makes even our 'greenest' cities look gray.

It's not an elaborate treehouse — it's a new affordable housing concept.

What kinds of places do you think of when it comes to "green" cities?

If you're like me, you're probably imagining places with subways and solar panels, electric cars and urban farms. And you'd be right. Those things are important for a city to be considered "green."

A 2015 study of the nation's 150 largest cities by Nerd Wallet ranked eco-friendliness by looking at where people live, how they get around the city, where their energy comes from, and the quality of the air. Some examples of the nation's greenest cities include...


San Francisco

Obviously. Overachiever.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Washington, D.C.

I guess it's not all dirty, filthy politics.

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

Honolulu

Take me there. Now.

Photo by Prayitno Photography/Flickr.

New York City

Believe it or not.

Photo by Loretín/Flickr.

But what if I told you green cities could look like this:

Image by OAS1S.

This is OAS1S, the brain baby of Dutch architect Raimond de Hullu.

It's his template for building cities that are green in the truest sense of the word. In an interview with Fast Company, De Hullu explained his vision:

"We need a new building typology that goes beyond the usual technical sustainability. We need a 100% green concept, not only technically but visually as well, and which is desirable plus affordable at the same time."

De Hullu envisions buildings that take after trees, nature's original skyscrapers...

Image by OAS1S.

...and communities that blend with forests.

Image by OAS1S.

He imagines neighborhoods built entirely from recycled materials that function completely off-grid with solar energy and on-site water systems.

Image by OAS1S.

And best of all, he wants OAS1S to be an affordable housing opportunity. For everyone.

Image by OAS1S.

To achieve that, he wants these communities to be set up as land trusts. Under this model, a community nonprofit is formed to buy and own land, and the homes built on that land are owned by the occupants. According to the Democracy Collaborative:

"By separating the ownership of land and housing, this innovative approach prevents market factors from causing prices to rise significantly, and hence guarantees that housing will remain affordable for future generations."

OAS1S is still only a concept, but de Hullu is searching for a suitable place for a pilot community.

He hopes the first location can be in an established city, which would be great for visibility, especially if it proves an effective model.

Image by OAS1S.

But he also sees value in piloting OAS1S in a less developed vacation setting.

Image by OAS1S.

Either way, de Hullu wants the essence of the project to remain "constructing a true balance between architecture and nature."

De Hullu's goal is simple: build communities that are good for people and good for the planet.

Image by OAS1S.

And the last thing, which I cannot stress enough, is that we could live in tree houses!

How cool would that be?

Watch an overview of OAS1S:

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less