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:

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via Pixabay

The rise of COVID-19 infections due to the rampant spread of the Delta variant has cast a shadow over a summer many thought would be a return to normalcy. Last Friday, the U.S. hit 100,000 daily infections, a number we haven't seen since vaccines became readily available.

The good news is that the surge in cases has inspired a lot of vaccine-hesitant people to change their minds.

"This may be a tipping point for those who have been hesitant to say, 'OK, it's time,'" Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told CNN. "I hope that's what's happening. That's what desperately needs to happen if we're going to get this Delta variant put back in its place."

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