Theme Week Canary Islands – Lanzarote

12 May 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Environment, General, UNESCO World Heritage

Cactus © Méndez

Cactus © Méndez

Lanzarote is the easternmost of the autonomous Canary Islands, approximately 125 km off the coast of Africa and 1,000 km from the Iberian Peninsula. Covering 845.9 km2, it stands as the fourth largest of the islands. The first recorded name for the island, given by Angelino Dulcert, was Insula de Lanzarotus Marocelus, after the Genoese navigator Lancelotto Malocello, from which the modern name is derived. The island’s name in the native language was Titerro(y)gatra, which may mean “the red mountains”. As of 2010, a total of 139,000 people lived on Lanzarote which is an increase of 9.4% from 2006 (127,000). The seat of the island government (Cabildo Insular) is in the capital, Arrecife, which has a population of 59,000.   read more…

Theme Week Canary Islands – Fuerteventura

10 May 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Environment, General, UNESCO World Heritage

Morro Jable © Yoshi

Morro Jable © Yoshi

With 1,660 km² Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife. It was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.   read more…

Theme Week Canary Islands

9 May 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Environment, General, Theme Weeks

Canary Islands map © Hansen

Canary Islands map © Hansen

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish Autonomous Community and an Outermost Region of the European Union. The islands include (from largest to smallest): Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and the islets La Graciosa, Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este, Roque del Oeste and Isla de Lobos.   read more…

Theme Week Corsica, a mountain in the sea

7 May 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Environment, General, Sustainability, Theme Weeks

Port of L'Île-Rousse © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

Port of L’Île-Rousse © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia. Corsica is the least economically developed region in Metropolitan France. Tourism plays a big part in the Corsican economy. The island’s climate, mountains and coastlines make it popular among tourists. The island has not had the same level of intensive development as other parts of the Mediterranean and is thus mainly unspoiled. Tourism is particularly concentrated in the area around Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio in the south of the island and Calvi in the northwest.   read more…

Schwerin, the city of seven lakes and forests

6 May 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General

Schwerin Castle - Parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern © Kolossos

Schwerin Castle – Parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern © Kolossos

Schwerin is the capital and second-largest city of the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The population, as of end of 2007, was 96,000. Schwerin is surrounded by many picturesque lakes. The largest of these lakes, the Schweriner See, has an area of 60 km². In the midst of these lakes there was once an Obotrite settlement (dated back to the 11th century). The area was called Zuarin, and the name Schwerin is derived from that designation. In 1160, Henry the Lion defeated the Obotrites and captured Schwerin. The town was subsequently expanded into a powerful regional centre. A castle was built, and expanded upon over the centuries, on this site. It is supposedly haunted by the small, impious ghost, called Petermännchen.   read more…

Freiburg im Breisgau, the world capital of solar technology

4 May 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Energy, Environment, General, Sustainability

Historical Merchants Hall © Andreas Trepte

Historical Merchants Hall © Andreas Trepte

Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Located in the extreme south-west of the country, Freiburg straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain. One of the famous old German university towns, and archiepiscopal seat, Freiburg was incorporated in the early 12th century and developed into a major commercial, intellectual, and ecclesiastical centre of the upper Rhine region. The city is known for its ancient university and its medieval minster, as well as for its high standard of living and advanced environmental practices. The city is situated in the heart of a major wine-growing region and serves as the primary tourist entry point to the scenic beauty of the Black Forest. According to meteorological statistics, the city is the sunniest and warmest in Germany.   read more…

Marseille, France’s oldest and second largest city

3 May 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, European Union, General, European Capital of Culture

Corniche - Petit Nice © Jddmano

Corniche – Petit Nice © Jddmano

Marseille, known in antiquity as Massalia, is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of 240.62 km2 (93 sq mi). The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of 1,204 km2 (465 sq mi). 1,530,000 or 1,601,095 people live in the Marseille metropolitan area, ranking it third among French metro areas. Located on the southeast coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, Marseille is France’s largest commercial port and largest French city on the Mediterranean coast. Marseille is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, as well as the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department. Its inhabitants are called Marseillais. Marseille enjoys a Mediterranean climate. The summer/holiday season lasts for six months, from May to October, although also in April sometimes there are temperatures above 20 °C (68.0 °F). Winters are mild, with average temperature 12 °C (54 °F) during the day and 4 °C (39 °F) at night in the period December–January–February.   read more…

Floating prefab house settlement in the Netherlands

2 May 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Yacht of the Month

© Luuk Kramer

© Luuk Kramer

An amazing neighborhood of 75 modern floating homes has popped up in IJburg, Netherlands, paying tribute to close relationship that the Dutch have with water. Using docks as sidewalks and the IJ Lake as a backyard, the flotilla is a large-scale adaptive development in a country that will be disproportionately affected with rising seas due to climate change. The modular homes by Architectenbureau Marlies Rohmer feature a flexible design – wall panels can be swapped for windows to adjust each house to its site. On a hot day residents can jump off the porch for a dip, or in winter they can strap on a pair of ice skates to get around.   read more…

First Container House in Mojave Desert

2 May 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month

© Jack Parsons Photography

© Jack Parsons Photography

This is the first permitted shipping container house in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree, California, according to a statement by the architect, Walter Scott Perry, principal of ecotechdesign. The home, also known as The Tim Palen Studio at Shadow Mountain, was built with re-purposed shipping containers and some impressive green elements such as a steel shade system, a living roof, and a 10,000 gallon water storage tank.   read more…

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