Preparing For Our Prefab Future

October 25, 2017
A burgeoning U.S. prefab market has much to learn from Japan

In the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a massive post-military industrial compound of warehouses converted into creative offices and bespoke manufacturing operations, there is a factory that builds houses. It’s a long, cavernous 100,000-square-foot warehouse with a string of workstations for welding together steel-trussed wall panels, threading them with electrical wiring and plumbing, and finishing them off with drywall and window sashes. Stacks of plywood and steel beams fill large racks next to industrial-sized spools of plastic conduit. It’s a construction site gone linear.

JOSAI I-House Togane Global Village

November 14, 2016
A new dorm building for a Japanese university.

Japanese universities aren’t typically in the housing business. Students at most schools live at home or rent private apartments nearby—dormitories are all but nonexistent. So there was room to experiment when New York–based Studio SUMO was commissioned by its longtime client, Josai University Educational Corp., to build a dorm for international students at its Josai International University campus in Togane, Japan, outside of Tokyo. ...

Best Ideas of the Week - 2

April 4, 2008
Another week has passed, and some more exciting and interesting ideas have taken root in the world of urban planning.

-Using Fees On Motorists To Fund Public Transit

-Sales Tax for Transit Catching on in Twin Cities

-Cities Putting Officials in Charge of Sustainability

-Japan Unveils Its First Dedicated Bike Lane

Safety Through Singing Streets

November 27, 2007
A bit of bizarre news caught my attention recently and it got me thinking. It was about these roads in Japan that had been designed to play music as cars drive over them. The engineers behind this idea cut thousands of grooves into the roadway, separated them by certain specific intervals, and then drove their cars. What resulted is a weird humming melody that reverberates in the cars as they drive. The video linked below showing the roads and their songs is awesome, but so much more could be done.

These singing streets are an impressive novelty, but this idea could be far better utilized to improve road safety. Using this same sort of groove-cutting, sound-producing method, it seems like road engineers could make major progress in the reduction of traffic accidents.