Archive for the 'Medioambiente' Category

Our Cities Ourselves Exhibition Opens in NYC June 24

junio 24, 2010
If you’re in the New York area this summer, go and check out a new exhibition that opens tomorrow, June 24, at the AIA-NY’s Center for Architecture (536 LaGuardia Place, NYC): Our Cities Ourselves: The Future of Transportation in Urban Life explores the creation of better cities through better transportation and demonstrates what is possible when we design our cities for ourselves. The exhibition kicks off its worldwide tour in New York, showcasing the potential of transportation systems in ten major cities. It illustrates how the dream of a sustainable, equitable and livable urban future can be realized, when transport is put center-stage.

CENTRAL DO BRASIL STATION: EXOCONCOURSE / ENDOSTREET by CAMPO aud + Fábrica
CENTRAL DO BRASIL STATION: EXOCONCOURSE / ENDOSTREET by CAMPO + Fábrica

Completed in 1943, Rio’s Central do Brasil train station was simply and rightfully named after its original purpose, to be nothing less than Brazil’s most important transportation hub. The challenges of the site are monumental. The statistics and scales related to Central do Brasil presented us with an overwhelming context of operations with a rather frightening future scenario for the area unless a radical shift is proposed. In this project we take on the site’s monumentality with interventions that are equally monumental, and use this feature to domesticate and equalize the current situation, not to clash and contrast.

LEER +

Fuente: BUSTLER

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La NASA detecta 32 fuegos forestales en R. D. en un día

abril 7, 2010

32 fuegos forestales afectan zonas boscosas en varios puntos de la geografía nacional, según observaciones satelitales realizadas por la NASA el domingo pasado (Marzo 4 2010).

La información, recopilada el domingo pasado por la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la Alimentación (FAO) en colaboración con la Universidad de Maryland y la NASA, figura en un mapa donde se señalan los lugares bajo incendio.

De inmediato no se pudo establecer si los fuegos fueron provocados o si surgieron como resultado de la fuerte sequía que se registra en el país.

Sin embargo, el Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales atribuyó a manos criminales los incendios que en la actualidad se registran en el Parque Nacional del Este, dijo el viceministro de Recursos Forestales, ingeniero Bernabé Mañón Rossi.

El funcionario informó que actualmente existen entre 40 y 50 incendios forestales activos dentro del perímetro de área protegida que están siendo  sofocados por más de 40 bomberos forestales, bajo la dirección directa del encargado de Fuegos Forestales del Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Gerónimo Abreu y el coronel Tolentino, director nacional del Servicio de Protección Ambiental, y la supervisión del vice-ministerio de Recursos Forestales.

En las labores de control y sofocación de los incendios se cuenta con el apoyo de helicópteros puestos al servicio del Ministerio de Medio Ambiente por la Fuerza Aérea Dominicana.

El ingeniero Mañón Rossi dijo que la mayoría de los incendios forestales detectados en el Parque Nacional del Este han sido provocados por personas  para  hacer conucos y carbón vegetal.

Informó que dos personas fueron sorprendidas dentro del Área Protegida, las que fueron entregadas al coronel Espinal, supervisor de Protección Ambiental, para que sean investigadas sobre los incendios forestales dentro del parque.

Los apresados fueron identificados como Carlos Manuel Núñez, y el agricultor Rodolfo Martínez, co sembrado de plátanos, yautía, yuca y guineo.

Via: El Caribe

De nuevo fuegos forestales en República Dominicana

TEOFILO BONILLA (t.bonilla@elnacional.com.do)

Las autoridades del Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales temen que los incendios forestales que hasta el momento han diezmado más de 200 tareas de bosques en el Parque Nacional del Este, se extiendan a otras áreas.

El coronel Francisco Santos Tolentino, director del Servicios Nacional de Protección Ambiental (Sempa), informó que con relación a los incendios se investigan a dos dominicanos y a un haitiano, y que otras personas son perseguidas por su participación en el hecho criminal.

Esta mañana, helicópteros de la Fuerza Aérea y del Ejército, sobrevolaban el Parque Nacional del Este, con el fin de detectar otros siniestros.

Santos Tolentino informó que otros fuegos fueron controlados en Rancho Arriba, San José de Ocoa, Baní y Barahona, aunque no tenía informe de que hubiera fuego en la Sierra de Bahoruco

Dijo que aunque tiene limitaciones de recursos humanos, los guardas parques, militares adscritos a Medio Ambiente y miembros de las Fuerzas Armadas, trabajaban en el control de  los incendios.

“El temor nuestro es que los fuegos se extiendan a otras áreas, porque la zona rocosa con la actual sequía, podría alejar las lluvias y afectar a todo el ecosistema y la biodiversidad”, precisó  Santos Tolentino.

Señaló que los vigilantes de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales perseguirán a todos los que se sospeche han participado en la propagación de los incendios en el Parque del Este y otros lugares.

“En principio pensábamos que los incendios forestales se habían originado por el fenómeno de la sequía, pero comprobamos que fueron producido por personas que talaban los bosques para hacer conucos y carbón vegetal”, dijo.

Pidió a la población a no incendiar basuras en montañas ni en lugares donde haya fincas y esté afectada por la sequía.

El viceministro de Recursos Forestales,  ingeniero Bernabé Mañón Rossi, ratificó hoy que en los fuegos hay manos criminales y lo atribuye a campesinos para hacer conucos y carbón vegetal.

El  viceministro de Recursos Forestales,  Bernabé Mañón Rossi, dijo que los bomberos forestales luchaban para controlar y sofocar los fuegos junto a  campesinos voluntarios.

Los detenidos dentro del área protegida, son Carlos Manuel Núñez, administrador de una finca que operaba ilegalmente dentro del Parque Nacional del Este, el agricultor Rodolfo Martínez, dueño de un conuco sembrado de plátano, yautía, yuca y guineo, y un haitiano que el coronel Santos Tolentino  identificó como Ramón.

Los tres son investigados sobre el siniestro.

Incendios provocados

En  época de sequía  en el país se originan fuegos en los Parques Nacionales del Sur y Este del país, algunos se atribuyen a campesinos que talan bosques para hacer conucos  y quemar  carbón.

El Nacional

7 Abril 2010, 1:24 PM

Incendios en bosque afectan cables de electricidad

La Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica Dominicana (ETD)  denunció que  personas desaprensivas estarían provocando  incendios a propósito de propiedades y causando  graves daños  a las líneas de transmisión de energía.

En ese sentido comunicó   que fruto de un fuego  ocurrido recientemente en un cañaveral de Pizarrete, en  Baní, varios postes del tendido eléctrico se incendiaron creando graves daños al sistema de transmisión de electricidad. En este caso,  las redes colapsaron, provocando así un largo apagón en  Bani, San Cristóbal, Haina y otras comunidades, lo que causó  grandes perdidas económicas al país, señala la ETD, en un documento.

Afecto asimismo las subestaciones del ingenio Caei, Madre Vieja y Sodocal, pertenecientes a la distribuidora Edesur. Pues las subestaciones fueron sacadas de servicio, afectando  el suministro de energía en dicha zona, dice.

Igualmente, por la misma situación la línea de transmisión de 69 mil kilovatios sufrió una sobrecarga  que provoco mayores apagones en  San Cristóbal,  sostiene. Personal técnico de la ETED de inmediato procedió a sustituir los postes quemados y a rehabilitar las redes que fueron afectadas, explica. “En torno a este caso, el jefe de la policía nacional, Rafael Guillermo Guzmán Fermín, informo que más de 20 personas han sido detenidas para ser investigadas”, señala.

La  ETED comunicó también que tiene  testigos que dicen haber observado a dos personas que incendiaron un cañaveral ubicado entre yaguate y Lucas Díaz, en San Cristóbal, por lo que agentes de la policía científica se trasladaron al lugar para recolectar evidencia.

El ingeniero Julián Santana Araujo, administrador de la ETED, llamo la atención a las autoridades competentes a que redoblen la vigilancia en las áreas cañeras, para así evitar que manos desaprensivas vuelvan a provocar siniestro como el ocurrido en la zona sur del país

FUENTE: HOY

Otros links sobre fuegos forestales en RD

SOECI Sociedad Ecológica del Cibao

SEMARN Secretaria de Estado de Recursos Naturales

Learning From Slums

marzo 1, 2009

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Today, one billion of the world’s people live in slums such as Dharavi, in Mumbai, India. (Scott Eells/Bloomberg News)

The world’s slums are overcrowded, unhealthy – and increasingly seen as resourceful communities that can offer lessons to modern cities.


By Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow

NOT EVERYBODY LIKED “Slumdog Millionaire” as much as the Oscar committee did. Aside from slum dwellers offended by the title, some critics lambasted its portrait of life in Dharavi, the biggest slum in Mumbai, as exploitative. A Times of London columnist dubbed it “poverty porn” for inviting viewers to gawk at the squalor and violence of its setting.

But according to a less widely noticed perspective, the problem is not just voyeurism; it’s the limited conception of slums, in that movie and in the public mind. No one denies that slums – also known as shantytowns, squatter cities, and informal settlements – have serious problems. They are as a rule overcrowded, unhealthy, and emblems of profound inequality. But among architects, planners, and other thinkers, there is a growing realization that they also possess unique strengths, and may even hold lessons in successful urban development.

The appreciation can come from unlikely quarters: In a recent speech, Prince Charles of England, who founded an organization called the Foundation for the Built Environment, praised Dharavi (which he visited in 2003) for its “underlying, intuitive ‘grammar of design’ ” and “the timeless quality and resilience of vernacular settlements.” He predicted that “in a few years’ time such communities will be perceived as best equipped to face the challenges that confront us because they have built-in resilience and genuinely durable ways of living.”

He echoes development specialists and slum dwellers themselves in arguing that slums have assets along with their obvious shortcomings. Their humming economic activity and proximity to city centers represent big advantages over the subsistence farming that many slum dwellers have fled. Numerous observers have noted the enterprising spirit of these places, evident not only in their countless tiny businesses, but also in the constant upgrading and expansion of homes. Longstanding slum communities tend to be much more tightknit than many prosperous parts of the developed world, where neighbors hardly know one another. Indeed, slums embody many of the principles frequently invoked by urban planners: They are walkable, high-density, and mixed-use, meaning that housing and commerce mingle. Consider too that the buildings are often made of materials that would otherwise be piling up in landfills, and slums are by some measures exceptionally ecologically friendly. Some countries have begun trying to mitigate the problems with slums rather than eliminate the slums themselves. Cable cars are being installed as transit in a few Latin American shantytowns, and some municipal governments have struck arrangements with squatters to connect them with electricity and sanitation services.

And there are thinkers who take the idea a step further, arguing that slums should prompt the rest of us to reconsider our own cities. While the idea of emulating slums may seem absurd, a number of planners and environmentalists say that we would do well to incorporate their promising elements. One architect, Teddy Cruz, has taken the shantytowns of Tijuana as inspiration for his own designs; he is currently working on a development in Hudson, N.Y., that draws on their organically formed density.

“We should not dismiss them because they look ugly, they look messy,” says Cruz, a professor at UC San Diego. “They have sophisticated, participatory practices, a light way of occupying the land. Because people are trying to survive, creativity flourishes.” To be sure, there is something unseemly in privileged people rhapsodizing about such places.

Prince Charles, for all his praise, does not appear poised to move to a shack in Dharavi. Identifying the positive aspects of poverty risks glorifying it or rationalizing it. Moreover, some of the qualities extolled by analysts are direct results of deprivation. Low resource consumption may be good for the earth, but it is not the residents’ choice. Most proponents of this thinking agree that it’s crucial to address the conflict between improving standards of living and preserving the benefits of shantytowns.

But given the reality that poverty exists and seems unlikely to disappear soon, squatter cities can also be seen as a remarkably successful response to adversity – more successful, in fact, than the alternatives governments have tried to devise over the years. They also represent the future. An estimated 1 billion people now live in them, a number that is projected to double by 2030. The global urban population recently exceeded the rural for the first time, and the majority of that growth has occurred in slums. According to Stewart Brand, founder of the Long Now Foundation and author of the forthcoming book “Whole Earth Discipline,” which covers these issues, “It’s a clear-eyed, direct view we’re calling for – neither romanticizing squatter cities or regarding them as a pestilence. These things are more solution than problem.”

The word “slum” itself is controversial and slippery. In the United States, it is often used to refer simply to marginalized neighborhoods, but in developing countries, it usually means a settlement built in or near a city by the residents themselves, without official authorization or regulation. Housing is typically substandard, and the infrastructure and services range from nonexistent to improvised.

There is nearly as much diversity among informal settlements (a term sometimes used in preference to the more loaded “slum”) as in their formal counterparts. They include a wide range of economic levels and precariousness. In Kenya, about a million people live in Kibera, outside the city center of Nairobi. Its huts are built of mud and corrugated metal, trash is everywhere underfoot, and “flying toilets” – plastic bags used for defecation and then tossed – substitute for a sanitation system. In Istanbul, by contrast, where the city government has been more sympathetic, some squatter areas have water piped into every home.

Without some degree of government support, slums tend to be fetid and disease ridden, and until a few decades ago, the most popular approach to solving their problems was to demolish them. In the 1960s and 1970s, Brazil, for example, razed many of its slums, called favelas, and relocated residents to government housing. But since then, a new idea has emerged in development circles: that such settlements are more than eyesores; they are the product of years of residents’ labor, and legitimate communities that should be improved rather than erased.

“One of the misconceptions is that they’re endless seas of mud huts,” says Robert Neuwirth, author of “Shadow Cities: a Billion Squatters, a New Urban World,” who spent two years living in squatter communities. “There’s a tremendous amount of economic activity – stores, bars, hairdressers, everything.”

An early reappraisal came in the book “Freedom to Build: Dweller Control of the Housing Process” (1972), edited by John F. C. Turner and Robert Fichter. Some of the contributors had closely studied squatter communities in the developing world, and the book argued that when people had autonomy over their housing and their environments, the residents and the settlements thrived. The development community began to recognize the drawbacks of evicting people and relocating them, which can be “incredibly traumatic,” says Diana Mitlin, senior research associate at the International Institute for Environment and Development in the UK. In 1975, the World Bank officially changed its position to endorse upgrading instead of new site development for squatters.

More recently, shantytowns have been reassessed in light of the growing awareness of the benefits of urbanization. Cities provide myriad economic opportunities that are lacking in the countryside, which is why millions of people stream in every month. They also offer freedom – especially, notes Brand, for women, who find greater access to jobs and education, as well as healthcare. Birthrates tend to fall when families move from villages to cities, not only thanks to family planning services, but also because more children, an asset on the farm, are a burden in the city.

What’s more, cities are increasingly seen as good for the planet. Aside from slowing population growth, they’re also more efficient in their use of resources, and allow abandoned land in the country to regenerate.

Most of these benefits, of course, would accrue even if migrants were moving to apartments in fashionable districts. But in practice, urbanization means the movement of poor people into slums. And while this reality certainly poses challenges, in the past few years, some analysts have begun to see slums as not simply the only realistic option, but as having certain advantages over formal settlements, especially the government-built high-rise projects where the poor are often housed.

Shantytowns are “pedestrian-friendly. There are small alleyways, the streets are narrow. Children can play in the streets,” says Christian Werthmann, a professor of landscape architecture at Harvard. Some frustrating parts of slum life – the close quarters and the need to cooperate with neighbors in endeavors like obtaining services – have an upside: they can contribute to a strong sense of community. And although many shantytowns are dangerous, some actually have very low crime rates. Writing recently in the New York Times, two researchers affiliated with the Indian nonprofit Partners for Urban Knowledge Action and Research defended the highly developed slum of Dharavi as “perhaps safer than most American cities,” protected by the watchful eyes of close-knit neighbors.

There is an ethos of self-reliance in communities independently built and continually rebuilt by their residents. Over the course of years or decades, residents may upgrade from cardboard to corrugated metal to brick, add floors on top of the roof. They are invested in their creations, and typically prefer them to the feasible alternatives. “When people are relocated to places where government thinks they can be housed in a better way, they often move back,” says Hank Dittmar, chief executive of Prince Charles’s Foundation for the Built Environment. Living in a legal neighborhood would usually mean more money for less space, without the prospect of improving or expanding. And it might entail constraints that don’t apply in the slums – for instance, zoning laws about where it’s acceptable to operate businesses.

Another major concern of contemporary urban planners is ecological sustainability, and shantytowns get high marks for that, too. Teddy Cruz, who has spent a great deal of time in Tijuana, says, “These slums have been made with the waste of San Diego. . . . Aluminum windows, garage doors. Debris is building these slums.”

Still, most shantytowns remain difficult and unhealthy places for people to live and grow up. They are also reviled by their wealthier neighbors, and as cities expand, sometimes they find themselves in the crosshairs of developers eager to build on their prime real estate. Some countries continue to clear slums: In 2005, Zimbabwe perpetrated brutal demolitions, called Operation Drive Out Trash, which left hundreds of thousands of settlers homeless. Dharavi is located in the heart of Mumbai, and plans have been underway to develop high-rises and high-end commercial ventures in that area. Following protests, the plans will now be reviewed by an advisory group that includes some residents.

In a number of countries, government and aid organizations have been working with squatters to retrofit slums. Brazilian favela dwellers, who are voters, have obtained concessions such as hookups to water mains and electricity. Squatters in many cities have established their own activist organizations, which work together under an umbrella group called Shack/Slum Dwellers International. Jockin Arputham, the group’s president (and head of India’s national slum-dweller organization) recalled in a published interview that years ago he led a large group of children in collecting garbage in their community and depositing it in front of the municipal council’s offices. “[W]e showed them the garbage problem in our settlement and began a negotiation,” he told the journal Environment & Urbanization. “We said that we would organize the garbage collection if the municipality would provide the truck to collect it regularly.” The gambit worked. There is debate about whether the informality itself is a plus or a minus. Hernando de Soto, a Peruvian economist, has argued that slum dwellers should be given title deeds for their plots, in order to liberate the “dead capital” they are sitting on – to enable them to get loans from banks. But many analysts are skeptical of this proposal. One problem is that individual property rights could disrupt the stable system of communal control that has evolved in many slums. Another possibility is that residents might quickly sell their new deeds for cash, and thus lose the rights to their longtime homes.

There are also downsides to retrofitting slums. According to Ciro Biderman, a fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, upgrading is much more expensive than building a new settlement with infrastructure in place from the outset, and amounts to a subsidy he considers unfair to poor people who do not live in slums. Another concern is that shantytowns are sometimes built on environmentally fragile terrain, such as steep hillsides or wetland areas – in those cases, helping residents stay in place can be both dangerous for the inhabitants and ecologically damaging.

Meanwhile, some observers in the developed world have been asking, what if the laudable aspects of these informal communities could be disentangled from the unfortunate parts? To build housing for low-income people, Cruz has drawn inspiration from Tijuana shantytowns for developments in Southern California, and is currently working on the one in Hudson. It will include communal porches and terraces, and spaces meant to encourage small start-up businesses – for example, providing room to store sewing machines. The intention is to integrate a poorer immigrant population into the area by creating openings for a community to evolve. He calls his vision “club sandwich urbanism – layering. It occurs through time. Our planning institutions never think about time.” Cruz and Neuwirth say we can also learn from the spirit of collaboration in informal settlements, and their ingenuity in the use of space. Their richness suggests to some that the dominant American mode of living, for all its suburban comforts, has come at a price. Municipalities might want to reconsider zoning laws to allow residences to double as businesses, says Cruz: he imagines small enterprises being run out of garages. In Werthmann’s view, we might also emulate the low-rise, high-density model, which is conducive to neighborliness and requires no elevators. On a more basic level, these places can teach us about where, for better or worse, urban life appears to be headed. “Squatters are the world’s dominant builders,” says Brand. “If you want to understand what’s going on in cities, look at squatters.”

Fuente: Boston Globe

De autopista a parque fluvial: en Seúl es posible

enero 30, 2009

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Por MIGUEL TORÁN | IRIS MIR (SOITU.ES)
SEÚL (COREA DEL SUR).-  Las ciudades asiáticas crecen a un ritmo diferente que las grandes urbes europeas o americanas. Si hay que desalojar a un millón de personas para construir una sede olímpica, que se busquen otro hogar. Si hay que crear una isla artificial para ampliar un aeropuerto, se ganan hectáreas al mar. Si hay que desafiar a la gravedad y construir rascacielos más altos, se corre el riesgo. Se consigue así grandes urbes, modernas y punteras, pero que han perdido el encanto de antaño. Aunque otras veces, este urbanismo arriesgado tiene resultados que estimulan la vida de una ciudad.

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Fuente: SOITU.ES

en Flickr

The Shadows of Consumption

diciembre 18, 2008

Danielle Lawson

The Shadows of Consumption: Consequences for the Global Environment is the latest offering from Canadian academic and former chess champion, Peter Dauvergne. It’s perhaps a book which wouldn’t in the past have had a wide appeal. But today with titles such as 365 Ways to Save the World being touted by high street bookshops as potential Christmas gifts, it’s a justifiable festive read.

shadowsbw1

The book focuses almost exclusively on the effects of American industry and uses case studies (including somewhat unfortunately the growth of General Motors) to get across ideas such as planned obsolescence – products built to quickly become obsolete, forcing consumers to buy again. Acts of consumption are described by Dauvergne as ‘raindrops in a typhoon’, a neat metaphor which conveys his evident belief in the necessity of taking individual responsibility for global trends.

The book’s central question, ‘What are the environmental consequences of consumption?’ is answered by looking at five specific industries; automobiles, leaded gasoline, refrigerators, beef and the harp seal hunt. This limited scope is understandable, as the author himself points out it would take several lifetimes to research the environmental effects of every ‘shadow of consumption’. And whilst the harp seal industry will be of little general interest to most of us who read it, Dauvergne’s point that even niche pockets of industry affect us all in the end is a valid and thought-provoking one.

Although he might well have been excused for maintaining a downbeat view throughout this entire book, Dauvergne makes a cheery effort to point out the positive changes that are being made to combat the effects of the industries he discusses. This is so (he claims) readers can trust that what they are getting here is an objective – as far as this is possible – view of affairs. However, he does later criticise the success of efforts so far undertaken to reduce environmental damage as too local, and points out that they do little to protect the most vulnerable people and ecosystems.

Dauvergne’s overriding message here is that, yes, steps have already been taken to understand and offset the effects of our global desire for exponential production but without further explanation and efforts our over-consumption will be to the environment what ballast would be to a sinking ship.
Published by the MIT Press, this book is an insightful read for anyone concerned with how today’s habit of over-consumption has a wider effect on the lives of those outside the industrialised West.

Fuente: The Ecologist

Caroma Profile Smart Dual Flush Toilet

diciembre 11, 2008

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CaromaUSA

Fugitivos por Delitos Ambientales EPA

diciembre 11, 2008

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Faltan los Grandes

EPA

Venecia en alerta por el “acqua alta”

diciembre 1, 2008

psanmarcos

Leer +

Fuente: soitu.es

José Alejandro Alvarez con tres premios en LAUPS 2008

noviembre 24, 2008

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“Blacktips” by José Alejandro Alvarez

Una buena noticia para compartir con mis amigos, especialmente los buzos, fotógrafos, amantes de la naturaleza y protectores del medio ambiente.

Acaban de publicar los resultados del concurso  anual internacional de fotosub  de Los Angeles Underwater Photograhic Society  (LAUPS ) en su edicion 46 ,   donde gané 2do lugar en la categoria ” wide angle ”  y  4to, 5to y mencion de honor en la categoria  “marine related scenics”.    Muy contento con los resultados, ya que este es el concurso más antiguo de fotografia submarina  y uno de los más importantes a nivel internacional .

Pueden ver las fotos en esta galeria     http://laups.org/gallery2/v/intl2008/ . Todas estan buenísimas; les recomiendo que elijan la opción full size, porque algunas en el formato pequeño no se ven muy bien los colores.

Saludos

José Alejandro Alvarez

LAUPS

Holcim Awards 2008 América Latina al Diseño y Construcción Sustentables

noviembre 8, 2008

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Parque ecológico de recuperación fluvial, Morelia, México

Autor principal: Mario Schjetnan, architect, Grupo de Diseño Urbano, Mexico City, Mexico