Architects in Vietnam design “Verdant” University.

Architects in Vietnam have designed a “verdant” university campus in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vo Trong Nghia Architects specialize in green architecture and were brought in to design a campus for FTP University. The people of Vietnam have been under environmental stress as they have witnessed energy shortages, a rise in temperatures, an increase in pollution, and problems with vegetation and greenery. The architects decided to make a contemporary design that is very sustainable and blends very well with the Asian culture.

The university campus is a 242,000 square-foot site that explodes with plant life. The centerpiece is a unique building stretching over several city blocks, with staggered floors climbing higher in the corners, and framing a giant courtyard.

Balconies and rooftops will be lined with plants, giving the building the appearance of “an undulating forested mountain growing out of the city.”

Trees and gardens are planted in every turn on campus. All of this, according to the architects, “will provide shade and improve air quality, reducing the universities’ reliance on air conditioning.” And to save water, ground level gardens will seep into circulation wells that feed plants throughout the building.

Rapid urbanization has turned Ho Chi Minh City into a heat island, which is when cities grow warmer than their rural surroundings because land, plants, and forests replace heat-trapping concrete, brick, steel, and asphalt. The architects believe only 0.25% of the Ho Chi Minh City is covered with plant life.

Green University

They believe that while urbanization may be inevitable, turning our cities into ovens doesn’t have to be. The Vo Trong Nghia architects are thrilled in designing educational facilities. To them, it’s a chance to “aid the recovery of greenery that once flourished” and “foster a new generation of thinkers.” They believe that future enrollees of FPT University’s new campus, can be exposed to and learn to truly appreciate nature and bring hope to the future of Vietnam cities and planet.

Edible Gardens Help Fight HIV in South Africa

edible gardens

keyhole gardens are a representation of typical permaculture forms.

The country of Lesotho in South Africa is using edible gardens to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Lesotho is known to have a huge problem with HIV/AIDS infections. It is rated the third highest HIV prevalent country globally. The nation’s population is around two million, and almost a quarter of working-age adults are infected with  HIV. Non-governmental organizations and international agencies have helped out Lesotho’s government fight the epidemic by providing resources to stop poverty, food insecurities, and medical emergencies such as Tuberculosis, which has one of the highest infection rates in the world. Lesotho is the first in the region to implement the World Health Organization’s 2015 guidelines on the provision of antiretroviral therapy.

For antiretroviral therapy to work, patients need to have good nutrition. International agencies and organizations have helped out Lesotho in promoting crop diversity in subsistence farming and recycling household waste. This has helped Lesotho create keyhole gardens. These gardens are made by pouring organic waste, ash, and greywater into central composting bins, from which it filters into the surrounding soil.A cutaway provides easy access to the bin and gives the gardens the distinctive shape from which they take their name.  The result is a small plot of extremely fertile soil in which owners grow vitamin-rich vegetables such as spinach, beetroot, and carrots to complement a diet that is heavily based on corn and wheat. The edible gardens usually generate two harvests each year. According to Ian McKay, program director at Send a Cow, the organization has witnessed major improvements in the quality of diets in communities where it has worked over the past decade. The crops that are planted from the keyhole gardens have also been used for trade in meats and other vegetables such as corn. These gardens have aided in fighting off the HIV/AIDS epidemic and have found ways to help fight off poverty and food scarcity for this country. Source: MUNCHIES