Mariellé Anzelone via Kickstarter
Mariellé Anzelone via Kickstarter

The Plan to Build a “PopUp Forest” in Times Square

Mariellé Anzelone via Kickstarter
Mariellé Anzelone via Kickstarter

Most people don’t come to the Big Apple in search of nature, and Mariellé Anzelone thinks that’s something that should change. The former plant ecologist for New York City’s Parks and Recreation Department treasures the pockets of greenery that can be found throughout the city, and now she’s planning to install a new one in the heart of Times Square.

PopUp Forest will be a temporary, natural installation that introduces flowers, ferns, and towering trees to one of the most heavily-trafficked blocks in the city. Visitors will be able to stroll through the exhibit where normal Midtown noise will be muffled and replaced with the sounds of nature streamed in live from Inwood Hill Park in upper Manhattan.

Last spring, Anzelone and her partner, environmental analyst and urban garden designer Hugh Reed, took the project to Kickstarter where they reached their stretch goal of $40,000. The next step is for Anzelone to present her first proposal to the Times Square Alliance. If it gets approved, her team will get to work on the design and have the installation ready to debut by either this upcoming May or the next. 

The PopUp Forest will stand in Times Square for three weeks before being dismantled. After that, its remnants will be distributed to parks, tree pits, and school yards throughout the city. Even though Times Square won't be becoming a permanent nature destination, the team behind the project hopes urbanites who do see it will reevaluate the space they call home. 

[h/t: Daily Dot

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New Website Lets You Sift Through More Than 700,000 Items Found in Amsterdam's Canals
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Amsterdam's canals are famous for hiding more than eight centuries of history in their mud. From 2003 to 2012, archaeologists had the rare opportunity to dig through an urban river that had been pumped dry, and now 99% Invisible reports that their discoveries are available to browse online.

The new website, dubbed Below the Surface, was released with a book and a documentary of the same name. The project traces the efforts of an archaeological dig that worked parallel to the construction of Amsterdam's new North/South metro line. To bore the train tunnels, crews had to drain part of the River Amstel that runs through the city and dig up the area. Though the excavation wasn't originally intended as an archaeological project, the city used it as an opportunity to collect and preserve some of its history.

About 800 years ago, a trading port popped up at the mouth of the River Amstel and the waterway become a bustling urban hub. Many of the artifacts that have been uncovered are from that era, while some are more contemporary, and one piece dates back to 4300 BCE. All 700,000 objects, which include, toys, coins, and weapons, are cataloged online.

Visitors to the website can look through the collection by category. If you want to view items from the 1500s, for example, you can browse by time period. You also have the option to search by material, like stoneware, for example, and artifact type, like clothing.

After exploring the database, you can learn more about its history in the Below the Surface documentary on Vimeo (English subtitles are coming soon).

[h/t 99% Invisible]

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The 10 Most Affordable Cities for Living Abroad
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Picking up your life and moving abroad is expensive, but just how expensive depends on where you choose to make your new home. Mercer's latest Cost of Living Survey reported by Travel + Leisure lays out which cities around the world are most affordable for expats, and which are the priciest.

For the report, Mercer compared more than 375 cities across over 200 metrics including cost of food, coffee, clothing, housing, gas, and public transportation. If you want to live abroad, the cheapest city to move to is Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. It's followed by Tunis, Tunisia in second place and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in third.

The Cost of Living Survey also looked at the least affordable destinations for expats. Hong Kong is the most expensive, with Tokyo, Japan at No. 2 and Zurich, Switzerland ranking No. 3. Cities in Asia account for six of the top 10.

If you can afford it, there are plenty of reasons to spend time living outside your home country: Research has found that people who live abroad exhibit increased creativity, communication skills, and even earning potential. When planning your next long-term trip, consider these budget-friendly destinations.

1. Tashkent, Uzbekistan
2. Tunis, Tunisia
3. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
4. Banjul, The Gambia
5. Karachi, Pakistan
6. Blantyre, Malawi
7. Tbilisi, Georgia
8. Minsk, Belarus
9. Tegucigalpa, Honduras
10. Managua, Nicaragua

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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