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

The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

This Just In
What Do You Get the Person Who Has Everything? Perhaps a German Village for Less Than $150,000

Looking for a gift for the world traveler who has everything? If cost isn't an issue and they're longing for a quiet country home, Fortune reports that an entire village in East Germany is up for sale. The tiny hamlet of Alwine, in Germany's Brandenburg region, is going up for auction on Saturday, December 9. Opening bids begin at $147,230.

Alwine has around one dozen buildings and 20 full-time residents, most of them elderly. It was once owned by a neighboring coal plant, which shut down in 1991, soon after East Germany reunited with West Germany. Many residents left after that. Between 1990 and 2015, the regional population fell by 15 percent, according to The Local.


In 2000, a private investor purchased the decaying hamlet for just one Deutsche Mark (the currency used before the euro). But its decline continued, and now it's up for grabs once more—this time around, for a much-higher price.

Andreas Claus, the mayor of the district surrounding Alwine, wasn't informed of the village's sale until he heard about it in the news, according to The Local. While no local residents plan to purchase their hometown, Claus says he's open to fostering dialogue with the buyer, with hopes of eventually revitalizing the local community.

[h/t Fortune]


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