AI used to examine construction following earthquakes

AI used to examine construction following earthquakes

SmartCitiesWorld News team informs that AI is used to examine construction following earthquakes in its vital assessment concerning quality, safety and potential risks in its future usage.

The picture above is about how an App helps engineers identify structural issues. Photo courtesy: Build Change

AI used to examine construction following earthquakes

An open-source project hosted by the Linux Foundation with support from IBM and Call for Code will use machine learning to help inform quality assurance for construction in emerging nations.

A new open source machine learning tool has been developed to help inform quality assurance for construction in emerging nations.

Build Change, with support from IBM as part of the Call for Code initiative, created the Intelligent Supervision Assistant for Construction (ISAC-SIMO) tool to feedback on specific construction elements such as masonry walls and reinforced concrete columns.

Structural issues

The aim is to help engineers identify structural issues in masonry walls or concrete columns, especially in areas affected by disasters.

Users can choose a building element check and upload a photo from the site to receive a quick assessment.

“ISAC-SIMO has amazing potential to radically improve construction quality and ensure that homes are built or strengthened to a resilient standard, especially in areas affected by earthquakes, windstorms, and climate change,” said Dr Elizabeth Hausler, founder and CEO of Build Change.

“We’ve created a foundation from which the open source community can develop and contribute different models to enable this tool to reach its full potential. The Linux Foundation, building on the support of IBM over these past three years, will help us build this community.”

The ISAC-SIMO project, hosted by the Linux Foundation, was imagined as a solution to help bridge gaps in technical knowledge that were apparent in the field. It packages important construction quality assurance checks into a mobile app.

“ISAC-SIMO has amazing potential to radically improve construction quality and ensure that homes are built or strengthened to a resilient standard, especially in areas affected by earthquakes, windstorms, and climate change”

The app ensures that workmanship issues can be more easily identified by anyone with a phone, instead of solely relying on technical staff. It does this by comparing user-uploaded images against trained models to assess whether the work done is broadly acceptable (go) or not (no go) along with a specific score.

Workmanship issues can be identified by anyone with a phone. Photo courtesy: Build Change

“Due to the pandemic, the project deliverables and target audience have evolved. Rather than sharing information and workflows between separate users within the app, the app has pivoted to provide tools for each user to perform their own checks based on their role and location,” added Daniel Krook, IBM chief technology officer for the Call for Code initiative.

“This has led to a general framework that is well-suited for plugging in models from the open source community, beyond Build Change’s original use case.”

Construction elements

According to Build Change, the project encourages new users to contribute and to deploy the software in new environments around the world. Priorities for short term updates include improvements in user interface, contributions to the image dataset for different construction elements, and support to automatically detect if the perspective of an image is flawed.

Build Change seeks to help save lives in earthquakes and windstorms. Its mission is to prevent housing loss caused by disasters by transforming the systems that regulate, finance, build, and improve houses around the world.

Developers can shape urban environments to achieve sustainability

Developers can shape urban environments to achieve sustainability

The spaces created, the air quality and biodiversity must meet the requirements in a post-pandemic building ecosystem, says Michael Long in his article on how developers can shape urban environments to achieve sustainability. Here it is.

The picture above is for iullustration and is of Sustainable Futures

Developers can shape urban environments to achieve sustainability

BT_20210601_MDEV_4589203.jpg
Projects like Paya Lebar Quarter ensure that the public area includes more trees, incorporates flood-resilient design elements and connects people to nature. PHOTO: LENDLEASE

With World Environment Day round the corner, there has never been a more poignant time than now amid the Covid-19 pandemic to appreciate what this means to corporates and individuals globally.

This year’s theme on ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ coincides with the launch of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. It extends from planting trees and greening cities, to plant-based diets and regenerating degraded rivers, coasts and lands.

As our cities and communities grapple with the lockdown impacts, many of us find the inherent need to reconnect with nature even as we were confined to our own homes or neighbourhoods over the last year.

The pandemic has offered a glimpse into what cities could look like if we pursued an alternative growth model – one that actively reduces waste and carbon emissions, while concurrently creating space for nature.

The UN has forecast that by 2050, over 68 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities. Combined with population growth, this could add another 2.5 billion people to these already densely populated areas.

The clock is ticking on collective action on climate change, failing which we may face more natural and man-made catastrophes that threaten human life and the economic sustainability of our communities globally.

The time is now to collectively work towards bridging the gap between nature and us.

Everyone has a part to play in making real change to the environment

The public and private sectors have the opportunity to collaborate on making transformative change.

The Singapore government recognises the need for green infrastructure and has set clear goals to address it in the Singapore Green Plan 2030 launched earlier this year, which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reiterated during the recent Asia Regional Commonwealth Leaders’ Roundtable calling for regional collaboration.

The “80-80-80” plan – setting tangible goals for the greening of 80 per cent of all buildings by 2030 and 80 per cent of new buildings to be ‘Super Low Energy’ from 2030 as well as an 80 per cent energy efficiency improvement (compared with 2005) for best-in-class buildings – is a great start.

The built environment sector itself is responsible for consuming over a third of the world’s natural resources and producing around 40 per cent of global emissions.

Even a miniscule reduction in emissions and waste produced by the sector can have a multiplier effect, making it critical for industry-wide engagement in sustainable practices.

Corporates alike have to acknowledge environmental risks and take that leap of faith to arrest the degradation of our environment. This is also why at Lendlease, we have set Mission Zero to pledge ourselves to achieve net-zero emissions by 2025 and absolute-zero emissions, without offsets, by 2040.

Ultimately, it is about translating these real environmental risks into a core business strategy and operationalising this into meaningful action.

Moving the needle by building smartly through the design process

For a start, the built environment should consider undertaking detailed Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience assessments.

Over the past few years, we have combined local meteorological and geographical information to evaluate developments’ vulnerability to heatwaves, extreme weather, flooding and various climate scenarios.

These assessments are crucial in mitigating environmental risks. Across the projects we have planned and built, elements of sustainability and design go hand-in-hand in mitigating environmental risks.

At the same time, marrying these design qualities improves the wellbeing of shoppers, tenants and residents.

Precinct-wide local projects such as Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) have made significant strides in ensuring that the public area includes over 300 per cent more trees, incorporates flood-resilient design elements to mitigate flooding and connects people to nature through natural landscapes.

Greening the supply chain through digitalisation

Incorporating sustainability through sourcing practices is also an important step as 90 per cent of a company’s impact on the environment originates from its supply chain.

On the construction front, gradually weaning off the reliance on fossil fuels will become more important than before.

While we are using biodiesel and working with construction plant and equipment manufacturers to make these options more widely available, we are also ensuring that the source of biofuel feedstock does not create unintentional environmental consequences.

Moving towards 100 per cent electrification of site-based construction activities, together with the purchasing of green power are some tactics that developers can incorporate as part of their strategy.

Doing so is a great opportunity to combine battery storage technology, digital solutions and smarter processes in constructing in a more efficient and cleaner way.

In Asia’s construction sector, 49 per cent of respondents surveyed by McKinsey shared that transparent end-to-end supply chains would help to mitigate risks in the long term.

About 11 per cent of the building and construction sectors’ global carbon emissions are associated with materials and construction processes throughout the whole building lifecycle.

Integrated supply chains can contribute to greener, more efficient supply chains translating into reduced carbon footprint, and ultimately a cleaner planet.

A multi-stakeholder approach across the supply chain is essential to transform the way materials are used, alongside cascading efforts that extend the adoption of circular economic and other waste reduction practices.

Smart building management to adapt and respond to occupants’ needs

Autonomous buildings – the sustainable buildings of the future – will represent an evolution from static physical spaces to self-aware and self-governing environments that can anticipate and adapt to human needs.

In the future, we can also look forward to autonomous cities which can leverage data insights into the needs of the urban population and carry out predictive maintenance using artificial intelligence.

As we move towards the digitalisation of the built environment sector, developers should look at utilising digital twin technology as an intelligence interface for autonomous adaptive control.

For example, PLQ utilises an Open Building System Integration (OBSI) programme to streamline all building management functionalities including air-conditioning and ventilation.

The OBSI system led to significant savings in water and costs, presenting a use case for how the construction sector can leverage technology to support smart building management.

As we commemorate World Environment Day (on June 5), we need to call attention to the important role the built environment sector plays in helping us safeguard the sustainability of our living environment.

The journey towards decarbonisation is not an easy one, and the post-pandemic world will accelerate the demand for better buildings.

The spaces that we create, the air quality that we circulate and the biodiversity that we introduced have to all work in synergy to meet the requirements in a post-pandemic building ecosystem.

Establishing a safe and trusted corridor for shoppers, tenants and residents will become the new reality in the future of city planning and everyone has a part to play as they embark in this transformation.

  • The writer is head of sustainability, Asia at Lendlease
Oman plans to build world’s largest green hydrogen plant

Oman plans to build world’s largest green hydrogen plant


Laura Paddison in The Guardian. Oman plans to build the world’s largest green hydrogen plant that Renewable power is slowly replacing fossil fuel usage at all levels as a world trend shows the way. This article reporting such a piece of news that is as unnecessary as unproductive because solar, wind power is the future, and fossil fuels usage would be binned forever within the near future for good. 

The picture above is for illustration and is of WindPower Monthly.

Oman plans to build world’s largest green hydrogen plant

Oil-producing nation aims plant powered by wind and solar energy to be at full capacity by 2038

A solar plant in Chile, Latin America. The Oman plant construction is scheduled to start in 2028 in al-Wusta governorate on the Arabian Sea. Photograph: Reuters

Oman is planning to build one of the largest green hydrogen plants in the world in a move to make the oil-producing nation a leader in renewable energy technology.

Construction is scheduled to start in 2028 in Al Wusta governorate on the Arabian Sea. It will be built in stages, with the aim to be at full capacity by 2038, powered by 25 gigawatts of wind and solar energy.

The consortium of companies behind the $30bn (£21bn) project includes the state-owned oil and gas company OQ, the Hong Kong-based renewable hydrogen developer InterContinental Energy and the Kuwait-based energy investor Enertech.

Once online, the plant will use renewable energy to split water in an electrolyser to produce green hydrogen, which is able to replace fossil fuels without producing carbon emissions. Most will be exported to Europe and Asia, said Alicia Eastman, the co-founder and president of InterContinental Energy, either as hydrogen or converted into green ammonia, which is easier to ship and store. The facility aims to produce 1.8m tonnes of green hydrogen and up to 10m tonnes of green ammonia a year.

Oman currently relies heavily on fossil fuels, generating up to 85% of its GDP from oil and gas, but its fossil fuel reserves are dwindling and becoming increasingly costly to extract. In December 2020, the country published its Oman Vision 2040 strategy, a plan to diversify the economy away from fossil fuels and increase investment in renewables.Advertisement

Green hydrogen could play an important role, said Eastman, thanks to the Oman’s combination of plentiful daytime sun and strong winds at night. “Oman is one of the places in the world that I’ve called the ‘future renewable superpowers’,” said Michael Liebreich, the founder of BloombergNEF, “because what you really want [to produce green hydrogen] is very cheap solar and very cheap wind.”

While electrification is the most efficient way of decarbonising most sectors, it’s limited when it comes to energy-intensive industries such as steel, chemicals, aviation and shipping. Green hydrogen will be vital to help fill these gaps, said the International Energy Agency in its report published this week, which called for an end to fossil fuel investments if governments are serious about climate commitments.

A wave of net zero-emissions pledges has already led to a slew of hydrogen strategies, including from the European Commission in 2020, which predicted the share of hydrogen in the EU’s energy mix would rise from 2% to 14% by 2050.

Yet green hydrogen currently makes up less than 1% of global hydrogen production. The majority is still produced using fossil fuels such as gas and coal, in a process that emits about 830m tonnes of carbon annually, equivalent to the emissions of the UK and Indonesia combined. “Blue hydrogen” is a cleaner version, as emissions are captured and stored, but it is still produced using gas – and is seen by some oil companies as a way to keep using fossil fuels.

One of the stumbling blocks for green hydrogen has been cost, partly because of the huge amounts of energy required. But as renewables and electrolysers become cheaper, and fossil fuel prices rise, costs could fall by up to 64% by 2030, according to research from the consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

“Most green hydrogen products will not be competitive for at least another decade,” said Falko Ueckerdt, a senior scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who sees the Oman project as “a sign that investors anticipate large future demands for hydrogen-based fuels after 2030”.

Oman’s proposed plant is just one in a slate of green hydrogen mega projects planned globally. Eastman said InterContinental Energy has a number of other plants in the works, including a 26GW wind and solar green hydrogen plant in the Pilbara, Western Australia. If constructed, this $36bn (£25.5bn) plant would be the world’s biggest energy project. The first phase is expected to be online by 2028.

In March, the renewables company Enegix Energy announced the construction of a green hydrogen plan in Ceará state, north-eastern Brazil. Once built, which the company estimates will take about four years, the plant would produce more than 600,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year from 3.4GW of wind and solar power.

“People are upping the gigawatts, and they should,” said Eastman, “there’s so much room in the market.”

Sustainability Trail With New Themed Resort

Sustainability Trail With New Themed Resort

NATURE WORLD NEWSEric Hamilton wrote that Abdulla Al Humaidi Blazes Sustainability Trail With New Themed Resort. Let us see.

The picture above is for illustration and is of THEME PARK.org .

Abdulla Al Humaidi Blazes Sustainability Trail With New Themed Resort

May 22, 2021

In a modern world where climate change has provoked widespread concern, it’s hard to create a new large-scale construction project without being mindful of its impact on the world’s environment. However, some projects go above and beyond in this regard, showcasing the ability of human ingenuity to develop innovative projects that can still focus on sustainability goals. Such is the case with the new London-based themed resort being developed by Abdulla Al Humaidi. The Kuwaiti European Holding CEO has made sustainability such a focus of his work that it has drawn widespread praise from interested parties around the world.

Abdulla Al Humaidi Blazes Sustainability Trail With New Themed Resort
(Photo : Abdulla Al Humaidi Blazes Sustainability Trail With New Themed Resort)

Abdulla Al Humaidi Answers Call to Action

To better understand how the new project will create a sustainable tourist attraction in London, it can first be important to examine how development in urban areas has been problematic in the past. While cities across the globe have created hubs of commercial, social, and economic progress, they have also sometimes been singled out for the drain they place on resources. This can manifest through development projects that prioritize a variety of metrics besides sustainability, leaving the environment low on the list of priorities for design and construction.

Abdulla Al Humaidi

Acutely aware of this paradigm, Abdulla Al Humaidi entered into the development of his new themed resort intent on breaking that mold. He knew from the start that he wanted the tourist attraction, set to open in 2024, to not only be a place that could bring entertainment and joy to visitors from across the globe but also to be a place that could step up to its responsibilities to the planet and the local community. To accomplish this goal, he made sure his design team placed environmental sustainability as a top priority throughout every phase of the project’s creation.

Reducing Carbon Footprint

Sustainability Trail With New Themed Resort
Abdulla Al Humaidi Reduced Carbon Footprint

One of the most serious environmental issues the world is contending with at present is the impact of climate change. As carbon emissions have collected in the planet’s atmosphere, global temperatures have warmed, creating some of the hottest years on record. This heat has contributed to a host of issues across the planet, including rising sea levels, intense weather events, and the endangerment of a range of animal species.

A major driver of this climate change has been the emission of carbon-containing gasses. These gasses, often a byproduct of the burning of fossil fuels, have been singled out as one of the main sustainability concerns of the 21st century. The emergence of this threat has left many industries with a central question as to how to offset their usage of carbon-containing fuels while also providing for the energy needed to operate their commercial endeavors.

With a deep understanding of the problems that can be created by a large carbon footprint, Abdulla Al Humaidi has placed particular emphasis on alleviating these issues in the themed resort’s design. As a result, the resort has announced that it will be completely carbon neutral with respect to all of its operational activities. This announcement has been singled out as a major advancement for not only the global tourism industry but also for other major developments in London and beyond. When completed, the resort will have the distinction of being the only attraction of its kind to be operationally carbon neutral.

Focus of Abdulla Al Humaidi on Wildlife Habitats

While carbon neutrality is an important metric by which sustainability is measured, there are other concerns called out by environmentalists that also warrant consideration. One such concern is the impact that continued development can have on native wildlife populations. In the absence of efforts to create protected spaces for wildlife amidst development, urban centers run the risk of eliminating the entirety of a species’ natural habitat, leaving it no options for continued habitation in the area.

Sustainability Trail With New Themed Resort
Wildlife habitat

The Kuwaiti European Holding CEO has also taken steps to address these concerns in the design of his London resort. In this regard, he has allocated additional funds and resources for the creation of protected wildlife habitats along the River Thames to ensure that native wildlife populations will have spaces in which they can continue to make a home. The initiative figures to not only help maintain native wildlife populations but also to increase biodiversity as other animals find new homes in the area. In doing so, the development provides another win for the environment and for the continued protection of the area’s remaining wild places.

Community Initiatives

Of course, development is also of interest to residents of an area around a new construction project. While there has been much excitement about the new themed resort in London due to its potential to bring world-class entertainment and economic stimulus, there has also been a desire to maintain some community areas connected to the newly developed space. This has been another focus of Abdulla Al Humaidi, who has also listed sustainable community development as a high priority for his construction projects in London and elsewhere in the world. This has been done with a deep understanding that development can oftentimes be a balance between preserving elements of an existing community while also bringing it new opportunities for employment and enjoyment.

In the case of the London resort, one way this has been accomplished has been through the creation of numerous green spaces connected to the site’s overall design. These green spaces will be accessible by the public and will allow for a pleasing place to step away from some of the urban elements of the city and find a greater sense of peace and quiet. The green spaces will allow community members to engage in recreation, relaxation, and increased appreciation of the area surrounding their residences and gain greater access to the new development and the existing amenities present in the area.

While the above overview amounts to just a small look at the positive impact the new resort will have on the environment and local community, it begins to provide a picture of how it is breaking new ground when it comes to sustainability. In pursuing this course of action for his new development, Abdulla Al Humaidi is not only making a meaningful contribution towards alleviating these concerns, but he is also helping to further the global conversation on responsible development. This is a conversation that will no doubt feature his efforts often in the years to come as the resort’s construction showcases the manner in which an ambitious undertaking can be accomplished in a sustainable manner.

© 2021 NatureWorldNews.com All rights reserved.

With rising sea levels, the Maldives is building a floating city

With rising sea levels, the Maldives is building a floating city

This article is part of the the Virtual Ocean Dialogues and is by Natalie Marchant, Writer, Formative Content, gives us a good picture of this conjecture, i.e. what is going on at the periphery of the MENA region. Here it is with rising sea levels, and the Maldives is building a floating city.

Threatened by rising sea levels, the Maldives is building a floating city

19 May 2021

  • The waterfront residences will float on a flexible grid across a 200-hectare lagoon.
  • Such innovative developments could prove vital in helping atoll nations, such as the Maldives, fight the impact of climate change.
  • A Dutch company is also testing the technology in the Netherlands.

The atoll nation of Maldives is creating an innovative floating city that mitigates the effects of climate change and stays on top of rising sea levels.

The Maldives Floating City is designed by Netherlands-based Dutch Docklands and will feature thousands of waterfront residences and services floating along a flexible, functional grid across a 200-hectare lagoon.

Such a development is particularly vital for countries such as Maldives – an archipelago of 25 low-lying coral atolls in the Indian Ocean that is also the lowest-lying nation in the world.

More than 80% of the country’s land area lies at less than one metre above sea level – meaning rising sea levels and coastal erosion pose a threat to its very existence.

With rising sea levels, the Maldives is building a floating city
Image of the Maldives Floating City
Inspired by nature.Image: Maldives Floating City (gallery)

Sustainable design

Developed with the Maldives government, the first-of-its kind “island city” will be based in a warm-water lagoon just 10 minutes by boat from the capital Male and its international airport.

Dutch Docklands worked with urban planning and architecture firm Waterstudio, which is developing floating social housing in the Netherlands, to create a water-based urban grid built to evolve with the changing needs of the country.

Maldives thrives on tourism and the same coral reefs that attract holiday makers also provide the inspiration for much of the development. The hexagon-shaped floating segments are, in part, modelled on the distinctive geometry of local coral.

These are connected to a ring of barrier islands, which act as breakers below the water, thereby lessening the impact of lagoon waves and stabilizing structures on the surface.

“The Maldives Floating City does not require any land reclamation, therefore has a minimal impact on the coral reefs,” says Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives, speaker of parliament and Climate Vulnerable Forum Ambassador for Ambition.

“What’s more, giant new reefs will be grown to act as water breakers. Our adaptation to climate change mustn’t destroy nature but work with it, as the Maldives Floating City proposes. In the Maldives, we cannot stop the waves, but we can rise with them.”

With rising sea levels, the Maldives is building a floating city
Image of how the Maldives floating city is expected to look
Construction on the floating city is expected to start next year.Image: Maldives Floating City (gallery)

Affordable homes

The islands’ seafaring past also influenced the design of the buildings, which will all be low-rise and face the sea.

A network of bridges, canals and docks will provide access across the various segments and connect shops, homes and services across the lagoon.

Construction is due to start in 2022 and the development will be completed in phases over the next five years – with a hospital and school eventually being built.

Renewable energy will power the city through a smart grid and homes will be priced from $250,000 in a bid to attract a wide range of buyers including local fishermen, who have called the area home for centuries.

Rising sea levels

In March, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned that oceans were under threat like never before and emphasized the increasing risk of rising sea levels.

Around 40% of the global population live within 100 kilometres of the coast.

WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said there was an “urgent need” to protect communities from coastal hazards, such as waves, storm surge and sea level rise via multi-hazard warning systems and forecasting.

Atoll nations are even more at risk than other island-based countries, with the Maldives one of just a handful – alongside Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific – that have built societies on the coral-and-sand rims of sunken volcanoes.

So-called king tides – which can wash over parts of habitable land – and the storms that drive them are getting higher and more intense due to climate change.

Connecting communities for ocean resilience

The World Economic Forum, Friends of Ocean Action and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean will explore how to take bold action for a healthy, resilient and thriving seas during the Virtual Ocean Dialogues 2021 on 25-27 May.

The online event will focus on the vital importance of mainstreaming the ocean in global environment-focused forums and summits – from climate and biodiversity, to food and science.