Tag Archives: climate

Progress – Jo Ashbridge – RIBA Boyd Auger Scholarship


So I have not been around for a while. Mainly because I have been indulging in a little too much Tribeca Film Festival 2013 (reviews to come) and galavanting about on various red carpets in search of film gold. But this Monday morning I wanted to help out the little sister with more gushing publicity.

Miss Jo Ashbridge is nearing the end of her time in Bangladesh and also her funding. So with social media hopefully on her side, we hope this final push for a new home for one lucky family, will be a roaring success. She has already designed some magnificent mahogany windows and doors for detailing and is working painstakingly hard to perfect this new house for the beneficiaries.

Sometimes giving to charity can seem a bit vague. Where is your money going you might ask in one pensive moment? Administration costs? Salaries? Well here is your chance (roll up. roll up people) to give directly to the cause. The cause in this instance being shelter, something I cheekily presume is taken for granted by all you readers. Sterling pounds and US dollars (currencies we are by no means restricted to) go a tremendously long way in Bangladesh’s neck of the woods so please get on it if you feel so inclined.

And if these images of progress don’t get your cash flowing maybe this video update will spark something inside your hearts. (Can you spot the Channel 4 documentary styling along the way? Look how interactive this is)

Progress – Jo Ashbridge – RIBA Boyd Auger Scholarship

Gushing over? Yep (for now!)

Cutting windows and doors_1

Cutting windows and doors

Fishing trip

Fishing Trip

Nobu para children

Nobu para children

Casting concrete

Casting concrete

On site detailing

On site detailing

Site Progress

Site progress


NASA Landsat 8 Satellite Launch This Monday!


LDCM Decal1

Here is my latest post on policymic.com

NASA Landsat 8 Satellite Launch: Where It’s Going and What It Could Mean For the Future

And my Q&A with NASA Project Scientist Dr Jim Irons?

1.   After reading the pieces in Wired and Nature this evening it is clear the continuity of this mission is crucial to the mapping of landscape and land usage but what would it mean to not have that coverage post-2016 when Landsat 7 runs out of fuel?

With both Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 in operation, one of the satellites will fly over any parcel of land once every eight days.  This is particularly useful for those who wish to observe the seasonal phenology of vegetation canopies, for example, those who use Landsat data to track crop development during the growing season.  If cloud cover intervenes, the eight day coverage is just barely sufficient for those sorts of applications and many wish for even more frequent Landsat coverage.  When Landsat 7 is decommissioned, those sorts of applications will become problematic with only the 16 day coverage afforded by a single Landsat 8 satellite.  Part of the research agenda in the near future will be to learn to use Landsat data in concert with data from other satellites, such as the ESA Sentinel-2 satellites, to obtain more frequent temporal coverage of an area.


2.   Other than the landscape mapping of Earth, what other information does the Landsat offer to the general public and does the improved technology offer any other insight into global patterns such as population data for human geographers?

The Landsat sensors basically measure the amount of light reflected or emitted at multiple wavelengths from the surface of the Earth for every pixel in an image.  All manner of information is derived or inferred from these measurements.  In many cases, the information is derived from several sources of data and Landsat images are just one, often important, part of the analyses.  For example, in recent years researches have develop models for measuring evapotranspiration rates using Landsat data in concert with meteorological data.  In another interesting application, penguin populations in Antartica have been estimated from Landsat observations of the extent of guano stains on the ice and that requires some other knowledge of the density of penguins per unit area in their rookeries.  The Landsat satellites cannot directly measure population densities of humans and images can be used to observe and measure the expansion of urban development, for examples, and human geographers can estimate population if they know the number of people per unit area, kind of like penguins.



3.   What are the fields of science that will most and best use the data that will be coming in?

Similar to the answer above, a wide scope of Earth science fields will use LDCM data.  I am not prepared to state that one or two fields will best use the data.  Climatologists were certainly look at the impact of climate change on the land surface and how those changes feed back to the climate system.  Forestry, agronomy, hydrology are obvious examples of the fields that will use the data.  The cryospheric sciences and even marine science will find uses.  The scope of fields that will use LDCM data is broad and diverse.


4.   You have said it probably wont live as long as some of its predecessors, but what would be your best estimate and how long would you hope to have a functional Landsat 8?

Every satellite component has a design life.  The design life of Landsat 5 was five years and that satellites remarkably remained in operations for over 28 years.  The design lives of the LDCM spacecraft and the OLI are five years.  The design life of TIRS is three years.  The spacecraft will contain enough propellant to maintain it’s operational orbit for at least 10 years.  We are obviously hoping that the satellite and instruments exceed their design lives.


Do you need an idea for a New Year’s Resolution? Always here to help!

My sister at work
Disaster Resilient Housing in Bangladesh
Following phase one analysis the need for improved, sustainable housing in areas at risk of a range of natural disasters (standing water, flash floods, monsoon rains, cyclones, earthquakes…) along the southern coast of Bangladesh is ever apparent.
All funds raised will be used in the construction of housing for identified beneficiaries. The builds will also act as demonstration houses for the wider community as well as full-scale research prototypes exhibiting a range of earthen architecture solutions.
Current NGO/INGO responses range from 78,000 BDT (£608) to 160,000 BDT (£1248). Unlike such standardised shelter programmes this project will offer a range of designs, which take into account individual beneficiary needs and expectations, micro site analysis and a holistic design approach.
Preliminary costs for each house are estimated at between £900-£1100. The more money raised the more houses that can be built and therefore more families that can directly benefit.
To keep up to date on project progression, follow the blog: www.joashbridge.breezi.com/blog
The girl knows her bamboo

Bordered by India, Myanmar and the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. The low-lying nature of the terrain (with a large percentage of land less than 12m above sea level)means that Bangladesh is vulnerable to flooding and is now widely recognised as one of the countries at greatest risk from climate change. A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)states that a 1m rise in sea level will engulf approximately 13% of the landmass in the southern belt, displacing 15-20 million people by 2050.

In recent years Bangladesh has witnessed a wide range of disasters, including Cyclone Sidr in 2007, Cyclone Aila in 2009, floods and landslides throughout 2010 and 2011. In conjunction with emergency response efforts, disaster risk reduction is key. Working with local communities to strengthen the capabilities of individuals and families to cope with natural disasters and their complex effects is a necessity. Improving shelter construction technologies and techniques based on successful existing practices is just one of the many aspects needed to encourage community self-reliance rather than dependence on aid.
The research aims to investigate the existing role of earth architecture and construction in areas with acutely limited assets whilst offering simple low-cost improvements. The 12-month project can be broken down into three key stages:
Phase 1 – Analysis of existing conditions and emergency/development approaches offered by NGO/INGOs
Phase 2 – On-site development of improved earth construction techniques
Phase 3 – Working with local communities to design and construct a series of demonstration houses
The poorest section of society is often the most vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters (rising water levels, river bed erosion, environmental degradation, spread of infectious disease, disruption to livelihoods, civil conflicts, building/infrastructure damage…) and with nearly half the population of Bangladesh living on less than $1 a day, the project seeks to address a great need.
A dry day in the country
Article 25 states:
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Please please support if you can. Every little bit really does go a long way in this country. What better new year’s resolution???