With the three-acre Huerta Del Valle community garden, in the Los Angeles suburb of Ontario, Calif., poised for growth, three architecture students at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, want to do a little building. The garden currently supports 62 families, each maintaining a 20-foot-by-10-foot plot for $10 annually, and also includes a section devoted to growing vegetables for sale to nearby restaurants and farmers' markets. In the coming year, the garden expects to expand to serve 124 families. In response to the increased scale—as well as reports that the air quality in the community that supports the garden is among the most polluted in the state and that poor dietary health is a concern for Ontario residents—the students aim to construct spaces in the garden that can be used for education, meetings, and community gatherings.

The proposed structures will be the center point of the community garden.
Huerta Del Valle The proposed structures will be the center point of the community garden.

The students plan to build a library and classroom, amphitheater, shade structure, and kitchen and playhouse on the site. They’ll also use the project to explore eco-conscious construction practices. For example, natural materials excavated to create the amphitheater will be re-used for the library and classroom building’s rammed-earth construction. The amphitheater will comprise soil stabilized with recycled tires. The team also hopes to add a solar array atop the shading structure to provide for the garden’s electrical needs, while sending surplus power back to the grid; passive heating and cooling will be used for the enclosed structures. Money from the Kickstarter campaign will fund the construction of the kitchen and playhouse structure, which will be made from two recycled shipping containers. Documents for the amphitheater and shading pavilion have been submitted to the city, and the team expects construction permits by the spring.  [Kickstarter + Huerta Del Valle]

: Twelve architects, designers, and engineers predict innovations in architectural technology for the year ahead. [ARCHITECT]

How Eastman Chemical is helping designers source novel materials and understand how to best use them. [Fast Company’s Co.Design]

Listen: This episode of the TED Radio Hour, co-produced by TED and NPR, talks to mayors, political theorists, security experts, and more about strategies for managing growth in cities. [NPR]

Public and private organizations representing 10 U.S. cities presented their plans for smart growth at a recent three-day workshop in Charlotte, N.C., sponsored by the nonprofit Envision America. Proposals include implementing sensor-driven data collection, supporting multi-modal mass transit, establishing distributed energy resource systems, and using community groups to garner locals' feedback. See the full list of cities and read their proposals. [Envision America]

These colorful carpets from Dutch studio NightStop are made from urethane foam. [NightStop]

Syrian artists at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan are using common materials like clay, rocks, and wooden skewers to create intricate, miniature models of the ancient city of Palmyra, which has been heavily damaged by the Islamic State, and other cultural landmarks in the region felled during recent conflict. [CityLab]

The future of urban public-maintenance technology may not be apps that residents can use to report a broken water main or streetlight outage, for example, but rather robots that monitor sites, sensors that detect when something is broken, and materials that repair themselves—all without regular human intervention. [New Scientist]

This post has been updated.