SXSW Eco 2014 Edition

As South by Southwest Eco (SXSW Eco), approaches for its fourth edition, we look to some of the innovative finalists of the event’s Place by Design competition who are attempting to push cities in new directions.

The SXSW conference connects the urgency of global sustainability challenges with the opportunity for breakthrough solutions. Place by Design is SXSW Eco’s public space competition, celebrating cutting-edge ideas in the reinvention of public space in various stages of development. A selection of key ideas from this year’s entrants include:


The projected starred from a simple goal: instead of trying to clean the entire river, what if you started by just cleaning a small piece of it. + POOL is designed to filter the very river that it floats in through the walls of the pool – cleaning up to half a million gallons of water every single day. No chemicals, no additives, just natural river water.


A global leader within the footfall energy-harvesting sector, Pavegen develop and manufacture flooring technology that converts the kinetic energy from footsteps into renewable electricity. This electricity can be used to power lighting, communication networks and advertising displays, or alternatively stored in batteries for later use.

The Lowline by Raad Studio

The Lowline is a nonprofit organization dedicated to converting an abandoned, historic trolley terminal in New York City’s Lower East Side into an extraordinary subterranean cultural amenity for New Yorkers, using cutting-edge green technology to illuminate the space. The Lowline is designed to set an international precedent for the adaptive reuse of abandoned underground spaces, conserving the largest existing historic remnant of Manhattan’s trolley-car past and integrating cutting edge “green” technology.

The Urban Skyfarm

The Urban Skyfarm is a vertical farm design proposal for a site located in downtown Seoul, adjacent to the Cheonggyecheon stream that is a heavily populated dense urban area within the CBD. Inspired by Dickson Despommier’s original idea of vertical farming, the Urban Skyfarm is a vertical farm prototype that would mainly support food production and distribution while at the same time improving the urban environmental quality through water, air filtration and renewable energy production.

SXSW Eco will take place in Austin, Texas from Monday 6 – Wednesday 8 October. The winners will be announced on Tuesday 7 October 2014.

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