The Health Benefits of Trees in Minnesota and Beyond

They prevent $7 billion in health costs every year by filtering air pollution—not to mention their psychological effects. New research says the closer you can live to trees, the better off you are.

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Over 40 Million Americans Are Affected by Pharmaceuticals in Their Water Supply

Contaminants enter the water supply via human drug waste in sewage, medicines flushed down toilets, agricultural runoff and the wide use of pesticides, flame retardants and plastic-related compounds like phthalates and BPA.

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The Corduroy Blog Asks, Can You Print a House Using a 3D Printer?

We've all heard of the wonders of 3D printers. They have the capability to help us solve really challenging design problems on a scaled down level, partially because of the amount of time saved creating architectural models. 

The benefits of 3D printing for architect and designers are many, including the ability to quickly edit and reproduce 3D designs, and digitally storing them for future production.

So, Can You Print a House Using a 3D Printer? 

We asked, and then we found Apis Cor. 

They are the first company to develop a mobile construction 3D printer that is capable of printing whole buildings completely on-site. 
Also they are people. Engineers, managers, builders and inventors sharing one common idea – to change the construction industry so that millions of people will have an opportunity to improve their living conditions. 

Today we have Apis Cor's 3D printing technology, new building materials and a mobile 3D printer to build affordable, eco-friendly houses within a single day, capable of lasting up to 175 years. 

Discover more about how Apis Cor strives to create access to housing for all the people of the world:

Can a house be printed using a 3D printer?


Yes, of course, nowadays it’s quite possible. Construction 3D printers use the same principle as most 3D printers — they create objects by producing horizontal layers of material. Construction ordinarily uses concrete mixture as a material. Using a construction 3D printer it’s possible to print internal and external walls and other vertical wall constructions, foundation formwork, prefabricated monolithic slabs, as well as a variety of different structures and small architectural forms, such as columns. The difference remains only in the printing approach.

So to date, most building 3D printers have been utilizing a portal design and worked in rectangular coordinate systems. Printers of this design are not mobile, print individual sections of walls and buildings, which are then delivered to the construction site and put together like a traditional block building.

Russian engineers have designed the «Apis Cor» mobile construction 3D printer that is easy to transport and which prints the «box» of a house completely on site and is not any different in general characteristics from any other house built according to the traditional technology of construction. After the layered print process is done, the walls are so smooth that they are ready for finishing works right away.

Therefore, building a house can be fast, environmentally friendly and affordable, if we entrust all the difficult work to smart machines and introduce new technologies. A single printer replaces an entire brigade of builders, reduces the time and cost of construction without loss of quality. For this reason, construction 3D printing is a very promising development direction for high technologies.

Visit the Apis Cor blog for the original post:

The Corduroy Studio Shares NY Times Article on Working Less, Resting More.

At The Corduroy Studio, our approach to landscape design overlaps with our ideas about work, health, and nature. It is gratifying to see national attention being paid to topics that Corduroy has been pursuing since 1980. 

Silicon Valley author, lecturer and consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang is making the business case for rest, arguing that it not only is essential to people’s health and happiness but also makes them more productive.

His new book, Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less (Basic Books, 2016), draws on scientific evidence and the habits of famous artists, business trailblazers and global leaders to argue that we can be more successful in all areas of our lives by working fewer hours and pursuing “deliberate rest”—time set aside for exercise or hobbies so that we can recharge and be ready to focus when it really matters.

See the full NY Times Review of Books article by Arianna Huffington below. 

Learn more about Pang's theories here:




DECEMBER 12, 2016

Why You Get More Done When You Work Less
By Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
310 pp. Basic Books. $27.50.

We hear a lot about the many things that are disrupting the American workplace: the decline of manufacturing, demographics, globalization, automation and, especially, technology. And it’s true — all of those are roiling the world of work, not just in America but worldwide.

But there’s another force transforming the way we work, and that is: nonwork. Or, more specifically, what we’re doing in those few hours when we’re not working. With “Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less,” Alex Soojung-Kim Pang superbly illuminates this phenomenon and helps push it along.

What’s being disrupted is our collective delusion that burnout is simply the price we must pay for success. It’s a myth that, as Pang notes, goes back to the Industrial Revolution. That’s when the Cartesian notion of home and work as separate — and opposing — spheres took hold. Home, Pang writes, was “the place where a man could relax and recover from work.” When there was time, that is. Because soon leisure time and nighttime became commodities to monetize. Over the next decades, starting with demands from labor reformers, work hours were pushed back, mostly for safety reasons. But even today, the conversation focuses on “work-life balance,” which implicitly accepts the notion of work and life as Manichaean opposites — perpetually in conflict.

That’s why “Rest” is such a valuable book. If work is our national religion, Pang is the philosopher reintegrating our bifurcated selves. As he adeptly shows, not only are work and rest not in opposition, they’re inextricably bound, each enhancing the other. “Work and rest aren’t opposites like black and white or good and evil,” Pang writes. “They’re more like different points on life’s wave.”

His central thesis is that rest not only makes us more productive and more creative, but also makes our lives “richer and more fulfilling.” But not all rest is created equal — it’s not just about not-working. The most productive kind of rest, according to Pang, is also active and deliberate. And as such, that means rest is a skill. “Rest turns out to be like sex or singing or running,” Pang writes. “Everyone basically knows how to do it, but with a little work and understanding, you can learn to do it a lot better.” Though he’s obviously never heard me sing, I take his point.

And he illustrates it well, showing how the secret behind many of history’s most creative authors, scientists, thinkers and politicians was that they were very serious and disciplined about rest. “Creativity doesn’t drive the work; the work drives creativity,” Pang writes. “A routine creates a landing place for the muse.”

And as Pang notes, modern science has now validated what the ancients knew: Work “provided the means to live,” while rest “gave meaning to life.” Thousands of years later, we have the science to prove it. “In the last couple decades,” he writes, “discoveries in sleep research, psychology, neuroscience, organizational behavior, sports medicine, sociology and other fields have given us a wealth of insight into the unsung but critical role that rest plays in strengthening the brain, enhancing learning, enabling inspiration, and making innovation sustainable.”

We can’t declare victory quite yet. To experience the kind of rest that fuels creativity and productivity, we need to detach from work. But in our technology-obsessed reality, we carry our entire work world with us wherever we go, right in our pockets. It’s not enough to leave the office, when the office goes to dinner or to a game or home with you. And it’s not enough just to put our devices on vibrate or refrain from checking them. As Sherry Turkle noted in her book “Reclaiming Conversation,” the mere presence of a smartphone or device, even when not being used, alters our inner world. So achieving the kind of detachment we need for productive rest can’t really be done without detaching physically from our devices.

And even though the science has come in, still standing in the way is our ingrained workplace culture that valorizes burnout. “With a few notable exceptions,” Pang writes, “today’s leaders treat stress and overwork as a badge of honor, brag about how little they sleep and how few vacation days they take, and have their reputations as workaholics carefully tended by publicists and corporate P.R. firms.”

Turning that around will require a lot of work. And rest. The path of least resistance — accepting the habits of our current busyness culture and the technology that envelops us and keeps us perpetually connected — won’t make us more productive or more fulfilled. Instead of searching life hacks to make us more efficient and creative, we can avail ourselves of the life hack that’s been around as long as we have: rest. But we have to be as deliberate about it as we are about work. “Rest is not something that the world gives us,” Pang writes. “It’s never been a gift. It’s never been something you do when you’ve finished everything else. If you want rest, you have to take it. You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time for rest, take it seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent on stealing it.”

And you can start by putting down your phone — better yet, put it in another room — and picking up this much-needed book.

Arianna Huffington is the founder and chief executive of Thrive Global and the author of “The Sleep Revolution.”

The Surprising Health Benefits a Landscape Designer Can Bring to Your Minnesota Home

By Rachel Attias 

It's no secret that nature has an incredible healing power. Just think about the rejuvenated feeling you get after a hike, a bike ride, a relaxing walk in the woods or even just spending some time sitting outside and observing your surroundings. We often turn to nature when we feel stressed or anxious, and it never fails to lighten our spirits.

A desire for a strong connection with nature is innate in all humans. The American biologist and writer E.O. Wilson created the term Biophilia. He defined this idea as “the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life.” We are connected to all living things, and strengthening these connections by cultivating our natural environment also allows us to strengthen ourselves.

The Science Behind the Nature & Wellbeing Connection

There is plenty of scientific evidence out there about the long and short term health benefits of engaging with nature, and in fact specific plants can be used to target all sorts of different ailments or needs. For example, a person suffering from asthma can find almost instant relief when surrounded by trees that help to clean the air.

Heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in adults in the United States, can be greatly alleviated through spending time in nature. Studies show that exercising outdoors, as opposed to inside or in an urban location, have markedly more beneficial effects for people with heart disease or respiratory issues. People who regularly engage in green exercise have lower blood pressure, higher self esteem, and a lighter mood than their counterparts who exercise indoors.

A relationship with nature can also help children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or are on the Autism Spectrum. Children with ADD/ADHD often concentrate better and stay focused for longer when they work outside. Studies also show that playing outdoors can significantly alleviate the symptoms of children with autism. Spending time outdoors, in beautiful natural spaces is beneficial for both our physical and mental wellbeing.

Harnessing the Power of Nature Through Landscape Design

Through the art of landscape design we can not only harness the healing powers of nature, but we can also create visually stunning spaces that calm the mind, heal the body, and please the senses. The Corduroy Studio is committed to bringing the healing powers of nature to your yard and daily life through conscientious and holistic landscape design.

The Corduroy Studio founder, landscape designer Adam Newton, creates designs that transform your yard into a Micro Estate®. Newton's Micro Estates® and Proud Gardens are visually stunning landscapes that work with the natural blueprint presented by your particular yard, and also take into account your health and wellbeing to create a space that works for both your mind and your body. The Corduroy Studio understands that we are complex beings, and our bodies and minds work together and are often ground down by daily life. With this in mind, we design and implement landscapes that work holistically, enhancing your well-being and decreasing your stress with every breath of fresh air.

Micro Estates® redefine our way of living by allowing us to truly live comfortably and in unison with nature. With an elegantly designed landscape in your yard, you can walk out your front door and be transported to a stunning natural world that is also healing you holistically with every moment you enjoy it. Bring a book, a cup of tea, or your yoga mat outside, watch your children play among the flowers, trees and plants, and relax into the knowledge that your Micro Estate® is bringing the healing energies of nature to your home.

Contact The Corduroy Studio