BIGs LEGO House officially opens to the public in Denmark

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It’s finally here—Bjarke Ingels Group’s much-anticipated LEGO House in Denmark officially opens to the public today. Built in the small town of Billund where the iconic LEGO brick was invented, the “House of the Brick” is a unique space that promises visitors the ultimate LEGO experience with its exhibitions, experience zones, and LEGO-themed architecture, restaurants, and public spaces. The LEGO House, which celebrated its grand opening yesterday, is filled with 25 million LEGO bricks… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building



BIGs looping station design in Paris turns bridge into public space

Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group and French studio Silvio D’ascia Architecture unveiled new renderings of their competition-winning designs for a loop-shaped metro station in Paris. Created as part of Société du Grand París’ Grand Paris Express project, the Pont de Bondy station is one of 68 new stations planned for the redevelopment that will expand the existing metro system by 200 kilometers. The sculptural station will include a bridge and tunnel wrapped around a giant atrium next to the riverbank…. View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Gorgeous Bostanl Bridge doubles as public park, designed for sunset watching

This beautiful footbridge in Izmir, Turkey, offers much more than a passage from one side of Bostanlı Creek to the other. The timber-clad bridge doubles as a cascading seating structure that complements the adjacent Bostanlı Sunset Lounge. Studio Evren Başbuğ: steb designed both the bridge and lounge area as vibrant urban spaces that offer stunning views of the bay.

Both interventions are part of the ‘İzmirSea’ coastal regeneration project and turn the site into a public attraction point… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Public rejects bill that would have sold 3 million acres of public land

If you’ve ever worried calls to your representatives don’t make a difference, here’s a story to persuade you otherwise. After Congress paved the way to toss out 640 million acres of American land, one Utah representative put forth a bill that would have disposed of three million acres of public land from 10 different states. After Americans resoundingly said they were against the bill, the representative, Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah, announced on social media he will withdraw the bill. View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Beautiful public gathering space grants second life to a former fish processing plant

The project. located in a village in the Magdalen Islands, Canada, is part of a larger initiative to build a series of public spaces on 12 panoramic sites. It pays tribute to the workers at sea and reinvigorates an otherwise inaccessible area. An openwork wooden stockade surrounds the site to guide passersby and provide privacy.

Related: Canada’s Gorgeous Green-Roofed VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre Now Open to the Public

The entire project comprises a service wing, a belvedere,… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Geothermal-powered ferry terminal in Stockholm has a public park on its roof

The new terminal references the shapes of moving marine vessels and the surrounding area’s cranes and warehouses. It functions as a natural extension of the urban fabric. It slowly emerges from the ground to allow city inhabitants to use its roof as a public park. Varied green landscapes with stairs, ramps and niches create a beautiful environment where people can stroll and have relaxing moments while enjoying the view of the ferries, the archipelago, and the city skyline.

Related: C.F. Møller’s… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Public Displays of Cancer

There isn’t much to add to the ongoing cultural conversation about Lisa Bonchek Adams, a woman with stage 4 breast cancer who is using Twitter and the blogosphere as a platform to tell her life’s story, and Emma and Bill Keller, a wife and husband team of opinion columnists who publicly questioned the seriously ill woman’s use of Twitter.

The story as it played out in the media goes something like this: Adams was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago at the age of 37. She’s a mother with three young children whose goal is to live long enough to see her children grow up. Like many individuals with the disease, she’s sought out aggressive treatment for metastatic breast cancer. She’s a prolific blogger and uses Twitter to chronicle her life.

Emma Keller became obsessed (her own word) with Adams’ Twitter feed and wrote an op-ed about Adams’ compulsive (again, Keller’s term) use of Twitter to document her disease and medical treatments in The Guardian on January 8, 2014. Keller quickly became the object of scrutiny because her column seemed an odd attack on a very ill woman. The columnist questioned the cancer documenter for being so public about disease and illness, while not demonstrating any insight into her own voyeurism about disease and illness.

The oddities continued when Keller’s husband, Bill Keller, jumped into the fray with his own op-ed, this time in The New York Times. This Keller’s column was even more disparaging of Adams’ public display of cancer. He calls her use of social media, “a self-medication;” he questions the cost of her care, hinting that her choices are too expensive; he labels her a “proselytizer” for the cancer center providing her treatment.

The day after Bill Keller’s piece was published, Emma Keller’s piece was taken down by The Guardian and replaced with a disclaimer, “This post has been removed pending investigation.”

That’s the story. One woman used social media to tell a public story about living with disease and illness. A pair of reporters took umbrage at her public display of cancer and used their high profile workplaces to question her use of social media. A public outcry led one of the media outlets to rethink its publication of the story, and many pundits and columnists weighed in—almost all supportive of the blogger/tweeter (perhaps the best response is in The Atlantic).

So, what are the lessons to be learned?

Cancer-shaming is a real thing. The Kellers demonstrated they had expectations of Lisa Adams and her experience with cancer, even though they were mere acquaintances. The pair felt comfortable using established media outlets like The New York Times to challenge Adams’ use of social media in chronicling her illness in a way that they deemed compulsive and copious. They described their own family member’s decision regarding cancer as “humane” and “honorable,” while calling hers, “frantic medical trench warfare.” She defied their expectations about how a person diagnosed with cancer should operate in the world, and they felt privileged enough to use respected cultural outlets to counteract her way of being with the disease.

Grief and loss work their way insidiously into all aspects of life. I read more than 15 responses to this story from works in national publications to patient-centered blogs, and nearly every writer cited an example of dying from her or his family. While I disagree profoundly with the Kellers in their challenges to Adams, I do understand their personal experiences with death impacted their responses to her. Adams’ tweets about cancer made them think of their father. Other writers evoked images of deaths they experienced. I would challenge the Kellers (or anyone) to be more mindful of how their own personal experiences with grief and loss weave their way into their work. Working at the Death with Dignity National Center, I have the luxury of examining my own experiences with death on a daily basis. Being more mindful of grief can be freeing.

We are each responsible for our own social media habits, both posting and viewing. When I read the initial opinion piece by Emma Keller, I was struck by her vacillation between describing Adams’ tweeting behavior and the writer’s own viewing patterns. Yet throughout, she draws conclusions about Adams, and none about herself. She says, “It’s clear that tweeting as compulsively as Lisa Adams does is an attempt to exercise some kind of control over her experience,” and, “…she is trying to create her own boundaries, flimsy as they might be.” This could have been a much more interesting exchange had Keller both allowed Adams to describe her own experience with tweeting and drew conclusions about herself as an obsessed follower.

Illness and death are never what we expect. They don’t behave; they don’t play out in the way we want them to. They don’t go according to plan. When we set up expectations for how we or others should behave while ill, we are setting a trap for ourselves.

All in all, this was a perplexing and odd attack on a woman using social media to chronicle an illness slowly spiraling out of a control. Adams could’ve been tweeting about the mundane—footwear or what she had for dinner every night, but rather she was telling her own life’s story. The Kellers used their positions of influence to make comments about our healthcare system, using Adams’ life story as a platform. They got it all wrong. Another columnist got it right, “… the Kellers owe her an apology.”

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center

Public Hearing for Vermont Death with Dignity

Social movements like Death with Dignity are slow, ponderous behemoths, which seem to unexpectedly speed up. For 12 years, dedicated advocates in Vermont have been working toward enacting the first Death with Dignity law through the legislative process. And after a somewhat quiet period of building support, the last two years have seen major steps forward for the state. All the years of hard work by our partners, Patient Choices Vermont, (watch their new video to the right) are now coming to fruition at a rapid pace.

The Vermont Senate Health and Welfare Committee began hearings to weigh the merits of the proposed Death with Dignity law this morning, and this evening at 5:00 pm ET, the Committee will hear public testimony about the proposed bill.

These hearings are scheduled to run from 5:00-7:00, and people giving testimony will be allowed to speak for up to one minute. With all the momentum and excitement around the Vermont effort, I wouldn’t be surprised if these hearings run a bit late. Since they’re public hearings, you’ll be able to listen to them live on Vermont Public Radio or watch them on Vermont Public Television.

The Committee will continue to hear expert testimony tomorrow, Thursday and Friday as well. I look forward to posting updates as I hear them from Vermont, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center

Boston Public Radio Discussion of Massachusetts Death with Dignity

Vote Aqui care of Boston Public Radio
Vote Aqui care of Boston Public Radio

Boston Public Radio hosted a vibrant dialogue this week around the Massachusetts Death with Dignity ballot measure Bay Staters will vote on this November. Several key discussion points were addressed by radio host Callie Crossley as she engaged Dr. Marcia Angell, supporter of the proposed Massachusetts Death with Dignity Act, physician, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Dr. Lynda Young, an opponent of the proposed law.

From this short 30-minute broadcast I’ve extracted a handful of gems I think you’ll enjoy. And I encourage you to take a little break from your day to listen and tell us your favorite quotes in the comments below, on Facebook, and through Twitter.

From the start, Dr. Angell helped listeners understand what the initiative is and described her confusion about how anyone would oppose it:

In my mind the real question is “why would anyone oppose it?” This Act merely permits dying patients, ones who find their suffering unendurable and who can’t find the relief that they want, permits such patients to ask their physician for a medication that would allow them to end their lives somewhat earlier. These people are dying; remember that. Allow these patients to die a little more peacefully.

I don’t see how this can be a threat to anyone. It’s their choice—they don’t have to ask for the medication—and it’s the doctor’s choice as to whether he or she wants to comply. Why would anyone—the state, organized medicine—why would anyone want to tell someone else how much suffering they have to endure as they face death?

Dr. Angell also explained how physician-assisted dying is completely separate and different from suicide (a word opponents inaccurately use to scare people). With suicide “someone—usually a younger person—with a normal life expectancy chooses death over life. Here, unfortunately, these patients don’t have that choice. They are dying. They are just choosing the manner of their death.”

So often opponents try to put palliative care in conflict with physician-assisted dying. Dr. Angel helped explain how this is a false dichotomy; rather, it’s about more options instead of limiting a person to only one option:

To say you can’t permit physician-assisted dying because we have good palliative care is as though you’ve said you can’t have heart transplantation because we have good heart drugs. This is for when the patient decides that good palliative care has not worked. This is the patient’s decision.

On the argument of the Hippocratic Oath:

This is not about physicians. This is about patients. We have to remember this. Yes, physicians should heal, but this isn’t when healing is possible. Healing is not possible for these patients. So then, what physicians should be doing is concentrating on relieving their suffering as they wish.

After listing the medical associations which do respect patient autonomy and support patient-centered care, Dr. Angell explained what is often the core of some of the other medical organizations’ opposition:

They are too engaged in their own self-image. They say “This is what we do. We have hope. We heal.” And medicine should be more specific—less abstract, less one size fits all. It should be an individual doctor dealing with the individual circumstances of that patient, what that patient needs and desires. And it’s about patients.

When asked about who’s used the law in Oregon and Washington, Dr. Angell put forth a scenario to help illustrate the sense of control people regain under a Death with Dignity Act:

We celebrate when people are healthy. We say, “Oh, this person is in control of his life, he’s independent.” And why should we, when they are dying, suddenly say, “No we don’t value that. We don’t want you have control, we don’t want you to be independent, we don’t want you to make up your own mind?” It’s sort of an odd thing.

Something I found very telling throughout the interview: Dr. Angell and Crossley at different times reiterated all of the safeguards written into the initiative which have kept people safe under the Oregon and Washington Death with Dignity Acts, Dr. Young even admitted fears put forward by opponents haven’t happened in the 15 years of Oregon’s law, and Crossley suggested to Dr. Young to consider amendments to the text of the proposed law to add additional requirements the opponents say are missing. After all this, when asked if opponents could support the initiative, Dr. Young still said no, they would still oppose.

This isn’t new. During Oregon’s long struggle to defend their groundbreaking law, opponents just kept coming up with new roadblocks. When in fact, no matter what, they could never support the law because of their own religious beliefs.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center