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AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015; 12-31 January

AFC Asian Cup 2015

The AFC Asian Cup, which held its inaugural event in Hong Kong in 1956, goes to Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane, where the best teams from 16 nations will participate for football dominance in Asia Pacific. Team Japan, with four overall championships in the history of the games, also returns to defend its title at the quadrennial sporting event.

12-31 January;


China gets ready for a vertical forest revolution

Stefano Boeri is taking his signature bosco verticale around the world

Artist's impression of the vertical forest in Nanjing. Image credit: Stefano Boeri Architetti[/caption]

The bosco verticale or vertical forest, a building shrouded in thousands of trees and shrubbery, will feel right at home in China.

The father of that concept, Italian architect Stefano Boeri, is transplanting the idea in a country whose cities are in dire need of carbon-clearing, oxygen-spewing organisms. However, his engagement in China will not be a one-off.

Boeri's firm, Stefano Boeri Architetti, has been commissioned to develop entire vertical forest cities. Masterplans for these cities are already underway in Liuzhou and Shijiazhuang, Blueprint reported.

[caption id="attachment_61968" align="aligncenter" width="740"] Stefano Boeri's vertical forest in Milan, Italy. Image credit: Stefano Boeri Architetti[/caption]

“It wouldn’t just be residential towers," Boeri told BluePrint. "It will be schools, hospitals, museums, everything that makes up a city.

"It will be a vertical forest revolution.”

Two of these forested skyscrapers are already rising in Nanjing. Set for completion next year, the buildings, located adjacent to each other, are expected to absorb 25 tons of carbon dioxide every year and exhale around 130 pounds of oxygen every day. At 650 feet and 500 feet, the buildings dwarf Boeri’s pioneering project in Milan, two side-by-side buildings towering 250 feet and 360 feet.

More: A sustainable Chinese city? There’s no such thing

“Nanjing’s buildings will have different plant species than Milan because Nanjing has different conditions and its own biodiversity, but the philosophy and approach for the buildings is the same,” Boeri said.

He is especially proud of the Italian project. "It’s an ecosystem. For every tenant, you have basically two trees, eight shrubs and 20 plants.”

A Hyatt hotel will be housed in the Nanjing buildings, in addition to offices and a museum.

Aside from China, bosco verticales are also due to sprout in Tirana, Albania and Paris. A vertical forest in Lausanne, Switzerland will begin construction in just a few weeks.

Here's Boeri speaking at length about the forested structures:

Read next: Singapore’s ‘plant whisperer’ on why ‘green walls’ are now a thing

Many of APAC's best architects are gathered in Australia right now

The Asia Pacific Architecture Forum 2017 is still ongoing in Brisbane

Brisbane reflected on the Brisbane River, as viewed from the Story Bridge. David Bostock/Shutterstock[/caption]

Happening until 31 March, the latest annual Asia Pacific Architecture Forum will give architects, designers and planners across the region an opportunity to examine the coming Asian century and the many dividends it proffers.

The forum is being held across various venues in Brisbane and Queensland. Speakers include Shigeru Ban, Christina Cho, Stephen Collier, Moon Hoon, Wenhui Lim, Chris McCue, Hamilton Wilson, Justin O'Neill, Milinda Pathiraja, Sojung Lee, Sangjoon Kwak, Thomas Daniell, Savinee Buranasilapin, Jonathan Kopinski, Tom Dannecker, Ivan Harbour and John Denton.

Several workshops are on offer, including “The Least House Necessary,” a sustainable design workshop, and “Linking Urban Tactics to Strategy,” a look into Gap Filler’s practice.

More: Why Brisbane is hot property at the moment

Among other exhibitions, photographer John Gollings will be displaying 50 years’ worth of storied shots on Australia and around the world. UQ Architecture will also exhibit student work, plus pieces from a speculative studio based in North Korea, in support of the Mobility Matters Colloquium.

“Scenes of our City” will display a curated series of holdings under the Museum of Brisbane Collection. The exhibition will present works by Vida Lahey, Noel McKenna, Margaret Olley, and 18 other artists with strong links to Brisbane’s architectural history.

Asia Pacific Architecture Forum 2017 is being organised by Architecture Media and the State Library of Queensland, with presenting partners Artisan, Australian Institute of Architects, Brisbane Open House, Museum of Brisbane, Pecha Kucha, QAGOMA, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, University of Queensland School of Architecture and QUT Creative Industries.

For more information, head here.

Read next: Has Australia had enough of Asian buyers?

8 tips to avoid being burgled in the age of smart homes

Even Hollywood homes are not impervious to robbery

A spate of Hollywood burglaries is a reminder that thieves are getting high-tech. Lucky Business/Shutterstock[/caption]

A spate of high-profile burglaries in recent weeks in Los Angeles is being imputed to an organized crime ring.

The Los Angeles Police Department believes that social media may have unintentionally aided the suspects in robbing the homes of Alanis Morissette, Nick Young, Nicki Minaj, and Yasiel Puig.

"It's usually a lone individual trying to service their addiction. This is different. This is organized crime," Lt. Todd Hankel of the San Fernando Valley Knock Knock Task Force tells The Hollywood Reporter.

"If you are Instagramming that you are out of the country enjoying the weather in another part of the world, that can help [them].”

Thankfully, you can also fight fire with fire, i.e. technology with technology, and good ol’ sentido común. Here’s how to avoid getting plundered, 2017-style:

Install a video monitoring system

You can stream video surveillance of your property from anywhere with smart security systems. Several smart speakers on the market come equipped with HD cameras that give you crystalline feed, 24/7, of what is going on at your house.

Lose the keys for remote door locks

Even locks can be remote-controlled nowadays. It pays dividends in terms of security to purchase keyless digital door locks, which you can set to open at certain times. You can also remotely set these locks to grant access to certain individuals only.

More: Hollywood celebs are mixing paranoia with pleasure in safe rooms

Invest in sensors

With the advent of smart homes also comes the arrival of window and door sensors. Make sure to install such sensors in big apertures of your house. If you have a doggy door, you might also consider placing one there too.

Smart-lighting the way

Today's crop of fixtures smack of sci-fi capabilities that you can use to intimidate would-be burglars. So long as you're online, you can command there be light around your property from your phone or tablet. Or you can arrange presets, letting the lights switch on and off at designated times, or pass into different hues as the day goes by. Motion lights are always a good investment, and they too can also smartly controlled.

Avoid the appearance of being away for a long period

One way thieves determine if a site is good for looting is the sight of a dusty car. Therefore, ensure that you move a parked car from time to time.

Get out of view

Your valuables should, that is. Nothing looks palatable to burglars than a brand-new, gargantuan LCD TV set beckoning them through your floor-to-ceiling windows. Blinds are there for a purpose.

Reconsider green walls

Unless you’re a celebrity who is more concerned about an unhinged stalker than a thief, reconsider those thick hedges and bushes. A house concealed from view is an open invitation to criminals. Besides, they can easily hide in those green walls. However, some plants do make for great barriers against thieves.

Put away ladders

Thieving is an inherently resourceful crime, and robbers can literally climb your housing ladder if you leave them in the yard.

Read next: Why this Miss Universe prefers to live in Thai property


How social media envy leads to improved homes

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter…these free platforms are costlier than they seem

Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections like events, interests, and hobbies. Twin Design/Shutterstock[/caption]

For a whiff of inspiration, those in the throes of redesigning their homes take to the social networks rather than flip the pages of home improvement magazines or flick through home makeover shows.

A survey of 1,500 homeowners by online personal finance firm SoFi shows that 44 percent of homeowners from ages 25 to 44 prefer social nets for home design inspiration over other media.

In addition, 28 percent of homeowners reported having purchased at least one residential property after viewing a friend’s post on social channels, the survey, released Wednesday, showed.

“The more personal, individually-curated nature of social [media] causes it to carry more influence, precisely because it is a real glimpse into real spaces,” explained Laurel Toney, a spokesperson at SoFi, to MarketWatch. “Even if the images are similar to what you’d see in a magazine, they can feel more attainable with a friend or influencer’s profile attached to them.”

More: What’s next for the short-term rental sector in Asia?

Such insights square with a recent survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which found that 40 percent of adult social media users tend to look into purchases and vacations similar to posts they have viewed.

However, 61 percent of respondents to SoFi's survey reported assessing their financial standing before starting any home improvement project. Only 15 percent prioritized home improvement projects above everything else.

Pinterest appears to be the biggest online driver of consumer spending habits. Shoppers on the highly visual social media channel spend an average of almost USD170 per session, according to e-commerce consultancy RichRelevance. Shoppers on Facebook only spend USD95 per session on otherwise the world’s biggest social networking platform. Meanwhile, Twitter shoppers tend to spend USD70 a session.

Read next: Is 2017 the year PropTech will change real estate forever?

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