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The Role of Wooden Pallets in Urbanisation

10 Aug 2014

The global population recently hit the seven billion mark, and the United Nations has predicted that by 2015, 67% of the population will live in urbanised areas. This dense urbanisation increases energy consumption, use of resources and the impact day-to-day living has on the environment. Climate change is also being accelerated due to rapid urbanisation, and with so many people destined for inner-city habitation the focus on natural materials, eco-friendly options and green living has become more prevalent than ever before.

Repurposing Natural Materials

In the last few years a new trend has emerged which has seen the use of existing natural materials being repurposed to spruce up urban areas and create stunning architectural effects that are eye-catching and unique. Wooden pallets have played a large role in this trend, and their extreme versatility has made them a popular choice with many architects, interior decorators and designers.

Wooden pallets have been repurposed to create everything from benches to a full concert pavilion, and they can be refashioned to suit almost any purpose. These pallets are standard items that are used the world over, and whereas previously they would have simply been discarded, they are now a desirable commodity that can be recycled and reused in some very creative ways. These pallets allow for a natural material to be brought into an urban area and be used in a functional manner and bridge the gap between intense urbanisation and nature. The wood is strong enough to be used for a variety of purposes, and although the slats that make up the flat-boxy pallets may be a small in size, they are an ideal shape for a number of projects and can be altered to create just about anything you can put your mind to.

Bring Nature into an Urban Area

Wooden pallets are a cost-effective way of bringing nature into the city and recycling a natural material into something that adds aesthetic value to a building or outdoor area. Malka, a French architect, has come up with what is perhaps one of the more innovative yet wacky ideas of creating a wooden skin for a building using pallets. This ‘skin’ is able to double as a cooler and insulator and can move in four directions to let in or block out light or add heating or cooling properties. Reducing energy consumption and creating an attractive exterior, this idea may not seem as farfetched as it sounds, and is just one way pallets can be used in building.

By making use of pallets in architecture, a building not only gains character but also reduces its carbon footprint and becomes more ecologically friendly. Sustainable urbanisation has become a lot more than a buzzword; it’s now being put into practice in a number of cities, and the trend for recycling natural materials is definitely on the rise. Additionally, wooden pallets are being used outdoors for benches and tables, or to build raised planters that can be used in gardens or on the roofs of high-rise buildings. Indoor items are also being created using these pallets, and everything from couches to doors are being built from this versatile and diverse material that is playing an important role in sustainable green developments.

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