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Urban Planning

Balancing the Scales of City Sustainability

May 3, 2016 by Kaid Benfield

I spend virtually all my professional time thinking about the intersection of human settlement and environmental sustainability. I am particularly interested in the built environment of American cities, towns, and suburbs - what I like to call our "people habitat" - and how it relates to the natural world. How can we make these two...[read more]

How public spaces will help change cities for the better

How to make cities more livable for people? How to create good, inclusive and accessible public spaces for all?I’m not an urban planner nor an architect. I’m not a sociologist or an anthropologist either. But based on my personal experience, I can tell why public spaces are important in people’s lives. Just close your eyes for a second...[read more]

Using green infrastructure to control urban floods: a win-win for cities

April 28, 2016 by World Bank Sustainability Blog

We have all come across people whose homes have beautiful and always blooming plants and flowers – people with a so-called “green thumb”.But did you know that cities too can have a “green thumb”? Singapore is certainly one of those cities. Also known as the "garden city”, Singapore is set to become a "city in a garden”. The...[read more]

Talking Transit: Repopulating our city through more housing choice

April 28, 2016 by Metropolitan Planning Council

By Yonah FreemarkDid you know?According to research by the Chicago Rehab Network, Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood lost more than 5,000 inhabitants, or more than 11 percent of its population, between 2000 and 2010. At the same time, housing costs increased dramatically over the same period, with the share of renters paying...[read more]

Designing New Water-Smart Parks: Two Stories From California

April 27, 2016 by City Parks Blog

The following is an excerpt from City Parks, Clean Water, a report by the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence that examines the role of urban parks in managing stormwater. This is the eighth installment in a series of 20 posts.When it comes to green infrastructure, the easiest parks to work with are new ones —...[read more]

The Case for Precision in Landscape Architecture

April 27, 2016 by The Dirt ASLA

Renderings of Concurso La Carlota competition entry / Luis CallejasAccording to Anita Berrizbeitia, ASLA, chair of the landscape architecture department at Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), the question of whether to pursue a more regimented, process-based approach or use a more open-ended design model has occupied the field of...[read more]

Environmental change - who cares, who benefits, who loses?

April 27, 2016 by Sturle Hauge Simonsen

In social-ecological systems research the focus is on people as well as nature and the aim is to promote both ecosystem health and human wellbeing. Ecosystem services is increasingly recognized as the benefits people obtain from nature, but we still have a poor understanding of how they actually enhance the many dimensions of wellbeing,...[read more]

Solving Problems Across City Borders: Opportunities and Challenges to Regional Planning in China

April 26, 2016 by Adam N Mayer

China is known for having a strong central government. In many ways, this perception is very true. Unlike countries like the United States which clearly delineate federal and local (state) powers, all governmental authority in China flows from the central government. Over the past several decades, however, the central government has...[read more]

Can Dirt Become Soil Again?

April 25, 2016 by Leda Marritz

I’ve known Dr. Bryant Scharenbroch, a soil researcher at Morton Arboretum and assistant professor of soil science at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, for 11 years. In that time, he’s been involved in some excellent research. One of his most recent projects, done in collaboration with Katie Klaus (Morton Arboretum), James Urban (...[read more]

The Goals of Combining Parks and Stormwater

April 25, 2016 by City Parks Blog

The following is an excerpt from City Parks, Clean Water, a report by the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence that examines the role of urban parks in managing stormwater. This is the seventh installment in a series of 20 posts.City parks departments and water agencies both stand to benefit from designing...[read more]

Investing by the mile instead of by the gallon

April 22, 2016 by Metropolitan Planning Council

By Yonah FreemarkMetropolitan Planning Council (MPC) research shows that our state’s surface roads, bridges and transit systems need $43 billion in additional investment over the next ten years.Unquestionably, we need new funding to support this. As we use less gasoline—or none at all—we need to consider a vehicle miles traveled fee...[read more]

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Learn From Flint: Solidify Water Infrastructure With These 5 Fixes

April 22, 2016 by David Schwartz

The Flint, Michigan, water crisis was a tragedy: horrible, yet avoidable. After years of using water from nearby Lake Huron, the city switched to the Flint River, in essence polluting its own water supply.Several factors contributed to the catastrophe — chief among them were a budget crisis, minimal state monitoring, and an antiquated...[read more]