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Politics & Legislation

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How Sustainable Cities Collective Members Are Building a Better Future

July 29, 2015 by David Thorpe

Towards the green city [This is Singapore]

This is my last post for the time being on Sustainable Cities Collective and I want to take the opportunity to explain how I have come to understand the great value that it has. What will life be like for urban citizens in the future? The answer may depend upon whether you or your descendants will be living in a city which has implemented many of the ideas already covered on this website.[read more]

Why The Zoning Debate In Seattle Has Lacked ‘First Principles’

July 27, 2015 by Chuck Wolfe

Where to put affordable housing?

A guest opinion last week in Seattle's Crosscut went back to zoning basics after several articles and opinion pieces--in Crosscut and other media--attempted to dissect a key issue identified in affordable housing discussions.[read more]

Sane Governance in the Digital City

July 24, 2015 by Klaus Philipsen

City of numbers

Can tactical urbanism, Internet journalism, direct action, "open data", crowd-funding and social networking provide a local governance solution that is at once local and complex and accessible and less corrupted?[read more]

We Have An Anti-City Culture: Fragmented, Segregated and Car-Dominated: Interview with Tariq Toffa

July 16, 2015 by Future Cape Town

Tariq Toffa

Future Johannesburg speaks with Tariq Toffa, South African architect and lecturer in the architecture department at the University of Johannesburg about the main challenges for urban planning in South Africa, the empowerment of communities, and some of his current projects.[read more]

Why Many Cities are seen as the Deadbeat Uncle in their Regions

July 10, 2015 by Klaus Philipsen

What Obama got to do with it?

Early in Obama's presidency, the President checked personally that the departmental silos open up to collaboration in the Sustainable Communities Partnership he had initiated between the departments of housing (HUD), transportation (DOT) and environment (EPA). But how effective has it been?[read more]

Should We Mandate Standards for Design (As Now) or Real-Life Performance?

July 9, 2015 by Tyler Caine

Some things never get off the drawing board....

Do we achieve better results in planning and design by making laws to govern behaviour or setting standards that work on the drawing board? While the latter has proven to be easier for governing bodies in many cases, the former can be built on what we actually have rather than an idea of what could occur.[read more]

Must We Put a Monetary Value On Nature In Order to Save It?

July 8, 2015 by Ceri Margerison

Valuing our Life Support Systems

Researchers, business leaders and policymakers gathered this week in London for the launch of the Natural Capital Initiative’s “Valuing our Life Support Systems” summit report. Placing a value on nature, regardless of whether it is expressed in monetary terms, is not a neutral act, but is in itself a value-laden, political decision that can be contested.[read more]

Banks Should Lend World’s Top 500 Cities At Least $1bn to Tackle Climate Change – NCE-2015 Report

July 7, 2015 by David Thorpe

All cities must become low carbon, says the report

Multilateral development banks, donors and others should lend the world's top 500 cities at least US$1 billion to help them implement low carbon urban development strategies by 2020, according to the New Climate Economy 2015 report, published today by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.[read more]

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U.S. Supreme Court Decision is Breakthrough for Race Relations, Housing and Social Mobility

July 3, 2015 by Peter Smith

A significant ray of hope

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Texas Department of Housing v. Inclusive Communities Project is a landmark ruling for racial and economic equality. It was a victory for those fighting in favor of more protection in the housing market for vulnerable populations.[read more]

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20 City and Regional Governments Pledge to Save 5% of Global Carbon Emissions

July 2, 2015 by David Thorpe

Full infographic in the article

Twenty local city and regional governments, representing over 220 million people and $8.3 trillion GDP, have committed to a series of ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions totalling 5% of all global emissions, with many more due to report over the summer, according to the Compact of States and Regions.[read more]

Revisiting Sustainable Housing, Politics and A Basic Pride of Place

July 1, 2015 by Chuck Wolfe

Pride of place

What do the politics of urban housing have to do with a seasonal caravan park in Provence? For me, the answer is clear. Our political discussions, mired in jargon and positioning, often lose sight of a human pride of place inherent in even the simplest forms of shelter.[read more]

Should Cities Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags?

June 30, 2015 by Cathy Rust

Their time is over

Should cities ban single use plastic bags or keep them but charge a fee? Plastic bags are definitely a scourge on the environment, particularly once they get into the ocean, but does banning them outright make sense, or is there a better way to phase them out?[read more]