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From Concrete to Green: Urban Agriculture Initiative Seeks to Transform LA River into Ag Oasis

The Los Angeles River flows from the Simi Hills, northwest of Los Angeles, through the San Fernando Valley and into the Pacific Ocean at Long Beach. A large portion of the river is concrete.[read more]

Repost: 15 Genius Tips for Living in Small Spaces

August 25, 2015 by Jillian Glover
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Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves and Gardenista and her husband live together in seriously small quarters—a 240-square-foot studio, to be exact. She agreed to share her surprising tips about how to make it work (and not drive each other crazy)…[read more]

Times Square Debate Lays Bare the Importance of Proactive Public Space Management

August 21, 2015 by Project for Public Spaces

Mayor Bill de Blasio caused quite a stir around New York City yesterday as he floated the idea of tearing up the pedestrian plaza in Times Square. This statement was the culmination of several days of debate centered around predatory panhandling and the square’s growing number of “street performers.”[read more]

Mexico—A Rising Leader in Green Building and Sustainability

Today the city is a rising leader in sustainability and urban innovation, with aggressive work to decrease pollution, promote public health and wellness, and the highest concentration of LEED buildings in Mexico. Of course, the cities of Zapopan, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Queretaro are not far behind in the race to be the leader in green building, make Mexico the largest market for green building in the Spanish-speaking world.[read more]

Brooklynites Stand Strong Against Proposed Highrises in Brooklyn Bridge Park

August 20, 2015 by Project for Public Spaces

Brooklyn Bridge Park stretches along roughly 85 acres of prime East River waterfront space along the northern edge of Brooklyn. New Yorkers can visit the park for a number of events or just to relax in one of the borough’s most beautiful spots, which offers spectacular views—maybe even the city’s best—of the Manhattan skyline.[read more]

Using Bikes to Improve Mobility in Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas

The hills around Rio de Janeiro offer stunning views, but the infrastructure in Rio’s favelas—or informal settlements—is extremely poor. Because of this, and coupled with its steep and winding topography, the hilly shanty towns surrounding Rio de Janeiro can be very inaccessible. Despite these conditions, more than half of all commutes within these communities are made by bike, signaling just how important cycling is to these areas.[read more]

3 Ways Land-Use Planning and Zoning Can Increase Urban Density

Cities faced with rapidly growing populations should turn to zoning and land-use planning to create dense, urban areas. Singapore, for example, implemented inclusionary zoning to help working class residents afford homes near the city center. (Photo Niels de Vries / Flickr)

Where would you feel safer walking alone at 3 A.M: a busy, heavily trafficked street, or a loosely populated section of a sprawling city? Most people would likely choose the former. Indeed, higher population densities can make city streets feel safer at all hours—while also fostering commercial activity and giving cities an attractive, bustling character.[read more]

Why Does Hawaii Import Most of Its Food Yet Rank High on Locavore Index?

Hawaii was No. 8 on the 2015 Locavore Index, a list that ranks every state in its commitment to local foods. The list is compiled by Vermont-based local food advocacy organizationStrolling of the Heifers.[read more]

Better Building Benchmarking = More Energy Savings

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently released a real-time building monitoring and scoring platform called LEED Dynamic Plaque, enabling building managers to benchmark, monitor, and improve their building’s performance on an ongoing basis. The program has been recognized as a “game-changer” in building certification schemes.[read more]

Intelligent Mobility and the Long Walk to Freedom from Cars

August 12, 2015 by Timo Hamalainen
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Finland and especially Helsinki have lately received a fair share of global media attention thanks to ambitious plans for bettering urban life by making car ownership obsolete in the next decade. Or “to fill in those gaps in door-to-door mobility which lead us to choose our cars“, like Anne Berner, Finland’s Minister of Transport and Communications recently summarized the aim.[read more]

New Partnership Helps California Businesses Get Solar Power for Less

August 10, 2015 by Glenn Meyers

Renew Financial, a leading clean energy finance company, and SolarCity recently announced a partnership that creates a unique financing option for small and medium-sized businesses that combines low-cost SolarCity-structured financing with Renew’s PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program through the CaliforniaFIRST program.[read more]

Google’s Headquarters Falls Short on Sustainability Details

August 10, 2015 by Tyler Caine

The design of Google’s new corporate campus has radiated across the media recently complete with shiny renderings and a snappy video. Pulling no punches, Google went straight for design professionals known for making a big splash: Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingles. This dynamic duo hopes to help Google craft a physical image of a company that has helped define the digital universe. As can be expected, the company that sharpens the bleeding edge of virtual space did not want to stand beholden to an existing image of glass, corporate towers.[read more]

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Soil Requirements for Healthy Street Trees

August 6, 2015 by Shane Carpani

A definition of "soil quality" that explains the soil requirements of healthy urban trees.[read more]

Advancing Green Building Technologies, One Condo Suite At a Time

August 5, 2015 by Brandon Donnelly

At night when the sun isn’t out and the panels on the roof aren’t able to produce energy, the suite “borrows” electricity from the building. But during the day when the sun is out, the suite powers itself and then returns any borrowed electricity to the building.[read more]

Why Cities Should Invest in Beekeeping

Cities looking for sustainable economic growth might consider investing in a seemingly unlikely source: urban beekeeping. Contrary to what one might expect, urban bees survive better, produce more honey, and are healthier than rural bees.[read more]

Designing Safer Cities in India: Reducing Speed and Protecting Pedestrians

India and Road Safety

 

Over 140,000 people lost their lives on our roads last year, giving India the distinction of having the highest number of road accident victims in the world. As our country continues to motorize exponentially, this problem will only grow– unless we make urgent and far-reaching changes to our road safety approach.[read more]

Motor City, Fish City: Can Detroit be the Center of a New Aquaculture Industry?

“Detroit is the perfect city for this,” says Detroit Seafood Partners president Michael Noeske. “There are thousands of vacant warehouses and buildings that need to be used.

A new startup, Detroit Seafood Partners, wants to make Detroit an epicenter of fish farming and aquaculture.[read more]

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How Sustainable Cities Collective Members Are Building a Better Future

July 29, 2015 by David Thorpe
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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]

Roads Were Not Built for Cars

July 29, 2015 by The Dirt ASLA
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Before cars there were...

Many people assume roads became the way they are today because of the rise of automobiles. In Roads Were Not Built for Cars, Carlton Reid explains that infrastructure for bicycles, tricycles, and more were the precursors to the later transportation system dominated by automobiles.[read more]

Social Media Sparks Large Spontaneous Urban Demonstrations Against Racism

July 29, 2015 by Nora Lindström
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Demo shows power of social media

A beautiful summer afternoon formed the backdrop to a 15,000-strong demonstration against racism and intolerance in Helsinki today. The demonstration was prompted by a racist and xenophobic Facebook post by a member of parliament from the nationalist-populist(-racist) Perussuomalaiset (“True Finns”) party.[read more]

Top 10 Ideas From OuiShare 2015 on The New Sharing Economy [VIDEOS]

July 29, 2015 by Shareable .

Enthusiasm reigned

OuiShare Fest is an international gathering in Paris of sharing economy pioneers, enthusiasts and organizers. This year’s explored numerous aspects of the sharing economy, collaboration, technological developments and human connectedness. Here are 10 videos of the top presentations.[read more]

5 Forecasts for the Future of African Cities

July 29, 2015 by Future Cape Town
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Science fiction or prophecy?

“The growth in information and communication technology will soon erase the ‘official’ borders of cities…” An innovation expert in Nigeria shares his thoughts on how economic expansion and innovation will transform the continent.[read more]

From Ideas to Implementation: 3 Ways to Ensure that Citizens Have Access to Information

Openness is vital toitizen engagement.

Many citizens often face various obstacles accessing accurate information about their cities. Therefore, the first key to making cities work for people is access to information. But how can we guarantee it?[read more]

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Cities are Built of Steel and Cement. How Can We Make These More Sustainable?

July 28, 2015 by David Thorpe

Build more with less

Everybody knows that we use raw materials inefficiently but there are great knowledge gaps in what to do about it. The authors of Sustainable Materials Without the Hot Air want to fix this by looking in detail at the production of materials to figure out the most effective way to reduce their environmental impact.[read more]

The Benefits of Harvesting Rainwater

July 28, 2015 by Kay hebbourn
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It's free! Use it!

As well as helping to keep our gardens green, the water that falls from the skies can help us to run our homes. A rising number of people across the UK are installing rainwater harvesting systems in their properties to harness the potential of this natural resource.[read more]

Quantifying Stormwater Benefits of Trees Part 2: Single-Event Stormwater Models

July 28, 2015 by Leda Marritz

Help from HydroCAD 

An introduction to various methods to quantify the stormwater benefits of tree stormwater control measures (Tree SCMs). It addresses Hydrologic and Hydraulic (H&H) models and Single-Event Stormwater Models. It follows a post on quantifying these benefits for tree benefit calculators and for stormwater credits.[read more]

Should Bicycles Be Allowed in Pedestrian Zones?

July 28, 2015 by Mark K Ames

Should this be allowed in a pedestrian zone?

Last week I visited the Dutch city of Zwolle, the Netherlands City of Cycling in 2014. It's a pretty, historic city surrounded by countryside and has a pedestrianised heart. But what I saw there made me reconsider banning bicycles from pedestrian-only areas, but not for the reasons that you might think of.[read more]

The Case For Congestion Charging to Manage Traffic

July 28, 2015 by Brandon Donnelly

Pay to drive in

The very few cities that have actually had significant success at reducing traffic congestion – notably Singapore, London and Stockholm – have done this through cordon-based congestion pricing wherein if you pass the cordon, you pay the congestion charge. Should other cities copy them?[read more]

Buildings: Our Biggest (and Most Underutilized) Asset for Improving How Cities Perform

A quiet moment in Wuxi, China

It’s time for leaders from both the public and private sectors to pay attention to buildings as a way of improving how their cities perform. High performance buildings (and their cousins: net zero, or near-net zero buildings) are a boost to health and productivity. Here's how to begin.[read more]

Five Ways to Save Lives with Urban Design

July 28, 2015 by The Dirt ASLA
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Cut traffic deaths.

Globally, 1.24 million people are killed in traffic accidents every year, with more than 90 percent of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income counties. A review of Cities Safer by Design, a report by the World Resources Institute, which presents five basic urban design elements that create safer travel environments.[read more]