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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

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]

Cape Town: Three Ports + One City = More Jobs?

July 27, 2015 by Cape Town Partnership

Three ports, one city.

Three ports, one city. How will the improved efficiency of Cape Town’s three transfer nodes benefit the city, and the nation?[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]

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New report: Coastal Cities Will Drown In Around 50 Years

July 27, 2015 by David Thorpe

New York City could look like this

Sea levels are projected to rise faster than previously thought – as much as 10 feet within the next 50 years – precipitating an undeniable and irreversible effect on coastal cities like New York and Miami, according to a new study by 17 of the world’s top climate change experts.[read more]

Imitate to Innovate: Vitoria-Gasteiz Shows How Cities can Address 21st Century Challenges

July 27, 2015 by This Big City

Before and after the tram

The Spanish city of Vitoria-Gasteiz has recently transformed itself from a congested and car-dominated city into one of the most pedestrian and bicycle-friendly places in Europe. It didn’t achieve this by going at it alone. Its key to success was learning from others.[read more]

What Bus Rapid Transit Is and What It Isn't

July 27, 2015 by Klaus Philipsen

Like a train on tires

Most of what gets billed as BRT in the US doesn't cut it: a single BRT line doesn't, nor does a system where standard 40' buses can barely transport more than 50 people at a time, nor a system where buses get stuck in traffic or where buses linger at stops until a long line of cash payers has entered through a single door of a bus. So what does?[read more]

Using Virtual Reality to Create Safer Drivers

It's not real

While smarter and safer road designs are being developed and put into place, virtual reality simulators are giving countries around the world the chance to train young people to be better drivers immediately.[read more]

Could A City Really Be Redesigned To Build Happiness? An Interview With Charles Montgomery

July 27, 2015 by Walk21 Vienna

Planning for fun

Could a city really be redesigned to build happiness? One major aspect of liveability relates to how happy we can feel in the public spaces we inhabit. We talk to one of the leading authors in the field of urban happiness, Charles Montgomery, who will be a plenary speaker in the upcoming Walk21 conference in Vienna.[read more]

A Smartphone App to Help Choose the Best Walking Route

July 24, 2015 by The Dirt ASLA

Rate the route

Most smartphone map apps give you several direct routes to get from Point A to Point B, but the quickest or most convenient path isn’t always the most enjoyable. Those interested in finding the most beautiful, walkable route to their destination can now try Walkonomics.[read more]

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Why Cities Need Youth Innovation for a Low Carbon Future

July 24, 2015 by Ivan Bruce

Young winners, designers of a walking app

More than ever, we need young people involved in creating sustainable cities. This can be achieved by establishing and strengthening networks that provide opportunities for young aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators to get involved and learn from like-minded groups of individuals on a global scale.[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]

Great Public Spaces: Nominate Your Favorite Plazas and Parks

July 24, 2015 by Project for Public Spaces

Spanish Steps, Rome

What are your favorite public parks, plazas, and squares? The latest addition to our Great Public Spaces website features those third places we cherish, the community gathering spaces in which we meet our neighbors, bond with family, and make memories, and we want your nominations.[read more]

How to Choose the Right Plants and Take Care of A Green Roof

July 24, 2015 by Glenn Meyers
1

It's a roof. Take care of it.

The results of a five year study by the Chicago Botanic Garden list nine plants rated "excellent" and 67 rated "good" for use in a green roof environment. Meanwhile, Sasha Aguilera, Design Consultant for Xeroflor Canada, an industry leader in pre-vegetated roofing, has put together some suggestions for green roof maintenance and design.[read more]

7 Proven Principles for Designing a Safer City: A Visual Look

The compact, connected city is safer

Traffic accidents kill more than 1.2 million people every year, nearly the same amount that die from HIV/AIDS. But there’s an undervalued approach to making the world’s roads safer—good urban design. 7 design principles can help cities dramatically reduce road deaths. Here’s a visual look.[read more]

Will Metro’s TOD Projects Gentrify Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles?

July 23, 2015 by Global Site Plans - The Grid

Tempers are Boyle-ing

The community of Boyle Heights has expressed their discontent and disappointment at the lack of inclusion in the planning process. They have vocalized that as proposed, this project is not taking into account their needs, culture, and current socio-economic situation.[read more]

How Crowdfunding Is Creating Permanently Affordable Real Estate and Vibrant Streets

July 23, 2015 by Shareable .

New York City streets: no longer so mean.

Faced with the rising rents for commercial properties in cities, the New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative is helping to turn vacant municipal properties into “vibrant streets filled with local culture and dignified workers” using crowdfunding: small investments by a large number of people in permanently affordable, commercial real estate.[read more]

Revealed: the Top 10 Countries for LEED Green Building Certification in 2015 [infographic]

...outside the USA.

There are LEED projects in more than 150 countries and territories, representing every continent except for Antarctica. LEED is being used in highly industrialized nations and newly developing ones, and is helping to demonstrate the enormous power and potential of the emerging green economy. Here are the top 10 countries outside the USA.[read more]

10 Strategies for a Stronger, Greener Economy for Cities

Cities can face a bright dawn

Created and released by the Global Economy and Climate Commission two weeks ago, “Seizing the Global Opportunity: Partnerships for Better Growth and a Better Climate” outlines a global action plan with 10 recommendations for combating climate change without sacrificing economic growth.[read more]

At What Point Can Regular, Frequent Public Transit Be Made To Work in Suburbia?

July 23, 2015 by David Levinson

The math on bus feasibility

This article tests the hypothesis that regular, frequent transit service remains feasible even in single family homes in neighborhoods with a modicum of density, such as suburbia. Warning: lots of number crunching ahead. We look at housing density, transit requirements, car alternatives, and rapid transit.[read more]

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Will Autonomous Vehicles and Integrated Transport Planning Bring Extra Costs or Reduce Costs for Cities?

July 23, 2015 by David Thorpe

The connected vehicle

Self-driving vehicles are touted as a big part of the landscape of future cities, enabling people to pursue other tasks while being driven, let cars drive more efficiently, and drastically reducing the number of road casualties. But what will be the ultimate cost-benefit balance for cities? Will it be worth their while to facilitate them?[read more]

China’s Pedestrianization: Reviving a Tradition of Walking for Healthier Cities

Increasing footfalls in Beijing

Although China has rapidly urbanized in the past few decades, many cities across the country are still not easily walkable. Creating vibrant, walkable streets is becoming an urgent priority. China has therefore designed and put forward its national urbanization plan which encourages pedestrianization.[read more]

The Greenest Supermarket Needs More Than Efficiency

July 23, 2015 by Tyler Caine

Infographic inside!

What is the most sustainable supermarket that we can imagine, knowing that sustainability has to be thought of as more than just a technological fix to a wasteful lifestyle?[read more]

Barcelona, Medellín and the Right to Housing

July 22, 2015 by This Big City

A conversation starter

Barcelona and Medellín both suffer from the same problem of guaranteeing the right to housing. And this is exactly what is presented in the exhibition called Piso Piloto, or Pilot Project, hosted at the same time in both cities. It is an attempt to foster the exchange of experiences and knowledge regarding housing and its relationship with public space.[read more]

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City Leaders: $164m Up For Grabs in the 3rd 100 Resilient Cities Challenge

July 22, 2015 by David Thorpe

Cities are woefully unprepared for the future

Cities around the world are now able to apply for a slice of $164 million from The Rockefeller Foundation in its 100 Resilient Cities Challenge. The opening of the third and final round of this challenge was announced yesterday at the “Cities for Tomorrow” conference.[read more]

Transition Streets: A New Way to Build Resilience From the Bottom Up

July 22, 2015 by Shareable .

This bus is heading for a sustainable city. Hop on!

Transition Streets is a toolkit for neighborhood transformation and community building. A project of Transition US, it's as simple as neighbors coming together to explore carbon-saving and resilience-building actions in the areas of food, water, waste, energy, transportation, all the while building relationships together.[read more]

As Cities Evolve, 'Access' Means More Than Cars

July 22, 2015 by Chuck Wolfe

What does this picture tell us?

Questions and answers about accessing cities and neighborhoods now mean many things—depending on context—including transportation modes; sustainability and the shared economy; public safety and particular approaches to community participation; and aspects of social equity.[read more]

How Historic Istanbul Improved Air Quality by Putting Pedestrians First

No to cars, yes to people

After years of intense traffic congestion, Istanbul began pedestrianizing its Historic Peninsula in 2005, prioritizing walkability and improving local air quality. It has pedestrianized 295 streets since 2010, making the region a vital transport hub for Istanbul’s citizens.[read more]

The Urban Organic Community Farm That Supplies the Second Largest Pantry in Indianapolis

July 22, 2015 by Barnraiser. Us

Urban kids learning how to grow food

A stone’s throw from an interstate, where loud semis and cars find their way in and out of the hustle and bustle of Indianapolis’ heart, is Indy Urban Acres. This eight-acre tract of organic farmland is conspicuously, yet unexpectedly, located on the eastside of Indianapolis on 21st Street.[read more]

Why Urban Homesteading Could Be a Key to More Livable, Resilient Cities

July 21, 2015 by Barnraiser. Us

Growing food in the city

The Urban Homesteader shows urbanites how to produce their own food through a web series, how-to materials and a skill-sharing platform. It's been chosen as part of a select group of campaigns to launch Indiegogo's new sustainability initiative, which shines a spotlight on social innovation projects.[read more]