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UK Cities Should Generate Their Own Energy Says National Trust Energy Expert

May 22, 2015 by David Thorpe

Freiberg, Germany

British cities should generate their own energy instead of relying on rural areas to do so, said Patrick Begg, the National Trust’s energy expert yesterday. He was speaking on a panel discussion on the opening day of the Hay Festival of Green Ideas.[read more]

Three Ways Public Spaces Can Make Cities More Vibrant

Urban life is currently undergoing a transformation in cities worldwide. Through changing land use policies, high speed rail, and new technologies that foster online interaction, urban streets and public spaces are regaining their vitality. Here are three key reasons why we need to recognize the value of public spaces in creating cities for people.[read more]

In Uncertain Times, Urban Design Should Make Public Places More Flexible

May 22, 2015 by The Dirt ASLA

The BIG U / Rebuild by Design

In uncertain times, urban design should make public places more flexible, more reassuring, more public. Cities are places where unlike-minded people share limited space. Their innovations—parks, skyscrapers, farmers’ markets–result from experiments to squeeze maximum benefit from a crowded place.[read more]

The City With an App That Encourages Citizens to Suggest Bills to Government

Sao Paolo's app

Legislando (“Legislating”) is an application that lets citizens make suggestions for bills, as well as support and follow other collaborative proposals, and see them through approval by the Municipal House and Legislative Assemblies. The tool, which intends to be a kind of “political social network,” was introduced in São Paulo, Brazil on April 27.[read more]

How China Can Leverage High-Speed Rail for Compact Urban Development

Wanted: transit-oriented development

China’s HSR system presents an opportunity for transit-oriented development (TOD) around new stations. However, this has often failed to occur in a controlled or compact manner. A more coordinated strategy for TOD around HSR stations could help Chinese cities develop in more compact and sustainable ways.[read more]

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Central Governments Accused of Hypocrisy Over Their Buildings Energy Efficiency

May 21, 2015 by David Thorpe

EU states not practicing what they preach

Central governments are not leading by example in reducing energy use in their buildings, to save public money even in the age of austerity, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to tackle climate change. At the same time they are exhorting the public and businesses to do the same, according to analysis by the Coalition for Energy Savings.[read more]

Where can you walk to work? Study ranks cities for accessibility to jobs by walking 

May 21, 2015 by David Levinson
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When we think of the cities that are “most walkable,” it’s often in terms of pedestrian networks such as sidewalks and trails. However, there’s another factor at play in determining which cities are truly most pedestrian-friendly: accessibility.In a new report in the Access Across America series from the U of M’s...[read more]

What Equity and Real Estate Investors Need to Know About Sustainability

May 21, 2015 by GBIG Insight

Leading equity investors take heed

Over the past 10 years, leading equity investors have become increasingly interested in the sustainability features of their real estate investments – often described with respect to environmental, social, governance (ESG) attributes and performance.[read more]

Everything You Wanted to Know About Tactical Urbanism

May 21, 2015 by The Dirt ASLA

Tactical Urbanism book cover

Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change, a new book by urban planners Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia is the first book to really organize all the small fixes that seem to have spontaneously sprung up in so many communities in a way that everyone can understand: a lack of safe sidewalks or crosswalks; the absence of clear signage; the dearth of neighborhood parks and plazas, and the lack of community connection and solidarity.[read more]

How Would You Know If Your City or Community Was Resilient?

May 20, 2015 by The Nature of Cities

Hurricane Sandy was a game changer.

How do you measure resilience in cities? How would you know if your city or your community was resilient? A selection of answers from ecologists and other specialists and experts from around the world.[read more]

Only A Third of Businesses and Politicians Think A Deal at Paris' Climate Talks Will Succeed

May 20, 2015 by David Thorpe

The lacking in confidence barometer

A ‘climate barometer’ to measure confidence levels amongst business leaders and politicians in delivering a strong outcome at COP21 and in the low carbon economy shows a rating of just 33% - or ‘changeable’. This is broken down as 33.2% for businesses, 38.7% for governments and 27.2% for international organizations.[read more]

80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World – Book Review

May 20, 2015 by The Dirt ASLA

Designed for the Future by Jared Green

In Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World, Jared Green offers 80 thought-provoking and frequently inspiring answers to this question from landscape architects, urban planners, architects, journalists, artists, and environmental leaders in the U.S. and beyond[read more]

Does the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code Go Far Enough?

May 20, 2015 by Chris Cheatham

Is there a point to IECC 2015?

The 2015 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is being implemented but critics say that the time, inconvenience and expense of implementing a new code with only a slightly more than 1% better energy impact is unwise, and 3 changes arguably have a detrimental effect on energy savings.[read more]

Baltimore's Low Income Levels Are A Function of Social Mobility

May 20, 2015 by Christopher Sellers

Baltimore from the air

Baltimore, besides being in the news recently for unfortunate events, is also a city which has the worst wage levels compared to the US average. Is this related to social mobility? Aaron M. Renn investigates.[read more]

Young Urbanists, Architects, and the Future of Informal Settlements

May 20, 2015 by Future Cape Town

Alfredo Brillembourg of Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) and Luyanda Mpahlwa of DesignSpaceAfrica

Future Cape Town and its Young Urbanists members hosted two renowned architects, Alfredo Brillembourg of Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) and Luyanda Mpahlwa of DesignSpaceAfrica, last week. They spoke about housing and educating the future in developing cities.[read more]

Can Big Data Deliver Evidence Based Urban Design?

May 19, 2015 by Klaus Philipsen

A vision for digital cities

Can big data, open data, and real-time measurements of everything get us to such a thing as "evidence based urban design", fact-based city planning, and an approach that thinks long-term instead of in election cycles? Can Smart Cities technology, i.e. the transition from analog to digital, bring about a more holistic, system-based and scientific approach to city planning?[read more]

What Cities Can Learn From Porto Alegre about Inclusive Planning

Redevelopment of Porto Alegre, Brazil’s port, has been contentious, as planning has lacked public participation and respect for local culture. Photo by marcusrg/Flickr.The sunset in front of Guaiba River, Usina do Gasômetro, and Mauá Port are iconic symbols of Rio Grande do Sul’s capital, Porto Alegre (“Porto” means port in English)....[read more]

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In Which Cities Is It Quicker to Walk and Cycle than Drive a Car?

May 19, 2015 by David Thorpe

What's the point of this?

It's cities with high employment and GDP that experience the biggest increases in traffic congestion and where it's faster to cycle than drive. In New Delhi average driving speeds are now approaching walking speed. In London, travel speeds are now the same as 100 years ago. As it's experiencing a 24% boom in office construction, congestion can only get worse unless drastic action is taken.[read more]