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The Top 10 Happiest Countries and What Makes Them Happy

May 26, 2015 by Neal Gorenflo

Reasons to be cheerful – nice city

Everyone wants to be happy, and increasingly countries around the world are looking at happiness as an indicator of national well-being and considering happiness in policy-making. This year’s World Happiness Report describes what makes people happy, and which countries have the highest levels of happiness.[read more]

Indoor Hydroponic Farming in Cities Means Organic Local Food

Pierre Sleiman, founder and CEO of Go Green Agriculture

A conference to discuss the potential of indoor farming in cities will see Pierre Sleiman, founder and CEO of Go Green Agriculture, an innovative company that grows local, premium quality leafy greens inside high-tech greenhouses using hydroponics, talk about “The Local Food Potential of Indoor Farming in Cities”.[read more]

The "Real Question" for Baltimore and the American City

May 25, 2015 by Klaus Philipsen

Street Party in Baltimore

For a city's future to be bright, the brick and mortar must take the form of quality affordable housing, workplaces where employed people make and create things, and bright centers of the community like schools, rec centers and libraries, not prisons. Every neighborhood must be safe enough that children can play without fear of being gunned down in broad daylight.[read more]

One of LA's Most Troubled Neighborhoods is Getting a Transit-Oriented Development and "Green Streets"

May 25, 2015 by Kaid Benfield

Transit-Oriented Development and Green Streets

Fifty years after famously being besieged by devastating, deadly riots that gripped the nation, the long-neglected Watts neighborhood in South Los Angeles is moving forward with an exciting new revitalization partnership that envisions a transformed "Main Street," transit-oriented development, and state-of-the-art "green streets", among other features.[read more]

Is Showing Kids Gut-Wrenching Cycle-Auto Crashes Really Going to Promote Safer Roads?

May 25, 2015 by Byron Kidd

Watching this will NOT make you want to ride a bike

Scared Straight cycling safety campaigns teach little about bicycle safety and make the actions of the motorist seem blameless. This account of a real 'educational' stunt-riding show for Japanese kids will certainly raise your eyebrows.[read more]

Using Iconic Species to Mobilize Support for Conserving Urban Wildlife Habitats

May 24, 2015 by The Nature of Cities

The Portland Heron and Portland's Mayor

Since Portland City Council declared the Great Blue Heron Portland’s official bird, every year a proclamation ends with city commitments to undertake habitat acquisition, restoration and management during the coming year to protect and improve heron habitat and, by extension, fish and wildlife habitat generally throughout the city.[read more]

The Uncelebrated Places Where America's Farm Economy Is Thriving

May 22, 2015 by Christopher Sellers

We consume their products every day but economists give them little attention, and perhaps not enough respect. Yet America’s agriculture sector is not only the country’s oldest economic pillar but still a vital one, accounting for some 3.75 million jobs — not only in the fields, but in factories, laboratories and distribution....[read more]

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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]

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]

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]

How Economically Viable Small Farms Can Benefit Local Urban Communities

Rishi Kumar, ecological designer & urban farmer.

Across Southern California, a new breed of small farmer is emerging to not only take advantage of the growing demand for local food, but also to connect urban communities to their food. These farmers are often working on backyard plots within or on the outskirts of cities that are less than 1-acre in size.[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]