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How to Save Millions on Air Conditioning by Designing Passively Cooled Buildings

December 16, 2014 by David Thorpe

A wind tower on a building used for night cooling.

Air conditioning is by far the greatest consumer of electricity in buildings in hot countries, but architects can use passive solar techniques to keep them cool, and in many cases successfully eliminate the need for expensive air conditioning.[read more]

Are Startups Causing Inequality?

December 15, 2014 by Brandon Donnelly

Cities, Inequality, and Startups

Earlier this week Richard Florida published on article on CityLab talking about the relationship between tech innovation (in cities) and inequality. The article deals with the correlation between venture capital investment and a variety of factors, such as monthly housing costs, wage and income inequality, and so on.[read more]

Recognition of Slum Dwellers is Essential for Urban Development in Nairobi, Kenya

December 15, 2014 by Global Site Plans - The Grid

Kenya and Informal Communities

In colonial Africa, Africans were limited to living in segregated, poorly planned areas. After independence, in cities like Accra, Lusaka, and Harare rich Africans moved to European and Asian residential areas, while the poor (and increasing urban migrants) were in the crowded former reserves.[read more]

Mexico City's Homeless Population Gets Entrepreneurial

December 11, 2014 by This Big City

Urban Homeless Business in Mexico

When one inhabits the world’s most populated streets, it’s not very difficult to fall through the cracks. Mexico City is the stage set for a chaotic and peculiar play: mundane routine steeped in flurry and hubbub. There is no underlying order, nor design. The private dissolves into the public.[read more]

Is the World Urbanizing or Suburbanizing?

December 10, 2014 by Brandon Donnelly

Suburbia and Urbanism

The Economist recently published an essay arguing that the “great urbanization” that is currently happening and that everyone loves to talk about these days is actually a misnomer. From Chicago to Chennai, it’s not the urban core that’s growing. It’s the suburbs.[read more]

Malpassé Neighborhood in Marseille, France, Faces Redevelopment and Evictions

December 9, 2014 by Global Site Plans - The Grid

Redevelopment and Evictions in France

Among the fourteen urban redevelopment projects in Marseille, France, the one in the Malpassé neighborhood has been the most sizeable. However, the neighborhood’s urban redevelopment project has been built on a foundation of anger, with renters accusing officials of unfairly forcing relocations.[read more]


10 Stages to a Passive Solar Building from Design to Build

December 8, 2014 by David Thorpe

Passivhaus apartments in Frankfurt.

Passive solar architectural principles have come of age. They have given rise to thousands of buildings of all sizes and purposes around the world, in all climate types, to demonstrate how buildings don't need to consume fossil fuel energy to support their occupants. Here is a ten-step guide to how to go about designing and building one.[read more]

Unlocking Low-Carbon Growth Through Energy Efficient Cities

December 8, 2014 by TheCityFix - produced by EMBARQ

Green Cites and Decarbonization


Urbanization is reshaping the economy, energy systems, and climate of our planet. Though global greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow, new practices in building energy efficiency and urban design can harness urbanization to address climate challenges while meeting these local needs.[read more]

Net-Positive Buildings: Why a Green Building Isn't What You Think It Is

December 8, 2014 by Brandon Donnelly

Net-Positive Buildings

While I think it’s great that the green agenda is much more front and center these days, we’re not yet on a sustainable path forward. For many, being green means buying a LEED certified home, and having a Tesla in the garage, and having a Nest thermostat on your wall. But they’re not the whole story.[read more]

Red Light Stops Revitalization of Montreal's Red Light District

December 5, 2014 by Global Site Plans - The Grid

Red Light District in Montreal

The corner of St. Laurent Boulevard and Ste. Catherine Street used to form a gateway to the lower Main: Montreal’s Red Light District. Home to organized crime, prostitution, illegal gaming houses, cabarets, brothels and strip clubs, the sex industry has a long, illustrious heritage in the city.[read more]

Urban Biodiversity Is Both an Educational and Public Awareness Challenge

December 4, 2014 by The Nature of Cities

Urban Biodiversity

The current urban bias against biodiversity in cities and urban areas has been perpetuated by the longstanding conceptualization of urban land uses as non-primary, largely separated spatial units that relate to each other in a complementary manner.[read more]

Mining Company to Fund the Relocation of an Entire City: New Kiruna, Sweden

December 3, 2014 by Global Site Plans - The Grid

Populations and Relocations

In the northern part of Sweden, on the Arctic Circle, there is a city threatened to extinction by the pressures of mining operations. This city is Kiruna, and its foundations could indeed collapse thanks to the greatest iron deposits in the world.[read more]