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A Building Made From Cannabis? Yes, Seriously - With Hempcrete

August 22, 2014 by David Thorpe

Sustainable housing built with hemp

Ever heard of building with cannabis? Hempcrete is a building material with many interesting properties for those interested in sustainability and construction or renovation. It combines a cannabis (hemp) shiv with a lime matrix to give it high elasticity and vapour permeability to help create a healthy building that actually locks up atmospheric carbon.[read more]

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Map Reveals 39 Cities That Could Heat Themselves Using Rivers or Sea

August 21, 2014 by David Thorpe

London could heat itself from the Thames.

London could heat itself using the River Thames, and Bristol could be warmed by the River Avon in the future, if the potential identified by a new heat map of England is unleashed. It identifies 39 English cities that could take advantage of heat pumps and nearby bodies of water to deliver low carbon heat via district networks.[read more]

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Miami's 21st Century Economy is Taking Shape at Florida International University

August 21, 2014 by Peter Smith

Miami and the 21st Century Economy

News of Miami's economy tends to be dominated by the city's volatile - and often controversial - real estate market. Gleaming condos towering over Biscayne Bay and multi-million-dollar cash deals between off-shore LLCs give it an extravagance that is hard to ignore.[read more]

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Is the Economist's Cities Liveability Index Biased?

August 20, 2014 by David Thorpe
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Would you live here?

The Economist magazine has produced another edition of its annual liveability index for cities. Once again, Melbourne tops the list, with the remaining cities in the top 10 coming from predominantly white countries. Does this mean that the list is biased? How seriously should we take it?[read more]

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Pop-Up Rowhomes Promote Housing Fairness in D.C.

August 20, 2014 by Peter Smith

Pop-Up Rowhomes in DC

Arguably no American city has transformed itself during the early years of the twenty-first century as much as Washington, DC. That transformation is fueling a debate unlike most others that we’ve become accustomed to in the nation’s capital. It’s a debate about the appeal of pop-ups.[read more]

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Possibly the World's First Battery-powered Train Is Undergoing Trials

August 19, 2014 by David Thorpe

Batteries included

Trials of what is thought to be the UK's – and possibly the world's – first battery-powered train have begun by network operator Network Rail. A battery-powered train would not have to use diesel and could run on non-electrified track.[read more]

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Explaining Civic Engagement in Two Equations

August 19, 2014 by Lisa Nisenson

Civic Engagement, Explained

Good public participation is anything but formulaic. However, certain well-developed equations can do a great deal to help better define the complicated nature of relationships among motivation, community planning, and civic action.[read more]

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Five Years to Build a Transit System in Baltimore

August 18, 2014 by Peter Smith
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Baltimore Transit System

Baltimore is like most other American cities. It has a half-built transit system. It is patiently trudging through the decades-long process required to build each additional metro line. But while Baltimore waits for its metro system, it did something that most other American cities have not.[read more]

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Claudia Adriazola on Advancing Sustainable Transport and Road Safety in Cities [WEBCAST]

August 18, 2014 by David Thorpe

Claudia Adriazola

Claudia Adriazola, the Health & Road Safety Program Director for EMBARQ, in this interview with David Thorpe, describes how she became involved with this work and her approach to persuading cities around the world to advance sustainable transport: through BRT, cycling, and planning.[read more]

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Climate Change Bailouts: Too Big to Fail?

August 16, 2014 by Peter Smith
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Climate Change and Federal Money

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Congress moved quickly to appropriate emergency relief funds. But what happens when sea-level rise and extreme weather events begin to affect every community in the United States at more or less the exact same time?[read more]

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Will the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals Offer Real Value?

August 15, 2014 by David Thorpe

Bjørn Lomborg is crunching the numbers

The final work is ongoing to draft a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 and set the international development agenda for the following 15 years. But is it sufficient to determine them purely on the basis of value for money?[read more]

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China Gives Citizens 8-Point Guidelines to Protect the Environment

August 14, 2014 by David Thorpe

Smog in a Chinese city

Beijing is attempting to harness the efforts of its entire population to tackle its huge environmental problems. The government has published a 'behavioural standards' guide, urging people to walk and ride bicycles and buy goods with less packaging.[read more]

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7 Top Trends for Sustainable Architecture in 2014

August 14, 2014 by Jeff Caldwell

Greener Buildings are Multiplying

“Sustainable City” may be a buzzword these days, but it’s a buzzword with substance. The number of buildings featuring green innovations is growing at a phenomenal rate. Here are some of the top trends for urban sustainable architecture in 2014.[read more]

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That Sinking Feeling: The Coastal Cities Doomed to Disappear Beneath the Waves

August 13, 2014 by David Thorpe

Bangkok under water.

Not only are global sea levels rising (at 3 mm per year) due to climate change but ground levels in some coastal megacities are simultaneously falling, and the most vulnerable areas are located on deltas. In some cases subsidence outstrips sea level rise by a factor of ten to one.[read more]

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How a Community Garden Can Be A Catalyst that Can Change A City

August 12, 2014 by David Thorpe

Vetch Veg, Swansea

How do you change the mindsets and attitudes of officials who have their own fixed ways of doing things, set in stone when they themselves were trained? And how do you get a community that is not used to thinking for itself to take responsibility for developments in its own neighbourhood? Aren't these the greatest challenges to sustainability?[read more]

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Switching to LED Lighting: the Health, Financial and Environmental Benefits

August 11, 2014 by David Thorpe

They're better for you.

Switching to a LED lighting is happening fast not only because of the savings that can be made and the environmental benefits but because there are now documented improvements on human well-being as a result of this type of lighting.[read more]

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Payback Time: Where ex-Mafia Land is Used to Grow Organic Food and Reclaim a Sustainable Way of Life

August 8, 2014 by David Thorpe

Making wine the traditional way.

The City to City Barcelona FAD Awards are for outstanding projects that have a positive and transforming effect on cities and their inhabitants. The Libera Terra project in Sicily uses land confiscated from the Mafia to grow organic food and reclaim traditional, sustainable ways of life.[read more]

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Using Slum-Dwellers' Own Wisdom to Uplift Their Communities, in Bangladesh

August 8, 2014 by David Thorpe

Using the wisdom of slum-dwellers

The City to City Barcelona FAD Awards are for outstanding projects that have a positive and transforming effect on cities and their inhabitants. Dhaka's BRAC University are working with slum communities to harness their skills and knowledge to assist their integration into the city using educational, recreational and self-sufficiency projects.[read more]

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How A Map Made By Residents Transformed A Slum Area in Nairobi

August 8, 2014 by David Thorpe

Residents decide what's important to go on the map.

The City to City Barcelona FAD Awards are for outstanding projects that have a positive and transforming effect on cities and their inhabitants. Map Kibera let inhabitants of a forgotten slum map their territory, deciding what was important to go on it, thereby grabbing the attention of the authorities to get them to answer their needs.[read more]

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Let's Use Solar Energy to Power Air-Conditioning, Save Billions and Cut Emissions

August 7, 2014 by David Thorpe

Let solar power cool you off – no sweat!

You can use solar power for cooling and air conditioning, so why doesn't everybody do it? After all it's a match made in heaven: just when it's so hot you need the aircon, there's lots of solar energy around. Here's a description of the technology and some examples including a video.[read more]