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Battle of the Mayors May Decide Devolution of Power to UK Cities

May 27, 2015 by David Thorpe

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes – against elected mayors

Legislation to allow the devolution of power to cities is strongly expected in the first Queen’s speech of the new UK parliament, but the plans may be derailed by cities' opposition to the idea of elected mayors.[read more]

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Revealed: The Top European Countries for Cycling Safety, Advocacy and Popularity

May 26, 2015 by David Thorpe

Peddling their way to the top.

Cycling is on the rise everywhere in cities that are taking seriously the idea that promoting it can reduce congestion, improve air quality and the local economy, and the health of citizens. Last week the European Cyclists Federation ranked EU countries for cycling usage, tourism, road safety, cycling advocacy and market size.[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]

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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]

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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]

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Webinar Roundup: How to Get Started in Vertical Farming and Urban Agriculture – the Next Big Thing For Cities

May 18, 2015 by David Thorpe

The future of salad growing

Last week Sustainable Cities Collective hosted a successful webinar on urban agriculture, in particular indoor and vertical farming. It gave plenty of advice to anyone thinking of entering the industry or just curious about it. If you missed it, read this write-up, see a record of the Twitter conversation on Storify or listen to a recording here.[read more]

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Creating Safe Routes To School for Walking and Cycling Saves Money and Improves Children's Lives - Report

May 8, 2015 by David Thorpe

It's better for you

Increasing walking, biking and other modes of active school travel can help to reduce childhood obesity and improve the lives of children and adolescents as well as saving money on busing children to school. These are the headline results of research by the US Congress' Safe Routes to School program.[read more]

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Should the UN Appoint the President of Formula One as its Special Envoy on Road Safety?

May 7, 2015 by David Thorpe

Jean Todt, head of Formula 1, now UN Special Envoy on Road Safety.

The United Nations has appointed Jean Todt, head of Formula 1, as UN Special Envoy on Road Safety, much to the ire of road safety and pedestrian groups. From the evidence, the UN risks giving the impression that it is paying far too much attention to lobby groups on behalf of automotive industries in formulating its policies and campaigns for road safety and future transport. What do you think?[read more]

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What Does the Data Say About Cities for People? [INFOGRAPHICS]

May 7, 2015 by CC Huang

The Data on Urbanization

To learn about the ingredients for success, we reviewed the data on low-carbon cities and sustainable urban development. Our conclusion: compact, walkable, and transit-oriented development creates sustainable, healthy, and economically vibrant cities that deliver a high quality of life to residents.[read more]

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How Vertical Farming Can Make You a Better Eater

May 5, 2015 by Evan Bromfield

Growing fresh, clean, and local produce that reduces pollution

Healthy, or sick, which would you choose? Though the data has been there for years, there is a growing awareness in America about how powerful the relationship between our diets and our health is. That’s obvious, but what might not be so obvious is how much easier it’s going to be to support that relationship.[read more]

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The UK Sets New Record For Wind Energy Sector

April 29, 2015 by Anja Duric

Wind Energy in the UK

The UK blew its previous record of 13% set in 2013 by achieving 14% of all electricity generated by wind power. New figures from the Global Wind Energy Council and GreenMatch reveal an annual market growth of 44% and significant contribution to the UK's energy needs.[read more]

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Are Shipping Containers the Sustainable Building Blocks We Need?

April 27, 2015 by Claire Smith

Housing Construction and Innovation

The first shipping container home, in the US, was built nearly ten years and since then shipping container homes have seen their popularity skyrocket. In-fact you’ve probably seen post’s like this form True Activist, showing just how many of these homes have been built in recent years.[read more]

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Why Embodied Energy Is the New Frontier for Developers, Surveyors and Planning Authorities

April 23, 2015 by David Thorpe

Embodied energy measures lifetime use. Source: Rapiere by Architype

No building or development project can be deemed to be environmentally sustainable without an assessment of its life cycle environmental performance. This so often fails to be done, or even thought about. But this is changing. A new report lists resources to help developers, quantity surveyors and planners take this forward.[read more]

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7 Opportunities for Green Buildings in China, According to Developers

April 23, 2015 by CC Huang

Green Building Potential in China

China’s low-carbon future may very well depend on green buildings. With nearly two billion square meters of new floor space added in the country each year, China’s building sector offers tremendous opportunities for the country to move toward a cleaner economy.[read more]

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European Countries Lack Harmony on What Makes A Near Zero Energy Building

April 21, 2015 by David Thorpe

Nice building – but how does it perform?

A new report finds that many European countries still lack a definition of near zero energy buildings, and are not doing nearly enough to save their residents money and reduce carbon emissions. Where definitions exist, they are not very comparable between nations. But where definitions are legislated for, the market is driving improvements.[read more]

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Webinar Round-up: What Makes a Smart City?

April 16, 2015 by David Thorpe

What makes a smart city? And is it truly sustainable?

A roundup of our recent webinar on Smart Cities, a successful discussion of many of the controversial aspects of smart cities. It looked at questions such as: what is a smart city? What about mobility? Should we believe the hype? Are smart cities sustainable cities? How can we be properly inclusive?[read more]

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Are Communities Born or Can They Be Designed?

April 15, 2015 by Tyler Caine

The Origins of Community Development

There's a school of thought that believes the deft hands of designers and planners can toggle the many spatial levers they have at their disposal to create a sense of community in a public or private space. But how much power do they really have?[read more]

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Nottingham: The City Where People Continue To Live In Caves

April 8, 2015 by David Thorpe
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Going underground

Nottingham, England, famous for Robin Hood, is a city built on a system of caves that have been expanded by the city's occupants over the centuries for living and working space. Some of them are available for the public to tour, others continue to be used by homeless people.[read more]

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Five Cities with Top Game-Changing Sustainability and Resilience Projects

April 8, 2015 by Warren Karlenzig

Game-Changing Cities

Game-changing mega-projects in these five cities promise cross-cutting impacts including low-carbon mobility, recreation, green infrastructure, societal improvements, and mobile communications. By planning diverse and ambitious results, these resilient plans take years to decades, but promise massive rewards.[read more]

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67 Examples of Cities Showcasing Energy Efficient Building Policies

April 7, 2015 by David Thorpe

Tthe first hospital in the world to earn Platinum certification under the LEED for New Construction rating system. Photo courtsey of McConnell Photography

Approximately 74% of 67 cities examined in a report published last week are implementing incentives for a greener built environment, 61% have enacted green building policies for municipal buildings and 49% are pursuing sustainable community policies.[read more]