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Every Street Can't Be Everything to Everyone

April 16, 2014 by Brandon Donnelly

Toronto is a city of neighborhoods and small main streets—at least in the areas where our streetcars live. Streets such as King and Queen are only 4 lanes. And the problem we’re facing is that we’re trying to accommodate every single use case on them: cars, on-street parking, cyclists and streetcars.[read more]

Cutting the Super Block Down to Size

April 16, 2014 by The Dirt ASLA

Super Blocks

To accommodate the millions coming in from the countryside each year, China’s cities are tearing down their old human-scale, socially-rich neighborhoods, with their meandering, bicycle-friendly streets, and putting in highways and incredibly isolating towers set amid vacant-feeling “super blocks.”[read more]

Baltimore's Car-Stuffed Waterfront is Poised to Keep Adding More Cars

April 16, 2014 by Jeff La Noue

Baltimore Car Culture

Fancy office towers, hotels, museums, and tourist attractions line the contours of Baltimore’s Chesapeake Bay harborfront. So too, do massive parking garages and interstate-sized roadways that feed them. What does the future hold? According to a new plan, still more parking.[read more]

The Coolest Urban Trail You are Likely to See

April 16, 2014 by Kaid Benfield

Urban Trails

Something special is happening in Indianapolis, and it's transforming neighborhoods. Revitalization when done well is almost unparalleled in its ability to boost the “triple bottom line” of sustainability: a healthy environment, a healthy economy, and a healthy and equitable social fabric.[read more]

The City Is Dying

April 16, 2014 by Jim Russell
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On one hand, the big loser from urbanization are country towns and villages (even small cities). In the developing world, that trend is going full bore. In developed countries such as the United States, rural communities have found a sustainable ground floor. That is, until now.[read more]

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ICLEI Says Smart Cities Need Citizen Buy-In

April 16, 2014 by David Thorpe

Do people want their cities wired?

“A smart city is a city which can provide - with fewer resources - more efficiency, more services for its citizens and a higher quality of life in a rapidly urbanizing world.” A fine ideal, but is this just for big business, or can citizens have a say? This was a hot topic at ICLEI's Global Town Hall 2014 last week.[read more]

Dakar: A City Full of Color

April 16, 2014 by Victoria Okoye

Dakar Street Art

Here in Dakar, it seems that the entire urban landscape is full of color: The walls, the sidewalks, the transport, houses and buildings, as well as the bright clothes of urban dwellers themselves. For example, the bright contrast between the light brown sands of this Sahelian city and the azure sky.[read more]

When Hills Hide Arches

April 15, 2014 by Geoff Manaugh

Hidden Arches

Landforms masquerading as architecture and vice versa seem to dominate a few sets of older images hosted at the Library of Congress. Photos taken between 1865 and 1872, these are—photographically speaking—almost impossibly ancient.[read more]

Green Buildings Bring Vertical Forests to the City

April 15, 2014 by Derek Wong

Verticle Forests

Visually stunning and environmentally progressive condo buildings and office towers are appearing in Europe and Asia in recent years, including the Bosco Verticale in Milan, Hearst Tower in New York, and Urban Cactus in Rotterdam. Corporations and condo developers take note.[read more]

Painting the Town Yellow, Green, and Blue: Street Art in Rio de Janeiro

April 15, 2014 by Global Site Plans - The Grid

Rio Street Art

Brazilian graffiti captures a city’s culture and history, its feelings on political or social conditions, as well as a little frivolity and playfulness. A distinction needs to be made therefore between grafite, a street art style focused on aesthetics, and pichação, or tagging.[read more]

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UK Announces £1bn for Three New Garden Cities

April 15, 2014 by David Thorpe

The first ever garden city at Letchworth.

The UK government has announced that it wishes to see three new garden cities built in the south of England. It has pledged £1 billion of funding and created a new body, the Urban Development Corporation to drive forward their development, along with another garden city announced last month at Ebbsfleet, east of London.[read more]

How Did High-Speed Rail Transform China's Regional Transport Sector?

China Regional Transport

Over the course of the past few years, China has made widespread and eye-catching achievements in building the world’s largest high-speed rail system, with a total length measuring over 9000 kilometers (5,600 miles) in operation in 2012.[read more]

Marin is Growing, and Not Slowly

April 14, 2014 by David Edmondson

Marin County’s population grew by 1 percent from 2012 to 2013, slightly faster than the state and much faster than the country at large. The new numbers challenge the concept of Marin as a naturally slow-growth county. In total, Marin added about 2,500 people in 2013.[read more]

Tempe Community Market is Becoming a New Community Hub while Providing Fresh, Local Food

April 14, 2014 by Tazmine Loomans

Tempe Community Market

The Tempe Community Market is a brand new farmer’s market in the Valley that opened on March 2. It is the brain child of the Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA), a local social services agency that provides emergency short term assistance with things like food, rent and utilities.[read more]

A Safe City is a Just City

A Safe City

As cities in the developing world continue to grow, so do their traffic safety concerns. Latin America now sees three times as many deaths from traffic crashes as Europe, the vast majority of which occur in cities. Vulnerable road users like the elderly and cyclists are particularly at risk.[read more]

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"There is no Plan B": Business Leaders Label New IPCC Report "A Wake-Up Call"

April 14, 2014 by David Thorpe

Greenpeace's response to IPCC report

Urgent action by governments around the world is required to prevent the average global temperature from reaching a disastrous 4.8°C (8.6°F) by the end of the century, according to a new report endorsed by governments, from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) after a one week meeting in Berlin.[read more]

Core Counties > Outlying Counties

April 14, 2014 by Brandon Donnelly

Recent US Census Bureau data has once again confirmed that there’s a growing preference for living in urban cores. More specifically, it finds that population growth has been shifting to the US' core counties' 381 metro areas, especially since the economic recovery began gaining steam in 2010.[read more]

San Diego International Airport Tabs Borrego Solar to Install 3.3 MW Solar System

April 14, 2014 by Glenn Meyers

San Diego Airport Solar

The San Diego Regional Airport Authority, which oversees the San Diego International Airport (SDIA), has announced plans to eventually install a 3.3-megawatt solar system that is expected to save up to $8 million in energy costs over 20 years.[read more]

Balance is Overrated: An Interview with World Forestry Center’s Rick Zenn

April 13, 2014 by Leda Marritz

World Forestry Center

The World Forestry Center is a nonprofit educational institution that was founded in Portland, Oregon in 1964. Their mission is to educate and inform people about the world’s forests, trees, and environmental sustainability and to increase public awareness of the benefits of sustainable forestry management.[read more]

Chicago Startup Offers Healthy, Organic Foods in Vending Machines

Healthy Vending Choices

As a traveling salesman, Luke Saunders knew first hand just how hard it can be to find fresh food on the go. “I was the person who would pick up prepared food for the road because I knew that when I got there, there wouldn’t be good options,” he says.[read more]

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The Benefits of Placemaking Go Beyond Urban Beautification

April 13, 2014 by Michael Edwards
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Cardiff Bay, Wales - a great example of placemaking.

Every city has something unique to offer. Whether it’s exceptional food, historic sites, or exciting nightlife, there’s something distinctive that draws in tourists, attracts businesses, and makes current residents want to stay. But all that potential can go to waste if it isn’t recognized and supported.[read more]

Shanghai Tower Raises Questions on the Future of Walkability

Shanghai Walkability

Shanghai Tower, designed by the transnational architecture design tycoon Gensler, will quite soon become the third tallest building in the world, likely this year. Once complete, it will proudly join Shanghai’s already very famous and highly crowded skyline[read more]

Optical Illusions on Fourth Street

April 12, 2014 by David Edmondson

Optical Illusions

A pet peeve of mine for years has been Fourth Street through West End in San Rafael. The neighborhood has struggled for years under the shadow of downtown, hidden just over a short hill, and street width is part of the reason I rarely spend time there. It just doesn’t feel cozy like downtown.[read more]

Minnesota's Evapotranspiration Credit System for Trees

April 12, 2014 by Leda Marritz

Minnesota Credit System for Trees

Last year, The Kestrel Design Group developed a formula for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to estimate evapotranspiration benefits from trees to include in their stormwater crediting system. This formula is one of the first in the country to formally quantify this benefit.[read more]

As Europe's Traffic Fatalities Drop, Brazil's Soar

Traffic and Pedestrian Safety

Traffic safety improvements in Europe are being hailed as one of the greatest advances for the region in the past decade. Europe should be proud of its success: since 2010, there have been 17% fewer deaths on the continent’s roads. This translates into 9,000 lives saved.[read more]

Placebook: Loving the Un-Loveable Building

April 12, 2014 by Kristen Jeffers

Unloveable Building

In honor of returning to my alma mater (the undergraduate one), North Carolina State University, for our annual PR Day, I wanted to take a moment and talk about its most unusual building. The one I want to really discuss is Harrelson Hall.[read more]

A Citizen-Driven Urban Sustainability Prize for Colombia

April 11, 2014 by Florian Lorenz

Premio Sostenabilidad Urbana 2014

What if civil society organisations awarded city administrations for their efforts to creating a sustainable urban future? The goal of the Urban Sustainability Prize is to generate incentives for hundreds of municipalities across Colombia to collect indicators on sustainability and to share them with other city administrations.[read more]

New Approaches to Urban Infrastructure and Service Provision

April 11, 2014 by Future Cape Town

Urban Infrastructure

The development of “Cities for Life” requires infrastructure to bring life’s fundamentals to the community: water, sanitation, housing, transportation, energy. Historically, stark inequities in access to these basics have divided cities, leaving informal communities marginalized.[read more]

The Multi-Layered City from Harvard Square's Subway Station in Cambridge, MA

April 11, 2014 by Global Site Plans - The Grid

Urban Underground

As the crowded subway train approached Harvard Square station, coming from Boston, I felt the sharp turn and heard the squealing and screeching sound of the wheels against the track of the train slowing down. Look out of the window and you will see remnants of the original 1912 station.[read more]

Getting to Higher Ground with Rooftop Farming

Rooftop Farming

Higher Ground Farm founder John Stoddard is all about moving on up when it comes to urban agriculture. He and his business partner, Courtney Hennessey, farm on the roof of the Boston Design Center, a 55,000 square foot space in South Boston, and completed their first farming season in 2013.[read more]