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Taxes & Mortgages

Urban Density and Sustainability

April 17, 2014 by Christopher Berggren

Density and Sustainability

Urban density is the number of people living in a particular urban area and is an important aspect of how cities function. Many modern urban planners advocate higher densities because of the widely held theory that cities operate more efficiently when residents live in denser urban surroundings.[read more]

Placebook: Is North Carolina Ready for A Vehicle Mileage Tax?

April 11, 2014 by Kristen Jeffers

North Carolina VMT

Yesterday I linked to an article that mentioned that the NC DOT has decided to study the implementation of a Vehicle Mileage Tax. I thought it was an April Fools joke. For those of you out of the loop, this is a tax collected by a meter either placed on your car or along roadways to register how many miles you drive.[read more]

Bright Flight From Silicon Valley

April 9, 2014 by Jim Russell

The Innovation Economy is currently moving to where the cost of living is much more reasonable. The anecdotes and data points are piling up, putting the squeeze on talent-starved Silicon Valley companies. In this post is the tale of the domestic migration tape.[read more]

Bulgarian Syngas Project Launches Construction

April 8, 2014 by Glenn Meyers

Bulgarian Construction

Bulgarian plans to use alternative fuels for generating sustainable electricity are now taking shape, following the start of construction of the Karlovo integrated gasified biomass power plant. When completed the plant will distribute cleaner electricity, using wood waste and straw, to some 2,000 homes.[read more]

Plan Sampler for Small Houses Under 1000 Square Feet

April 7, 2014 by Glenn Meyers

Small House Plans

A lengthening list of people are interested in building small houses, not big ones. With today’s world population at 7.221,475,940 people there are abundant reasons for building smaller. Economics enter into the planning, as well, as does the notion of simplifying lifestyles.[read more]

Who Are the Real Investors in Our Cities?

April 7, 2014 by Julian Dobson

City Investors

What is an investor? The usual answer to that question is someone with money. We need investors, the received wisdom goes, because they’ll develop property, build businesses and create jobs. The logic then proceeds on the assumption that to attract investors we have to do what investors want.[read more]

Green Prefab Homes, Part II: BioSIPs

April 2, 2014 by Glenn Meyers

Green Homes

This is the second part of our series on green prefabricated homes, and this time we are writing about structurally integrated panels, SIPs and BioSIPs. Of most interest to use from a green and sustainability perspective are BioSIPs., as you will soon discover.[read more]

Green Prefab Homes: An Introduction

March 30, 2014 by Glenn Meyers

Green Prefab Homes

Prefabricated homes, or kit homes, have been on the homebuilding scene for a long time. But now there are green prefabs. The basic ideas behind using a kit are fairly simple: Reduce design cost, reduce materials cost, eliminate the amount of construction waste, and shortened construction time.[read more]

Ebbsfleet: More Bailout than Garden City

March 26, 2014 by Julian Dobson


To describe the transformation of a former quarry into commuter housing as Britain’s first garden city for 100 years was a stroke of marketing genius by George Osborne. In all the excitement, commentators barely questioned the government’s decision to plough £200m into the Ebbsfleet scheme.[read more]

Orchid House"s Solar House Primer

March 20, 2014 by Glenn Meyers

Orchid House

If you have not heard about Orchid House in Taiwan, now is the time. When the problem with urban home building is limited land space coupled with population growth problems, Orchid House points to the most logical solution: building upward.[read more]

Former Factories Receive a Second Life in Waterloo, Ontario

March 18, 2014 by Global Site Plans - The Grid

Factory Redevelopment

When we think of old buildings, images of dilapidated, abandoned structures come to mind. Often, for the sake of progress, old buildings are demolished, and a part of the city’s history turns to dust. However, in the city of Waterloo, Ontario, some old buildings are given a new lease of life.[read more]

Why We Need Urban Development Heretics

March 18, 2014 by Julian Dobson

Urban Heretics

When shopping centre developer Hammerson walked away from Sheffield’s much-vaunted New Retail Quarter last year, it could have been a blessing in disguise. Here was an opportunity to radically rethink the ‘mall without walls’ template for city centre regeneration.[read more]