Claudine Benmar

Claudine Benmar is a freelance writer and editor based in Seattle, Wash.

Cities of the Future

How Chicago became the city of green shoulders

What started as a simple beautification project -- flower planters, parkways, and whatnot -- eventually led Chicago to take on the larger challenge of green building. A leading architect describes how leadership from the mayor's office, key changes in the …

Cities of the Future

22 cities that are smart about energy

Several cities around the country are finding ways to get smart about energy, at the same time saving money and pumping up their eco cred.

Cities of the Future

Getting the Mormons on board with mixed use

As former planning director for Salt Lake City, and as an artist wanting to create live/work spaces for other artists, Stephen Goldsmith has played a key role in bringing mixed-use development to the downtown core of his city. He now …

Cities of the Future

Planning politics: How Charlotte’s mayor championed light rail

Pat McCrory, former mayor of Charlotte, speaking at a transportation summit in 2009.Photo courtesy Willamor Media via FlickrPat McCrory, elected mayor of Charlotte in 1995 at the age of 39, had no idea transit would be the defining issue of …

Cities of the Future

City brings renewable energy to the little guy

Solar power nerds are fond of an estimate that 100 square miles of Nevada desert — filled with solar panels — could provide enough electricity for the entire United States. But right now, solar supplies just 1 percent of the …

Cities of the Future

How a city got real about solar energy

Photo courtesy of Gary ShaverWhen the city of Ellensburg asked the Washington State University energy program for help designing a community solar project, the state folks weren’t sure the city folks were serious. At the time, just a few years …


Hidden health costs of transportation

Photo: BikePortland$142 billion in obesity-related health care costs and lost wages due to illness. As much as $80 billion in health care costs and premature death caused by air pollution from traffic. A whopping $180 billion from traffic crashes – …


How to make cities more foot-friendly

Walking in heelsPhoto courtesy loungerie via FlickrOf all the commuting options available, perhaps the most overlooked is also the cleanest, healthiest, most affordable, and given to us by our mamas — feet. In a weekend column for The Washington Post, …

The N2 Dilemma: Is America Fertilizing Disaster?

Tracking down the public-health implications of nitrogen pollution

Picture a hot summer day in California farm country, say 112 degrees. In the tiny community of Tooleville, surrounded by olive trees and orange groves, there’s one thing you won’t see here that you’d see almost anywhere else in the …