Katharine Wroth

Placemakers

Tim Halbur on sprawl, propaganda, and Obama’s approach to urban issues

This marks the first of a series of interviews with people working to make U.S. communities smarter, greener spaces. Got a suggestion for an interviewee? Send it our way or leave it in the comments section below. Tim Halbur’s career has included a stint as a journalist for NPR, co-producer of an environmental-justice driving tour of California’s I-5, and founder of an online media production company whose clients ranged from HarperCollins to the American Institute of Architects. With a masters in urban and regional planning, Tim puts his obsession to work every day as managing editor of Planetizen, which recently …

General Musings

GM: Innovators or crackheads?

Some assembly required.GM.comAt one of our news meetings last week, I mentioned a story I had seen. “GM says the Chevy Volt will get 230 miles per gallon,” I told my fellow editors. The number struck me funny because it was ludicrously far beyond any current mpg rating, and because GM acknowledged that the Volt, due in late 2010, would be difficult to recharge given current infrastructure. It’s as if you had a pony that delivered lollipops door to door, except it didn’t have anywhere to buy them. But to a couple of staffers, it was funny for a whole …

Legs Dimin'

Would you pay more for walkability? Should you?

The Truth About … via flickrForget letting your fingers do the walking: A study released today shows that homebuyers are letting their wallets do the walking, paying more for homes in neighborhoods where you can get around without wheels. Conducted by CEOs for Cities, the analysis looked at 94,000 real-estate transaction in 15 markets across the U.S., from Fresno, Calif., to Arlington, Va. Researchers found that in 13 of the markets, housing values were higher in more walkable neighborhoods. (What about the other two markets? In Bakersfield, Calif., no correlation was found; in the other, which starts with Las Vegas …

It Could Be Verse

Climate-news poem: Tween-pop edition

Show them all the Jonas they possess inside. It’s easy to smirk at Selena and MileyThey don’t seem to work, and they’re far too smiley.And when they record a new eco-song,Who can afford to listen for long? But here is the thing us fogeys must know:When tween angels sing, even if the songs blow, The messages hurled in each sappy chorus Will help save the world — for the next ones, not for us.   Hat tip to Ecorazzi — if you give hat tips to people who make bad songs burrow into your brain.  

It's Pat

A test of six recycled-paper napkins

Apparently I have a confession to make: I was, until this time, unaware of the fascinating depth of the world of paper napkins. Word.osde8info via flickrTo begin with, there was my discovery that there are “lunch napkins” — the square, scratchy kind — and “dinner napkins,” the comparatively elegant, rectangular, softer kind. Seriously? I’d never noted this distinction at the store, let alone honoring it at my dinner (I mean lunch) table. More to the point, there are my newfound feelings of confusion over my lifelong paper-napkin use. Do I, like the average American, really use 2,200 paper napkins a …

It Could Be Verse

Climate-news poem: Blank(enship) verse edition

Here at Grist, we occasionally visit Twitter and see pure poetry — and we’re far from alone in that. Earlier this week, colleagues suggested that the lyrical, insightful tweets of Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship might in fact be better read as haikus. Let’s give it a shot, paraphrasing ever-so-slightly where we must. Cash 4 Clunkers is Enviro hypocrisy It makes toxic smoke The world’s polluted Because we cannot build plants …In America The greatest source ofPollution is not indus-try. It’s ignorance. The cap and trade bill Should be the “High ElectricBill” bill. Who’d want that? Which worries you mostControlling …

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