Cities

Bloomberg wants to cover New York City’s landfills with solar panels

New York City's mayor Michael Bloomberg puts birds on things, if by "birds" you mean solar panels and "things" you mean the city’s myriad defunct landfills. The so-called greening of brownfields is a nationwide trend, since landfills and other plots of ruined land close to or even within cities are often not suitable for other applications. You can't build houses on a capped landfill, and short of turning them into parks — an expensive and, to some people, kinda gross proposition — they have few applications. Solar panel installations, however, tend to be light-weight and require nothing more than open …

Cities

Take a ride on a Barcelona streetcar in 1908 [VIDEO]

Sometimes, on a Friday, all you want is to look at something that is just plain wonderful. To that end, I submit this film, shot from a Barcelona streetcar back in 1908. It’s a delightful artifact of a time when streets functioned very differently than they do today — with bicycles, pedestrians, horsedrawn carriages, trams, and the occasional car moving along together in a pattern that is far more organic than mechanized. People swoop and dash and dodge and meander through the frame, looking back at the camera operator with an amused expression or a friendly smile every now and …

150 MPH bus is basically a public transit Batmobile

Hey, life imitates Onion! A physicist in the Netherlands has designed the "Superbus," a sleek 23-seater that can go up to 150 miles per hour. And it's electric! You're not drunk, the video is in Dutch, but we assume he's saying "dude, this thing is fast as BALLS, and look at all the Delorean doors! Seriously, it's like Batman meets Speed meets Back to the Future." Okay, so there's the teeny problem where if you don't live in Europe, a vehicle on the highway going 150 miles per hour is kind of cause for alarm. The inventor is envisioning the …

Cities

Suburbs and cities: Stop the name-calling, already

What’s in a name?Photo: Ryan BowmanWhat is the difference between a city and a suburb, anyway? It’s an important question because so many times, the debate about the allocation of resources in our country is framed this way, as if there were some kind of obvious dichotomy between suburbs and cities, some bright line that separates them. Not only that, the cities/suburbs polarization often takes on the nasty flavor of a culture war. Here’s the thing, though: There is no bright line. That’s the point Christopher Leinberger makes as he tries to reposition the question, with a post at The …

Family

Stocking the Broke-Ass pantry, and the magical three-day chicken

Making great meals from bubkes is easy when you do it the Broke-Ass way!Broke-Ass has often been asked how she feeds her family of five on bubkes. The answer is: Shop as little as possible, and buy what only what you must, as cheaply as possible. Cutting down on marketing means you not only have more time to earn a damn living, but it also compels you to make — or grow — the stuff that you would have bought pre-made or -grown when you did make a damn living. DIY saves money. Back when Broke-Ass was unconcerned with saving …

Biking

The best sperm delivery system ever

Speeding to its destination.Photo: Mikael Colville-AndersenSo the Danes do bicycles better than just about anybody else in the whole wide world. We knew that already, thanks in large part to the efforts of Mikael Colville-Andersen, who blogs at Copenhagen Bicycle Chic and Copenhagenize, documenting his city’s stylish and sensible bicycling populace. The latest entry on Copenhagenize takes bicycle culture to a whole new level. It is a cargo bike custom-designed for a local sperm bank in the shape of … a sperm cell. Colville-Andersen writes: Nordisk Cryobank (European Sperm Bank)is one of Europe’s leading sperm banks and the company was …

Sci-fi skycrapers of the future

The cities of the future could combine dense living arrangements with energy innovation, according to the winners of architecture mag eVolo's annual skyscraper design competition. This design collects lightning and uses it to power hydrogen fuel cells. Some of the other winning skyscrapers are habitations, but others are recycling centers, turbines, and water purification facilities — and one's a moon base that looks like a Gaudi cathedral. Click through the gallery on Popular Science and imagine our vertical-living, clean-energy-running, Martian Chronicles-looking future.

Cities

When you’re in love with a broken city

Baltimore in black and white.Photo: Callie NeylanCross-posted from 1934. Yesterday, I read the saddest thing I’ve ever read in my life. In an interview with Bill Moyers, David Simon, creator of “The Wire” — for which he won a MacArthur Genius Award — talks about loving Baltimore and the futility of the drug war. His answer to this question is especially heartbreaking: Bill Moyers: There’s a scene in the third season of “The Wire” where the Baltimore police major Bunny Colvin, a favorite character, gives some rare straight talk on the futility of this drug war. David Simon: I don’t think we have the …

How to build a prefab high-rise

Prefab houses are pretty awesome. Dense living is definitely awesome. And Sustainable Living Innovations is getting the prefab peanut butter in the density chocolate, designing modular high-rise buildings that unfold like cootie catchers. This video shows how it works. The result is a block of modern, open-plan apartments that is LEED Silver certified, and maybe a little ugly from the outside but no more than any other high-rise. It costs about the same to build as a conventional building, but takes as little as half as long to construct. This is perhaps not welcome news for Teamsters, but the idea …

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