Cities

roll with it

Lawyer: No, you shouldn’t paint your own bike lane

Portland, where else? (This one’s legal, by the way.)Courtesy BikePortland via FlickrIn case you were wondering, attorney Kenny Ching at GOOD says painting guerrilla bike lanes on your favorite cycling streets is a trouble-ridden idea. What kind of trouble? Catastrophic trouble. Never mind property damage and vandalism. You could be responsible—legally, financially, and otherwise—for a car hitting one of your fellow cyclists.  You’d likely be found negligent because you should have known (a reasonable person would have) that by painting a bike lane in the street that didn’t really belong there, people would ride their bikes in it. You should …

In which I sound 400 years old

Walkshed dilemmas and the Nissan Leaf

The wife and I recently made a fairly difficult decision about where to send our 6-year-old to school for first grade next year. We had the following dilemma: he tested into the gifted program at our neighborhood school, but he also tested into the highly gifted program, which is run at a school across town. Our neighborhood school is quite nice, and to boot, once he’s old enough he could easily walk or bike there. It would be nice to have easy access to after-school events, volunteer opportunities, etc. And on a philosophical level, we both believe it’s worthwhile to …

SAVING THE WALES

‘Britain’s Appalachia’ engineers a brighter post-coal future

Can renewable energy turn Wales as clean and shiny as the Cardiff waterfront?Courtesy ttfnrob via FlickrThe sparkling, sanitized waterfront of Cardiff, Wales, reveals barely a hint of the country’s grimy industrial past. Where one of the busiest ports anywhere once shipped Welsh coal out into the world, a complex of upscale shops, pubs, and restaurants now dominates the area. Out are the sailors, brothels, and seedy watering holes. In are tourist-friendly pubs, fusion restaurants with names like ffresh, and a circus carousel. The locally favored Brains brewery (“People who know beer have Brains”) has survived nearby. Even the bay itself …

ISO tall, dark and efficient

ENERGY STAR ranked cities: Find your perfect match [slideshow]

The Environmental Protection Agency just released a report ranking U.S. cities based on their number of ENERGY STAR–labeled buildings. These rankings make us, well, warm all over, so we decided to check out the sexiest top nine ENERGY STAR buildings of the bunch. Are you in search of the perfect match? Look no further than these sassy personal ads. Maybe we’ll all get lucky.    Los Angeles The Watt Plaza: The twin office towers encompass 900,000 sq. feet. L.A. dominated the list, for the second year in a row, with 293 ENERGY STAR–labeled buildings in 2009 and $93.9 million in cost savings. L.A. twins seek …

the tabletop speech

Cars won’t get all the love, Ray LaHood says in big bike speech

LaHood steps up at the National Bike Summit on March 11.Courtesy BikePortland via FlickrTwo weeks ago, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood climbed on a table and told a group of bike advocates that federal transportation planners were finished raising the almighty auto above cyclists and walkers. “I’ve been all over America, and where I’ve been in America I’ve been very proud to talk about the fact that people do want alternatives,” he said (video below). “They want out of their cars, they want out of congestion, they want to live in livable neighborhoods and livable communities … You’ve got a partner …

YOU’RE SO SMART, GROWTH

New homes are cropping up in cities, not suburbs

Today in conventional wisdom–busting news, we learn that grimy old cities are attracting more residential construction than the bright suburban frontier. Urban redevelopment is outpacing fringe sprawl by a solid margin, according to a new EPA study of the nation’s 50 largest metro areas. It’s a “fundamental shift in the real estate market,” says the report [PDF]. What’s more, the study finds, it’s not that regional policies are herding people back into urban neighborhoods. Personal preference seems to be driving much of the change. Turns out more people are deciding they want to live near walkable neighborhoods, transit lines, other …

to-go, please

Do you prefer your green space pre-packaged?

This enlightened group of Spanish nightstalkers are fed up with shrinking urban green space. Worried that the most greenery people see nowadays comes in plastic containers with a sell-by date, they decided to prank up the limelight on an ugly corner of Madrid with their Packaged Vertical Garden. We think their style packs way more of a lunch punch than the way others just vine and moan about these sorts of problems. Gustavo Sanabria, Luzinterruptus Luzinterruptus via inhabitat —————————————————————————————————————————————————– Like what you see? Sign up to receive The Grist List, our email roundup of pun-usual green news just like this, …

holy hole-in-the-ground

Weird and wonderful places to live

The New York Times Magazine did a photo spread of some rather extreme conversions of churches, shipping containers, water towers, and even caves. We do our own roundup of TreeHugger favorites: A chapel converted to residence by ZECC Architects. Churches ZECC Architects, beloved of their conversion of a water tower into a residence, are at it again with this conversion of a Dutch chapel into a single family residence. In some ways it is a bit sad, when formerly public spaces get converted to private residences, but not every church can be converted into a bookstore or other public use, …

Meet me at the food court

The secret mall gardens of Cleveland

Photo: Gardens Under GlassThe shopping mall is not dead. In Cleveland, in fact, it’s growing green: cucumbers, lettuce, herbs and even flowers.   In the former Galleria at Erieview mall, a project called Gardens Under Glass is taking root, part of a grand plan to transform malls into greenhouses. It’s just one of many Cleveland-based projects, suggesting that this rust belt city might have a few sustainabilty tricks to teach urban centers everywhere. Vicky Poole, who heads up marketing for the Galleria, conceived this project after looking at a photograph of plants growing in a cafe window. Hmmm, she thought, imagining …

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