Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Comments

Sprawling Atlanta seeks new routes to the future

The City in the Forest hopes to get back to its roots.Despite its reputation as a city of wall-to-wall subdivisions, office complexes, and shopping centers, Atlanta's not a complete stranger to matters of green. At the time of its mid-19th century founding, in the woods at the end of a railroad line, it was called the "City in the Forest." And in the early 20th century, the city created the 185-acre Piedmont Park in Midtown (currently ballooning to add another 50 acres). Since then, of course, the Atlanta of urban planning lore has descended: traffic-choked, overdeveloped, polluted, with a major …

Read more: Cities

Comments

How three Southeast cities are changing

For more on Southeast cities, see our full feature on sustainability initiatives underway in Atlanta. With rapid population growth and increased climate vulnerability, the Southeastern U.S. would seem a prime place for sustainability initiatives. But the area has been slow to cotton on to the greening trend. We chalk it up to the South's shade-shifting toward red in the last fifty years -- aligning with a party that was, until recently, less amenable to environmentalism -- and to its rural roots: Conservation issues can seem less dire when you've got more cornfields than subdivisions. These days, though, Sun Belt cities …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

How three Southwestern cities are changing

For more on Southwest cities see our full feature on sustainability initiatives underway in Phoenix. Scan any list of "green U.S. cities" for winners from the Southwest, and you'll find a geographical void. Sure, a liberal-leaning place like Austin or Santa Fe or Boulder might sneak onto the list, but in general, there's a dearth of entries from this sun-drenched region. And that's troubling, as Southwest cities tend to be among the country's fastest-growing -- and thus in direst need of careful future planning. While it's true that this hot corner of the country has traditionally been cool to sustainability …

Read more: Cities

Comments

What Phoenix, the poster child for environmental ills, is doing right

Can Phoenix remake its desert-gobbling ways?In order for Phoenix to truly be a green city, it would have to be brown. Or not brown, exactly, but the sandy shade of the mountains that surround it: the jagged peaks and parched hills that enclose the Valley of the Sun. These days, though, Phoenix is a less-natural shade of brown; a ring of smoggy pollution known locally as the Brown Cloud shadows the city. And that's not the only affront to the environs here. Anyone flying in can see the patches of fierce green lawns that paint the landscape, along with the …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

The transit surge is working

Despite increased ridership, we need more funding as well as support for our trains

Paul Krugman ponders the reason that conservatives are so enamored of the idea that speculators are driving up the price of oil: The odds are that we're looking at a future in which energy conservation becomes increasingly important, in which many people may even -- gasp -- take public transit to work. I don't find that vision particularly abhorrent, but a lot of people, especially on the right, do. And indeed -- gasp -- according to an article in The New York Times, "Gas Prices Send Surge of Riders to Mass Transit": Mass transit systems around the country are seeing …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

Transit ridership up across U.S.

Transit ridership has jumped across the U.S. as folks get tired of paying at the pump. From January to March, transit ridership jumped 10 percent in Boston, 8 percent in both Los Angeles and Denver, and 7.2 percent in the Twin Cities. In Philadelphia, transit ridership in March 2008 was up 11 percent from March 2007; in April, ridership in south Florida was an impressive 28 percent above the year before. "Nobody believed that people would actually give up their cars to ride public transportation," says Joseph Giulietti of south Florida's transportation authority. "But in the last year, and last …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Fast facts about cities, climate change, and sustainability

Less than 1: Percent of the earth's surface covered by cities (1) 75: Percent of global energy consumed by cities (2) 80: Percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions contributed by cities (1) 6.7 billion: World population in 2007 (3) 50: Percent of world population expected to live in urban areas by the end of 2008 (3) 70: Percent of world population expected to live in urban areas by 2050 (3) 840: Mayors who have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement (4) 50: States from which those signatories hail (4) 80 million: Citizens those signatories represent (4) 3: Actions those signatories …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

Green-city ranking group SustainLane explains its methodology

With a chart-topping 26,000 people per square mile, New York City has to be smart.Photo: Tom TwiggBack in 2004, the news emerged that two-thirds of the world's population might be living in cities by 2030. At SustainLane, we got curious about what cities were doing to handle that growth, and we began taking a closer look into the sustainability initiatives taking hold: Which cities were planning for the future, and which were painfully unprepared? It turned out there were no clear criteria out there to answer our questions. So we put together a team of writers, researchers, peer reviewers, editors, …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Tornado ravages town already ravaged by pollution

Six people were killed in Picher, Okla., this weekend as a giant tornado swept through. The not-so-bright bright side: It's likely that some fatalities were avoided, since many residents of Picher have already left. Picher is so polluted with mining waste that it's listed as a Superfund site; the town's booming lead and zinc mines closed decades ago, and its population has dwindled from 20,000 to 800. Now, as if the twister fatalities weren't tragic enough -- at least 17 other people were killed elsewhere in Oklahoma and Missouri -- U.S. EPA officials are testing in Picher to see whether …

Read more: Cities

Comments

That infrastructure thing

Congestion pricing might come in handy

Speaking of our crumbling public facilities, CBO Director Peter Orszag testified in Congress on Friday and detailed the country's infrastructure needs. They are dire, in some cases. He notes in a related blog post (yes, the CBO director has a blog): Although capital spending on transportation infrastructure already exceeds $100 billion annually, studies from the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, and elsewhere suggest that it would cost roughly $20 billion more per year to keep transportation services at current levels. Those studies also suggest that substantially more than $20 billion in additional capital spending per year on transportation …

Read more: Cities