Cities

Congestion engine

London’s transportation transformation for the 2012 Olympics [Video]

Congestion pricing has been a huge success in London — reducing traffic and making money for the city. What’s more, it challenges the notion that cities should be designed around cars rather than people. But as we’ll learn in this episode of e2, congestion pricing is the core of a much more sweeping vision that could transform London into a transit-efficient and pedestrian-friendly megacity in time for the 2012 Olympic games.

Step up the PACE

What Berkeley can teach us about taking clean energy programs to scale

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, which allow private property owners to finance energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects via their property taxes, has been taking off around the country. These programs are designed to spur private improvements to reduce our nation’s energy consumption, create green jobs, and lower energy bills. The first PACE program was announced in Berkeley, Calif., in 2007. Since that time, 17 states have adopted some version of PACE and more than 200 cities and counties throughout the country are preparing to launch programs. PACE offers a bright spot in the efforts to jump-start investments in clean-energy and …

Get yourself free

Hop on the bus, texters

A French lad texting in an appropriate venue.Photo: TopheeNearly two-thirds of Millennials, aged 18 to 29, admit to texting while driving, according to a new Pew Research Center report [PDF]. Texting while driving is “insanely dangerous,” Clive Thompson reminds us in Wired. “Studies have found that each time you write or read a text message, you take your eyes off the road for almost five seconds and increase your risk of collision up to 23 times. The hazard is ‘off the charts,’ says David Strayer, a University of Utah professor who has studied the practice.” While government officials fret about …

Shameless self-promotion

Talking Vancouver and successful urbanism on the radio

Photo courtesy BinoCanada via FlickrThere’s only so much to say about the Olympics and climate change. If you’re going to have the games, you’re going to have a lot of air-travel emissions (which account for more than half the climate impact of the Vancouver games). The city of Vancouver, on the other hand, presents a fascinating study in figuring out sustainable urbanism. For one, it’s got lots of compact, popular, wildly pricey condo towers downtown, yet it’s trying an entirely different neighborhood model at the blocky Olympic Village at Southeast False Creek. Here’s me talking on Community Matters with Lee …

Get smart

Obama’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities will put the feds’ weight behind smart growth

The word “silos” is most often used to talk about grain or coal, not the federal government. But in the case of transportation and housing — two sectors that accounted for more than 43 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions in 2008 — Washington’s siloed approach of divided, blindered policymaking could put wheat farmers to shame. The Obama administration is starting to break down those barriers between agencies, asking the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to smart growth. Dubbed the Partnership for …

Is that a tram stamp?

Inspired transit: Portland gets around

Photos: flickr users b and Jason McHuff Portland, Oregon, is consistently ranked as one of the country’s most livable cities (and it was a Fast City in 2007). And it continues to show solid growth despite having the second lowest per capita transit spending of the 28 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. A system of trains, streetcars, buses, and aerial trams give the city one of the most diverse transportation portfolios in the world. In this episode of e2, we find out how have city planners integrated transportation planning into their decision-making over the past 40 years? This story provided by …

Wise Council

Seattle to go carbon neutral?

Over at top-notch young Seattle news site Publicola, Erica Barnett brings news of what could be a momentous decision by the Seattle City Council: to set about making Seattle a carbon-neutral city. From the Council’s 2010 Priorities: CARBON NEUTRALITY Adopt a carbon neutral goal for Seattle with specific milestones and implementation steps, along with a plan for adaptation to the effects of climate change. No specific timeline is mentioned but sponsors Mike O’Brien & Richard Conlin have talked about 2020 or 2030. The first time I heard about the idea was from Alex Steffen, who challenged the city to adopt …

The new, new urbanism

Cleveland, worker-owned co-ops, and new ideas for a flailing economy

Is the way forward for our ailing economy to be found along the banks of Lake Erie? Despite talk of a recovery, the national economy remains in shambles. In Sunday’s New York Times, reporter Peter Goodman brought devastating news: Economists fear that the nascent recovery will leave more people behind than in past recessions, failing to create jobs in sufficient numbers to absorb the record-setting ranks of the long-term unemployed. Call them the new poor: people long accustomed to the comforts of middle-class life who are now relying on public assistance for the first time in their lives–potentially for years …

Stream of conciousness

Seoul reengineers a freeway into a stream [VIDEO]

Photo: Fast Company Most metropolis’ are so busy building the future that they don’t have time to re-think the past. Not so with Seoul, South Korea. In 2003, the city demolished a downtown freeway to restore an ancient stream that once flowed beneath the thoroughfare. More than 75 percent of the scrap material from the demolition was re-used to reconstruct and rehabilitate the stream banks and create a commercial corridor. In this episode of e2, we’ll see how the Cheonggyecheon is now a thriving tourist destination, proving that going backward can sometimes lead to an even bigger step forward.   …

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