Cities

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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.   …

Abandonment issue solved

Amusement park grows amid rail line ruins

Photo: TreeHuggerIt’s one of Lima’s most unusual spaces: a set of structures that were going to be the railways of an electric train. In 1986, the project was dropped and the construction was left as-it-was. For years, these concrete columns and pass ways ‘adorned’ Lima’s landscape with no purpose, until this February. Spanish group Basurama, known for projects like the ‘You are what you drop‘ installation, thought this was an amazing place to make an urban intervention and came up with an amusement park. The Ghost Train park features amazing bright colors and games made with recycled materials such as …

Is that a lettuce in your pocket?

The incredible edible urban jungle [SLIDESHOW]

How does your garden grow? Deeply urban denizens are ingenious at getting their greens. We’ve searched out some of the more outrageous efforts.  

Do I get my own balance beam?

Old Olympic village for rent: cheap!

Photo: Energy AustraliaWant to live rent free for a year, and pay no costs for energy and water needs? Not enough incentive for you? How about the possibility of having a plug-in electric car in your garage, as well? This is the deal that Energy Australia is offering, in concert with Sydney Water. They’ll be interviewing successful applicants, who will ideally be a family with kids to spend 12 months live-testing an energy and water smart home in the west of Sydney. The project that has been described by the NSW state government, one of the backers, as a ‘bit …

Innovation ≠ technology

Why Bill Gates is wrong

Bill Gates is sad that David Roberts thinks he’s wrong.Photo: redmaxwell via FlickrBill Gates, the Microsoft founder and philanthropist, made waves last week when, at the much-celebrated tech conference TED, he proclaimed that climate change is the most important problem facing the planet. Wo0t! Obviously having someone of Gates’ stature supporting the clean energy race is an unqualified good. (See Alex Steffen on Gates’ talk.) That said, Gates has burst on to the energy scene with some rather ill-considered thinking. To get a flavor, see his blog post, “Why We Need Innovation, Not Just Insulation.” The idea is that “conservation …

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