Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Cities

Comments

Melbourne

A modern city can be remade

Check out this great video of the street life in Melbourne, Australia, which is my new Place I Want to Move: From the accompanying post on StreetFilms: Melbourne is simply wonderful. You can get lost in the nooks and crannies that permeate the city. As you walk you feel like free-flowing air with no impediments to your enjoyment. For a city with nearly 4 million people, the streets feel much like the hustle and bustle of New York City but without omnipresent danger and stress cars cause. There is an invaluable lesson here. In the early '90s, Melbourne was hardly …

Read more: Cities

Comments

<em>Escape from Suburbia</em>

New peak oil documentary fluffs the faithful

A while back I wrote a short review of 2004's End of Suburbia, and after watching the sequel, Escape from Suburbia, I guess I'd say roughly the same things. I want a movie like this to convince Average Joes. And when it comes to the Romantic agrarian peak oil evangelism this movie traffics in, the Average Joe needs lots of convincing. You'd think the way to go would be to play against stereotype, but to my eye, Escape from Suburbia plays right to it, again and again. It feels ramshackle and homemade, an assemblage of footage with too little focus, …

Read more: Cities

Comments

C'mon ride the train, the Coachella train

Festival-goers hop free ride — and stay car-free, too

As we've reported in the past, music festivals across the country are making moves to be more sustainable -- mostly involving recycling efforts, compostable utensils, and biodiesel generators. But this year's Coachella music festival, held in Indio, Calif., April 25-27, took an interesting track, chartering an Amtrak train to transport festival folk to and from L.A. The Coachella Express was set up by the creative minds behind Global Inheritance, a group focusing its attentions on a young, hip, festival-going audience, and involved creating a new train platform in Indio to accommodate the arriving campers. For the 300+ riders who took …

Read more: Cities, Living

Comments

Change now or change never

The longer we wait to move away from gasoline, the more high gas prices will hurt

Like Americans, Europeans are generally not fond of rising fuel costs. Unlike Americans, they're much better at handling them. It isn't difficult to understand why; they simply planned ahead. Geoffrey Styles writes: A big part of our problem is that most Americans are still driving cars that were purchased when gasoline was under $1.50/gal., to commute between work and home locations that were chosen when fuel was even cheaper ... As of this week, nominal U.S. retail gasoline prices have gone up by 25 percent in the last year and by 130 percent in the last five years. How does …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

The ghost of link dumps past

So I was thinking to myself, self, you should do a link dump post so you can close out some of this cluttery crap in your browser. I go to start one, and what do I find? An old link dump post that I'd never published! So here's an old link dump. Watch for a new one in mere days! ----- Thanks to the UK Times Online for deeming Gristmill "the green blog from the other side of the pond." It's a shame this op-ed is relegated to the Billings Gazette. I'd like to see one like it in every …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

Oil hysteria, part 2

Are low gas prices an inalienable right?

I'm listening to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) talk to Thom Hartmann on Air America. Sanders is arguably the best senator in decades, and understands, as he just explained, that we need to transform our energy system toward renewables. But he also said something to the effect that "we have to get gas prices back down." I can't blame him -- particularly in his state of Vermont, rural people are getting slammed by high gas prices, because they have to drive long distances. His main explanation of high prices (with which Thom Hartmann, an important progressive radio talk show host, seems …

Comments

Obama on rail transit

A candidate finally discusses public transit … at a random lunch

So I'm looking at this pool report from a run-of-the-mill day in the Obama campaign. Barack and Michelle dropped by to have lunch with an Indiana couple, Mike and Cheryl Fischer. Mike works in Amtrak's Beech Grove shop, as his family has for generations. Notes the report dryly: "No news." But I scan down a bit to the middle, where Barack's talking to Mike about his impending layoff at Amtrak, and suddenly my mouth is hanging open. Says Obama: The irony is with the gas prices what they are, we should be expanding rail service. One of the things I …

Read more: Cities, Politics

Comments

Pittsburgh beats out L.A. for sootiest U.S. city

Pittsburgh, Pa., has received the dubious honor of being the U.S. city most well-sooted for short-term particle pollution, topping an annual list put out by the American Lung Association. Los Angeles came in at a surprise second as Pittsburgh became the first non-California city to top an ALA list. "It's not that Pittsburgh has gotten worse," says the association's Janice Nolen. "It's that Los Angeles has gotten better." A little better, anyway: L.A. was still deemed the worst city for ground-level ozone and for year-round particle pollution (Pittsburgh was the runner-up on that list). Overall, some 42 percent of the …

Read more: Cities

Comments

The unbearable tightness of oil markets

America is ill equipped to handle expensive oil

The Times' Jad Mouawad has written a piece describing the state of the world's oil market. It is, in a word, tight. Production volumes have been flat at best, and consumption growth has continued. Kevin Drum comments: I imagine that a global economic slowdown will flatten oil consumption a bit over the next year or two, and eventually higher prices will rein in demand more permanently. On the other hand, we've seen oil prices double three times in the past eight years without producing so much as a blip in rising demand. So if we're in a genuine, long-term supply …

Comments

Ousted L.A. gardeners continue to farm

In June 2006, a land dispute led to the shutdown of the South Central Community Garden in Los Angeles. Weeks of protest and tree-sitting by celebrities and regular folk proved unfruitful, and the 14-acre garden, tended by 350 low-income families in the middle of one of L.A.'s poorest neighborhoods, was bulldozed. Nearly two years later, with legal wrangling over the land's ownership ongoing, the gardeners are plotting again in Buttonwillow, Calif., a tiny town west of Bakersfield. With the help of a nonprofit foundation, some farmers have bought 85 acres of land that they hope convert into a working farm …

Read more: Cities, Food