Cities

Slicker shock

Urban agriculture in West Oakland gets a $4 million boost

City Slicker Farms gets $4 million from the state to buy land for an "urban farm park" that will not only grow food for residents, but provide a safe place to play and hang out.

strange geometry

Ruin porn, exurban sprawl edition

A while back, Sarah noted the proliferation of Detroit "ruin porn" -- images and films that depict abandoned houses, crumbling factories, and desperately unemployed masses without showing that intelligent life does, in fact, remain in the city. There's something of a parallel trend for sprawl: illustrations of the overbuilt, over-mortgaged empty subdivisions littering exurban America. The implied message is quite often that these places were built carelessly and are unaffordable, unsustainable, and damn near unlovable.

Curb your enthusiasm

Cafés will be popping up on the streets of New York

The New York City Department of Transportation is going to make it easier for you to park your rear end at a sidewalk café by taking away a bit of parking for cars.

Smarten up

If you want a model city, fix the one you've got

Cities achieve greatness because they are containers for difference -- places where people and ideas bump into each other, where assumptions are constantly challenged, where classes and attitudes rub shoulders and jostle each other. So how do we make cities smarter (in the sustainability sense) without building a world of sterile municipalities from the ground up?

YOUR HOUSE MAY BE A GAS GUZZLER

Home Energy Score could be a much-needed MPG for houses

The score gives a simple 1-10 rating of a home's energy performance and then -- this is the exciting part! -- a higher score owners might achieve if they take recommended steps like adding insulation, installing a programmable thermostat, shutting down the steel refinery in their basement, etc. So a home might achieve a 6 and have an expected upgraded score of 8.

I KNOW IT WHEN I SEE IT

Webcast: What is livability anyway?

On Thursday the electronics giant Philips offers a webcast on that aims to sketch out more of what livability means. It's got some interesting guests, including former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Creative Class theorist Richard Florida.

How we roll

We need real bike paths for real bike transportation

A recent fatal crash between a cyclist and a pedestrian on the popular Katy Trail in Dallas brings home the message: If we are going to fill the rapidly growing demand for bicycle infrastructure, we need the real thing. Cramming bikes onto serene paths is like putting a superhighway through a schoolyard.

Logo wild

The future will be sponsored by all your favorite products

Will the city of the future be one big branding opportunity? A couple of short films show just how creepy that might be. Or is the future already here?

Now Sierra here, nature lovers

The cost of smart-growth support for green groups

Nature lovers and urbanist types should be a natural alliance for the simple reason that people living in walk/bike/transit-friendly neighborhoods aren't sprawling out into forests, wetlands, or farmlands. Props to the Sierra Club for educating its members on this.