notable quotable

This building is so great it doesn’t fall down

“I don’t think sustainability is a design aesthetic, any more than having electricity in your building, or telephones, or anything else … In 10 years we’re not going to talk about sustainability anymore, because it’s …

DUG it

Denver busts urban farming’s yuppie stereotype

January 2011 update: Many of the photos have been removed from this series so they can be published in a Breaking Through Concrete book, forthcoming this year from UC Press. When we were still in …


How food micro-entrepreneurs nourish cities

In her book The Economy of Cities, the great urban theorist Jane Jacobs praised what she called the “valuable inefficiencies and impracticalities of cities.” To explain her point, she invited readers to consider two examples …

grid idea

Good neighborhoods have lots of intersections

It’s a little counterintuitive, but it turns out that having lots of intersections is really important for neighborhood walkability and transit use. A new study on Travel and the Built Environment by planning scholars Reid …


City brings renewable energy to the little guy

Solar power nerds are fond of an estimate that 100 square miles of Nevada desert — filled with solar panels — could provide enough electricity for the entire United States. But right now, solar supplies …


How a city got real about solar energy

Photo courtesy of Gary ShaverWhen the city of Ellensburg asked the Washington State University energy program for help designing a community solar project, the state folks weren’t sure the city folks were serious. At the …

cart blanch

Ditching shopping carts one-ups bans on plastic bags

Why would we want to teach our little rascals that shopping carts and cars don’t go together?Sean Dreilinger via Flickr Creative CommonsCalifornia may think it’s bag-ass for its progress toward banning plastic shopping bags. However, …

Mean streets

Urban farms don’t make money — so what?

City Slicker Farms in West Oakland does more than just grow food for the local residents.(Bonnie Powell photo)Over on Earth Island Journal, Sena Christian has an excellent, rigorously reported article about the tough economics of …

Stick a thumb in BP's eye

10 ways cities and towns can kick the offshore-oil habit

With the Gulf oil spill continuing unabated, powering a 21st century economy on a 19th century fossil fuel looks less and less smart by the day. Luckily, we’ve got other options. I described the most …

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