Cities

Cities as software, and hacking the urban landscape

What if saving a rundown city wasn’t about building expensive new infrastructure — hardware, so to speak — but instead reprogramming the existing infrastructure? Changing the software of the place? That’s the analogy used by Marcus Westbury, founder of Renew …

Get ready for solar airplanes

There’s nothing that exciting about a plane that uses no fuel and emits no CO2 — I’ve been folding those since the fourth grade. A plane that uses no fuel, emits no CO2, has the same wingspan as an Airbus …

How the Feds saved enough water for a whole city with just a little bit of cash

The Department of the Interior's WaterSMART program will save enough water for a smallish city — 400,000 people — yet it cost only $24 million. As Tina Casey reports at CleanTechnica, the program works by going for the low-hanging fruit: …

Air pollution hurts motorists more than cyclists

If the thought of sucking down bus exhaust has you hesitating to take up that bicycle commute, you're in luck: It turns out you're better off on two wheels than four, even if it means breathing more particulate matter. That's …

Great places: reorienting progressive politics for the 21st century

This is part one in a series on “great places.” Read parts two, three, four, and five. I asked a while back what new vision or principles could unite the left’s fractious coalition. As you probably guessed, I’ve got a …

Bikenomics

Freewheeling: Bicycling and the art of being broke

This is the seventh column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. More and more of us have less and less money these days. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you don’t need money to do, and …

Critical List: Tornado hits Joplin, Missouri; Chicago preps for climate change

A half-mile wide tornado leveled a Missouri town. And another volcano in Iceland poured ash into the sky. Cut it out, nature, we get it: you don't like airplanes. In Chicago, government officials not only believe in climate change, they …

Watch a train run over a market (Everyone’s fine! They do this every day!)

Talk about dense living! At the Maeklong vegetable market in Thailand, retail and transportation are closely connected — like, really closely. The vendors lay out their wares so close to the train tracks that when the train comes through, it's …

Three Gorges Dam has serious issues, China admits

When a country commits to any project as monstrous as China's Three Gorges Dam, it is bound to encounter occasional difficulties. The Chinese government, as governments are wont to do, has preferred to gloss over the dam's detriments and emphasize …