Cities

Building to a head

This year’s Greenbuild is buzzing

In her column this week, Lisa Selin Davis wrote about the optimism of those in the green building movement. Today I saw it in the flesh. It was astonishing, the sight of more than 800 companies and organizations packed into Boston’s Convention & Exhibition Center for this year’s Greenbuild. Big guys like Honda and DuPont shared floor space with scrappier entities like Big Ass Fans and the Slag Cement Association. From the center’s (massive! awesome!) glass catwalk, I watched as attendees — estimated by one staffer to number close to 30,000 — swarmed the floor, some in suits, some in …

Bay Area is now a Better Place ™

Thursday, Better Place announced a commitment to build a network of electric car charging stations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. I counted 18 TV cameras. People are hungry for change.

Electric-car infrastructure coming to California’s Bay Area

California’s Bay Area will enjoy an electric-car infrastructure by 2012, startup Better Place announced Thursday. The mayors of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose signed on for the plan, which will cover the region with charging and battery-exchange stations at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

Will the economic downturn kill green building?

In a word, no

Late last year, I began to get the sense that green building fatigue was setting in. On my end, I sighed when a press release announcing a new LEED building landed in my inbox; that fact, alone, no longer seemed like news. But all over the country, the housing bubble was beginning to burst. I wondered: Would green building survive? With GreenBuild Expo, the largest gathering of green building professionals in the world, occurring this week, the question seems all the more relevant, especially since the bull market has gone bear. After all, green building is widely believed to be …

Notable quotable

Sad sentences can say so much

“The Federal Highway Administration has approved Utah’s plan for a Mountain View freeway — if the state can afford it.” – “Freeway gets greenlight from the feds,” Salt Lake Tribune

Greenbuild 2008!

The whopper of a conference starts today

This year’s Greenbuild Expo kicks off today, and I’m … not there. But I will be later this week! It looks to be both inspiring and overwhelming — check out the official program for an eye-blurring good time. In advance of the event, the U.S. Green Building Council put out the word that it expects the not-at-all-overburdened president-elect Obama to keep his green promises. But how much of a player will green building really be, given the crumbly economy? Lisa Selin Davis will survey the scene in her newest placemaking column, coming later today.

What goes around comes around?

To save themselves, the Big Three should become ‘transportmakers’

Irony of ironies, the one set of products that could save GM is the one that GM destroyed — the electric trolley systems of America. According to the well-known research of Bradford Snell, GM killed the electric trolley, because in 1922 they decided that the only way to increase car sales was to eliminate the competition — decent public transit. So they bought systems, pressured railroads and banks, bought public officials, did whatever they could to replace electric — I’ll repeat that, electric — transportation with oil-based transportation. Irony number one — if the U.S. had a set of decent …

iPhone rideshare app coming soon

It’s the 21st century, folks — text with your hitchhiker’s thumb. An iPhone application called Avego will soon be available to hook up drivers with those who need rides, helpfully suggesting a safe place to pull over and calculating the split cost between driver and rider. No word on how it’ll go over in Ontario, which recently effectively made ridesharing illegal.

November train

How investing in transit could save Obama’s butt

Nov. 4 was a good day for public transit. Ballot measures around the country performed well — the state of California even approving a first-in-the-nation plan to create a true high-speed, inter-city rail system. Increased Democratic majorities in the House and Senate will likely clear the way for infrastructure investment with a pronounced lean toward green, equitable transit. And President-elect Obama seems inclined to lead the Congress in that direction. (If nothing else, the replacement of a distinctly anti-transit administration will lead to a much-needed shakeup of the federal transportation bureaucracy, especially the Federal Transit Administration.) Recent dip aside, oil …

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