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Visualizing density

Images of dense development

Just wanted to point out a great website, "Visualizing Density," a product of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (LILP). I'm not feeling like my usual prolix self today, so I'll let them do the talking: Sprawl is bad. Density is good. Americans need to stop spreading out and live closer together. Well ... that's the theory, anyway. But, as anyone who has tried to build compact development recently will tell you, if there's one thing Americans hate more than sprawl, it's density ... One reason people reject density is that they don't know much about it -- what it …

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Hybrid bike design optimization

Ultimate Seattle hybrid plug-in

Well, I spent last weekend building the ultimate electric hybrid bicycle for Seattle riding. My first bike was more or less a prototype that taught me all I needed to know to put this one together. Note how similar this bike looks to the $7,000 bike featured in a recent New York Times article. Similar design parameters usually lead to similar designs. That is why most airliners have two wings, engines mounted on pylons under those wings, and three tail feathers. However, this bike only cost $1,600 and I suspect it will outperform the expensive one in every way imaginable. …

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The real cost of property regulations

Regulations may increase rather than decrease property value

UPDATE 6/8/07: The study I mentioned in this post was was based on data collected and analyzed by two researchers at Oregon State University. Those researchers, William Jaeger and Andrew Plantinga, have produced a more complete report (pdf) containing a full economic analysis and no editorializing. The conclusion, however, is basically the same: there's no evidence to support the claim that Oregon's growth management protections have harmed property values, at least in aggregate. When Measure 37 was up for a vote in 2004, supporters claimed that Oregon's planning laws were so draconian they reduced property values by $5.4 billion per …

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More of what bike-friendly looks like

Blue lanes, cage locks, and cyclibraries

Separate bikeways are the lead actors in bike-friendly cities, but many supporting actors complete the cast: bikes on transit facilities, good traffic law enforcement, even bike "lifts" on steep hills. Three more worth mentioning are blue lanes, parking cages, and cyclibraries. Blue lanes. (Photo courtesy of Jayson Antonoff, International Sustainable Solutions.) My youngest son often bikes to drama rehearsals. It's about three miles from our home in Seattle, mostly on traffic-calmed neighborhood streets and a bike trail -- pretty good bikeways, overall. The only parts I worry about are the intersections where he has to cross especially busy streets, like …

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Schadenfreude time

When vacations turn into work

If I was a real blogger, I would occasionally post little bits that didn't really have much to do with my principle concerns, but which I found illuminating or amusing, right? I submit this, which just surfaced as I was clearing my desk: "The Tyranny of the 2nd Home." It's even in the "Escapes" section.

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Two Green Builders Take Trains Leaving From Different Stations…

U.S. schools betting on benefits of going green When we were kids, the only thing green about our schools was the vomit-hued paint on the bathroom walls. But times change, and these days, schools across the U.S. are incorporating green features that save money, improve student performance, and help protect the planet. The trend is growing so much that the U.S. Green Building Council recently adopted school certification standards; 27 schools have been certified, and nearly 300 are on the waiting list. Lindsay Baker, who manages the program, says the past six months have been "overwhelming. There is a general …

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The 'Terminator' eyes Cali farmland

Schwarzenegger to California farmers: Considuh this a divorce

There's a fair amount of debate on Gristmill about how much green cred to give the Governator -- that A-list action hero of enlightened Republicanism. I don't follow California politics closely enough to venture an opinion. But I do know that promoting a policy that will result in yet more suburban sprawl and evict small- and mid-sized farmers from their land -- all in an effort to save chump change from the state budget -- hardly does Schwarzenegger credit. Over on Ethicurean -- which has been running great stuff lately -- blogger Mental Masala lays out Schwarzenegger's retrograde scheme. Masala …

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In case you mistook Schwarzenegger for a green

Ahnold cuts transit funding. (via Michael O'Hare)

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Banner day for B.C.

Lots of good stuff north of the border

The Vancouver Sun has the scoop. First, the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, just released a draft "eco-density" plan that sounds, at least to my ears, like exactly the right way to deal with the city's expected population increase: curbing sprawl by concentrating new housing in compact, transit-friendly neighborhoods: Vancouver should put high-density housing next to its major parks and along every one of its major streets, suggests the first draft of Vancouver's ecodensity charter, released today. The city should also close down some roads to cars and require developers to include solar power, rainwater collection, and laundry drying facilities …

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