Cities

ReGeneration Roadtrip: For them, the bell tolls

Bridging architecture and ecology at Arcosanti

    To get to Arcosanti, you must drive 70 miles north of Phoenix — one of the fastest growing (read: sprawling) areas of the country, through gorgeous saguaro-covered desert hills to a 2.5 mile dirt road in the middle of the Arizona wilderness. At the end of that road, you’ll find what has been called one of this century’s most important urban habitat experiments. Yes, urban. The not-yet-fully realized vision of architect/urban designer/dreamer Paolo Soleri is built according to his philosophy of arcology — an intersection of architecture and ecology that uses sustainable principles like natural lighting, passive solar …

McCain't

Why the party that wrecked America can’t fix it

The Republican party has a problem. They have based much of their power, over the last several decades, on the idea of ever-expanding (almost exclusively white) suburbs. The thinking was, as those suburbs become less and less dense — as one wag put it, the further away the houses are from each other — the more those suburbanites will vote Republican. As William Levitt, the builder of the first modern suburb after World War II said, “No man who owns his own house and lot can be a communist.” Now that strategy is stalling, and I have a feeling that …

ReGeneration Roadtrip: Doubling down on green

Vegas may serve as hopeful proving ground

    This is a guest post by my travel partner, Todd Dwyer, head blogger for Dell’s ReGeneration.org. —– When you think of Las Vegas, a lot of things may come to mind, but sustainability probably isn’t one of them. The city is the fastest growing in the United States, and has built its reputation on achieving what previously seemed impossible. Building a city-sized oasis capable of sustaining a huge population in the middle of the Nevada desert is an impressive feat, but I must admit that the very act of doing so seems, well, unnatural. So I was pretty …

It's no Portland

Oregon’s capital far behind its bigger sister

From LoveSalem: So we were talking about keeping chickens as part of a scheme for implementing the "Food Not Lawns" ideal (Victory Gardening for The New Reality). Someone thought you could keep hens but not roosters. Someone else thought you couldn’t keep either. It all led to an inquiry to the powers that be, who replied … Read the rest if you dare.

50 most sustainable cities

SustainLane’s annual ranking of the sustainability of America’s 50 largest cities is out. Grist is happy to be located in No. 3 overall, No. 2 in knowledge base, No. 2 in energy and climate change, No. 2 in green economy, and No. 3 in city innovation. There’s no margin in being No. 1 — draws too much attention and pressure. Special shout out to Kansas City for having the cleanest tap water.

Portland, Ore., tops sustainable-cities ranking

For the fourth year in a row, Portland, Ore., has been named the most sustainable of the 50 largest U.S. cities. The rankings by green org SustainLane, which take 16 economic and quality-of-life factors into consideration, “reveal which cities are increasingly self-sufficient, prepared for the unexpected, and taking steps toward preserving and enhancing their quality of life,” says the group. After Portland, this year’s top 10 include San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Oakland, and Baltimore. The bottom 10: Nashville, Arlington (Tex.), Long Beach, Colorado Springs, Indianapolis, Virginia Beach, Memphis, Las Vegas, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Mesa. …

Severe erosion caused by Hurricane Ike may make many homes illegal

Hundreds of beach houses on the gulf coast of Texas may soon be declared illegal and seized under a state law that prohibits houses from being built (or remaining) between a beach’s high and low tide marks. Hurricane Ike’s 12-foot storm surge and 100-mile-per-hour winds severely eroded many Texas beaches and redrew the tide lines enough that even many beach houses that survived the hurricane intact could be seized by the state under the law and eventually be returned to beach. Texas officials said it would be about a year or more before they decide for sure which houses violate …

Scared off the rails?

L.A. train collision dismays new riders

Speaking of trains, the horrific train wreck in L.A. last Friday came as ridership on the region’s rail network was on the rise, The New York Times reports. Los Angeles has long been known for its car-choked freeways. But after gas prices in California rose to more than $4.50 a gallon over the last several months, more people here have begun to use public transportation. People who commute between Los Angeles and the suburbs of Ventura, Long Beach and three inland counties have traded $60 or more in monthly gas bills for $17 monthly Metrolink passes and climbed aboard. In …

‘Transition Towns’ get ink

The Christian Science Monitor — one of the best of a dying breed —does an excellent job on the "Transition Towns" movement here.

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