Cities

Smart(ish) Cities series ends, sustainability efforts march on

By now, you may have forgotten that Portland was ever crowned the Miss Universe of Sustainability, and have started packing up your bicycles and solar panels for the big move to Syracuse or Tampa. OK, maybe you’re not thinking of uprooting yourself and your family. More likely, you’re evaluating your own city to figure out what green things it’s got going for it, where it lags behind, and how you can make a difference where you live. Who knew affordable housing was a key to sustainability, or that vehicle-miles traveled matters as much as the number of smog particles lingering …

How three Rust Belt cities are changing

For more on Rust Belt cities, see our full feature on sustainability initiatives underway in Cleveland. It may not be intuitive to link an area historically associated with steel mills, coal mining, and automobile assembly lines to sustainable development. But green growth is catching on in the Rust Belt, long an economically unendowed area of the country — and its manufacturing-heavy past is coming in handy in emerging fields like biotech, nanotech, and hydrogen cars. Here’s what three cities are doing to green up their acts. A new Destiny emerges in Syracuse. Image: destinyusa.com Syracuse, N.Y. In late 2007, Syracuse …

Prius sales top 1 million

Worldwide sales of Toyota’s Prius hybrid have passed the 1 million mark, the auto company announced Thursday. The world’s first mass-produced hybrid was introduced in Japan in 1997 and in other markets in 2000. While it was at the time a risky business venture, it didn’t take long for the word Prius — Latin for “to go before” — to become synonymous with popular hybrid technology (and yuppie environmentalism). Nearly 60 percent of the 1.028 million Priuses/Prii/Priora sold have been to customers in North America. Inspired to join the crowd? “This is a special vehicle, and as fuel prices keep …

Can Cleveland bring itself back from the brink?

Still known for smokestacks and football, Cleveland is turning its ship around.Photo: Craig Hatfield“Most people know Cleveland by the Browns or The Flats,” says Marc Lefkowitz. From the roof of his office building, which is dotted with native wildflowers and grasses, he gestures to the downtown skyline — marked by the iconic Mittal Steel smokestacks that gave The Flats neighborhood its name — and toward the beloved football team’s stadium along the shimmering shores of Lake Erie. That two-pronged version of the city’s reputation may be wishful thinking on the part of Lefkowitz, web editor for a local green nonprofit …

Sprawling Atlanta seeks new routes to the future

The City in the Forest hopes to get back to its roots.Despite its reputation as a city of wall-to-wall subdivisions, office complexes, and shopping centers, Atlanta’s not a complete stranger to matters of green. At the time of its mid-19th century founding, in the woods at the end of a railroad line, it was called the “City in the Forest.” And in the early 20th century, the city created the 185-acre Piedmont Park in Midtown (currently ballooning to add another 50 acres). Since then, of course, the Atlanta of urban planning lore has descended: traffic-choked, overdeveloped, polluted, with a major …

How three Southeast cities are changing

For more on Southeast cities, see our full feature on sustainability initiatives underway in Atlanta. With rapid population growth and increased climate vulnerability, the Southeastern U.S. would seem a prime place for sustainability initiatives. But the area has been slow to cotton on to the greening trend. We chalk it up to the South’s shade-shifting toward red in the last fifty years — aligning with a party that was, until recently, less amenable to environmentalism — and to its rural roots: Conservation issues can seem less dire when you’ve got more cornfields than subdivisions. These days, though, Sun Belt cities …

How three Southwestern cities are changing

For more on Southwest cities see our full feature on sustainability initiatives underway in Phoenix. Scan any list of “green U.S. cities” for winners from the Southwest, and you’ll find a geographical void. Sure, a liberal-leaning place like Austin or Santa Fe or Boulder might sneak onto the list, but in general, there’s a dearth of entries from this sun-drenched region. And that’s troubling, as Southwest cities tend to be among the country’s fastest-growing — and thus in direst need of careful future planning. While it’s true that this hot corner of the country has traditionally been cool to sustainability …

What Phoenix, the poster child for environmental ills, is doing right

Can Phoenix remake its desert-gobbling ways?In order for Phoenix to truly be a green city, it would have to be brown. Or not brown, exactly, but the sandy shade of the mountains that surround it: the jagged peaks and parched hills that enclose the Valley of the Sun. These days, though, Phoenix is a less-natural shade of brown; a ring of smoggy pollution known locally as the Brown Cloud shadows the city. And that’s not the only affront to the environs here. Anyone flying in can see the patches of fierce green lawns that paint the landscape, along with the …

The transit surge is working

Despite increased ridership, we need more funding as well as support for our trains

Paul Krugman ponders the reason that conservatives are so enamored of the idea that speculators are driving up the price of oil: The odds are that we're looking at a future in which energy conservation becomes increasingly important, in which many people may even -- gasp -- take public transit to work. I don't find that vision particularly abhorrent, but a lot of people, especially on the right, do. And indeed -- gasp -- according to an article in The New York Times, "Gas Prices Send Surge of Riders to Mass Transit":

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