Cities

The greenest neighborhood?

Sustainable, carbon-neutral community built in Oregon

Last week the Center for American Progress began a series called "It's Easy Being Green," meant to recognize the steps communities, individuals, and organizations are taking to transform our country's energy use. Last week's column featured a new kind of neighborhood:

Governors drink the Kool-Aid

State govs embrace the range of ‘alternative fuels,’ from nukes to clean coal to biofuels

The National Governors Association has linked up with “a team of Wal-Mart energy experts” to “green the capitols.” That’s fantastic — and I’m sure it will draw well-deserved huzzahs in certain green circles. (It’s touching to see Wal-Mart giving back some of what it has been siphoning off in state taxes!) But read a little deeper into the press release, and you see what the National Governors Association means by “green.” Turns out that when it comes to energy, the govs love some pretty dubious stuff. I’ll let Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell take it from here: [I]t’s clear that charting …

No country for thirsty men

In North Carolina’s Triangle, a severe drought has leaders stumped

North Carolina’s Triangle — Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh — counts as the state’s economic, educational, and political engine. It’s also very quickly running out of water, parched by a severe drought. Are the area’s leaders doing anything constructive to respond to the situation? So far, the signs aren’t encouraging. I’ve been following the story in the excellent daily Raleigh News & Observer. On Monday, the N&O reported that Raleigh has exactly one agreement with another local entity to buy water in case of an emergency. The agreement is with Durham — and there’s a problem: Durham’s is perhaps the …

Protests arise over British government’s “eco-town” plans

The British government is preparing a shortlist of sites for high-density, carbon-neutral eco-towns, but is coming under consistent protest from villagers who don’t want ‘em nearby. Many residents living near the proposed sites have concerns that, eco or not, new development will take over agricultural land, increase traffic, and burden local infrastructure. Says Mark Sullivan of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, “[Eco-towns] will never be self-sustaining, effective communities if they are sited in the wrong places.”

Deep thought of the day

As rising energy prices and better urban planning push the affluent back to city centers, the poor and working class will be pushed out to the suburbs. Soon, we’ll see blight, crime, the drug trade, and other social pathologies where we have been accustomed to seeing the American Dream. “Inner city” and “outer suburb” will flip their cultural connotations. It will be confusing.

Cities worldwide will turn off lights for Earth Hour

Mark your calendar for March 29, when cities around the world will switch off non-critical lights at 8:00 p.m. for an awareness-raising Earth Hour. At present, 24 cities — with a total population of some 30 million people — plan to participate in the energy-saving symbolism, from Toronto to Tel Aviv, Bangkok to Brisbane, Canberra to Copenhagen, and first Earth Hour participant Sydney to copycat event holder San Francisco. Thousands of individuals and businesses have also signed on to come to the dark side.

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