Cities

Cities of the Future

Charlotte does light rail right

Charlotte is car-loving NASCAR country, a vast suburbia of cul-de-sacs and strip malls. Yet its new light rail line is a national model for success, outstripping ridership projections and inspiring millions of dollars in high-density development. How did sensible transportation …

Cities of the Future

Planning politics: How Charlotte’s mayor championed light rail

Pat McCrory, former mayor of Charlotte, speaking at a transportation summit in 2009.Photo courtesy Willamor Media via FlickrPat McCrory, elected mayor of Charlotte in 1995 at the age of 39, had no idea transit would be the defining issue of …

Cities

Greening homes requires credit, which Fannie and Freddie should understand

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have essentially shut down an innovative program that helps Americans green their homes.  Here’s more on the story: Jeanine Cotter, CEO of California solar installation company Luminalt, has a good explanation of what keeps homeowners …

Cities

Biking–not casinos–banned in small Colorado town

In the 100-person town of Black Hawk, Colorado, you’re free to gamble away your savings at any of its fine casinos, but you better get the heck off that bike of yours if you don’t want a fine of $68. …

Cities

Tell me again why we mandate parking at bars?

They’re not all this big, but you get the pointPhoto: jgrimm FlickrOne of the silliest barriers to green urban development is mandatory sprawl, i.e. local zoning codes that require sprawl-style development, even when consumers (in the “free” market) want to …

Video

Why, yes, mass transit stations should always have a slide

I submit that slides automatically up the fun factor of nearly any place in the world. Try to think of a place that is solemn or ordinary. Say, a church or a transit tunnel. But then if you happen to …

Cities

Fannie and Freddie attack clean-energy plan

Few new ideas brighten the faces of clean-energy advocates as much as Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, the Berkeley-born financing tool that’s spreading quickly throughout the country. The three-year-old model has put rooftop solar panels, high-efficiency furnaces, and other …

Cities

Measuring neighborhood diversity and liveliness with ‘JaneScore’

Perhaps you know about Walk Score, the delightfully intuitive tool that calculates how walkable a neighborhood is and ranks it on a 100-point scale. (My Seattle neighborhood gets an 85; my suburban Chicago hometown gets a 31.) It was cooked …

Cities

Hottie bikers in Miami Beach, Complete Streets in St. Louis

Ten minutes of biking a day and you too can look like this.Decobike.comSpend enough time watching the Senate dither on the climate threat/energy quest/defining challenge of our time and it’s easy to lose sight of the sanity and localized progress …