Cities

Leo, I’ve Got a Feeling We’re Not in Hollywood Anymore

DiCaprio-produced series will rebuild tornado-ravaged Kansas town It’s official: Nine months after the rumors began, Leonardo DiCaprio has confirmed that he and a partner will give birth to … a reality series on green building. DiCaprio will executive produce the 13-part Eco-Town on the Discovery Channel’s Planet Green arm, launching in 2008. The original notion was to upgrade Anywhere, USA, for a show called E-topia, but the new series will focus on rebuilding a Kansas town that was hit by a tornado in May. The tornado caused 10 deaths, displaced almost all of the town’s roughly 1,500 residents, and leveled …

No Rush Hour

New York hems and haws over Manhattan congestion fees Today is a make-or-break, do-or-die, fish-or-cut-bait, poo-or-get-off-the-pot, we-wish-we-could-think-of-more-hyphenated-clichés day for New York, as state legislators, Governor Eliot Spitzer, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrestle over Bloomberg’s proposal to enact traffic congestion fees. Following the lead of cities like London and Singapore, the Big Apple would charge a fee for vehicles entering or exiting Manhattan below 86th Street at peak hours. Supporters say the plan will reduce air pollution and associated health problems while boosting public transportation; opponents fear it will increase parking and pollution in the outer boroughs. While …

Restoring rural roots

How legislators can help the rural

In a recent trip through the small town of Walthill, Nebraska, the phrase "rural revitalization" took on a whole new meaning. In this case, it was the lack of any kind of prosperity that made it obvious to me why rural communities are in need of revitalization. Main Street looked painfully deserted, with two recent arsons adding fresh scars to the once-active storefronts. As we drove around the residential area, most houses looked to be in some state of disrepair -- so much so that it was difficult to really tell which were homes and which had already been abandoned. If ever there was a town that needed some life breathed back into it, this was it.

Valuing the commons: Congestion pricing's hidden payoff

The connection between congestion pricing and carbon taxes

I wrote this piece linking NYC Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing proposal with a carbon tax, in June. I shopped it around but none of the big papers took it. Now, NY Times columnist Tom Friedman -- perhaps the second-most visible supporter of carbon taxes (after Al Gore) -- has written a column backing the Bloomberg pricing plan. "Crunch time" for the plan may come as early as the next day or two. So it's time the piece saw the light of day. Every so often there arises an environmental controversy that tests the capacity of Americans to face reality. One such case is emerging in New York City, where Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has proposed a "congestion fee" on cars and trucks driving into Manhattan. Backers from the mayor on down tout the fee as a cure-all: it will unsnarl traffic, relieve pollution and create a revenue stream to upgrade subways and buses, while also cutting global warming emissions. These claims are a bit overstated. More probably there will be a single-digit increase in traffic speeds, a one percent drop in emissions citywide, and perhaps a $400 million revenue infusion for a transportation system whose annual costs top $30 billion. But even though the immediate benefits of the congestion charge are relatively modest, the act of imposing such a charge is transformative in itself.

Summer property rights update

A smorgasbord of campaigns in various states

There's something energizing about midsummer. If it's not the camping trips, or the afternoon concerts in the park, it must be the flurry of property rights campaigns gearing up for the fall election. Here's the latest:

Bright green principles

All 21 of them, from Worldchanging

A while back, Worldchanging did a great series of posts on the core principles of a bright green future. I kept meaning to link to it. Now I finally am! Here they are: Principle 1: The Backstory Principle 2: Ecological Footprints and One Planet Thinking Principle 3: Cradle to Cradle and Closing the Loop Principle 4: Life Cycle Analysis, Embodied Energy and Virtual Water Principle 5: Ecosystem Services and Ecological Economics Principle 6: Transparency Principle 7: Strategic Consumption Principle 8: Leapfrogging Principle 9: Social Entrepreneurship/Base Of the Pyramid Principle 10: Collaborative Innovation and Creative Commons Principle 11: Socially Responsible Investment, …

Welcome to the new Grist. Tell us what you think, or if it's your first time learn about us. Grist is celebrating 15 years. ×