Cities

Globalization death watch, part II

The beginnings of a continentalized global economy

Your faithful blogger was surprised to find himself representing part of the environmental blogosphere in a New York Times article on Sunday, "Shipping Costs Start to Crimp Globalization." It's very much worth reading, and prior to writing the article the reporter, Larry Rohter, talked with me about my first installment in this series, "Globalization death watch, Part I." In his article, after noting the recent collapse of global trade talks, Rohter writes: Some critics of globalization are encouraged by those developments, which they see as a welcome check on the process. On environmentalist blogs, some are even gleefully promoting a "globalization death watch." Now, look at the dictionary.com definition of "gleeful": full of exultant joy; merry; delighted. Well, maybe the births of my sons called forth such feeling, but I'm not usually full of exultant joy, particularly when I think about global crises. However, Larry Rohter may be forgiven his choice of words, considering the title of the blog post. I and, if I may be so bold as to speak for some other environmental bloggers, others think that the decline, even death of globalization would be a good thing. But just as the rise of globalization led to much suffering, so will its decline, and that's certainly not something to be "gleeful" about. To paraphrase Barack Obama's pithy phrase about getting out of Iraq, "we've got to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in." I'd like to go over some of the points Rohter highlights, and then explain later in the post why there is a better alternative to globalization.

Greyhound and other intercity buses gain popularity

High gas prices are helping Greyhound and other intercity buses shun their loser-cruiser reputation. Ridership on the U.S. intercity bus system fell by a third …

Is your favorite beach polluted?

Photo: Tom Twigg American beaches “continue to suffer from serious water pollution that puts swimmers at risk,” concludes the Natural Resources Defense Council in an …

Google Maps adds walking directions

Taking another step toward complete indispensability, Google Maps on Tuesday became the first service of its kind to add walking directions. In addition to searches …

Street arts

Artists and environmentalists team up to create vibrant cityscapes

The Olympic Sculpture Park. Photo: Jeff Wilcox. “Cities are what’s going to get us out of this mess … and what makes cities livable is …

First statewide green-building standards adopted by California, natch

Photo: Patrick Dirden California has adopted the nation’s first statewide green-building standards in what is, according to ever-punny Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, “literally a groundbreaking move.” …

Major U.S. cities ranked by relative walkability

Software company Front Seat has released a ranking of the most walkable U.S. cities, rating the relative distance to and density of businesses like grocery …

Dean Quixote

Nashville mayor stumps for public transit

Here’s Mayor Karl Dean of Nashville, Tenn., on MayorTV talking in almost jarringly common sense terms about the challenges facing cities and the solutions — …

Ferrocementally speaking, green building just got easier

RoofKrete makes thin flexible ferrocement that is also vapor barrier

I recently stumbled across a green builders' discussion of a product called RoofKrete, which claims to be a form of semi-flexible ferrocement that can be sturdy and self-supporting in shells as thin as a quarter inch. An additive to the cement makes it a vapor barrier as well, rated to last over 100 years and expected to last much longer than that. The obvious use for RoofKrete, and the major market at which it is currently aimed, is repairing failed flat roofs and constructing long-lasting, low maintenance new ones. But the reason it caught my eye was the potential for green buildings.