Cities

Sprawl's well that ends well

Conservatives wage war against smart growth

Who doesn’t love placemaking? Well, a growing band of conservatives who are getting all bent out of shape about the smart-growth movement. They’re getting so worked up about it that the Heritage Foundation even pulled together an event on the subject featuring public policy consultant Wendell Cox (best known for fighting public transit and promoting America’s highway system) and Ron Utt (the guy who lead Reagan’s privatization efforts). The title of the summit: “War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life.” Ben Adler has a good piece over at The American Prospect on the conservative battle …

Honda ditches Accord hybrid

Honda is ditching the Accord Hybrid because it discovered that … are you sitting down? … people who buy hybrids like good gas mileage.

Public transit

For over two weeks I’ve been meaning to link to this post on public transit from Michael O’Hare and say something interesting about it. So as not to delay it indefinitely, I’m dropping the "say something interesting about it" requirement. Just go read it.

Connecting land use and global warming

California takes the lead

California is once again taking the lead: California Attorney General Jerry Brown has sued San Bernardino County, the largest in area in the contiguous USA and one of the fastest growing, for failing to account for greenhouse gases when updating its 25-year blueprint for growth. “It’s groundbreaking. California is just leading the way for other states and jurisdictions that will ultimately follow,” says Richard Frank of the Center for Environmental Law and Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. … If the suit is successful, California cities and counties could be forced to take steps to limit sprawl, promote compact …

Trying to let go of the weekend

It’s been sunny, clear, and hot in Seattle. My shoulders are sunburnt! My weekend was capped by two great experiences yesterday. First, I got to test drive BioD’s new rig. Wow. You really can’t imagine all the new horizons an electric bike opens up until you’re on one — especially an electric bike with enough power to pin your ears back. Then I saw Knocked Up, which I can’t recommend highly enough. It manages to be funny without being crass or mean, and touching without being treacly. The most satisfying movie I’ve seen in ages. Guess it’s back to work …

Powering cars with hydrogen?

A new idea for how to transport the stuff in cars

I have never been a fan of hydrogen technology as a solution to the climate change problem. It would be great if we could power automobiles with hydrogen (generated, of course, with renewable energy), but how do you carry the hydrogen around in your car? Do you really want to be driving around on top of a tank full of compressed hydrogen? Can you say Hindenburg? I just listened to a great segment on this week's Science Friday. The guest, Jerry Woodall, a professor at Purdue, has an interesting idea for how to carry hydrogen in a way that seems extremely safe to me. The idea is that you carry around a bunch of aluminum. You react the aluminum with water, and that produces hydrogen, which would then be immediately burned. In the end, you're left with a tank full of aluminum oxide, which will be recycled back into aluminum (using, of course, renewable energy) at a recycling facility. This seems like a great idea, one that makes me reconsider my skepticism towards hydrogen. But listen to the segment yourself. Also, check out the presentations on this site.

Hy-Wire hydrogen car

BBC takes a closer look at the Hy-Wire, GM’s hydrogen fuel cell car. According to the incredulous host, it’s “the future.”

Part of the solution

It’s not part of the precipitate, it’s part of the solution!

Free public transit.

Visualizing density

Images of dense development

Just wanted to point out a great website, "Visualizing Density," a product of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (LILP). I'm not feeling like my usual prolix self today, so I'll let them do the talking: Sprawl is bad. Density is good. Americans need to stop spreading out and live closer together. Well ... that's the theory, anyway. But, as anyone who has tried to build compact development recently will tell you, if there's one thing Americans hate more than sprawl, it's density ... One reason people reject density is that they don't know much about it -- what it looks like, how to build it, or whether it's something they can call home. We have very rational ways of measuring density, but our perception of it is anything but rational.

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