Cities

Schadenfreude time

When vacations turn into work

If I was a real blogger, I would occasionally post little bits that didn't really have much to do with my principle concerns, but which I found illuminating or amusing, right? I submit this, which just surfaced as I was clearing my desk: "The Tyranny of the 2nd Home." It's even in the "Escapes" section.

Two Green Builders Take Trains Leaving From Different Stations…

U.S. schools betting on benefits of going green When we were kids, the only thing green about our schools was the vomit-hued paint on the bathroom walls. But times change, and these days, schools across the U.S. are incorporating green features that save money, improve student performance, and help protect the planet. The trend is growing so much that the U.S. Green Building Council recently adopted school certification standards; 27 schools have been certified, and nearly 300 are on the waiting list. Lindsay Baker, who manages the program, says the past six months have been “overwhelming. There is a general …

The 'Terminator' eyes Cali farmland

Schwarzenegger to California farmers: Considuh this a divorce

There’s a fair amount of debate on Gristmill about how much green cred to give the Governator — that A-list action hero of enlightened Republicanism. I don’t follow California politics closely enough to venture an opinion. But I do know that promoting a policy that will result in yet more suburban sprawl and evict small- and mid-sized farmers from their land — all in an effort to save chump change from the state budget — hardly does Schwarzenegger credit. Over on Ethicurean — which has been running great stuff lately — blogger Mental Masala lays out Schwarzenegger’s retrograde scheme. Masala …

In case you mistook Schwarzenegger for a green

Ahnold cuts transit funding. (via Michael O'Hare)

Banner day for B.C.

Lots of good stuff north of the border

The Vancouver Sun has the scoop. First, the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, just released a draft "eco-density" plan that sounds, at least to my ears, like exactly the right way to deal with the city's expected population increase: curbing sprawl by concentrating new housing in compact, transit-friendly neighborhoods:

Nice Berk If You Can Get It

Berkeley, Calif., goes all crazy with the green ideas Six months ago, voters in Berkeley, Calif., overwhelmingly approved a measure to reduce the city’s emissions 80 percent by 2050. Now proposals have been laid out to accomplish that goal, including requiring builders to use green materials, making landlords provide free bus passes to tenants, informing residents of the size of their carbon footprint, and helping sun-ergize every roof in the city. Berkeleyites’ personal behavior will also be held to a high standard, with incentives provided for walking to work, buying local food, saving energy, and BYOB (bag, that is). Some …

On moving to New Orleans, a city defined by water

Wayne Curtis is a freelance writer who’s written for The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, American Scholar, Preservation, and American Heritage, and is the author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails. He recently traded Maine winters for New Orleans summers. Thursday, 24 May 2007 NEW ORLEANS, La Someone once wrote that eating a tomato grown on a fire escape demonstrated the highest order of faith in civilization and technology. To hell with the tomato. If you really want to show your faith, move to New Orleans. The city that always seeps. …

Pedal parenting

My bike and kids

The Bike-To-Work-Week gods had plans for me ... even though I don't actually work. On Mother's Day, May 13, a wheel fell off my stroller. Walking is my main mode of transportation, and I love it. Even with its distance limitations, pushing a stroller felt like a safe alternative to driving and less annoying than taking the bus. My daughters, 18 months and 3, are too old for us to justify buying another stroller and too young to walk the two-mile roundtrip to downtown, the playground, or the library. Since I gave up driving almost a year ago, I've ignored the advice of cycling advocates, both on the web and in real life, because I thought walking served my family just fine. Now, without a stroller, it was time to buy a bike. And a trailer that hooks onto the back. And helmets. And test drive it to the downtown vegetarian coffee shop for a breakfast sandwich. And finally this week, I strapped in the girls for a ride to the playground -- and they loved it. Why, I think, did I wait so long?

NYC's yellow cabs go green

Big Applers breathe easy

Starting in 2008, every new yellow taxi purchased by the city of New York will be a hybrid vehicle, according to an announcement yesterday by Mayor Bloomberg. By 2012, the entire fleet -- some 13,000 cabs -- will have been replaced with a mixture of Toyota Priuses, Highlander Hybrids, Lexus RX 400h's, and Ford Escapes. Thirteen thousand may sound like a drop in the ocean, given that 232 million cars are currently registered in the U.S. alone. Still, cabs are a great target for greening, both because of their high public profile and because of their disproportionately large carbon expenditure. New York City never sleeps, and neither do its taxis, ever spewing their emissions, even while they mostly idle in traffic. Bloomberg certainly is the consummate businessman, as you can see in this Today Show clip -- adept at rubbing shoulders with corporate execs from Yahoo!(which donated 10 hybrid vehicles to one of the major cab fleet operators) to the American Lung Association. One gets rolling advertisements, the other gets less asthma ... and we all get slightly cleaner Big Apple air.

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