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Hundreds ride to support Brooklyn bike lane [VIDEO]

Well, if supporters of the Prospect Park West bike lane in Brooklyn are a bunch of terrorists (as some bike-lane opponents might have it), they are very effectively disguised as cute little kids and their parents. Streetfilms has the evidence. Yesterday, hundreds of bike lane supporters showed up to ride the controversial lane, which has become the target of a lawsuit filed by neighbors seeking to have it removed. (Full disclosure: some of the material filed as part of the suit consists of nasty comments from Streetsblog, a website where I used to work.) The lane's opponents say it is …

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Urban family values

The sane person’s guide to bringing kids on public transit

Kids on the bus can be fun for everyone. Really.Photo: Roar PettersonRiding public transportation, as I've said before, is good for kids. And the presence of children on transit can enrich the experience for all riders. (Settle down, people! I said can.) So it's unfortunate that the reality of taking little ones on buses and trains often proves so challenging -- both for the folks bringing them and for those along for the ride. Parents complain about the hassle. There's the rushing and waiting in all kinds of weather. There's the occasional exposure to PG-13 language and behavior. And then …

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trips up homes down

Wanna green your ride? Ditch the Prius, hop on a train

Chart: EPA Here's one to piss off the yuppies: Driving your hybrid car from your Energy Star home to the food co-op is not as green as hopping on the subway from your apartment. A new EPA study says that moving from a car-oriented to a transit-oriented community has the biggest impact on your energy usage -- more than green buildings or green cars. Of course, doing something is better than nothing. Not everyone can move to multi-family building in a transit-oriented city, which the study found is the greenest way to go (besides, of course, moving to a multi-family …

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Urban family values

Seven ways to live in a small space with kids and not go crazy

Whee! Living small is fun!Photo: Anna MSo you want to raise your family in a city but can't afford much square footage? Never fear. Despite the challenges, it's possible to live in a small space -- with kids -- without sacrificing your sanity. First, let's define small, since our idea of an acceptable amount of space has changed dramatically in the past several decades. In 1950, the average American home was 983 square feet, and the average household size was 3.54 people. Today's "average" home is close to 2,500 square feet, even while average household size has decreased to 2.67 …

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Will to Refill

Ask Umbra on refillable cleaning supplies

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I'm trying to cut back on plastic waste and am wondering if you know of places that offer things like cleaning supplies in bulk, so that I can refill and reuse my old containers? Thanks!Lyda L.Harlem, NY A bottle walks into a bar and asks for a refill ...Photo: Dave PinterA. Dearest Lyda, I like the way you think. What better way to clean up our acts than with cleaning supplies? The message in the bottle in this case: It's practical and saves resources. The reusable bottle goes back to the days …

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The road to success

Do you live in one of the nation’s ‘smartest regions for transportation’?

You might not see much similarity between More people walk to work in Boston than in any other city in the country.Photo: Steve MinorYolo County, Calif., with its open farmland and small cities, and the densely packed streets of New York City. But both are on the Natural Resource Defense Council's list of "America's Smartest Regions for Transportation." The list is a result of a study done by the NRDC's Smarter Cities Project, in collaboration with the Center for Neighborhood Technology: The study... compares and profiles U.S. cities based on public transit availability and use; household automobile ownership and use; …

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Winning ways

Philips wants to reward some innovative urban ideas

A rendering showing how rooftops in Sana'a, Yemen, could be used to collect water.The ideal of smart cities -- technologically advanced, forward-thinking, and green -- is big in corporate circles these days. IBM has its "Smarter Cities" program, Cisco has its "Smart+Connected Communities," and the giant electronics corporation Philips has been promoting the concept of "Livable Cities" lately. (This webcast they put together with participants including urbanism guru Richard Florida and former London mayor Ken Livingstone gives a good overview of what they mean by that.) Philips is currently sponsoring a "Livable Cities Award" ("designed to generate practical, achievable ideas …

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Urban family values

Family values for population hawks: adopting a foster child

Photo: jrodmanjrLast month, Lisa Hymas posted a list of eight things all of us can do about population. It was a great roundup (my favorite was No. 4), but I'd like to add an item: If you really want to be a parent -- that is, if you'd like to help guide and shape and unconditionally love another human being, and you're OK with sleepless nights, no time for novels, and very little alone time with your partner -- consider adopting. I have nothing but respect for my GINK brothers and sisters. I think it's important to say (out lout …

Read more: Cities, Family, Population

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DIY Culture

Ask Umbra on making yogurt at home, with or without electricity

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I bought a yogurt maker in Germany eight years ago that consists of a glass jar and a sturdy styrofoam container. It cost about $20, works wonderfully, and doesn't require electricity. Why can't I find a similar product in the U.S.? KatherineCupertino, CA DIY that's easy to digest.Photo: Johnny StilettoA. Dearest Katherine, It’s not every day someone writes to ask a homemade yogurt question. DIY yogurt has some hippie stigma around it. It’s as if yogurt-making is something only crunchy types who make their own granola do. (Also an unfortunate stigma, as homemade …

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your water wings for the dating pool

TreeShagger: 10 great green date ideas

Don't need no car to take me on a date. (Photo by Sara Hurt.)

Welcome to TreeShagger, our new column on green dating. If you've got green dating questions, send 'em our way!

So Valentine's Day came and went, and you're in the doghouse since you couldn't get a reservation at Olivebee's Factory? Cheer up, smuckers! Lean in close for some non-obvious, mostly cheap green date ideas, many of which I've tested for you myself. These aren't "green" in the sense that you're eating hummus and watching An Inconvenient Truth outside on a blanket made of stars -- boooring! -- but they're low-impact, legitimately fun things that don't require buying crap. Bonus points if you bike, bus, or walk! Ready?