Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Smart Cities

Comments

Critical List: Shale gas could squash renewables; scientists fiddle with photosynthesis

New York City promises to double the percentage of waste diverted from landfills within the next five years. Increasing shale gas production could squash renewable energy development. The Obama administration released a draft plan for protecting the country's oceans. Scientists are fiddling with photosynthesis in order to make biofuel. The Navy is trying to prevent the release of a report detailing toxic exposures at a Marine camp. To ameliorate climate change, cut methane and soot, not just carbon, a new study says.

Comments

C1ty By NuMb3r5: A formula for growing better cities

Photo: Steve JurvetsonThis story is excerpted form a longer piece in Urbanite. Imagine if someone concocted a method for turning cities inside out, so we could view their inner workings -- their strengths and shortcomings, how they grow and thrive and die -- at an almost cellular level. By analyzing a vast sweep of data, everything from how much money the city's residents make to the numbers of miles in its sewer lines, this system could tell us just how successful a city has been, where it falls flat, and how it stacks up to other cities of its size. …

Comments

Green cities on the cheap: Low-cost solutions for a sustainable world

This interview originally appeared in The Dirt. Jaime Lerner was elected mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, in 1971, and reelected two more times before serving as governor of the Brazilian state of Paraná. As mayor, Lerner devised a number of low-cost solutions and innovative partnerships with the public and private companies that turned Curitiba into a model green community. He has won a number of major awards for his transportation, design, and environmental work, including the United Nations Environment Award. In 2002, Lerner was elected president of the International Union of Architects. Today, he is principal of Jamie Lerner Associated Architects. …

Read more: Cities, Smart Cities

Comments

Critical List: Seattle bans plastic bags; at least 100 million trees died in Texas this year

Seattle is banning retail stores from giving out single-use plastic bags. Paper bags will cost a nickel. Google is investing $94 million in solar projects. As many as 500 million trees died in the Texas drought this year. India could join the U.S. in officially complaining that China's been selling solar panels at too low a price. In the Chinese province of Guangdong, protestors are pinning air pollution on a coal-fired power plant and want it moved.

Comments

Here’s a parking garage that doubles as an urban farm

Even the most utopian visions of a low-carbon world include cars, and even if they're fueled on electricity or ethanol, cars need places to park. But if parking structures have to exist, at least they can double as urban farms. In Vancouver, a company called Valcent Products is building a high-density "VertiCrop" farm on the roof of a parking garage. The farm will be super high-tech, with motorized conveyors moving layers of plants into position for optimum sun, watering, and easy harvesting. Valcent says the farm will produce as much as as a 16-acre field in California. Plus, nobody likes …

Read more: Cities, Smart Cities

Comments

IKEA to design an entire neighborhood

Exciting news for those whose entire house is populated by IKEA furniture (we know you're out there): the Swedish furniture company is going to be building an entire neighborhood in London. We know. It'll be like living in the IKEA store! With a Swedish meatball shop on every corner and 24/7 access to lingonberry jam. (There will also be a floating cocktail bar. That’s not an obscure IKEA store joke. There will just be a floating cocktail bar.) IKEA is planning some smart features for the 26-acre, 1,200-home neighborhood. It'll be mixed-use and feature underground parking. The company also says …

Comments

Green giants: Seattle gets even greener, starting with its biggest buildings

Brian Geller, executive director of the Seattle 2030 DistrictPhoto: Greg HanscomSeattle, a.k.a. the Emerald City, looms Oz-like in the imaginations of eco-minded architects and designers. Its reputation for being uber green drew architect Brian Geller to the city from New York a few years ago. Now, he looks at the skyline rising above Elliott Bay and sees how much greener the place could be. More than 70 percent of the electricity generated in this country goes to heating, cooling, lighting, and otherwise powering our homes, offices, and other buildings. This accounts for a whopping 38 percent of our globe-warming carbon …

Comments

Critical List: Scientists find Earth 2.0; rootworms defeat Monsanto corn

Scientists found a planet that looks an awful lot like Earth. One U.N. leader says that even an international treaty won't ensure the world avoids dangerous climate change. And we don't even have that! Rootworms are developing a resistance to Monsanto's Bt corn, and scientists get to say "I told you so." The Carbon War Room has all your jet fuel sustainability rankings right here. Paris is planning to increase its rooftop green space by nearly 300 percent.

Comments

How transit and smart growth are saving Cleveland

Cleveland is one of those ailing American cities constantly held up as an example of the country's decline. But The New York Times has taken a look at a revitalization plan the city's been working on and found that, in one uptown area at least, the city is actually growing. And the drivers of that expansion are (drumroll, please) transit and smart growth. One of the first projects the city invested in when it was starting out was a bus rapid transit line from the city's downtown to the uptown University Circle. With 12 million riders in three years, the …

Comments

New use for green roof: grazing reindeer

"Santa Claus" (real name: Dave Kavanaugh, entomologist) has brought his reindeer to the green roof of the California Academy of Sciences. Between now and January 16, they'll be grazing its gentle slopes and fertilizing them with bon bons, because everyone knows that reindeer shit delicious Christmas treats.