New ‘Tactical Urbanism’ guide for aspiring guerrilla urbanists

With a few trees, some sidewalk tables, and lots of community input, a Dallas street was transformed.Photo: Go Oak Cliff Do you have the power to make your city a better place? It might be easier than you think. The Next Generation of New Urbanists (yes, these are young New Urbanists, because New Urbanism has been around long enough that it’s getting a little … old) and the Street Plans Collaborative want to help. They’ve put together a “Tactical Urbanism” guide that you can download for use when you need some ideas about how to catalyze lasting change in your …


Tearing down the highways that choke our cities [VIDEO]

The power of an elevated freeway to dominate and degrade a city’s streets is overwhelming. So much so that if you live near one it can be almost impossible to envision what the place might look like if it were gone, and the old patterns of the streets restored. But in places where that has been done — like San Francisco’s Embarcadero and New York’s West Side — the result is exhilarating. Property values go up. People move freely along the waterfronts that were blocked off for generations. Traffic flows well. And suddenly it becomes impossible to imagine how these …


World’s cities are the ‘battleground’ in fight against climate change

Or, the other option.The world’s cities are going to have to move aggressively to curb their greenhouse-gas emissions, or the whole planet is going to pay for it. That’s the word in a new report from the United Nations Human Settlement Program, or UN-HABITAT. The report is called “Hot Cities: Battle-Ground for Climate Change,” (you can find a summary and links to purchase the full report here). It paints a dire picture of how an increasingly urban and wealthy global population could mean “potentially devastating effects of climate change on urban populations”: Urban centres have become the real battle-ground in …

Fearless Leader Has Idea

Dear Grist Nation, Perhaps you saw our saucy little preview of the refurbished Grist.org last week. If not, surprise! Do you now find us hotter and more irresistible than ever before? We hope so. Our new homepage makes it easier to get your eyeballs on our juicy journalism, astute advice, newsy nuggets, and hot-off-the-press posts from your favorite Grist voices. No wait, no layers, no convoluted searching required. We’re especially happy to introduce the new Grist List. It’s a one-stop, can’t-miss collection of the stories that matter the most each day. It’s the news you need even if (OK, especially …

War! What is it good for?

The latest battle in the nonexistent ‘War on Cars’

Photo: IdiolectorSomewhere along the road, the phrase “War on X” became part of standard lazy American political rhetoric (see also: “Whatever-gate”). There are two primary ways the phrase gets used. First, the “this is a serious problem and we’re doing everything we can to stop it” usage, usually government-sponsored. It made a strong debut with LBJ’s War on Poverty and lives on in the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. The second usage is less common, and often shows up in right-wing contexts. It’s the “those bad people are trying to take away our beautiful freedoms” trope. Examples …

Pearl of wisdom

Bahraini government tries to destroy a place that inspired its people

Protesters gathered at Bahrain’s Pearl Monument in February.Photo: Mahmoud Al-YousifThe Bahraini government is apparently hoping that by destroying the monument that gave the Pearl Roundabout its “placeness,” it will diffuse the energy of protesters who have been gathering there since Feb. 14. Some have died there. From CNN: Security forces in Bahrain on Friday demolished the Pearl Monument, a landmark that had been the site of massive recent anti-government protests. Friday evening, pieces of the modern white structure lay like a pile of bones in the center of the Pearl Roundabout, according to pictures broadcast on Bahrain state television. The …

No one can agree whether or not Cali is due for a Japan-style shakedown

Submitted without comment: Special report: Big California quake likely to devastate state ReutersJapan-style earthquake and tsunami unlikely to hit Southern California, experts say Los Angeles Times

Stepping up

The world’s top 10 walking cities [SLIDESHOW]

Photo: Miss KA great city is a great walking city. So which is the greatest of them all? Travel book publisher Lonely Planet just surveyed its readers and asked them to pick the best walking cities in the world from a list of 186. Take a stroll through the top 10, counting down to the city that readers rated No. 1, and see if your favorite made the cut. Venice “Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”                                           – Truman Capote          

Decongestant prescription

Putting a price on a city’s streets

Streetfilms has dropped the latest in its “Moving Beyond the Automobile” series, this time explaining the economics behind congestion pricing for automobiles. The idea behind congestion pricing for automobiles is really pretty simple: “One of the most precious resources in a city is space, and that space needs to be priced.” That’s how New York traffic expert Sam Schwartz explains the concept, which was first floated by Nobel prize-winning economist William Vickrey back in the 1950s. Singapore has been charging drivers a fee to enter a city’s central business district during peak hours for 35 years. Stockholm does it. In …

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