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How we roll

Cyclists shouldn’t ‘share the road,’ they should have their own

A physically separated bike lane in Vancouver, B.C. Looks nice, right?Photo: Paul KruegerIt's long been the most controversial issue in bicycling: Should people on bikes ride in traffic with cars, using the same infrastructure and following the same procedures (a style of riding known as "Vehicular Cycling")? Should we ride on the sidewalks and off-road paths, with pedestrians? Or should we have our own place to ride that's designed specifically for bicycling? Like Goldilocks, we've tried all these options. Riding with faster, heavier cars is hard on us. Riding with slower, roaming pedestrians is hard on them. Only when we …



Tell Grist: What’s your favorite green hot spot in Portland?

You know you love it.Photo: megaulYo Portlandia! We're compiling a guide to the perfect green Portland weekend and we need your help! So you have an out-of-town visitor -- where do you take 'em for great local food or beer? What's the can't-miss farmers market, bike shop, or organic cupcakery -- or is the octopus exhibit at the local aquarium to die for? If you're not a local, what's the green must-see spot you frequent when you're in town? Let us know your green Portland hot spots in your favorite flavor of the internet: Tell us in the comments below …

Read more: Cities, Living, Urbanism


"Citysumer" reports

How do you sell a city without selling out?

The Super Bowl ad for the Chrysler 200 didn't bother trying to sell you a car. It was selling a city, because these days, that's what sells. That city, of course, was Detroit. In the two-minute spot, which was cheered by Monday morning marketing quarterbacks as one of the game's most successful, Eminem drives through the streets of the Motor City looking tough while an announcer intones, "What does a town that's been to hell and back know about the finer things in life? Well, I'll tell you. More than most. You, see, it's the hottest fires that make the …

Read more: Cities, Urbanism


Salt of rebirth

An arts district brings life to Syracuse — and it’s green, too

Photo: SALT District Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Coauthored by Aaron Welch. Take one part Paducah (arts-driven revitalization), one part Old North Saint Louis (incremental restoration of abandoned historic properties), mix in some serious winter weather, and you might just come out with something a lot like the Syracuse (NY) SALT District, an ambitious and fascinating arts-and-technology-driven revitalization effort. According to the project's web site, the initiative is aimed at nothing less than creating "a new epicenter of artistic and cultural development in the Syracuse and Central Upstate New York area." It is being led by the Near …


Grains of truth

Ask Umbra Book Club: Did Paleolithic hunter-gatherers eat healthier than we do today?

Corn of plenty? Maybe not so much.Photo: Big Grey MareDearest readers, Welcome to the second day of our conversation of At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. You can catch up on yesterday’s chat here. If you have yet to get a copy of the book, jump in anyway. As a quick catchup, you can listen to Bryson read the introduction here. Growing plants for food is really a very recent innovation. Early in the book, we learn that in Jericho, the "world’s first true city," people settled but did not farm. They stopped wandering and …


ray of hope

Keep the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall!

The Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in 2009.Photo: NREL Solar DecathlonThe National Mall has long served as the nation's front yard, a place where citizens can gather and display what's important to them -- whether it's a protest to end wars, a rally to restore sanity, or even a celebration of mid-Atlantic maritime communities. Every other year since 2002, the National Mall has played host to the Solar Decathlon, a building competition sponsored by the Department of Energy that puts 20 solar-powered homes designed by college students from around the globe on display for a two week long design …