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Articles by Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant is a freelance writer and editor in Brooklyn, NY. A contributing editor at, his work has appeared in Slate, Salon, GOOD, and more. He runs the Utopianist and is still trying to Get Samy Out of Burma.

Featured Article

Vancouver. (Photo by duanestorey1.)

Vancouver deputy mayor Andrea Reimer.

Vancouver was bright green decades before that term was invented. Ever since residents rallied to block development of a major interstate back in the ’60s, the city has kept highways out and brought good public transit in. Its neighborhoods routinely rank among the most walkable, bikeable, and livable anywhere — it’s like a mecca for the anti-Robert Moses crowd. And according to municipal stats, it has the lowest per capita carbon footprint of any city in North America.

But evidently, all this is not enough. In 2009, Mayor Gregor Robertson announced his intention to make Canada’s largest west coast city the greenest in the world. Three years, thousands of expert opinions, and an outpouring of public support later, the city council voted overwhelmingly to approve the 162-page Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. Now, a hugely ambitious agenda calling for separated bike lanes, energy efficient building retrofits, emissions reductions, more green spaces, a green economic development plan, and more — 15 targets in 10 different areas — has been ena... Read more