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  • Making power lines beautiful with the help of a giant reindeer

    Here's the down side of increased renewables: It means an increase in unsightly overhead power lines. And if you can't put them underground (which isn't always feasible), the answer might lie in turning an eyesore into a triumph of design. Germany is abandoning nuclear and embarking on a big renewables push, but to make it […]

  • The man who thinks Manhattan isn’t dense enough

    New York City may not be the best example of a place that hasn’t lived up to its potential for greater density.Photo: Randy von LiskiCross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. New York County, which comprises all of Manhattan, is the densest county in America at 71,166 people per square mile. It is twice as […]

  • Fat city: The way your neighborhood is built could be killing you

    Road to ruin.Photo: Alfonso SurrocaCrappy urban development isn’t just ugly and noisy and dirty. It is turning out to be lethal. One Toronto study looked at how the quality of a community’s streets can affect people’s health, factoring into drastically reduced life expectancy. It’s the focus of an article in The Globe and Mail that […]

  • U.S. infrastructure needs a $2 trillion make-over

    Like those bridges and roads and trains tracks you've got there? Want to keep them? That'll be $2 trillion. That's how much the Urban Land Institute estimates the U.S. needs to invest in infrastructure just to keep what's already in place from falling apart. Everybody else in the world gets this. In Europe, countries realize […]

  • Watch an entire country lose its sh*t for a bullet train

    This surprisingly emotionally affecting video was shot in Japan right before the recent tsunami. It's a commercial for a new bullet train line, which completed a network running nearly the full length of the country, connecting all of Japan in a way that people clearly found deeply meaningful. The tsunami hit the day before the line […]

  • A green roof grows in Brooklyn

    Crimson clover blooms on the roof at the Linda Tool factory.Photo: Sarah GoodyearStanding on the barren, cracked sidewalk outside the nondescript brick building that houses the Linda Tool factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn, you would have no idea that there is a verdant meadow three stories above your head. Oh, but there is. And on […]

  • Why are we so angry at the pump? Because we have no choice

    Photo: A SiegelEuropeans want to know: “Why are Americans so angry about petrol prices?“ An article on the BBC earlier this week looks at the question from a very high-minded, almost anthropological perspective. You can almost see the reporter screwing in his monocle to observe the colonists’ colorful ways. Aside from a few man-in-the-parking-lot interviews […]

  • The art of campaigning for high-speed rail

    What if we recruited artists and designers to help sell the American public on the idea of high-speed rail?Illustration: Chris MurphyEarlier this week, the federal Department of Transportation announced $2 billion in new awards for 22 intercity rail projects that will improve the speed, aesthetics, and range of our existing rail system, while also studying […]

  • Not just better for bikes: New York completes its streets [VIDEO]

    Something has been lost in the recent kerfuffle over bike lanes in New York City. The rethinking and redesign of the city’s streets is not just about bikes (and it is not a terrorist plot). It’s about what is known in the land of urban wonkery as “complete streets,” and it is a concept that […]

  • Rail gets a $2 billion shot in the arm from Rick Scott’s rejected funds

    Remember when Florida's governor turned up his nose at $2 billion in federal funds for rail projects? Now his loss is everyone else's gain. The Department of Transportation today announced the redistribution of Florida's rejected wealth today, and it looks like Scott's tantrum will mean improved speed and performance in the Northeast Corridor, a high-speed […]