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  • Suburbs and cities: Stop the name-calling, already

    What’s in a name?Photo: Ryan BowmanWhat is the difference between a city and a suburb, anyway? It’s an important question because so many times, the debate about the allocation of resources in our country is framed this way, as if there were some kind of obvious dichotomy between suburbs and cities, some bright line that […]

  • Sci-fi skycrapers of the future

    The cities of the future could combine dense living arrangements with energy innovation, according to the winners of architecture mag eVolo's annual skyscraper design competition. This design collects lightning and uses it to power hydrogen fuel cells. Some of the other winning skyscrapers are habitations, but others are recycling centers, turbines, and water purification facilities […]

  • Resilient Tokyo: commuters learn to love the bike

    There’s more of this in Tokyo these days.Photo: Byron Kidd Shortly after last month’s disastrous earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we posted a dispatch from Tokyo by Bike blogger Byron Kidd (@tokyobybike) about how more people were biking to work in the quake’s aftermath. Today, The New York Times has a story about how the […]

  • The EPA chooses sprawl over urban sustainability

    Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. In defiance of the environmental values it supposedly stands for, the federal Environmental Protection Agency is moving its regional headquarters from a walkable, transit-rich, downtown Kansas City (Kan.) neighborhood to one of the worst examples of suburban sprawl it could have possibly found, some 20 miles from downtown. […]

  • Los Angeles to slather its rooftops with solar panels

    Here's a crazy idea: apply the same incentives that have made Germany the world leader in rooftop solar power to a place that is actually sunny. Also, use the power generated from these panels to zero out the electricity costs of people in low-income housing, so the city has more money for education. Those are […]

  • Bus Rapid Transit: a transit fast track without the track

    As Dave Roberts pointed out in his post earlier today, if this country has any hope of getting serious about energy security, we’re going to have to get serious about transit. But what form should that transit take, exactly? If you look around the world, you’ll see a lot of cities embracing Bus Rapid Transit. […]

  • The missing piece of Obama’s energy security plan: cities

    Dude, you forgot the cities — like Denver.I had plenty of complaints about Obama’s big energy security speech last week — see here and here. Most of them centered on his crassly political decision to put supply-side solutions first, despite the fact that supply is a red herring; all the serious solutions are demand-based. There’s […]

  • Seoul tears down an urban highway and the city can breathe again

    This downtown green space in Seoul was once a looming, congested elevated freeway.Photo: Kyle NishiokaCross-posted from Sightline’s Daily Score blog. As a sustainability-loving transportation planner, I was thrilled to learn that Dr. Kee Yeon Hwang would be visiting Vancouver and talking about the project that has made Seoul, Korea a legend in urban planning circles: […]

  • Hot-and-cold running crisis: cities, water, and climate change

    Woman carrying water through the Dharavi slum of Mumbai.Photo: Meena KadriCross-posted from Cool Green Science. Imagine living on less than a bathtub of water for all your daily needs: drinking, cooking, bathing, washing clothes … and everything else. By 2050, more than 1 billion city dwellers may be doing just that if we don’t build […]

  • China’s ghost cities and the biggest property bubble of all time

    A couple of months ago, a lot of people were passing around the news about China’s plan to create a megacity that would be home to 42 million people, the so-called “Turn the Pearl Delta Into One” idea. The reporting was generally favorable, painting a picture of economic growth and opportunity — the narrative of […]