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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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In the Climate Change Economy, It's About Efficiency, Not Just Growth

In the Climate Change Economy, It's About Efficiency, Not Just Growth | green streets | Scoop.it

North American cities are producing substantially less wealth per ton of greenhouse gas emissions than their European counterparts.


Research has shown that if you know a country's GDP, you can pretty accurately estimate its carbon emissions. There's "almost a mechanical relationship" between the two. And as a depressing corollary: Emissions rise much faster in good times than they fall during, say, a global recession.

Cities in some parts of the world are already doing a substantially better job at decoupling these two trends than others, wringing the most wealth out of the smallest carbon footprint. These are the cities that produce the greatest amount of GDP per ton of greenhouse gasses emitted.


The Carbon Disclosure Project, along with AECOM and the C40 Cities, have calculated this "economic efficiency" for dozens of global cities that participated in a questionnaire on how they are preparing for climate change...

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Ideas on transforming cities - Singapore a case study

Ideas on transforming cities - Singapore a case study | green streets | Scoop.it

'We know that the planet is warming up and the human population is growing, raising our demand for resources. The combination of these factors is why the battle against climate change will be decided in cities, particularly cities in the Asia-Pacific.

These urban centres are triple ‘hot spots’: they face rising temperatures, increasing populations and escalating consumption.

To tackle these challenges, we need practical and successful ideas that can easily be replicated.


At the 4th Sustainable Cities Conference last week in Singapore, I discussed ways for Singapore and Hong Kong, already recognised as innovative cities in tackling these problems, to become even greener and establish themselves as leaders in creating sustainable city models for the Asia-Pacific.'

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Luiz F. Costa's comment, May 14, 2013 6:23 AM
E isso temos que incentivar.
Norm Miller's curator insight, May 14, 2013 7:49 AM

Singapore transformed it's economy faster than any other nation in the world.  It is not surprising to see them leading on other dimensions as well.

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What Makes a Great City: A General Theory of Walkability

What Makes a Great City: A General Theory of Walkability | green streets | Scoop.it

City engineers have turned our downtowns into places that are easy to get to but not worth arriving at.


In Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time (public library), city planner Jeff Speck, who spent four years leading the design division of the National Endowment for the Arts working directly with a couple hundred mayors to help solve their greatest city-planning challenges, turns a perceptive eye towards what makes a great city and how we might be able to harness the power of a conceptually simple, practically complex, immeasurably far-reaching solution in improving the fabric and experience of urban life.


Speck outlines a “General Theory of Walkability,” focusing on the four key factors of making a city attractive to pedestrians: 'it must be useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting. Each of these qualities is essential an none alone is sufficient...'


Learn more about urban livability, how to create the conditions that enable pedestrian-oriented development, and the benefits of this approach to urban spaces to the economic, environmental, and cultural health of a city at the article link...

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Place Capital: Re-connecting Economy With Community

Place Capital: Re-connecting Economy With Community | green streets | Scoop.it

Reform—of transportation, food systems, and so many aspects of the way we live—is no longer about adding bike lanes or buying veggies from a local farmer; the time has come to re-focus on large-scale culture change.

Advocates from different movements are reaching across aisles to form broader coalitions. While we all fight for different causes that stir our individual passions, many change agents are recognizing that it is the common ground we share—both physically and philosophically—that brings us together, reinforces the basic truths of our human rights, and engenders the sense of belonging and community that leads to true solidarity.

Even when we disagree with our neighbors, we still share at least one thing with them: place. Our public spaces—from our parks to our markets to our streets—are where we learn about each other, and take part in the interactions, exchanges, and rituals that together comprise local culture.


Read the complete article for more on the ideas and strategies that positively contribute to our public spaces and enhance interpersonal connections, economic opportunity and placemaking.

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Can the World Really Afford More Empty Cities?

Can the World Really Afford More Empty Cities? | green streets | Scoop.it
Architecture that does not have a function, is not appreciated or that stands unused has no place in a world that consumes as many naturally resources as ours.

The global building industry caters to the needs of billions, but it also is the highest consumer of these resources, meaning that there must be a level of responsibility in play that restricts unnecessary works at all costs.
However, an increasing number of urban development projects are being undertaken that are unused and unnecessary. These ‘ghost towns’ stand as an outdated and regressive waste in the meantime, although they are often justified as a long-term development goal...

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polis: Startups, Cycles and Cities

polis: Startups, Cycles and Cities | green streets | Scoop.it

Urban imagination in the Americas revolves around two paradigms: the growing city and the declining city. The growing city symbolizes the dream of expansion — full of bustle, construction and recent arrivals eager to succeed. The declining city is the disappointed dream, with vacant buildings, rusting industrial kingdoms and, in Detroit, an endless grid of empty streets.

Statistically, growing and declining cities fall into well-defined patterns. Growing cities have rising populations, rising rents and falling unemployment, while declining cities have the opposite. One other statistic stands out, harder to measure but probably more important: the number of new businesses. The list of cities with exciting entrepreneurship scenes fits neatly into the paradigm of the growing city....


Via Peter Jasperse
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Editorial> Getting It Right in the Queen City

Editorial> Getting It Right in the Queen City | green streets | Scoop.it
Alan G. Brake praises progressive urbanism in Cincinnati.

America has a deep-seated anti-urban streak, which happens to dovetail, in the eyes of many, with a mistrust of government at every level. The Republican presidential primary has flared with anti-urban rhetoric, which is particularly shortsighted given the still-weak state of the economy, one in which urban areas are bouncing back faster than their rural and exurban counterparts. That cities are the country’s economic engine seems obvious almost to the point of being self-evident, so why is it still seen as politically advantageous to denigrate urban areas? And why are urbanists so bad at making the case for cities with the public?

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What Makes Some Cities Greener Than Others

What Makes Some Cities Greener Than Others | green streets | Scoop.it
Today I turn my attention to the economic, demographic, and other factors associated with cities and metros that have lower levels of carbon emissions.

 

Several Martin Prosperity Institute colleagues and I [Richard Florida] took a simple, straightforward statistical look at several things research and common sense suggest should be associated with higher and lower levels of carbon emissions.

We measure emissions three ways, as a function of population (per capita), workforce (per worker), and economic output (per economic output). All the caveats regarding correlation not being causation apply. However, our findings underscore the fact that carbon emissions are linked as much to the way we live as how we produce and manufacture things...


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The Greener Side of New Orleans

The Greener Side of New Orleans | green streets | Scoop.it
From nature preserves to eco-friendly hotels and sustainable building projects, there are plenty of examples of green businesses and recovery in the greater New Orleans area.

As noted in my last blog, I’m suggesting that travelers visit New Orleans to participate in the revival of this iconic place. Your visit will support the recovery of a city in which tourism is the largest and most crucial economic sector.
To sweeten the deal, here are some recommendations for eco-touring in New Orleans and environs...

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E.P.A. Offers $1.8 million in Urban Green Infrastructure Grants

E.P.A. Offers $1.8 million in Urban Green Infrastructure Grants | green streets | Scoop.it
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) is offering up to $1.8 million in new grants for urban green infrastructure projects that both improve water quality and support community revitalization.

Projects that support the restoration of canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans qualify.

The E.P.A. argues that improving urban water quality is central to sustainable urban development. “Many urban waterways have been polluted for years by sewage, runoff from city streets and contamination from abandoned industrial facilities. Healthy and accessible urban waters can help grow local businesses and enhance educational, recreational, employment and social opportunities in nearby communities. By promoting public access to urban waterways, E.P.A. will help communities become active participants in restoration and protection.”

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NYTimes: The Death of the Fringe Suburb

NYTimes: The Death of the Fringe Suburb | green streets | Scoop.it
As demand for housing in walkable neighborhoods rises, we should be investing in carless transit options.

 

An excellent article that ties the economic mortgage crisis with the urban geography of the United States.  This is a good piece to challenge students to think about how the organzation of cities matter. 

 

The cities and inner-ring suburbs that will be the foundation of the recovery require significant investment at a time of government retrenchment. Bus and light-rail systems, bike lanes and pedestrian improvements — what traffic engineers dismissively call “alternative transportation” — are vital. We have to stop throwing good money after bad. It is time to instead build what the market wants: mixed-income, walkable cities and suburbs that will support the knowledge economy, promote environmental sustainability and create jobs...


Via Seth Dixon
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How Green Is High-Speed Rail?

How Green Is High-Speed Rail? | green streets | Scoop.it
Experts say America's bullet trains will need to carry 10 million passengers to offset the environmental impact of construction...

There's a lot of talk right now about the capital costs of high-speed rail - the planned Los Angeles-San Francisco line, which would be the model for America, may eventually cost some $98 billion (or about $75 billion in 2010 money) - but for the most part its environmental benefits are taken for granted. Rail transport tends to be greener than car and air travel, so it stands to reason that as high-speed rail attracts people off the roads and runways, net carbon emissions will fall.

Often that comparison overlooks one critical detail: the environmental damage caused by building high-speed rail lines in the first place. Unless high-speed rail travel reduces emissions by more than what it generates during construction, the project may not be worthwhile from an environmental perspective. Indeed, some researchers have their doubts. A recent British study suggests that high-speed construction emissions may be significant enough to call entire projects into question...

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The Incredible Potential of the Atlanta Beltline

The Incredible Potential of the Atlanta Beltline | green streets | Scoop.it

The Atlanta Beltline is the city's ambitious plan to transform an old railroad loop around downtown into a showcase transit, trail and parks corridor, spurring revitalization and the construction of workforce housing along the way...

In spite of the economic slump, there has at least been significant progress on park and trail development around the corridor, and that progress coupled with the prospect for transit has already catalyzed some good revitalization of formerly distressed neighborhoods in Atlanta's core.

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A Proposal To Transform London’s BT Tower Into A Pollution Harvester

A Proposal To Transform London’s BT Tower Into A Pollution Harvester | green streets | Scoop.it

Royal College of Art graduate Chang-Yeob Lee’s ‘Synth[e]tech[e]cology’ project aims to repurpose the BT Tower into pollution harvesting skyscraper that extracts carbon from petrol fumes to produce sustainable bio-fuels. 

Lee chose to base his design around the 620-ft telecommunications tower because of its predicted redundancy and its location in one of the most polluted areas in London. The redesigned tower would serve as a way to gather economically valuable resources from pollutants in the atmosphere while reducing the level of respiratory illness in the city. 

“Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting”, said Lee. “We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value. Pollution could be another economy.”
The tower will also include “a vertical oil field laboratory and a laboratory for future resources present in the atmosphere”.

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Opportunity is Local (or: You Can’t Buy a New Economy)

Opportunity is Local (or: You Can’t Buy a New Economy) | green streets | Scoop.it

Truly great places are not built from scratch to attract people from elsewhere; the best places have evolved into dynamic, multi-use destinations over time: years, decades, centuries. These places are reflective of the communities that surround them, not the other way around. Placemaking is, ultimately, more about the identification and development of local talent, not the attraction of talent from afar.


Places aren’t about the 21st century economy. They are about the people who inhabit and develop them. They are the physical manifestations of the social networks upon which our global economy is built. Likewise, Place-making is not about making existing places palatable to a certain class of people. It is a process by which each community can develop place capital by bringing people together to figure out what competitive edge their community might have and improve local economic prospects in-place.

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Peter Jasperse's curator insight, February 5, 2013 10:16 PM

"If your strategy for improving local economic prospects is to drink some other city’s milkshake, you won’t get very far. It’s economic cannibalization. To really grow an economy, opportunity has to be developed organically within each community, and that requires that people dig in and improve their neighborhoods, together, for the sake of doing so–not convincing Google to open a new office down the road."

Pedro Barbosa's curator insight, February 6, 2013 1:20 AM

Trend: Opportunity is Local

 

Pedro Barbosa | www.pbarbosa.com | www.harvardtrends.com

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How a tough neighborhood is building a stronger future with vivid public art

How a tough neighborhood is building a stronger future with vivid public art | green streets | Scoop.it

A thriving inner-city cultural environment contributes to a healthy economic and social environment, which in turn produces significant benefits to the things we value in our natural environment: this is because the most effective antidote to the kind of sprawling outward development that has consumed our landscape, polluted our waterways and escalated harmful emissions across the US over the past half-century is a strengthening of our existing communities.


We particularly need our inner cities to be the kinds of places that will be loved and will endure – that will literally be sustained - over time. The human ecosystem is complex and, while making it healthy also requires a lot of things besides art, a holistic approach to placemaking that includes a key role for culture – especially homegrown culture – is essential.

That is exactly what Philly Painting is doing. To date, it is the most ambitious of many great projects sponsored by Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program, the nation's largest initiative of its kind. Since 1984, the program has created over 3,000 murals and works of public art in the city, engaging over 100 communities each year in the process, according to its website. Mural Arts also sponsors free art education programs for youth, especially at-risk teens and, impressively,provides jobs to adult offenders in local prisons and rehabilitation centers, “using the restorative power of art to break the cycle of crime and violence in our communities.” If you are as interested in this sort of thing as I am, you’ll enjoy the program’s website, especially its sections on the program’s history and emphasis on community engagement.

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The world's leading cities for opportunity: a new report on adaptability, resilience & livability

The world's leading cities for opportunity: a new report on adaptability, resilience & livability | green streets | Scoop.it

A new report ranks the world's leading cities for economic, technological, and social opportunity. New York tops the list of the world’s best "cities of opportunity," with London second and Toronto third.

The report gauges 27 of the world’s largest and most influential global cities on their ability to provide opportunity to their residents — both long-term residents and new immigrants.

It seeks to determine the ability of cities not just to grow and develop, but to provide broad opportunities. It addresses the adaptability and resilience of cities and highlights the connection between quality of life, or livability, and long-term economic growth and development.

The 27 cities covered by the report are global powerhouses, accounting for nearly eight percent of global economic output, while housing just 2.5 percent of its population. The report projects that these 27 cities will add 19 million more residents, 13.7 million more jobs, and $3.3 trillion more in economic output by 2025...

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Make Way for Public Space...

Make Way for Public Space... | green streets | Scoop.it

Chicago says four-part plan to expand the pedestrian realm will boost local economy, prompt physical activity.

 Mayor Rahm Emanuel will likely say he’s continuing to make good on commitments to public health and expanded outdoor space if a four-part plan to tackle both becomes a reality. Emanuel introduced an ordinance this month backing the Chicago Department of Transportation’s “Make Way for People” program, which is made up of four initiatives that the city and its partners claim will spark neighborhood economies and increase physical activity, citywide.

 

This is particularly important to communities on the South Side, which don’t have as much public space as the North Side, and could use an economic jolt, according to Bernita Johnson Gabriel, executive director of Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC). QCDC is a Bronzeville-based non-profit that is partnering with the city to pilot a portion of Make Way for People known as People Spots. People Spots essentially expand sidewalk seating onto portions of the street sometimes referred to as "parklets."

Read the entire article for other strategies planned to boost local economies...

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Can Digital Platforms Transform Our Cities?

Can Digital Platforms Transform Our Cities? | green streets | Scoop.it
There’s been a distinct change recently in how we describe what a “Smarter City” is. Whereas in the past we’ve focused on the capabilities of technology to make city systems more intelligent, we’re now looking to marketplace economics to describe the defining characteristics of Smarter City behaviour.

The link between the two views is the ability of emerging technology platforms to enable the formation of new marketplaces which make possible new exchanges of resources, information and value.

Historically, growth in Internet coverage and bandwidth led to the disintermediation of value chains in industries such as retail, publishing and music. Soon we will see technologies that connect information with the physical world in more intimate ways cause disruptions in industries such as food supply, manufacturing and healthcare...

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Designing Ecosphere Economies for Planet of Cities

Designing Ecosphere Economies for Planet of Cities | green streets | Scoop.it

Integral Cities in different locations must adapt differing solutions to the same infrastructure problems. We need to evolve our internal environments and design our environments in ways that honor the ecosphere. Only by doing so can both individual and collective human life optimize the amazing diversity our DNA has gifted us with and the deep resilience of the natural ecology.

Each city provides a unique combination of matter, energy and information as resources. This means that over time, humans must discover, develop and design appropriate technological solutions for city metabolisms that align with distinctive environments.

Designing with local resources enables cities to innovate from natural capital and build diversity and resilience into food and energy systems. This is the principle that has been used in developing the designs for the Earth Policy Institute, planning sustainable futures with a roadmap of how to get from here to there...

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What does the new economy mean for the shape of communities

What does the new economy mean for the shape of communities | green streets | Scoop.it

Thomas Fisher, dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, believes that we are undergoing an enormous change in “how people will live and work, in how businesses will operate, and in what services and support we will need from government.” Writing in The Huffington Post, Fisher contends that the 20th-century model of large-scale, heavy industry is largely over and that the new workforce is much more independent and nimble...

So, in the end, our coalition speaker who was making the "business case for smart growth" was right that business needs urban densities, but perhaps not much longer for the traditional reasons he was citing. If the reasons matter - and Fisher, Florida, and the Dublin experience all suggest that they do - both city planners and companies will need to take note in order to ensure that they are prepared for them. Cities will still be cities, but education, retail, and workplaces may all need to change, along with government services and regulation. The companies and communities that figure this out first are likely to be the ones to succeed in the next economy. Likewise for urban advocates...

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The new economy: work closer, live smaller, connect better

The new economy: work closer, live smaller, connect better | green streets | Scoop.it

The Urban Land Institute’s latest forward-looking report for the real estate industry has lots of hopeful news for the environment, if perhaps also some sobering news for the economy. Titled What’s Next? Real Estate in the New Economy (print edition here, download here), the core of the 116-page analysis is divided into chapters titled Work, Live, Connect, Renew, Move, and Invest. It is the latest in an excellent series of trend-watching reports from the industry association and think tank, and was unveiled in late October at the Institute’s annual conference.

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Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability

Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability | green streets | Scoop.it

A new book, 'Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability', by Dr. Andrew L. Dannenberg, Dr. Howard Frumkin, and Dr. Richard J. Jackson, and over 50 contributing authors illuminates the connection between how communities are designed and built and the impact on physical, mental, social, environmental, and economic well-being.

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“Food Deserts” in Canadian Cities Prevent Revitalization

“Food Deserts” in Canadian Cities Prevent Revitalization | green streets | Scoop.it
Efforts to attract affluent residents to live in new downtown redevelopment projects are being hampered by a lack of basic amenities - most notable of which is access to grocery stores within walking distance.

“Food deserts” are urban areas with limited access to healthy and affordable foods. Initial research has identified serious food deserts in Saskatoon, Kingston and London, while cities such as Edmonton and Montreal were found to have generally good food access. Food deserts are often tied to low socio-economic income status and are associated with a variety of diet-related health problems.

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Steve Kingsley's curator insight, July 20, 2013 5:47 PM

No "food deserts" if you are willing to cook at home....

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Hong Kong MTR: A Sustainable Model for Mass Transit

Hong Kong MTR: A Sustainable Model for Mass Transit | green streets | Scoop.it

Hong Kong Mass Transit Rail (MTR) is one of the most efficient, safe, reliable and affordable systems in the world. Its extensive network carries over 4 million passengers per day, connecting Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories.

The MTR is unique in another way, too: it is a profitable transit system. Despite the ridership, this profit is not driven by passenger tickets or ads but by its strategy of integrating railway infrastructure with urban development. The MTRC is also a real estate developer and benefits on both ends of this strategy: more riders = more shoppers = higher rent = growing network = more riders.  

Lessons can be learned from Hong Kong's MTR, however it seems that economic growth, high real estate prices and urban density are part of the equation...

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