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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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London’s First Zero-Emission Electric Taxis Hit the Streets

London’s First Zero-Emission Electric Taxis Hit the Streets | green streets | Scoop.it
ClimateCars in London have unveiled the first zero emission electric taxi - the Renault Fluence Z.E.

When it comes to clean transportation, London is charging ahead at maximum speed – not only is the city’s mayor a cycling enthusiast, but he helped to push the introduction of London’s first hydrogen fuel cell taxis just in time for the 2012 Olympics! This week The Big Smoke rolled out their first fleet of zero emission taxis, which are now making their way across the city’s busy streets...

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Why the Places We Live Make Us Happy

Why the Places We Live Make Us Happy | green streets | Scoop.it
The strange factors that impact whether we're content where we live.

In an article titled "Understanding the Pursuit of Happiness in Ten Major Cities," the authors concluded that good urbanism contributes positively to happiness:

We find that the design and conditions of cities are associated with the happiness of residents in 10 urban areas. Cities that provide easy access to convenient public transportation and to cultural and leisure amenities promote happiness. Cities that are affordable and serve as good places to raise children also have happier residents. We suggest that such places foster the types of social connections that can improve happiness and ultimately enhance the attractiveness of living in the city.

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Walk this way

Walk this way | green streets | Scoop.it
FOR years urban planners have emphasised the needs of the motorist over those of the pedestrian.

Thanks partly to greenery, partly to a greater understanding of how pedestrians behave, and partly to concerns about social cohesion, priorities are changing.

London provides two good example of this shift. On February 1st Exhibition Road, a landmark street near many of the city’s museums, is being formally reopened after a three-year construction project to turn it into something that transport engineers like to call a “shared space”. Curbs have been stripped out, along with the usual road markings, to create a thoroughfare that is designed to be shared by cyclists, pedestrians and cars alike. The idea is to create an area which is not just more pleasant for people on foot but also safer because it encourages drivers to pay closer attention to their surroundings.

Less experimentally, big improvements have already been made to Oxford Circus, one of the city’s busiest intersections. The junction between Oxford Street and Regent Street sees as many as 40,000 people pass through every hour, and only 2,000 vehicles. Until 2009, however, pedestrians came well down the pecking order. In the language of planners, pedestrians were unable to follow their desire lines, the paths they want to take as opposed to the ones they are meant to. At Oxford Circus, giving rein to people’s desire lines has meant ripping out guard railings that hemmed pedestrians in and allowing people to cross the junction diagonally as well as from side to side (a feature known as a pedestrian scramble)...

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Could Cities Benefit from Small-Scale, Local "Urban Acupuncture ...

Could Cities Benefit from Small-Scale, Local "Urban Acupuncture ... | green streets | Scoop.it
Woven from bamboo, this inviting structure transforms an empty lot in busy Taipei into a haven where neighborhood residents can relax and gather over a fire.

Via Peter Jasperse
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Green Wedgies - The Architect's Newspaper

Green Wedgies - The Architect's Newspaper | green streets | Scoop.it
While Village people focus their attention on New York University’s expansion plans and doings at the former St. Vincent’s Hospital, the future of the Hudson Square neighborhood just west of Soho is in the midst of major rezoning. The real estate arm of Trinity Church aims to transform at least 21 blocks of post-industrial Manhattan into a live/work/play zone. But critics say the Trinity plan misses a key element: open space.

Though the neighborhood sits just two blocks from Hudson River Park, it’s effectively cut off from it by a UPS distribution center, St. John’s Center’s production studios, and a controversial sanitation garage. With the riverfront park so close and yet so far, various stakeholders are now advancing ideas to eke out more green space wherever they can.

Most of the proposals call for changes to the Trinity plan, which favors taller buildings near their already proposed SHoP Architects–designed towers at 6th Avenue and Canal Street. The Trinity plan would also revamp Duarte Square, a triangle park that fronts the project. The only other accessible green space in the district is Soho Square.

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CityDeck: How to Increase Access to A River and Diversify Social Life Along It

CityDeck: How to Increase Access to A River and Diversify Social Life Along It | green streets | Scoop.it

What can you tell me about the areas near a lake or a river? Are they good enough to provide people recreation, entertainment or peaceful moments in the middle of the nature? Most of them ignore people’s essential needs and if we’re talking about a project in the city, then its design and functionality reduces to some benches in austere combination. It’s not the case here. The CityDeck is the heart of a multi-phase redevelopment project along Green Bay’s Fox River. The project aims to allow for significantly increased access to the river and to diversify life along it. The idea was to give people many choices about where to sit, depending on their own desires, their body type, their mood, and their attraction to various ambient light, heat, or weather conditions.

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Top 10 U.S. cities for biking and walking | SmartPlanet

Top 10 U.S. cities for biking and walking | SmartPlanet | green streets | Scoop.it

Cities are taking steps to make biking and walking a more viable transportation option — from new bike share programs to complete streets infrastructure. Which cities are seeing their investments payoff with more commuters getting to work on bike and foot?

A new report from the Alliance for Biking and Walking analyzes bike and pedestrian data from the largest 51 cities in the U.S. and ranks them based percentage of bike/pedestrian commuters. The report also looks at the safety, economic benefits, and funding levels for bike and pedestrian infrastructure...

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Livable Cities | Philips Meaningful Innovation

Livable Cities | Philips Meaningful Innovation | green streets | Scoop.it
A great city shouldn’t just be livable, it should be lovable too. International Urban Consultant Dr. Shipra Narang reports on a two-year assignment by a team of nine experts to explore and assess the key ingredients required to create a successful city that’s fit for the future.

Brought together by the Philips Center for Health & Wellbeing, the think-tank has worked with partners including the Center for Livable Cities in Singapore to identify what makes a city truly livable...

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Research in the Urban Transformation Towards Energy Efficient Cities

Research in the Urban Transformation Towards Energy Efficient Cities | green streets | Scoop.it

Among the most significant environmental challenges of our time are global climate change, excessive fossil fuel dependency of our cities and the growing demand for energy and materials – all major challenges of the 21st century and in the meantime some of the greatest problems facing humanity. Almost half the energy consumed is used in cities and urban built-up areas, and avoiding mistakes in the urban development at early stages will genuinely lead to more sustainable cities and less greenhouse gas emission. The Zero Waste SA Research Centre for Sustainable Design & Behaviour (sd+b) is conducting research in the City of Tomorrow and the role materials and energy will play in low carbon urban models. In this context, urban design and the fundamental principles of how we will shape our cities in future is increasingly recognised in the greenhouse debate; this is about time, as previously the debate has circled around active technology for ‘eco-buildings’, but less in holistic systems thinking for entire districts and neighbourhoods.

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Welcome to the high-tech urban revolution

Welcome to the high-tech urban revolution | green streets | Scoop.it
If you’re a tech company, this is your last call to board the smart city brandwagon, because the high-tech revolution for global cities is upon...

A group of high technology firms, led by IBM and Cisco, are plunging into the city management business. In varied forms, they offer super-efficient new-generation computerized information and control systems.

If the systems prove out — and first signs are positive — the companies stand to garner billions of dollars in business. But savings for cities, measured by dollars, by livability, by human lives protected, may be far greater...

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Upper West Side Mom & Pops Get Boost from Planning

Upper West Side Mom & Pops Get Boost from Planning | green streets | Scoop.it

While the city has kept Walmart at bay—for now—banks and/or drugstores continue to consume two, three, and sometimes four or five consecutive storefronts in many parts of the city. The Upper West Side has been particularly hard hit because most of its side streets are residential. The neighborhood primarily relies on the north/south corridors of Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus for its shopping needs. After hearing citywide complaints about the problem, City Planning has begun to address the issue through the West Side Neighborhood Retail Streets Initiative.

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The Top 10 Smart Cities On The Planet

The Top 10 Smart Cities On The Planet | green streets | Scoop.it
Crunching a list of variables about innovation and sustainability, we rank the world's smartest cities, from New York to Hong Kong (and with an unexpected winner).

The term "smart cities" is a bit ambiguous. Some people choose a narrow definition--i.e. cities that use information and communication technologies to deliver services to their citizens. I prefer a broader definition: Smart cities use information and communication technologies (ICT) to be more intelligent and efficient in the use of resources, resulting in cost and energy savings, improved service delivery and quality of life, and reduced environmental footprint--all supporting innovation and the low-carbon economy...

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How the Dutch Got Their Bike Paths

How the Dutch Got Their Bike Paths | green streets | Scoop.it
What The Netherlands can teach us about child safety and mass protests as effective policy-benders.

This fascinating short documentary traces the rise of The Netherlands’ famous bicycle paths and examines the sociocultural factors that enabled it, from mass protests to government policy. A living testament to the “build it and they will come” ethos, these safe cycling paths not only vastly improved the city’s traffic system efficiency, but they also helped address an oil and economic crisis, lower carbon emissions, and reduce child casualties by 350%, all thanks to intelligent and focused policy decisions — something to think about as we head into an election year in the tragically car-centric U.S...

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How to start transforming sprawl with shared personal vehicles

How to start transforming sprawl with shared personal vehicles | green streets | Scoop.it

WheelChange, an advocate for new, smart multi-modal transportation systems, asserts that a more sustainable future of personal transportation could be based on communications technology, smaller vehicles, and sharing: “By enabling a diverse set of existing and new transportation options to work together to allow an individual access to their city, one could think of this smart multimobility future as being a set of stepping stones across a river, while the conventional car ownership model is more like the large and heavy bridge.” It is the brainchild of Dan Sturges, a Colorado-based transportation designer and entrepreneur.


Via Flora Moon
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Can Ontario Really Deliver North America's Best Smart Growth Plan?

Can Ontario Really Deliver North America's Best Smart Growth Plan? | green streets | Scoop.it
Places to Grow is certainly ambitious. Here's a look at the successes and challenges a couple years in.

Perhaps most visibly, the new plan will allow the continued protection of a greenbelt comprising 1.8 million acres of rural and conservation land, an area over three times the size of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the US, and just a shade smaller than Yellowstone National Park. On the large map accompanying this post, the green area is the greenbelt and related protected land; the purple areas are urbanized zones, including Toronto and its suburbs; the lines represent existing and planned major transit; and the beige area defines the limits of the planning region.

Best of all, Places to Grow has the full force and effect of law, thanks to Ontario’s Places to Grow Act of 2005. That law requires that local planning decisions, including zoning, conform to the policies in the regional plan. If there is a discrepancy, the provincial government has the authority to amend municipal decisions...

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Layered SPURA: Spurring Conversations Through Visual Urbanism

Layered SPURA: Spurring Conversations Through Visual Urbanism | green streets | Scoop.it

The Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) that occupies 14 square blocks on the Lower East Side has remained one of the largest underdeveloped city-owned parcels of land for more than 40 years. Very few of the originally-planned buildings came to pass, and vast parking lots created by slum-clearance on the south side of Delancey Street symbolize a hotly contested renewal plan. Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani and students of the New School’s City Studio have spent three years investigating the complex issues surrounding the site, and in an exhibition highlighting their research and artwork they propose to instigate a new grassroots conversation rather than a top-down planning vision.

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How the rise of the megacity is changing the way we live

How the rise of the megacity is changing the way we live | green streets | Scoop.it
The rapid increase in the number of cities home to more than 10 million people will bring huge challenges … and opportunities... 

 

It's not just that more people now live in cities than in the rural countryside (for the first time in human history).  It's not just that major cities are growing increasingly more important to the global economy.  The rise of the megacities (cities over 10 million inhabitants) is a startling new phenomenon that really is something we've only seen in the last 50 years or so with the expectation that the number of megacities will double in the next 10 to 20 years (currently there are 23).  This reorganization of population entails wholesale restructuring of the economic, environmental, cultural and political networks.  The urban challenges that we face today are only going to become increasingly important in the future.        

 


Via Seth Dixon
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Al Picozzi's curator insight, September 9, 2013 9:06 AM

More and more people are moving to the cities than ever before.  As a result I believe there are more megacities on the way.  However I think there is a limit to these cities.  How are they going to be powered?  How are the people going to be fed? Where will they work?  how will these cities impact the environment?  Where is all the fresh water going to come from?

Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 30, 2013 4:40 AM

 It's not just that more people now live in cities than in the rural countryside (for the first time in human history).  It's not just that major cities are growing increasingly more important to the global economy.  The rise of the megacities (cities over 10 million inhabitants) is a startling new phenomenon that really is something we've only seen in the last 50 years or so with the expectation that the number of megacities will double in the next 10 to 20 years (currently there are 23).  This reorganization of population entails wholesale restructuring of the economic, environmental, cultural and political networks.  The urban challenges that we face today are only going to become increasingly important in the future.       

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, December 11, 2013 9:26 PM

It is a good thing that there is more megacities being created because you can see more people move in which will help the city function better economics wise. When it comes down to the population that is a different story because there is more people to worry and deal with. The increase of people could go both ways because it can be good but at the same time it can go bad because people will start arguing in which it can get physical which means city ratings going down.

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Swedish Cities Close to Building a Bicycle Superhighway

Swedish Cities Close to Building a Bicycle Superhighway | green streets | Scoop.it
Sweden’s transportation authority, Trafikverket, has approved a four line bicycle superhighway between Malmö and nearby Lund.

With all the handwringing over aging infrastructure, rising energy costs, high speed rail and other public transportation projects that are spiraling in costs, cities and towns could look at solutions that can improve mobility and do not the bust the budget: bicycles and bicycle paths.

Studies have suggested that building bicycle paths can have a sizable economic impact especially when you look at the job-per-dollar ratio. To that end, towns and cities preoccupied with trying to improve their citizens’ quality of life and address metrics like their carbon footprint should take a look at what cities in southern Sweden are planning to improve their local transportation systems...

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Riverside Park South Waterfront | New York USA | Thomas Balsley Associates

Riverside Park South Waterfront | New York USA | Thomas Balsley Associates | green streets | Scoop.it

Stretching along Manhattan’s west side, Riverside Park South is an urban miracle on the Hudson and the last link in Manhattan’s west side greenway. Its creation involved working with local and state government agencies, community groups, stakeholders and the client to create a vibrant new public space that reintroduced the community to the water’s edge and responded to the unique industrial history and riparian ecology of the site...

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Cisco Brings Smart Cities Within Reach

Cisco Brings Smart Cities Within Reach | green streets | Scoop.it
Smart Cities are the future, incorporating grid monitoring and control, smart transportation pricing, green gauges, telepresence, location-based advertising and social networking.

The concept of the smart city is one that holds a lot of promise and potential in terms of how computerized, networked public infrastructure might improve energy efficiency, resource management, and the overall quality of life in cities. Given the impact that computers and smart phones have had on our personal and professional lives, it seems that the application of computer technology to the infrastructure of cities has even greater potential to change the way we live. Despite this potential, and with only a few exceptions, smart city technologies have yet to be adopted in most places.

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What makes a sustainable community?

What makes a sustainable community? | green streets | Scoop.it
Bill Burr describes Scotland's ambitious Kincluny Village project, which combines green development practices with sustainable community building...

Via Flora Moon
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What the Federal Government Can Learn From Metros

What the Federal Government Can Learn From Metros | green streets | Scoop.it
The innovative solutions we've showcased this week should inspire Washington...

The ten innovations identified over the past week illustrate that the federal government is not the only political game in town. Our nation is a federal republic and when Washington dithers, states and metros are quick to innovate on matters of national significance.

These innovations, however, are not singular events.

First, they are relevant to other states and metros that are similarly experimenting with bottom-up approaches in shaping the post-recession economy. States and metros have a long history of observing and learning from each other, and then adopting and adapting policy innovations to their own distinctive circumstances...

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Can China Support Its New Urban Majority?

Can China Support Its New Urban Majority? | green streets | Scoop.it

By the end of 2011, the population in China was about 1.35 billion. Roughly 51.27 percent of that, 690 million people, are considered urban, according to a recent announcement from China’s National Bureau of Statistics. It’s an interesting landmark, but also slightly troubling in light of another official report that warns of "grim" threats from climate change...

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Order and adaptation: What the New York grid teaches us about contemporary urbanism

Order and adaptation: What the New York grid teaches us about contemporary urbanism | green streets | Scoop.it

It’s not quite true that Manhattan’s street grid is two hundred years old. In fact the year 2011 marked the bicentennial of the project of establishing a regular and continuous grid north of 14th Street. The plan was at first far-fetched, authoritarian, and utopian. For the grid started out as an elaborate Cartesian fantasy, a diagram seemingly irreconcilable with the material realities of topography and existing settlement in the young city of New York. The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011, an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York (through April 15), shows how an abstract plan came to serve as the “remarkably flexible framework for 200 years of city living.” Curator Hilary Ballon also invites us to speculate on how this “vision of brazen ambition” can be further adapted to serve coming generations. What does the legacy of New York City’s master plan teach us about urbanism?

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Proving Ground - The Architect's Newspaper

Proving Ground - The Architect's Newspaper | green streets | Scoop.it

Known as the Granite City, Aberdeen, Scotland’s silvery gray townscape will soon have a dynamic new emerald heart. Designed by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, with OLIN and Scottish architects at Keppie Design, a new hybrid park and cultural center will transform an existing park and extend over a road and rail trench to better connect the city with a highly programmed, fully accessible indoor and outdoor space with a rolling highland/lowland landscape. 

The existing park has a 65-foot grade change, so DS+R exploited the sectional possibilities of the site. “Some of the other proposals simply placed pavilions in a park,” said principal Charles Renfro. “We created a layered three- dimensional matrix, where the building is woven under and into the park.” The cultural center will include an approximately 5,000-person outdoor amphitheater—with a dramatic walkway crisscrossing overhead—a 215,000 square foot exhibition hall, and a 500-person black box theater...

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