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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Rust Belt Cities: to Avoid Demographic Loss, Protect & Strengthen the Core

Rust Belt Cities: to Avoid Demographic Loss, Protect & Strengthen the Core | green streets | Scoop.it
A close look at population data reveals that, while the populations within central cities’ jurisdictional boundaries have declined substantially, their suburbs have actually grown. The result is that, if one defines “city” as the contiguous urbanized area within a metro region, regardless of political boundaries – the definition that matters to the economy and the environment – the shrinkage may vanish or be shown as far less than we think.

In short, “shrinking cities” have really been hollowing out more than shrinking...

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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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Smaller, more sustainable living in neighborhoods that fit in

Smaller, more sustainable living in neighborhoods that fit in | green streets | Scoop.it

When talking about reducing the footprint of our living patterns on the landscape and the earth’s limited resources, I always stress that this does not necessarily mean high-rises or even multi-family living at all. Those can be perfectly accessible pathways to sustainability for people who prefer them, but one can also have sustainably designed neighborhoods of single-family homes on moderately sized lots. The lots can be even smaller without sacrificing access to the outdoors if ample shared green space is integrated into the setting. Ultimately, more sustainable living patterns need to be about a diversity of choices within a community, rather than the ghettoes of identically sized and styled housing products typically offered during the recent heyday of sprawl

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“Dencity” Visualizes Seven Billion People

“Dencity” Visualizes Seven Billion People | green streets | Scoop.it

Earlier this year, we wrote about the symbolism of October 31 in marking the day the world population reached 7 billion people. A design firm based in Boston, Mass., Fathom Information Design, created “Dencity,” a map of global population density as the world reaches this important milestone. The map uses different size and color circles to represent the distribution of population and density around the world. Larger and darker circles show areas with fewer people. Smaller and brighter circles represent more crowded areas.

The map doesn’t tell us anything new, but instead, confirms the spatial distribution of population and density that we have known for quite some time. Eastern Asia has the densest and most populated geography in the world. “The largest city in the world is Shanghai, with over 23 million people as of 2010,” Fathom explains. “China is home to six of the twenty most populous cities in the world, more than any other country.”

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Go West for a pedestrian paradise

Go West for a pedestrian paradise | green streets | Scoop.it

TODAY it is a vast, bleak slab of bitumen, with 60,000 cars fighting their way each day across 10 busy lanes, isolating the city from the west parklands.

Within a decade it could become an inviting, pedestrian and cycling-friendly green oasis with a vibrant cafe and apartment culture.

These images of West Tce, created by architects HASSELL, show the arterial road's future potential if it was redeveloped to prioritise people, cyclists and public transport, becoming a more inviting place to live and socialise.

The concept is based on ideas and discussions from forums for the 5000+ project, which is run by the Adelaide City Council and State Government and calls on CBD locals, shoppers and workers to submit ideas to help shape a long-term vision for inner Adelaide. Also suggesting an underground city loop and tram extensions into the inner metro area, the HASSELL's design aims to generate debate on ways to enliven city streets, make better use of the parklands and make the CBD an inviting place to live...

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Big Green: Pros and cons of the megapark

Big Green: Pros and cons of the megapark | green streets | Scoop.it
Megaparks like Chicago's Millennium Reserve and New York's Fresh Kills are ever more common. The BMW Guggenheim Lab|log weighs the pros and cons of going big.

Few in this day and age would contest the value of any land being set aside for the creation of public green space, and I am certainly not one of them.

But when it comes to the benefits we derive from park space in a city, it is worth considering if bigger is necessarily better.

Earlier this month the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, and various other agencies made an announcement that caught the eye of many a public space advocate: the construction of the largest urban park in the continental United States.

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OCTA and LA Metro Offer FREE Transit on New Years Eve

OCTA and LA Metro Offer FREE Transit on New Years Eve | green streets | Scoop.it

OCTA and LA Metro are offering everybody FREE transit rides in Orange County and Los Angeles County on New Years Eve.

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City Parks, Like Madrid Río, Stand Where Highways Did

City Parks, Like Madrid Río, Stand Where Highways Did | green streets | Scoop.it
In this and other cities, parks now flourish, and neighborhoods with them, in place of aboveground highways.

All around the world, highways are being torn down and waterfronts reclaimed; decades of thinking about cars and cities reversed; new public spaces created...

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A Greener Edge

A Greener Edge | green streets | Scoop.it

Like most cities, growth in Louisville, KY continues to push out to the city’s suburban fringe, eating up undeveloped land surrounding the city. Recognizing the pristine farms and woodlands that would otherwise be developed into ubiquitous suburban housing tracts, a group of civic and business leaders headed up by Dan Jones organized the non-profit 21st Century Parks in 2005 to undertake one of the nation’s largest new park projects to protect over 3,700 acres of prime land along a winding watershed. The so-called Parklands of Floyds Fork will encompass four large, distinct parks—each named for a tributary to the waterway—designed by Philadelphia-based landscape architects WRT, formerly Wallace Roberts & Todd.

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5 of the Best Urban Design Blog Posts of 2011

5 of the Best Urban Design Blog Posts of 2011 | green streets | Scoop.it
How can we enhance the urban form of our cities to make them more sustainable?

We’ve featured hundreds of articles on this topic over 2011, and here are five of the best...

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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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Neighborhood Revitalization Tools: Band Saw, Drill Press, Welding Helmet

Neighborhood Revitalization Tools: Band Saw, Drill Press, Welding Helmet | green streets | Scoop.it
As manufacturing declined in America, many cities went through a "condo conversion craze," turning left-behind warehouses and industrial spaces into living spaces. Now that the residential market has peaked, industrial arts centers "are very good anchor projects for neighborhoods," says Michael Sturtz, who founded The Crucible, one of the earliest industrial art spaces of its kind in Oakland, Calif.

"When The Crucible started in January, 1999, there really weren’t many of these types of places around,” he says. “Now there’s tons of them.” He estimates there are over 100 in the U.S. and has consulted on dozens more around the world.

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Entrepreneurs Keep the Local Food Movement Hot

Entrepreneurs Keep the Local Food Movement Hot | green streets | Scoop.it
Local food businesses play a much more critical role in economic development than commonly thought, a new report shows.

Entrepreneurs are flocking to local food, starting businesses devoted to producing and delivering food within their communities. Just as consumers focus new attention on what we eat and where it comes from, farmers, foodmakers, restaurateurs, retailers, distributors, and processors are rethinking the business models behind it...

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Another Use for The Street | Sustainable Cities Collective

Another Use for The Street | Sustainable Cities Collective | green streets | Scoop.it

In America, a street built for pedestrians is still a growing idea. However, in Europe this idea is a normal part of life. Pedestrian streets have been a part of European culture for hundreds, even thousands of years, despite changes in how people transport themselves. Cars, trains and buses have been integrated tactfully in many European cities while still preserving these pedestrian corridors.

America is working to integrate pedestrian streets and make them a part of the culture. All-in-all, the pedestrian plaza have positive effects for the pedestrian and the motorist. They are a win-win in the constant conflicts between pedestrians and cars. The Times Square pedestrian plaza shows that this type of infrastructure helps reduce carbon emissions and save money on gas, all while improving traffic flow. The Strøget and Times Square show how a balance between the car and pedestrian can make everyone happy in the long run...

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Paris' Elevated Park Predates NYC's High Line by Nearly 20 Years

Paris' Elevated Park Predates NYC's High Line by Nearly 20 Years | green streets | Scoop.it
New York City's High Line Park is remarkable, but not quite as original as many think: Parisians have been enjoying strolls along an elevated park in the heart of the city for nearly 20 years. The Promenade Plantée, or Coulée Verte, runs 4.5km (2.8 mi) through Paris' 12th arrondissement.

The elevated Viaduct des Arts, which supported the Vincennes Railway from 1859 to 1969, was bought by the City as part of a general renovation of the area in 1986. Landscape architect Jacques Vergely and architect Philippe Mathieux were commissioned to design the park, which opened in 1993. At the same time, the arcades under the viaduct were converted into spaces for art galleries and artisan workshops.

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The 10 Emerging Sustainable Cities to Watch in 2012

The 10 Emerging Sustainable Cities to Watch in 2012 | green streets | Scoop.it
Whether they benefit from visionary leaders, flourishing social enterprise, or commitment from community activists, the following 10 cities are well worth a visit to experience their transformation and resilience.

When “green,” “sustainable” or resilient cities come to mind, the usual suspects crop up: Portland, Amsterdam, San Francisco and even high-tech Abu Dhabi score plenty of attention. As more cities push their green agenda the way they promote business opportunities or local tourism, some cities are way ahead of others. Mayors now try to jockey themselves to the front of the sustainability beauty contest with some cities here in the United States showing far more success (Chicago) than others that miserably fail (Los Angeles). Around the world are many cities that have responsive government, vibrant passion at the grass roots level, or both...

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Six Urbanist Themes for 2012

Six Urbanist Themes for 2012 | green streets | Scoop.it
From Twitter to "third places," here are some innovative urban ideas that aren't going away...

Based on my professional experiences and featured articles in 2011, there are several themes that I expect will also endure in 2012. Here is a synthesis of themes to watch, and why, based on my own encounters, and those of clients and friends. As illustration, I offer citation to several of my articles as they reappeared in Planetizen (after original appearance myurbanist, The Atlantic, Sustainable Cities Collective and Crosscut among others). The themes span six subject areas, below...

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S.F. parklets: a little tour of a major trend

S.F. parklets: a little tour of a major trend | green streets | Scoop.it

A significant change to San Francisco's landscape in 2011 involves a conjuring act that turns parking spaces into pedestrian nooks.

They're called parklets, a word that didn't exist two years ago, and when 2011 arrived there were only four. Now there are 22, with six more approved and 44 in various stages of review.

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Through trial and error, 'smart cities' are slowly getting smarter

Through trial and error, 'smart cities' are slowly getting smarter | green streets | Scoop.it
The 'smart city' concept has existed for several years, but only now, with some trial and error, are we seeing the real fruits of these efforts coming to light.

While the ambitions of Masdar City have been scaled back somewhat, Amsterdam is forging ahead, piloting a number of schemes to introduce smart technology to the way energy and other resources are managed within the city...

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Proposed Light Installation Responds to Noise Pollution in Red Hook

Proposed Light Installation Responds to Noise Pollution in Red Hook | green streets | Scoop.it

The Artists Build Collaborative is attempting to bring light and clarity to an area of Red Hook most notable for its darkness and confusion. The proposal, Silent Lights, is a system of interactive illuminated gates along a pedestrian path along Hamilton Avenue under the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. With a high concentration of both human and motor traffic in the area, the installation will respond to the surrounding vehicular cacophony by translating sound pollution into light, allowing the auditory experiencee to be both seen and heard.

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Zen and the art of urban transportation

Zen and the art of urban transportation | green streets | Scoop.it
Chicago's new bike riding, car loving, yoga practicing transportation commissioner thinks he can create a New Way of getting around in a city built for the automobile. Can he keep the peace in the process?

After Emanuel won the election, his choice of Klein made it clear the mayor-elect was serious about sustainable transportation. The new commissioner was fresh from a stint as transportation director for Washington, D.C., where in a mere 23 months, he made numerous pedestrian safety improvements, launched a new streetcar system, expanded the downtown circulator bus system, piloted protected bike lanes, and created the nation's first and largest bike share system...

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A Stunning Revival for Hamburg’s Old Port

A Stunning Revival for Hamburg’s Old Port | green streets | Scoop.it
A 388-acre industrial zone is being transformed into HafenCity, a vibrant mixed-use district dotted with buildings by firms such as Herzog & de Meuron, Behnisch Architects, Richard Meier & Partners, and others.

Walking through HafenCity, it’s difficult to imagine the grungy shipbuilding yards and warehouses that once dominated the area. Today, the waterfront property stretching along the River Elbe is filled with offices, cafés, and condos, along with vibrant public spaces and tree-lined streets. The $10 billion master plan for HafenCity—billed as Europe’s largest inner-city development project—calls for transforming 388 acres into 10 distinct quarters...

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Time Square’s New Year’s LED ball

Time Square’s New Year’s LED ball | green streets | Scoop.it
New Years Eve 2012 will mark the symbolic end of the Edison era. Millions of Americans will herald in 2012, and the dawn of higher efficiency lighting standards, with their eyes directed onto LED lighting when the ball drops in New York’s Times Square.

Incandescent lightbulbs gleamed down on exuberant New Yorkers beginning in 1907. It took more than a century for that to change. An array of 526 LED lights will now illuminate the numerals of a giant ‘2012′ sign to officially begin the new year.

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Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap | green streets | Scoop.it

After the city sealed the deal to sell Robert Moses Playground to the United Nations to finance the waterfront park between 38th Street & 60th Street, the East River Greenway moved a step closer to completion. But once the Greenway links upriver at 60th Street, a host of issues await. There, stretching from 60th to 125th, the 60-year-old East River Esplanade languishes.

The esplanade runs approximately two miles between the Upper East Side and East Harlem gradually shifting from lush and refined at Gracie Mansion to rough and tumble at the 96th Street divide, long a psychological demarcation between the haves and have-nots.

In late October, citizen action group CIVITAS announced its Reimagining the Waterfront ideas competition charging architects, planners, and landscape designers to develop concepts for the entire esplanade, or in sections. According to executive director Hunter Armstrong, key challenges are a dangerous crosswalk at the 96th Street entrance and two vacant lots beneath the FDR. As with SHoP’s redesign of the East River Esplanade in Lower Manhattan, Armstrong envisions a park that embraces the highway, both beside and beneath.

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Urbanizing the Suburban Street

Urbanizing the Suburban Street | green streets | Scoop.it
A community tries some relatively pain-free fixes to make its streets greener and more walkable...

One of the most challenging aspects of suburbs, and of the prescriptions for improving them, is the character of their roadways. Most of us take the poor design of our streets – the most visible part of most suburban communities, if you think about it – so much for granted that it never occurs to us that they actually could be made better for the community and for the environment.

Consider, for example, main "arterial" streets so wide that pedestrians can’t cross them, even if there is a reason to; little if any greenery to absorb water, heat, or provide a calming influence; or residential streets with no sidewalks.

This is where Montgomery County’s new street-scape initiative comes in. It has done some things right, including the preservation of much of its farmland – in part by channeling growth into the central districts of Bethesda and Silver Spring, both served by D.C.’s rail transit system, and more recently by encouraging walkable redevelopment along the notoriously sprawled-out Rockville Pike corridor.

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