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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
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UN and partners unveil new initiative to achieve sustainable cities

UN and partners unveil new initiative to achieve sustainable cities | green streets | Scoop.it
The United Nations and its partners today unveiled a new initiative to achieve sustainable urban development by promoting the efficient use of energy, water and other resources, lowering pollution levels and reducing infrastructure costs in cities.
The Global Initiative for Resource-Efficient Cities was launched by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, just days ahead of the start of the high-level meeting of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

The initiative, open to cities with populations of 500,000 or more, will involve local and national governments, the private sector and civil society groups to promote energy efficient buildings, efficient water use, sustainable waste management and other activities...

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EcoDistricts: Ten Cities, Ten Projects

EcoDistricts: Ten Cities, Ten Projects | green streets | Scoop.it
This month, leaders from Austin, Bellingham, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Guadalajara (Mexico), Mountain View, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Vancouver gathered in Portland, Ore. for the first-ever EcoDistricts Institute, a meeting where they examined neighborhood-scale development projects in each of their cities.

The leaders at the institute all developing what are called EcoDistricts, which are also known as "green neighborhoods" or "green districts." EcoDistricts integrate green buildings and smart infrastructure (energy, water, waste, recycling, transportation, etc.) with community action and civic entrepreneurism. EcoDistricts can be established within brownfield redevelopment areas, campuses or existing neighborhoods.

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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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New York City Commits to Green Solution for Harnessing Water

New York City Commits to Green Solution for Harnessing Water | green streets | Scoop.it
With a landmark announcement this week, New York City has officially joined a growing number of cities around the country in embracing a smarter--and paradigm-shifting--approach to reducing water pollution. Using a suite of techniques like strategically located street plantings, porous pavements, and green roofs, collectively known as green infrastructure, New York is turning the problem of excess stormwater into a solution that will improve the health and livability of its neighborhoods, while cleaning up the waterways that course through and around the city.

It's hard to overstate what a dramatic shift in thinking this represents. Instead of viewing stormwater as waste, New York is turning it into a resource. With this move, New York is showing the rest of the country that if the largest city in the U.S. can finally tackle its chronic water pollution problems with green infrastructure--they can, too.

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Can a Highway Median Become an Alluring Public Space?

Can a Highway Median Become an Alluring Public Space? | green streets | Scoop.it
That's the question in Miami, where a design firm has created a temporary pop-up park, complete with sod and seating.

On one side of Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard is a thriving downtown, filled with condos and office towers. On the other side is the Atlantic Ocean, and in a few choice locations, nice waterfront parks. The division between – Biscayne – has four lanes in each direction and a 100-foot median in between that carries overhead rail tracks and parking lots. All in all, it’s a pretty wide barrier between the people and the parks.

“It’s not convenient or easy or neighborhood-accessible,” says Tony Garcia, a principal at the Street Plans Collaborative, an urban planning, design, and advocacy firm.

Instead of trying to cross the barrier, Garcia tried to bring the park closer to the people, temporarily converting the median into a pop-up public park. In partnership with the engineering and architecture firm C3TS, Garcia coordinated with the city’s parking authority to take over a 60-space lot for a week to lay down sod and put up benches...

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Less express: China's Railways

Less express: China's Railways | green streets | Scoop.it

China's love affair with fast trains is gathering steam again. Undaunted by horrendous accidents and massive cost overruns, officials are planning further expansion of the country’s high-speed rail network. A new service has begun between the southern cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, nearly halving the travel time to 35 minutes. With trains capable of travelling up to 380kph (236mph), the service will eventually be extended to nearby Hong Kong. For those craving even faster speeds, CSR Corp, China’s biggest trainmaker, has unveiled a supertrain (pictured above) said to be inspired by the shape of an ancient Chinese sword. It should slice through the air at 500kph.

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New Urbanists: No Economic Recovery Without Smart Growth

New Urbanists: No Economic Recovery Without Smart Growth | green streets | Scoop.it

What happened to the United States over the past several years is most commonly described as a recession. By the technical definition of the word we’re two years into a recovery. But it sure doesn’t seem that way.
Meanwhile, a growing chorus of intellectual leaders says the country is experiencing something different than a normal cyclical fluctuation: the end of an epoch.

Leading urban thinkers believe we have reached the limits of our fossil-fueled, double-mortgaged, McMansion-based economy. Relief won’t come, they say, until America begins confronting the systemic problems that produced the meltdown, including inefficient and unsustainable public infrastructure investments and housing development.

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Removing Signals and Signs from Intersections Just Might Make Us Safer

Removing Signals and Signs from Intersections Just Might Make Us Safer | green streets | Scoop.it
The Shared Spaces theory has started to catch on in Europe, but will Americans ever buy it?

The concept: Remove all the traffic lights, signs, curbs and lane markings from roads, and people will share them more effectively. 

Drivers, bikers and pedestrians will make eye contact with one another. They’ll cooperate. They’ll move through public space with a greater sense of its communal utility. In Europe, the result has proven to be safer and more efficient – and more social – for everyone involved.

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Building a Greener City

Building a Greener City | green streets | Scoop.it
With urban populations expected to soar, cities will have to be rethought from the ground up. Here's a look at bike lanes, micro wind turbines, pneumatic garbage collection—and other ways to make urban areas more environmentally friendly.

 

The goal: compact living environments that require less resources and that get the most out of the land, water and energy they do use.

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Downtown Austin’s vision for a sustainable future

Downtown Austin’s vision for a sustainable future | green streets | Scoop.it
Austin, Texas is considering a new master plan that would help the city take a big step toward improving its downtown and making it a sustainable city...

With a stated goal of becoming one of the most sustainable cities in the nation by the city’s bicentennial in 2039, what are the steps the city is taking to become a top-tier sustainable city? Here’s Austin’s blueprint for the next 10 year to help reach their goal.

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Addison Community's curator insight, November 7, 2014 12:59 PM

Austin's plan towards a sustainable future. #atx #sustainable #livemore

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New Report: The Potential for Urban Agriculture

New Report: The Potential for Urban Agriculture | green streets | Scoop.it
Part of a bigger picture of urban greening, urban agriculture can have significant impact on food security in cities.
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morgan knight's curator insight, November 5, 2014 5:24 PM

Urban agriculture seems to be a very beneficial  and "green" way to go in our world. It wouldn't take up much space, it would definitely help secure food for the community, and would give an overall better look to the US' urban areas. But only time will prove this right.

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Urban Visions

Urban Visions | green streets | Scoop.it
How should urban planners address the demands of the 21st century?

Constant rapid growth of the city creates urban challenges, including a strain on the city’s physical infrastructure, a sharp increase in land prices and rents, a shortage of low-income housing and a high rate of unemployment.

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Christchurch 'to be garden city'

Christchurch 'to be garden city' | green streets | Scoop.it
New Zealand plans to redevelop the quake-ravaged centre of Christchurch as a safe, sustainable "city in a garden".
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Plug-In Plaza | The Infrastructure of the Times Square Makeover

Plug-In Plaza | The Infrastructure of the Times Square Makeover | green streets | Scoop.it
Last September, the Bloomberg administration announced architecture firm Snøhetta’s plans for a makeover of the Great Crossroads into a 21st-century pedestrian plaza with futuristic touches like metallic tiles and zoomy slab benches. Then silence as the current décor of junky bistro chairs and peeling paint polka dots seemed to settle in for the ages. The $45 million plan due to be complete by 2014 has been waiting on Con Edison.

Times Square needs extensive subterranean work before the future can get underway. The outdated infrastructure beneath the street, including 19th-century trolley tracks and gas mains now being replaced by some serious backstage (that is, below-grade) infrastructure to support one of the world’s great outdoor stages.

No longer will visitors simply look up at the energy of Times Square; they’ll be sitting on it, too. The long granite sculptural benches indicating the thrust of the Great White Way will now carry electrical currents of up to 400 amps. The new entertainment infrastructure with fiber-optic connectivity will be the first of its kind in the city and could have implications for other event venues likely to pop up on 34th and Broadway, Madison Square, Union Square, and other plazas in Midtown...

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Re-purposing Sydney’s monorail

Re-purposing Sydney’s monorail | green streets | Scoop.it

Recently, the NSW government announced that Sydney’s monorail infrastructure will be demolished only 24 years after it went into service. David Vago, Principal of habitation believes that this is a missed opportunity to retrofit the Monorail structure for a pedestrian focused open space similar to the High-Line in New York.

habitation proposes to retrofit the existing Sydney Monorail structure into a continuous above-ground path through the city. Vago sees the proposal as embracing “the principles set out by the City of Sydney and embrace the agenda and ideas championed in 2030 Sustainable Sydney;”. The 3.6km loop proposal called the High-Lane would become an uninterrupted route though the city. Vago believes that the path “will appeal to recreational runners, walkers, joggers, office-workers, parents with prams and tourists who yearn to see the city from a new perspective.”

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A New Initiative will improve NYC's Stormwater Management Infrastructure

A New Initiative will improve NYC's Stormwater Management Infrastructure | green streets | Scoop.it

A new initiative will improve New York City's stormwater management infrastructure.

Stormwater generally is an unpleasant topic in New York City- during extreme weather events, it floods sewers, causing them to overflow.

These sewer overflows are the city’s biggest water quality problem and a major reason that waterways such as Gowanas, Newtown Creek, and Flushing Bay do not meet federal standards for swimming and marine wild life habitats.

However, under a bold new green infrastructure plan that includes $2.9 billion in new gray infrastructure and $2.4 billion in green infrastructure that won approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in March, the city is hoping to capture much of its stormwater with green roofs and blue roofs as well as new types of plant beds and tree pits along its streets called bioswales...

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Vision of a great place to live, work and play fueled by “Smart Growth”

Vision of a great place to live, work and play fueled by “Smart Growth” | green streets | Scoop.it
Vision of a great place to live, work and play fueled by “Smart Growth”nwitimes.comTo date the results of Chesterton's "Smart Growth" plan speak for themselves in a town where the quality of life is already considered second to none by many.


To date the results of Chesterton's "Smart Growth" plan speak for themselves in a town where the quality of life is already considered second to none by many. There's a balanced mix of established and developing residential neighborhoods to meet the needs of homeowners in various price ranges, outstanding schools that are well-regarded in the state for academic excellence and quality programs, a re-energized downtown that routinely draws visitors from three states and an amazing Porter County location in close proximity to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park.

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City Touch | Livable Cities

City Touch | Livable Cities | green streets | Scoop.it
By 2030 over 5 billion people will live in urban areas, resulting in larger, busier cities. City planners and architects around the world are working hard to produce innovative solutions to meet the future demands of city living.

Drawing on more than 100 years of experience in lighting, Philips has created CityTouch: an online outdoor lighting management system that enables dynamic, intelligent and flexible control on a city-wide scale. It provides light precisely when, where and in the right amount needed. When combined with LED lighting, City Touch can achieve up to 70% savings in energy and up to 70% in maintenance costs compared to conventional lighting...

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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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Building resilient cities and towns

Building resilient cities and towns | green streets | Scoop.it

It will not be news to anyone reading this that the United States remains in the midst of the deepest economic crisis in a lifetime. Becoming more economically resilient will require a basket of solutions, including a serious look at the way we have been growing our cities and towns.

This week, Strong Towns has released a substantial new report analyzing data and arguing that we must change our development approach if we wish to end the current economic crisis. In particular, we must emphasize obtaining a higher rate of financial return from existing infrastructure investments, focusing on traditional neighborhoods where large public investments in infrastructure are currently being underutilized...

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Streetcars prepare for resurgence in U.S., Canada

Streetcars prepare for resurgence in U.S., Canada | green streets | Scoop.it
You could argue that the streetcar (or “trolley” or “tram,” depending on where you are as you read this) was the last form of public transportation to hit its stride before the rise of the private car took place, stealing residents away to the newly-created suburbs for good.

First introduced in the 19th century as a horse-drawn affair, later improved through the use of steam, then electric, power, the streetcar disappeared in the 1950s nearly as quickly as it appeared more than a century before. Why build fixed infrastructure like rails and wires when a city bus can go virtually anywhere?

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The Ultra-Ex Studio: Redesigning 'Urban Green'

The Ultra-Ex Studio: Redesigning 'Urban Green' | green streets | Scoop.it

The Product of the long term collaboration with the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning (GSAPP) and Preservation and the Fu School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), this studio accepted the design challenges of the next "Urban Green”wave in the United States, with emphasis on the specificities of neighborhood and building constellations.

The studio explored new categories of micro-scale "infrastructures" combined to form a new design lexicon in accomplishing 50% less waste production; 50% less energy use; 50% less water consumption. Analyses were developed for neighborhoods within Manhattan surrounding the Columbia University Morningside and Medical School complexes.

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Sustainable Infrastructure as Public Amenity

Sustainable Infrastructure as Public Amenity | green streets | Scoop.it

Ok, I’m impressed.  Have you seen Sherbourne Common? If you haven’t, I suggest that  you check it out.  This is the most recent project to be unveiled as part of Toronto’s ambitious waterfront.

Designed by landscape architects Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg, Sherbourne Common is an example of how critical infrastructure – in this case a neighbourhood storm water treatment facility – can be fully integrated into a neighbourhood. The brilliant part is that the facility doubles as an elegant public space where current and future residents of the planned East Bay Front community will be able to gather, play and interact

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Review> LA Story - The Architect's Newspaper

Review> LA Story - The Architect's Newspaper | green streets | Scoop.it
No More Play: Conversations on Urban Speculation in Los Angeles and Beyond by Michael Maltzan.

Michael Maltzan has wisely framed his analysis of Los Angeles as a symposium, conversing with ten individuals who share his concerns about the state of the metropolis and its future. All came from somewhere else, and this gives them a critical perspective and a stubborn optimism about the potential of this urban agglomeration.

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Rediscovering the Road to the Sustainable City

Rediscovering the Road to the Sustainable City | green streets | Scoop.it
Those of us who write about cities should be students of history and experience, and with some humility listen to scholars and the legacy of urban development from from around the world.
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