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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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In the future, urban bikers go faster than cars

In the future, urban bikers go faster than cars | green streets | Scoop.it
Cities around the world are considering radical new speed limits on cars -- slowing down in the name of progress...
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How Public Transit Celebrates the Holidays

How Public Transit Celebrates the Holidays | green streets | Scoop.it

A roundup of the best train lights and subway car decorations...Continuing a bit of a tradition on this blog, here are some really fun photos of holiday festivity on public transit and rail systems. You'll notice some themes, including the Chicago Transit Authority's famous Holiday Train, and the amazingly photogenic holiday train from Canadian Pacific railroad, which not only crosses the length of Canada but also dips into America at times. Both the CTA and CP trains support those enterprises' work to collect and distribute food to the needy.

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Former Malt Factory in Berlin to Become Aquaponic Rooftop Farm

Former Malt Factory in Berlin to Become Aquaponic Rooftop Farm | green streets | Scoop.it

The concept of urban agriculture is fast taking root in our cities, and while images of towering vertical farms with high-altitude pastures and verdant exteriors may captivate us with their fantastical designs, the greatest leaps and bounds in this area stem from simple, tried and true farming methods and adaptive reuse of pre-existing structures. The latest “farm of the future” on the horizon: the Frisch vom Dach, or the Fresh from the Roof project in Berlin. Der Spiegel recently reported on the efforts of three German entrepreneurs to transform the expansive rooftop of a former malt factory in Berlin into a sustainable urban farm projected to produce tons of vegetables and fish for the city each month.

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Are streetcars the answer to our transit and environmental needs?

Are streetcars the answer to our transit and environmental needs? | green streets | Scoop.it

Patrick Condon wants to turn back the clock to the streetcar era.

Condon, an urban planner and professor at the University of British Columbia, says bringing back the streetcar is the best thing cities can do to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases and become more sustainable.

Speaking last week at the University of Minnesota, Condon said most North American cities developed out of the agricultural grid system, in which the land was divided into one-mile-square parcels. Streetcars could easily be added back into cities that developed on a grid pattern and many suburbs could be retrofitted to include them, he said...

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Green Building in Rio's Favelas | The Rio Times

Green Building in Rio's Favelas | The Rio Times | green streets | Scoop.it
Recent reclassification and investment in some of Rio's sprawling favela communities has the green building industry gaining momentum in Brazil.

The term ‘green building’ is most commonly referring to sustainable building practices and environmentally conscious construction, wide-ranging concepts including everything from energy efficiency to waste management. Recent reclassification and investment in some of Rio’s sprawling favela communities has the green industry gaining momentum in Brazil, alongside the U.S., Israel and China.

“We’re talking not just about potentially transforming the lives of those living in the favelas, but about improving the lives of Brazilians everywhere,” says Jonathan Kendall, co-founder of green consultancy Rio Energy Consulting.

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Imagining a City Without Its Public Transportation

Imagining a City Without Its Public Transportation | green streets | Scoop.it
Antos, a WMATA transportation analyst, has for the last several months been managing a study [PDF] that makes the business case for transit in the D.C. area. The agency tried to isolate the actual impact of rail lines on economic development, property values and tax revenues in the immediate vicinity around each station (they conservatively estimate that Metrorail boosts the value of property within a half mile of stations by about seven to nine percent).

But they also modeled what the region would look like if its transit never existed. And this is where things get really interesting.

WMATA took the same transportation demand model that it uses to project ridership on a new line and instead ran a couple of scenarios with the region’s transit literally turned off. All of it: the regional rail, the buses and the metro system.

"It was literally just imagining Washington, and all of a sudden, you wake up tomorrow, and the transit system isn’t there," Antos says. "What would you do?"

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Bergamot 2? Art-Filled Market Planned on the San Pedro Waterfront

Bergamot 2? Art-Filled Market Planned on the San Pedro Waterfront | green streets | Scoop.it

The developers of Santa Monica’s gallery haven Bergamot Station are planning another art center, this time in San Pedro. “Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles,” which was just approved by the Los Angeles Harbor Department (city council approval is still pending) will offer paintings, sculptures, and other artworks sold by 500 artists sitting in open stalls. The facility, set to open next summer, will be located inside the city’s warehouses No. 9 and 10, located near Cabrillo Marina. The structures, totaling 140,000 square feet, were used by the Navy during the 1940s, then later for storage. Their clerestory windows and huge doors will allow lots of light and air inside.

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How to Bridge Neighborhood Gaps? Turn Overpasses into Main Streets

How to Bridge Neighborhood Gaps? Turn Overpasses into Main Streets | green streets | Scoop.it

The answer to one of today's difficult planning problems may lie in the Middle Ages. In cities across the US, freeways cut through communities, creating urban dead zones. To heal that damage, Columbus, Ohio built an urbanized bridge, common in 12th & 17th century Europe.

 

In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, imaginative, multifunctional bridges known as "habitable bridges" were quite common. Some hosted markets. Others contained mills that harnessed the power of the river. Many housed defensive towers or featured chapels. Beyond the novelty of having buildings on a bridge, they were highly functional, as they became natural venues for commercial trade. Perhaps the most famous habitable bridge was London Bridge, which had buildings on it from 1209 until it was rebuilt in 1831. Other surviving habitable bridges include Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy; Ponte di Rialto in Venice; and Krämerbrücke in Erfurt, Germany...


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Why Smart Growth is Important to Land Conservation

Why Smart Growth is Important to Land Conservation | green streets | Scoop.it

For decades, the amount of developed land in our country has grown much faster than population, in some regions of the country several times faster. In the 25-year period from 1982 to 2007, we lost some 23 million acres of agricultural land - an area the size of Indiana - irretrievably to pavement, malls, and subdivisions, according to the American Farmland Trust.

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Rail Station & Warehouse Recycled into Cultural Center & Park, Argentina

Rail Station & Warehouse Recycled into Cultural Center & Park, Argentina | green streets | Scoop.it
An old freight train loading station and warehouse and its surrounding areas were transformed into amazing public spaces.

Following the newish tradition of turning abandoned urban structures into vibrant green spaces, a surface of over 34 acres belonging to a freight rail until the 1990s was recovered and transformed into an amazing public park in Mendoza, Argentina’s fourth largest city (famous for its Malbec wine and access to the Aconcagua peak in the Andes).

Penned by B4FS architects, the project sought to pay tribute to the old use of the area, so the main route of the park follows the railway location. It also aimed at paying tribute to water, a crucial element for the city, which grew around dessert lands.

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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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Paris to Plant 80,000 Square Yards of Green Roofs by 2020

Paris to Plant 80,000 Square Yards of Green Roofs by 2020 | green streets | Scoop.it
Paris' recently ratified Biodiversity Plan includes a call to triple the number of rooftop gardens and green roofs in the next decade.

 

In mid-November, the Paris city council adopted a new Plan de Biodiversité. Among calls for an extension of the electric tramway system and improved management of the two forests that border the city, the plan includes a pledge to create seven more hectares (about 83,000 square yards) of green roofs and rooftop gardens throughout Paris...

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Alexander Garvin Looks at Public Spaces in New York

Alexander Garvin Looks at Public Spaces in New York | green streets | Scoop.it

Writing in The New York Times last week Christopher B. Leinberger, a professor of urban planning, took note of “a profound structural shift” in America during the last decade or so, “a reversal of what took place in the 1950s.” Back then drivable suburbs boomed while center cities decayed. Now more and more people want to settle in “a walkable urban downtown.” The most expensive housing in the country, and not just New York City, is in “high-density, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods,” he said.

But what makes high-density neighborhoods pedestrian friendly?

Good public space for starters...

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The UniverCity project: An experiment in suburban urbanism

The UniverCity project: An experiment in suburban urbanism | green streets | Scoop.it

For the green benefits of urbanism -- walkability, transit, smaller dwellings, more efficient buildings -- to become a truly helpful climate strategy, we're going to need them in more than just cities. We need suburbia to adopt those features too, because a full 50 percent of Americans live in suburbs (compared to 30 percent in central cities), according to 2000 census data... 


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Top 5 smart growth projects in the U.S.

Top 5 smart growth projects in the U.S. | green streets | Scoop.it
Where can you find the most innovative smart growth projects in America?

They’re in places like New Mexico and South Dakota, and they’re transforming their communities.

For the tenth year, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Growth Achievement Awards has highlighted the most innovative approaches that communities are using to “strengthen their economies, provide housing and transportation choices, develop in ways that bring benefits to a wide range of residents, and protect the environment.”

Here’s EPA’s choices this year for the top 5 smart growth projects in the U.S. (in no particular order).

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The Yards Park: 42 acres transformed

The Yards Park: 42 acres transformed | green streets | Scoop.it

If you were standing along the Anacostia River between the US Naval Yard and the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium 10 years ago, odds are you were up to no good. It was a seedy and dangerous area that you wouldn’t dream of taking your family to for a picnic lunch or a walk along the waterfront. Flash forward to the same two mile stretch of waterfront today and you will see children playing in the fountain, runners out for their daily jog and professionals relaxing during their lunch breaks.

M. Paul Friedberg & Partners designed The Yards Park which is now an amazing mixed use public space. Studio 431 developed multiple site amenities, including wave benches, lounge chairs, weaved table/benches, trellis canopies and bridge benches.

The Project for Public Spaces (PPS) ranked The Yards Park 16th out of the Top 100 Public Spaces in the United States and Canada.

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How bikes can solve America’s most pressing problems

How bikes can solve America’s most pressing problems | green streets | Scoop.it

Air quality, obesity, commute times, strained family budgets, unnecessary deaths, runaway health care expenses -- is there anything that a mass shift to bicycles transportation wouldn't solve? And it's not like this is a fantasy -- Europe has demonstrated that not only is this possible, it's the future.

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Rome Restricts Car Use to Reduce Emissions, Improve Air Quality

Rome Restricts Car Use to Reduce Emissions, Improve Air Quality | green streets | Scoop.it

With climate talks taking place in Durban this week, all eyes have been on South Africa. But whether climate discussions yield binding targets or not, cities around the world are suffering the very real consequences of greenhouse gas emissions and taking necessary steps to lower pollution levels. Rome, Italy, for example, exceeded air safety limits 56 times this year, according to 3news. Traffic congestion and car traffic are the main contributors to the six consecutive days of emergency level air pollution rates in Rome, and therefore the city is taking action by using partial vehicle blocks and pedestrian weekends to push air pollution levels down.

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Turning an Abandoned Industrial Island into a Green Cultural Center in Paris

Turning an Abandoned Industrial Island into a Green Cultural Center in Paris | green streets | Scoop.it
A small island in the Parisian suburbs, once home to Renault car factories, is being converted into a cultural hub with a focus on sustainable development and a quality living environment.

The renewal of the site was first proposed in 1997, five years after Renault closed shop. The island and the adjacent mainland cover 74 hectares in the city of Boulogne-Bilancourt. The idea is to develop the empty industrial space into a thriving urban center, with 500,000m⊃2; of housing (one third of it for low-income residents), 250,000m⊃2; of office space and 250,000m⊃2; for shops and public space.

The project will focus equally on sustainable development and creating a quality living environment. The socially diverse "eco-neighborhood" will focus on public transportation over individual cars (an ironic turn for an old automobile plant) and feature large public spaces, filled with plant life and pedestrian walkways...

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Noguchi Museum Features Art as Urban Planning

Noguchi Museum Features Art as Urban Planning | green streets | Scoop.it
When the impetus for urban planning comes from the art studio instead of from public officials, you get the ideas seen in “Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City” at the Noguchi Museum.

They aren’t granted as many opportunities as politicians or armies. But when all else fails, the visionary thinking of artists has become public policy. Ten years ago an artist turned mayor painted dilapidated buildings with bright primary colors in Tirana, Albania, performing a kind of art therapy on a depressed city. And in Bogotá, Colombia, traffic police were replaced with mimes in the hope of supplanting corruption and violence with playful street theater.

The situation in Long Island City isn’t as dire as in those localities. But that section of Queens has been threatened in recent decades by unchecked development, the loss of affordable housing and the chemical hangover of industrialization. And so the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park asked four artists to take a crack at city planning...

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'Urban Umbrella' Graces New York With New Scaffolding (PHOTOS) - Huffington Post

'Urban Umbrella' Graces New York With New Scaffolding (PHOTOS) - Huffington Post | green streets | Scoop.it
Mayor Bloomberg unveiled the first model of "Urban Umbrella," a beautiful new design for the city's scaffolding structures, in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday.

The design was the winner of the urbanSHED competition which sought to revamp the city's current scaffolding designed more than 60 years ago. Project Engineer Sarrah Khan, Architect Andres Cortes, and Designer Young Hwan Choi who all helped bring the structure to life were also present for Wednesday's unveiling.

Buildings Commissioner Robert Limandri praised the new structure for both its aesthetic design and safety...

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ALB: Creating public space at a retired railway

ALB: Creating public space at a retired railway | green streets | Scoop.it
Rehabilitating an inoperative railway through environmentally aware means, thereby transforming this area into a promenade that adheres to its area’s environmental constraints.

The project encompasses the entire stretch of the retired railroad and its fixtures between Albissola and Celle Ligure (SV) , transforming it into an environmentally accentuated pedestrian promenade. The project focalises the nature pathes, view points, a new overhang walkway made by corten steel and wood, The restoration of the railway tunnel will function as a "container" for visionary art exhibitions and artistic installations.

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The Power of 10 « Project for Public Spaces

The Power of 10 « Project for Public Spaces | green streets | Scoop.it
The Power of 10 is a concept PPS uses to start off a Placemaking process. The idea is that it’s not enough to have just one great place in a neighborhood- you need a number of them to create a truly lively city or town. It’s not enough to have only one superior neighborhood in a city- you need to provide people all over town with close-to-home opportunities to take pleasure in public life. And, it’s not enough to have one livable city or town in a region- you need a collection of interesting communities.

Everywhere we bring up this idea, citizens become more energized to turn their places around. The Power of 10 offers an easy framework that motivates residents and stakeholders to revitalize urban life, and shows that by starting efforts at the smallest scale you can accomplish big things. The concept also provides people something tangible to strive for and helps them visualize what it takes to make their community great.

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'Green' neighbourhood delivers a better life

'Green' neighbourhood delivers a better life | green streets | Scoop.it

A Durban neighbourhood, given a "green" makeover, has named a street in honour of the city's climate talks.

Isimosezulu COP17 Place, Cato Manor, near the city centre is touted as the country's 1st "green street".

Thirty homes were spruced up by the Green Building Council of South Africa in time for the climate change negotiations.

Each home in the cul-de-sac was kitted out with rain tanks, solar water heaters, energy-saving lights, efficient LED streetlights, special heat insulation cookers and food gardens...

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Pianos In Public Space

Pianos In Public Space | green streets | Scoop.it
People in Tilburg still talk about it. In September 101 pianos popped up in public parks, bus shelters and train stations, outside galleries and markets and even on bridges. The musical instruments were there for everyone to play and enjoy.

“Who plays them and how long they remain is up to each community. Many pianos are personalised and decorated by artists or the local community. ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ disrupts people’s negotiation of their city and invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment.”

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