green streets
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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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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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Education, Urbanization & Citizen Activism: Interview with Aseem Inam & Miguel Robles-Duran

Education, Urbanization & Citizen Activism: Interview with Aseem Inam & Miguel Robles-Duran | green streets | Scoop.it
Education is critical if we are to continue to improve our cities.

With this in mind, This Big City’s Joe Peach and Lyndsey Scofield were thrilled to get the opportunity to talk with Aseem Inam, Director of the MA Theories of Urban Practice, and Miguel Robles-Duran, Director of the MS Design and Urban Ecologies, from Parsons The New School for Design. Education, Urbanization & Citizen Activism were just some of the subjects that emerged in conversation.

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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... 


Via Ana Valdés
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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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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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Vancouver looks to implement scramble crosswalks

Vancouver looks to implement scramble crosswalks | green streets | Scoop.it

The City of Vancouver is looking to implement scramble crosswalks at the city's busiest and most dangerous intersections.

A pedestrian scramble crosswalk allows an intersection to act as a six-way crossing, letting pedestrians walk diagonally across the intersection.

"We are reviewing it now," said Jerry Dobrovolny, Vancouver's director of transportation.

"Pedestrians are the highest priority in our transportation system and so one thing a scramble intersection can do is to increase pedestrian safety."

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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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