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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
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World's Largest Solar Power Plant Helps the Golden State get Greener

World's Largest Solar Power Plant Helps the Golden State get Greener | green streets | Scoop.it

Earlier in February, the state of California got a whole lot greener with the opening of Ivanpah, the world's largest solar thermal energy plant

The Golden State will get even closer to its goal of sourcing a third of its power from renewable energy sources. Situated on 2,400 acres of desert land between Yuma and Phoenix, the world's largest fully-operational solar power plant has recently finished construction. With a maximum capacity of 290 megawatts, the Agua Caliente power plant will generate renewable energy for 230,000 homes back in California.

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Russell Roberts's curator insight, May 4, 2014 1:08 AM

Ivanpah is the "world's largest solar thermal energy plant" with a capacity of 290 megawatts--enough energy to support the electrical needs of 230,000 homes.  If Californian, Arizona, and New Mexico can find a way to integrate solar energy into their shared grid, why can't Hawaii do the same?  The state Public Utilities Commission has begun the switch over to solar power with a ruling that mandates the state's electrical utilities to submit plans to fully integrate photovoltaic systems into  each Island's grid.  It's about time.  The longer we delay the full integration of all types of renewable energy, the more imported oil will cost us and the more vulnerable our economy becomes to variations in the crude oil market.  As Bob Dylan once intoned many moons ago, "You don't have to be a weaterman to see which way the wind blows."  Basically, get with the program.  Aloha, Russ.

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25,000 LEDs: the World's Largest Digital Light Sculpture

25,000 LEDs: the World's Largest Digital Light Sculpture | green streets | Scoop.it

This month marked the official opening of the world's largest digital light sculpture- the Bay Lights in Northern California...


The Bay Lights is the world’s largest LED light sculpture, 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high. Inspired by the Bay Bridge’s 75th Anniversary, its 25,000 white LED lights are individually programmed to create a never-repeating, dazzling display across the Bay Bridge West Span through 2015.

Drawing inspiration from the surroundings and the dynamic nature of the water below, artist Leo Villareal leveraged digital technology and innovative software to develop and realize the design...

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Can a Sustainable Town Be Built From Scratch in the Middle of Nowhere?

Can a Sustainable Town Be Built From Scratch in the Middle of Nowhere? | green streets | Scoop.it
A controversial proposal seeks to help revive Southern California's troubled Salton Sea.

Its developers are holding it up as one of the greenest, most sustainable plans for a new town development, but it's also being attacked by environmental groups for its unlikely – and historically unlucky – location. The project is a proposed brand new town that aims to eventually house about 37,000 people, their jobs and the commercial activity to sustain their economy, all overlooking the northwest shores of the Salton Sea in the Colorado Desert of Southern California, the largest body of water in the state.

Travertine Point, as the project's known, has been in the works since 2005 and represents some of the most progressive ideas in urban planning, town design and environmental sustainability. But at roughly 20 miles from the communities neighboring Palm Springs, how far away this project is from the rest of the populated parts of the Coachella Valley is equally as concerning as how close it is to the Salton Sea, an accidental lake that has slowly devolved into a toxic, smelly and potentially deadly body of less and less water...

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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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Feature> Home on the Rails

Feature> Home on the Rails | green streets | Scoop.it

From Metro to BART, California agencies are actively collaborating with developers. Sam Lubell investigates transit-oriented design.

Yes, we admit it: the car is still king in California. But from LA to San Francisco an impressive list of new transit projects are beginning to change this. LA, known as the archetypal freeway city, has built or is planning more than ten new rail lines and extensions—largely spurred by 2008 ballot measure R, a sales tax hike providing billions to transit projects.

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California's Unusual Plan to Cut Greenhouse Gases

California's Unusual Plan to Cut Greenhouse Gases | green streets | Scoop.it

The state is relying on cities to figure out how to cut emissions in their region. Will it work?


When California’s S.B. 375 was passed in 2008, there were many skeptics. The law aimed to get metropolitan regions around the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions through changes to development form and transportation. 

In 2011, the California Air Resources Board set GHG emissions reduction targets by metro region for passenger vehicles and 18 Metropolitan Planning Organizations were then to develop "sustainable community strategies," with integrated transportation, housing, and community development.

The idea was that smart, sustainable community design, coordinated with transportation systems that integrated walkability, bicycles, and next generation public transit, could really make a difference. It's honestly much too soon to tell whether this will work. But here's a quick look at three prominent metropolitan regions and their responses to this mandate.

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Traveling the Entire Length of California by Local Transit

Traveling the Entire Length of California by Local Transit | green streets | Scoop.it

A new state rail map shows that it can be done — should you be crazy enough to try it.

Local transit maps tend to stay local. Some designate connections to other lines or systems but it's not really their purpose to expand the map beyond the metropolitan area — say, the way road atlases do. Recently a California design team did what local agencies don't: created a statewide rail map with more than 500 destinations served by ten rail authorities plus Amtrak, ferry, and major bus connections.


The California Rail Map inspired us to find a way to travel north through the whole state, beginning just across the Mexican border, riding only local transit — no Amtrak or Greyhound. Twu guided us through the following inland route through the Sierra Nevada range. ("I suspect it is also a beautiful trip," he says.) The itinerary runs through five systems and only requires seven transfers:

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Why California Must Focus on Rail & Transit | Sustainable Cities Collective

Why California Must Focus on Rail & Transit | Sustainable Cities Collective | green streets | Scoop.it

Imagine a scenario by which our country’s most populous state, notorious for freeways, traffic nightmares and smog, could reduce driving by 3.7 trillion miles by 2050 (compared to trends forecast under business as usual), the equivalent of taking all cars off the state’s roads for 12 years. Imagine saving 140 billion gallons of gasoline through 2050, reducing oil consumption by an amount roughly equivalent to seven years’ worth of all US offshore oil production. Imagine saving some 3,700 square miles of California farmland, forests, recreation areas, and other currently open space that would otherwise be lost to sprawl. Imagine eliminating 140 premature deaths and 105,000 asthma attacks and respiratory symptoms each year.

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How a California city is cleaning up, building green, & protecting residents from pollution

How a California city is cleaning up, building green, & protecting residents from pollution | green streets | Scoop.it
  Over decades, the 14-acre commercial flower nursery in Richmond, California became a severely blighted site, its old greenhouses falling into disrepair and its soil polluted with years of pesticide and herbicide applications. 

After the nursery closed, contamination posed an obstacle to redevelopment. Not a great place for housing, one might think.

But think again: these challenges are being overcome as the site is cleaned of contaminants and transformed into what will be the city’s greenest new residential development.

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Spending green on green streets

Spending green on green streets | green streets | Scoop.it
This story is part of an ongoing series that tracks the city’s expenditures appearing on upcoming Santa Monica City Council consent agendas.
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