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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7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free

7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free | green streets |
Urban planners are finally recognizing that streets should be designed for people, not careening hunks of deadly metal.

After over a hundred years of living with cars, some cities are slowly starting to realize that the automobile doesn't make a lot of sense in the urban context. It isn't just the smog or the traffic deaths; in a city, cars aren't even a convenient way to get around.

Now a growing number of cities are getting rid of cars in certain neighborhoods through fines, better design, new apps, and, in the case of Milan, even paying commuters to leave their car parked at home and take the train instead.

Unsurprisingly, the changes are happening fastest in European capitals that were designed hundreds or thousands of years before cars were ever built. In sprawling U.S. suburbs that were designed for driving, the path to eliminating cars is obviously more challenging.

Read further for more on the leaders moving toward car-free neighborhoods.

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Hamburg Aims To Be Car-Free In 20 Years

Hamburg Aims To Be Car-Free In 20 Years | green streets |
In order create what will someday be a large green network, local authorities are to connect pedestrian and cycle lanes; this is expected to smooth inner city traffic flow.

To live in this age is an exciting time. The technological advances have accelerated communication around the world, and in effect, a shifting of resources to more sustainable alternatives continue to be implemented at an increasing rate. Who knew thirty or even fifty years ago that cars would so quickly go out of fashion in favor of more sustainable, alternative modes of transportation?

Yet this is exactly what is happening in the German town of Hamburg. The city council recently disclosed it has plans to divert most of its cars away from the city’s main thoroughfares in twenty years. In order create what will someday be a large green network, local authorities are to connect pedestrian and cycle lanes; this is expected to smooth inner city traffic flow.

Via ParadigmGallery
ParadigmGallery's curator insight, May 12, 2014 3:54 PM


Locations all around the world are submitting to greener design and methods of living that will support future generations to come. Hamburg is just one of many examples that will likely influence a change in the current system. -

Judit Urquijo's curator insight, June 17, 2014 6:52 AM

La ciudad de Hamburgo (Alemania) se ha propuesto eliminar los automóviles de su centro urbano en el plazo de 20 años

Se trata sin duda de un ambicioso plan para una ciudad con un área metropolitana en la que conviven 5 millones de personas (datos de 2012). Este proyecto, denominado "Green Network", que se enmarca dentro de una estrategia orientada a paliar los efectos del cambio climático, tiene como principales ejes vertebradores una red de caminos verdes de carácter peatonal y ciclable que unirán los extrarradios con el centro urbano. Esta red estará complementada por un sistema de transporte público que tendrá por sello su eficiencia. 

En este sentido, Hamburgo cuenta con ciertas ventajas. Aproximadamente el 8% del área metropolitana es reserva natural, ya que el curso del río Elba ha creado una notable diversidad de hábitats que propician esta protección. Además, el 40% de su extensión está cubierta por zonas verdes que, con la ejecución de este plan, se verán ampliadas. 

¿Utopía? El crecimiento urbanístico experimentado por nuestras ciudades ha hecho del automóvil particular una necesidad. Pero el problema es de conciencia. Nos hemos acostumbrado a querer llegar hasta el kilómetro cero sentados al volante, a pesar del tiempo y el dinero que se consume en esta tarea a veces titánica. Por tanto, para llevar a cabo un proyecto como el que se está ideando en Hamburgo es vital un proceso de reeducación tendente a crear un nuevo modelo de ciudad, pero el mismo debe gestarse desde la propia persona consciente de la huella que produce y no desde la prohibición. Y no todo el mundo estará dispuesto a someterse y a colaborar.

Quizás, por tanto, sean más factibles otras alternativas como las que propone Harald N. Rostvik, que aboga por que sean los coches eléctricos de pequeño tamaño los que reinen en la ciudad en un sistema de car-sharing. 

Información adicional


Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, August 24, 2014 9:42 PM

Strategies for sustainable urban places - European example 

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Solar-powered family car wins race across Australia

Solar-powered family car wins race across Australia | green streets |

A vehicle described as "the world's first solar-powered family car" has come first in a photovoltaic-powered race across Australia.

Stella, a four-seater car developed by Solar Team Eindhoven from the Netherlands, claimed victory in the Cruiser class at the World Solar Challenge 2013. The vehicle completed the 3,000 km journey at an average of 67 km/h and a top speed of 120 km/h.

The Cruiser class, a new category at the biannual World Solar Challenge, was inaugurated in order to encourage the development of commercially viable solar-powered vehicles. Whereas other categories focus on speed alone, the Cruiser class takes into account practicality for everyday use...

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The Netherlands Is Building A Country-Wide EV Charging Network

The Netherlands Is Building A Country-Wide EV Charging Network | green streets |

A dense, relatively small country, the Netherlands is well suited to electric vehicles, and the new Fastned scheme could be a "benchmark" for other places.

The distinctive yellow stations are about 100 feet across, and covered in solar panels to power things like lights and cameras. Each station, which is located at an existing gas stop, will have four to eight charging points. If all goes well, they could make vehicle charging as convenient as filling a tank, though drivers will still need to wait 15 to 30 minutes before the task is completed.

Find more details at the article link.

Opslagruimte Huren in Netherlands-Salland Storage's comment, February 17, 1:32 AM
Goedkope Opslagruimte Huren
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the 10 Best Cities for People without Cars

the 10 Best Cities for People without Cars | green streets |

Whether you’re a nervous driver or a staunch supporter of mass transit to reduce your carbon footprint, relying solely upon public transportation will require you to live in a city with a suitable public transportation system in place.

According to, the 10 U.S. cities at the article link have the best mass transit systems in place and are most well-suited to traveling sans car:

New York 

San Francisco


Washington, DC







Find more details at the article link...

bancoideas's curator insight, March 8, 2013 10:11 AM

las 10 mejores ciudades para la gente sin auto, podrían ser simplementa las 10 mejores ciudades para vivir

Samantha Melvin's curator insight, October 12, 2013 4:44 PM

How do people use systems in their every day lives?

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Top ten most EV-ready cities in the U.S.

Top ten most EV-ready cities in the U.S. | green streets |
PlugShare’s user data points to encouraging signs for EV charging infrastructure around the country.

The makers of an app that helps users locate electric vehicle charging stations nearby have tapped the user base for some interesting EV trends. Based on the incidence of charging stations per 100,000 residents, (taken from PlugShare’s data as well as the 2012 U.S. Census) PlugShare developer Xatori Inc. has ranked the top ten most EV-ready cities in the country.

Leading the pack is Portland, Ore., with 11.0 charging locations per 100,000 residents, followed by Dallas (10.6), Nashville (8.2), San Francisco Bay Area (6.6), Seattle (6.5), Orlando (6.3), Austin (5.3), Tucson (5.3), Honolulu (5.1), and the Washington, D.C. area (4.7).

While several of these cities may seem like unlikely hotspots for electric vehicle adoption, most of these areas do have a connection to EVs. Dallas is one of the focus areas for a Texas-based electric vehicle infrastructure company; Nashville is home to a factory that builds Nissan Leafs; Orlando is a focus area for charging station distributor CarCharging; Tucson is a focus area for Arizona-based EV infrastructure company Blink, and Honolulu, an early testing location for Israeli EV infrastructure company Better Place.

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The Glorious Return of the World's Smallest Street-Legal Car

The Glorious Return of the World's Smallest Street-Legal Car | green streets |
How would you like to own a car so compact that you could pick it up and carry it into your apartment at night?


That's not an exaggeration. The Peel P50 is buglike enough that you can practically juggle three of them. And about that owning part: Although the only automobile ever manufactured on the Isle of Man fell out of production in 1965, the company that now manages the Peel line is sending the microcars buzzing back to the streets of England, where we can only hope they will seek out their natural mate, the Roomba, and breed to create a race of trash-eating vehicles...

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What Intersections Would Look Like in a World of Driverless Cars

What Intersections Would Look Like in a World of Driverless Cars | green streets |
Imagining a future without lights and stop signs.


“The technology is pretty much already there,” says Peter Stone, a computer scientist at the University of Texas at Austin. And this was also the jarring promise of Tom Vanderbilt’s recent profile of the autonomous car in Wired. “But the question is when will it be cost-effective? When will the legal industry wrap its head around it, and the insurance industry, and when will people buy into it? I don’t know when it will actually happen. But the potential advantages are so huge that it has to happen eventually.”

Stone is thinking of the advantages for the disabled and elderly who can’t currently drive, for parents who don’t have time to take their kids to soccer (they can take themselves!), and above all for traffic safety and the more efficient movement of people everywhere.

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Another Use for The Street | Sustainable Cities Collective

Another Use for The Street | Sustainable Cities Collective | green streets |

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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New 'Slow Zones' Make NYC Streets Safer and Greener

New 'Slow Zones' Make NYC Streets Safer and Greener | green streets |
This week, New York City opened its first neighborhood slow zone, where slower speed limits make roads more accessible to anyone not in a car.

The neighborhood slow zone is a six-block-square area of the Bronx where the speed limit is now 20 mph, compared to 30 in the rest of the city. Signs declaring the slow zone designation mark the entrances to this area, while "20 MPH" is painted in tall letters at regular intervals on the street as a reminder. Speed bumps help enforce the new rule.

The neighborhood is mostly residential, with a high concentration of schools and a history of injuries and fatalities.

The city's transportation commission, Janette Sadik-Khan, spoke at the opening ceremony for slow zone about how it will make the streets safer. But it will also make them greener: slower speed limits make roads more accessible to anyone not in a car.

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Streets- The Pedestrian Loses the Way

Streets- The Pedestrian Loses the Way | green streets |
Before the advent of the electric and cable streetcars, pedestrians had undifferentiated dominion over both the sidewalks and the roadbed.

This changed in the 1880s with the advent of electric and cable streetcars, with their much greater weights and speeds than horse-drawn vehicles, not to mention their guillotine-like wheels. It is a comment on how we viewed our streets that, by design, passengers were meant to board streetcars in the middle of the roadway.

There are only a few places where one can recapture the old relationship of the buildings to the full width of the street...

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How Will Automated Cars Change Landscape Architecture?

How Will Automated Cars Change Landscape Architecture? | green streets |

A look at how the inevitable technology of automated cars will change the face of landscape architecture.

Our cities were built to be the backbone support of the industrial revolution. Our roads were built to accommodate the car and truck. Our soil is radically altered due to fertilizers and farm practices of the past. Time and time again we can look at the trend of technology being introduced and a few decades later it fundamentally changes the way we look at the landscape...

Norm Miller's curator insight, September 25, 2014 4:34 PM

Parking lots can now be further away and we will be able to work while in our cars without endangering others.  Suburbs can be further away.  We will change our cars to be more like mini offices and lounges.  Sounds great to me.  

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9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe

9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe | green streets |
Understanding mistakes of the past can help guide U.S. transportation policy in the future.

Between the 1920s and 1960s, policies adapting cities to car travel in the United States served as a role model for much of Western Europe. But by the late 1960s, many European cities started refocusing their policies to curb car use by promoting walking, cycling, and public transportation. For the last two decades, in the face of car-dependence, suburban sprawl, and an increasingly unsustainable transportation system, U.S. planners have been looking to Western Europe.

Brittany Ortiz's curator insight, October 27, 2014 2:44 PM

This is very true and fascinating to read. It's obvious how technology and cars can change the way we view the world. When in DR this past summer, there were so many people driving a motorcycle. I didn't really get the reason why other than hearing my dad say "porque no cuesta mucho" which in English is saying "because it doesn't cost as much." It made sense, seeing the conditions outside of the resort and also having the opportunity to visit an elementary school and seeing how many students either walked or went 3 to 4 on a motorcycle to get to school. It makes sense how having a car and paying the taxes contributes in a state fixing something. It's obvious how car dependent United States is. Were so lazy to walk up the street to get milk, that we'll prefer to drive our car there. Its the realization we must all unfortunately come to.

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Reinventing A Suburban Business Park With 30 Electric Cars

Reinventing A Suburban Business Park With 30 Electric Cars | green streets |

San Francisco is a hotbed of innovation around networked, shared transportation, where one can use app-based services to fetch a ride (Uber), find parking (SFPark) and gain access to just about everything with wheels—from cars and rides to scooters and bikes. 
But traveling 25 miles east to Pleasanton, Calif., it’s standard procedure to drive alone in a gas-guzzler, like many parts of suburban America.

Now a new pilot program, dubbed “Dash,” changes that paradigm by bringing 21st Century networked mobility to a quintessential 1970s environment: the suburban business park.

The initiative uses 30 small electric cars on loan from Toyota to City CarShare, a Bay Area non-profit.  The EVs will be positioned throughout a residential and business development where 18,000 people work, and 4,000 people live.  When fully deployed, residents will be no more than a five-minute walk away from quick, easy and cheap zero-emissions mobility.

bancoideas's curator insight, October 11, 2013 9:32 AM

Un futuro posible! 

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Smart Highways by Studio Roosegaarde

Smart Highways by Studio Roosegaarde | green streets |

Glow-in-the-dark roads and responsive street lamps were among the concepts to make highways safer while saving money and energy at the Design Indaba conference in Cape Town earlier this month.

The Smart Highways project by Studio Roosegaarde proposes five energy-efficient concepts that will be tested on a stretch of highway in the Brabant province of the Netherlands from the middle of this year.

The first of the concepts is a glow-in-the-dark road that uses photo-luminescent paint to mark out traffic lanes. The paint absorbs energy from sunlight during the day the lights the road at night for up to 10 hours. Temperature-responsive road paint would show images of snowflakes when the temperature drops below zero, warning drivers to take care on icy roads.

There are two ideas for roadside lighting: interactive street lamps that come on as vehicles approach then dim as they pass by, thereby saving energy when there is no traffic, and "wind lights" that use energy generated by pinwheels as drafts of air from passing vehicles cause them to spin round. Additionally, an induction priority lane would incorporate induction coils under the tarmac to recharge electric cars as they drive...

Learn more about these innovative proposals and associated technology at the article link.

Norm Miller's curator insight, March 25, 2013 1:15 PM

First we learned to sequence traffic lights.  Now we can capture energy for better road marking.  Next we will have computer guided car tracks that let us travel more efficiently as a group better utilizing existing highways.  Add in more fuel efficient or electric cars and we have a pretty good outlook for cleaner cities and less dependency on non-renewable resources.

Jim Gramata's comment, March 30, 2013 12:09 PM
If there is one area that needs focus and improvement it is highways. Agreed!
Anji Connell's curator insight, April 14, 2013 12:59 AM

Great idea No !

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Public Transportation: An Alternate View

Public Transportation: An Alternate View | green streets |

We’ve all heard the stats of pollution and we know that the built form being designed around the car has destroyed a walkable environment based on nuclear neighborhoods.

We’ve abandoned the charm and livability of almost all of our cities, and it will take centuries to get back. The car does take a lot of the blame...

'Urban designers and planners strive for perfect development: walkable, tree-lined streets, beautiful public spaces, and a car-free lifestyle. We search for this in our own personal lives, and in most cases we come up shorthanded. Unless you live in New York, Chicago, Portland, Seattle and San Francisco (our country’s gems) we often feel unsatisfied. However, I believe you can stay in your car (gasp!) and choose just as valuable of a sustainable lifestyle.'

Read the complete article for an urban designer's first-hand perspective on the value and benefits of living in a higher-density community, including those related to commute and neighborhood, as well as reasons why land use must be considered along with transportation, when planning for sustainability and new development.

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Concrete wastelands - rethinking the parking lot...

Concrete wastelands - rethinking the parking lot... | green streets |
Concrete wastelands - American parking lots should advance beyond being nothing more than concrete wastelands and become aesthetic spaces brought to life by good design.

First came mass mobilization, closely followed by the need for somewhere to put all of the cars. With 500 million spaces, the USA has significantly more parking spaces than US citizens – small wonder given that there are over 800 cars to every 1,000 inhabitants. The space-consuming demands of individual transport are integral to an infrastructure that is geared entirely toward the car. Shopping, office and recreational centers surrounded by highways and veritable oceans of parking space are an everyday part of the “American way of life”. 

But what can we do about it now? Do away with cars? And then spruce up these big gray parking lots? Debates on the issue are certainly gaining momentum in the USA. For example, international PARK(ing) Day, established in 2005 by the San Francisco-based design office “Rebar”. The initiative uses creative parking-lot happenings and alternative design projects to encourage reflection upon the urban infrastructure.

In the context of today’s approaches to urban planning, which increasingly take their cue from the concepts of community and sustainability (as exemplified by the “High Line” in New York or the rediscovery of flowing rivers and green areas in urban settings), something seems to have finally “clicked”, a turnaround in the remodeling of parking lots...

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Can a Highway Median Become an Alluring Public Space?

Can a Highway Median Become an Alluring Public Space? | green streets |
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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London’s First Zero-Emission Electric Taxis Hit the Streets

London’s First Zero-Emission Electric Taxis Hit the Streets | green streets |
ClimateCars in London have unveiled the first zero emission electric taxi - the Renault Fluence Z.E.

When it comes to clean transportation, London is charging ahead at maximum speed – not only is the city’s mayor a cycling enthusiast, but he helped to push the introduction of London’s first hydrogen fuel cell taxis just in time for the 2012 Olympics! This week The Big Smoke rolled out their first fleet of zero emission taxis, which are now making their way across the city’s busy streets...

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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 |

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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Goodbye, Sidewalks: London Planners Break Down Boundaries Between Cars and Pedestrians

Goodbye, Sidewalks: London Planners Break Down Boundaries Between Cars and Pedestrians | green streets |

Advocates for livable streets usually push for more sidewalks and bike lanes to protect pedestrians and cyclists from cars. Division is seen as the key to safety and participation.

But a new project in London questions the idea of barriers to begin with, envisioning a "shared space" for the intermingling of vehicles and walkers. It may seem chaotic, but planners believe it could foster a more accessible, safer, pedestrian-friendlier thoroughfare by forcing everyone to slow down and be aware of who's on the road.

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Cutting Car Use at the Neighborhood Level

Cutting Car Use at the Neighborhood Level | green streets |
8 European projects show how design and planning can reduce automobile dependence...

Getting people out of their cars is a common goal for many urban planners and even some developers. But the idea is not always so easy to achieve, especially in car-dependent places. Eight relatively new developments in Europe, however, offer insights into how small-scale projects can encourage alternate transportation options.

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