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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
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4 New Ways Of Thinking That Should Shape The Next Century Of Cities

4 New Ways Of Thinking That Should Shape The Next Century Of Cities | green streets | Scoop.it
In order to thrive over the next century cities will have to change. Here's how.


Last week, the Ditchley Foundation in Oxford, England, hosted over 30 academics, practitioners, government, and non-governmental organization leaders from five continents to contemplate the rapid urbanization of the globe and address challenges and opportunities across multiple geographies, economies, and political landscapes.


Visit the link to find specific insights and processes that could significantly shape how we think about global cities over the next century.

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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, December 17, 2013 5:27 PM

The Internet, big data, and social media should result in more responsive planning, better service delivery, and broader citizen engagement. Technology should redefine transportation to seamlessly marry centrally scheduled buses and trains with more spontaneous options such as car and bike sharing, as well as the informal systems of cabs, motorcycles, and rickshaws that dominate in many developing countries. Ubiquitous, open public, and private data should make human health and well-being as easily and regularly measured as GDP.

luiy's curator insight, March 6, 8:32 AM

MENTAL MODELS AND CHANNELS TO ACCELERATE "CHEMICAL REACTIONS"

 

We still seem to be looking at our 21st-century cities largely through a 20th-century lens. This is limiting the alchemy, not catalyzing it. Urban planning remains largely focused just on the physical environment, not on socio-economic results. Community is moving towards becoming a question of 'geographic cohesion,' not geographic place in a traditional sense. There was great conversation about not trying to retrofit old models of working, but rather adapting the way people and cities work with newly available channels and technologies.

Eli Levine's curator insight, March 6, 12:15 PM

Fascinating, and intuitive.

 

A nation is just a network of cities, connected economically, socially and culturally.  A region of the world is just a network of interlaced economic forces that can either be for the benefit (the EU or ECOWAS) or the detriment (NAFTA) of the people who live in the territories under the given region.  The same could be said about strategic partnerships (NATO or the AU).

 

Combine it all together, and you've got the planet.

 

"The control of a large force is the same principle as the control of a few men: it is merely a question of dividing up their numbers."       -Sun Tzu

 

What works on the city level may be applicable to the nation, the region and the world as a whole.

 

Think about it.

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Could Earth's Population Peak in 2050?

Could Earth's Population Peak in 2050? | green streets | Scoop.it

For the past two decades, demographers have generally agreed that global population growth will continue to inch steadily higher in the coming century, raising concerns about everything from pollution to housing to the world's water supply.

But a new study out of Spain suggests those estimates may be way off—several billion people off—and that the earth's population could instead peak as soon as 2050. Applying a mathematical model to global population trends, these researchers believe that there will be fewer people living on earth in 2100 than there are today.

In 2011, the United Nations population division predicted a global population of 10.1 billion by 2100, an increase of nearly 50 percent from the earth's current population of 7 billion.

But scientists at the Autonomous University of Madrid and CEU-San Pablo University say their estimates, developed by using techniques from high-level physics to analyze UN population data between 1950 and the present, match that low-fertility curve. That path shows global population peaking in 2050 slightly above eight billion, and then falling back to 6.2 billion by the end of the century, the same as the total world population back in 2000...


Read the complete article for more details and related diagrams.

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Heat from North American cities causing warmer winters, study finds

Heat from North American cities causing warmer winters, study finds | green streets | Scoop.it

Researchers say extra heat generated by huge cities explains additional warming not explained by existing climate models.


Those who wonder why large parts of North America seem to be skipping winter have a new answer in addition to climate change: big city life.

A study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that the heat thrown off by major metropolitan areas on America's east coast caused winter warming across large areas of North America, thousands of miles away from those cities.


Scientists have for years been trying to untangle how big cities – with the sprawl of buildings and cars – affect climate. The study suggests cities themselves have far-reaching effects on climate, in addition to the climate pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels.


Via SustainOurEarth, Digital Sustainability
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Green and Healthy Buildings: monitoring consumption & ecology in the built environment

Green and Healthy Buildings: monitoring consumption & ecology in the built environment | green streets | Scoop.it

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, buildings account for approximately 40 percent of worldwide energy use and are responsible for 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. They also play an important role in the health and wellbeing of those who inhabit them each day.

The mass of information about what makes a building green tends to concentrate on new and innovative designs that create beautiful photo spreads. While such examples are inspiring, they make up a very small percentage of all buildings in operation.

Green Buildings Alive is an environmental initiative aimed at collecting and sharing data on existing buildings between 10 and 60 years old. The data is collected from office towers in Australian Central Business Districts (CBDs) and shared on a public website.


For more on this innovative, environmental initiative that provides interactive visualizations of building-performance data to help understand the complexities and relationships among sustainability, health, and energy, read the complete article

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Where Are the World's Most Livable Cities?

Where Are the World's Most Livable Cities? | green streets | Scoop.it
The US has some beautiful places, but if you want to root yourself in the world’s most livable city, you’ll need to head Down Under because Melbourne, Australia has again been ranked at the top of the list.

The annual Livability Ranking and Overview assessed living conditions in 140 cities around the world, taking into account 30 factors in five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Each city was then given a score of 0-100, and Melbourne — with a score of 97.5 — reigned supreme for the second year in a row, earning perfect scores for infrastructure, healthcare and education. The Australian cities of Adelaide, Sydney and Perth also made the top 10.In fact, of the 10 most livable cities, seven were in Australia and Canada. Our neighbors to the north who live in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary inhabit cities that scored between 97.3 and 96.6 in the review.

But what about the US? Honolulu was the highest-ranked American city on the list, and it came at number 26. Counting the Hawaiian paradise, only nine US cities scored above 90 — the others were Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, Boston and Seattle...

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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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Building the architecture for green growth

Building the architecture for green growth | green streets | Scoop.it
Image Songdo International Business District is a sustainable city currently under construction on 1,500 acres near Incheon, the Republic of Korea.

The success of Korea’s green growth can be attributed to at least three factors, including the visionary leadership of a political leader firmly committed to a new green growth strategy; the ‘me-first’ approach to carbon emissions reduction and environmental protection; and an effective coordination among all the relevant ministries.

One of the objectives of Korea’s green growth policies is to promote the adoption of a green growth strategy in all countries, especially the developing ones. A global architecture for green growth will enhance the effectiveness of national green growth policies, offer a foundation for global sustainable development, and facilitate international cooperation for the mitigation of climate change...

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ULI Korea's curator insight, March 9, 10:19 AM

By setting the physical framework for all urban activities, urban development is an important factor for holistic urban green growth strategies. Furthermore, the synergies that can be made between urban development policy and other policies (economic, social, transportation, etc.) are endless when there´s a common goal, as green development.

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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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Green Spaces in Megacities

Green Spaces in Megacities | green streets | Scoop.it

By 2025, there will be 20 more megacities from 21 years ago, a United Nations report revealed in March last year. A point of concern perhaps, considering these bustling metropolises are the largest contributors of air pollution, accounting for at least 80 percent of all CO2 emissions. However, with the ascension of urban growth, there has been a positive penetration of architectural practices committed to incorporating greener design functionalities.

The incorporation of green spaces has taken to the forefront of urban planning on not only a regional, but global scale. Similar to the NYC’s High Line project, the construction of garden rooftops in Shanghai has decreased air-conditioning usage by 20 percent, reduced indoor temperatures and improved building insulation.

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Model urban developments

Model urban developments | green streets | Scoop.it
From the planning laws of ancient Rome to the overhaul of a smog-filled city, here are some examples of design excellence around the world...

Nestling between the Rocky mountains and the Canadian prairies, Calgary's green crown did not come easy. The 1.1 million-strong city, home to the majority of Canada's oil and gas corporations, suffers from regular smog and struggles to hit its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Yet a series of innovative environmental initiatives have improved the lives of its citizens and led to it being ranked as the world's top eco-city in the Quality of Living survey 2010 by human resources corporation Mercer. Calgary scored highly due to its excellent water quality and availability, waste removal systems, sewage systems and low levels of air pollution and traffic congestion...

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Designing Social Change

Designing Social Change | green streets | Scoop.it
The Designing Social Change series examines the rapidly-growing movement to apply design approaches to social problems.

There are currently one billion people living in informal settlements around the world. By the year 2030, that number is predicted to double. A movement under the umbrella of “socially-responsible design” has set out to prove that people living in settlements have as much right to live in well-designed cities as do the rest of us.

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Can We Design Cities for Happiness?

Can We Design Cities for Happiness? | green streets | Scoop.it
Happiness itself is a commons to which everyone should have equal access.

That’s the view of Enrique Peñalosa, a politician who served as mayor of Bogotá, Colombia for three years, and now travels the world spreading a message about how to improve quality-of-life for everyone living in today’s cities.

Peñalosa’s ideas stand as a beacon of hope for cities of the developing world, which even with their poverty and immense problems will absorb much of the world’s population growth over the next half-century. Based on his experiences in Bogotá, Peñalosa believes it’s a mistake to give up on these cities as good places to live.

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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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In the Climate Change Economy, It's About Efficiency, Not Just Growth

In the Climate Change Economy, It's About Efficiency, Not Just Growth | green streets | Scoop.it

North American cities are producing substantially less wealth per ton of greenhouse gas emissions than their European counterparts.


Research has shown that if you know a country's GDP, you can pretty accurately estimate its carbon emissions. There's "almost a mechanical relationship" between the two. And as a depressing corollary: Emissions rise much faster in good times than they fall during, say, a global recession.

Cities in some parts of the world are already doing a substantially better job at decoupling these two trends than others, wringing the most wealth out of the smallest carbon footprint. These are the cities that produce the greatest amount of GDP per ton of greenhouse gasses emitted.


The Carbon Disclosure Project, along with AECOM and the C40 Cities, have calculated this "economic efficiency" for dozens of global cities that participated in a questionnaire on how they are preparing for climate change...

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Smart Grid and Energy Storage Installations Rising Worldwide

Smart Grid and Energy Storage Installations Rising Worldwide | green streets | Scoop.it

Global investment in smart grid technologies rose 7 percent in 2012 from the previous year. On top of direct investments, numerous countries around the world are making headway on smart grid regulatory policies, development plans, and frameworks to support future grid infrastructure upgrades.


Smart grids consist of many different technologies serving different functions. They are commonly defined as an electricity network that uses digital information and communications technology to improve the efficiency and reliability of electricity transport. Such modernized grids are becoming more important as current grid infrastructure ages and regions begin connecting more variable generation from renewable energy sources into the electricity network...


Via Joan Tarruell, Stephane Bilodeau
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Laurence Serfaty's comment, March 3, 2013 8:28 AM
;)
Norm Miller's comment, March 3, 2013 1:52 PM
For smart grids to really work we need ways to store energy more efficiently, i.e. better batteries. When will large scale better batteries become available? What's on the horizon for energy storage?
Joan Tarruell's comment, March 3, 2013 2:34 PM
Another possibility is to use the energy generated by instantaneous sources (wind, sun, waves) before origins occurring storable (gas, coal, water reservoirs, etc.)
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The Top 10 Most Livable Cities of 2012

The Top 10 Most Livable Cities of 2012 | green streets | Scoop.it
The Quality of Living Survey is conducted annually by Mercer to help multinational companies and organizations fairly compensate their employees when assigning them to international placements.
This year, the company evaluated the local living conditions of more than 460 cities worldwide, and the survey was based on 39 factors, divided into 10 categories: Political and social environment, economic environment, socio-cultural environment, medical and health considerations, schools and education, public services and transportation, recreation, consumer goods, housing, and natural environment.

According to the list, European cities still make up the top of the crop this year, seizing eight out of the top ten slots. Among them, Switzerland and Germany proved best-performing, with three cities in the top ten.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Auckland retains its position as the highest-ranking city when it comes to quality of living. China had three cities edged into the top 100 list, with Hong Kong performing best at the 70th place, Taipei ranked 85th, and Shanghai at the 95th spot...
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Achieving sustainable, inclusive cities requires better planning - UN News Centre

Achieving sustainable, inclusive cities requires better planning - UN News Centre | green streets | Scoop.it

Top United Nations officials have underscored the need to better plan the world’s urban areas, where half of the global population currently resides, to turn the ideal of sustainable and inclusive cities into reality.

“In little more than a generation, two thirds of the global population will be urban. As the proportion of humanity living in the urban environment grows, so too does the need to strengthen the urban focus of our efforts to reduce global poverty and promote sustainable development,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In his message for World Habitat Day, Mr. Ban noted that better planned and better functioning cities can help ensure that everyone who lives there has adequate shelter, water, sanitation, health and other basic services. He also noted they promote education and job prospects, energy-efficient buildings and public transport systems, and a feeling of inclusiveness for inhabitants.

According to the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the main challenges confronting cities and towns all over the world today include unemployment, especially among youth; social and economic inequalities; and unsustainable energy consumption patterns.

Urban areas are also responsible for most of the world’s waste and pollution.


“We should create a new type of city – the city of the 21st century – a smart, people-centred city, one that is capable of integrating the tangible and more intangible aspects of prosperity; a city able to rid itself of the inefficient, unsustainable urban habits of the previous century,” said Joan Clos, UN-Habitat’s Executive Director.

“It is time for changing our cities and for building new opportunities,” he stated...


Read further to learn more about the social, economic and cultural components of sustainable cities and urban growth, and the latest in the global dialogue on green development and conscientious planning and how they contribute to a healthier economy, engaged communities, and increased social equity.

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Water management for sustainable cities

Water management for sustainable cities | green streets | Scoop.it

One of the greatest environmental and social challenges facing many countries is the development of urban water management strategies that will support significant population growth in an era of climate change.

By the middle of this century, about 70 per cent of the world’s population will be living in cities where existing water services and planning processes are ill equipped to handle such growth and the accompanying economic and climatic challenges. Climatic extremes of droughts, floods and heatwaves will place increasing pressure on the livability of cities.

Australia has responded by developing exceptional skills and innovation in water management. One of its most internationally respected experts is Professor Tony Wong, who co-founded the Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (the Centre) at Monash University in 2010.

“One of the biggest global challenges we face is urbanisation,” Wong says. “There is the issue of our natural water resources being able to support population growth, the vulnerability of that resource to climate change and urban pollution, and the issue of liveability in cities.”

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Children in Cities: Forging a Sustainable Urban Future

Children in Cities: Forging a Sustainable Urban Future | green streets | Scoop.it

Over half the world’s people – including more than one billion children – make their homes in the world’s cities, where the interconnectedness of economic, social, and environmental inequality is manifest.

The Rio+20 Conference will consider, among other things, what it takes to ensure that cities grow in a sustainable way. The transformations it envisions present an opportunity to extend the benefits of development to those currently excluded, by making sure that social support is a feature of the green economy...

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What Communities Should Do To Protect Against Climate Change

What Communities Should Do To Protect Against Climate Change | green streets | Scoop.it
Nine low-tech steps we can take to mitigate the effects of global warming.

Over the past 50 years, our average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in history. That is fact; this is not abstract, nor are the effects limited to the developing world.

 

These changes will have - indeed, are already having - major effects on our cities, suburbs, and towns.

 There are many things we can and must do to reduce the warming trajectory. First among these is reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common and potent greenhouse gas, particularly by transitioning to a clean energy economy. But turning this ship around is going to take time, even under the best scenarios.

Meanwhile, there are also measures we need to take right now inside our communities so that we are as prepared as possible for the warmer climate ahead. Some of them are related to technology, of course, perhaps including personal technology.

This article focuses on a few things that we can and should do for our cities, suburbs and towns that are low-tech. What’s below is by no means a definitive or complete list, but it’s a start...

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UN's Shanghai Manual Launches to Guide Urban Futures

UN's Shanghai Manual Launches to Guide Urban Futures | green streets | Scoop.it

A powerful triumvirate, the United Nations, Bureau International Des Expositions and the mayor of Shanghai, released this week The Shanghai Manual: Guide to 21st Century Sustainable Urban Development. This timely manual is aimed at helping leaders of the world's cities use integrated urban planning, management, financing and technology to green their economies and build climate and economic resilience.

"The Shanghai Manual details the experience and practices of cities across the world in addressing common challenges and achieving harmonious development...and is therefore of great theoretical and practical value," Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng said at Monday's launch, according to the Shanghai Daily.

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7 Billion Reasons to Improve Sustainable Transport

7 Billion Reasons to Improve Sustainable Transport | green streets | Scoop.it

What will a world population of 7 billion do to our quality of life?

United Nations demographers marked Nov. 1 as the symbolic date for when the world population reached 7 billion people. The weight of this new scale of population on the world’s resources is a topic we cover on this blog every day. From sustainable transportation and climate change to urbanization and road safety, we are curious and excited to communicate and help solve the challenges that a growing population may bring...

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The Top 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities According to the 2011 Copenhagenize Index

The Top 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities According to the 2011 Copenhagenize Index | green streets | Scoop.it
A very comprehensive ranking of cities around the world based on many criteria that matter to cyclists. How does your city rank? Does it make the cut?

Copenhagenize Consulting has just released a very cool index of the most bicycle-friendly cities around the world, ranking the top 20 based on a pretty exhaustive list of criteria. Despite having the word "Copenhagen" in its name, the overall winner for 2011 is Amsterdam with 54 out of 64 possible points (one of its bike parkings is pictured).

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The Delirious City: A Survey

The Delirious City: A Survey | green streets | Scoop.it
Thirty-three years after Rem Koolhaas exulted in the imaginative intensity of Manhattan’s skyline, cities around the world are upping his ante.

Here, a dozen design experts from three continents, joined by New York architecture critic Justin Davidson and design editor Wendy Goodman, nominate their favorite recent (and imminent) urban inventions.

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Designing Cities with Children in Mind

Designing Cities with Children in Mind | green streets | Scoop.it
In Accra, Ghana’s capital, a local non-profit is taking two acres of undeveloped land and transforming it into a child-centric, play-friendly public centre where the entire community can re-imagine 21st century urban living.
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