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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
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Smart Cities: Technology, Sustainability & Innovation for a Better World

Smart Cities: Technology, Sustainability & Innovation for a Better World | green streets | Scoop.it

They only occupy two per cent of the Earth’s land mass, but cities today use a huge amount of the planet’s natural capital, consuming 75 % of global resources and generating 80 % of global greenhouse gas emissions.

As the world population grows to 9 billion by 2050, the number of those living in urban areas will swell by 3 billion to 6.3 billion. With demand for energy and resources set to spike on the back of urban population growth, smart cities have emerged as the modern answer to the wave of urbanisation sweeping across the globe.


What defines a smart city?

Put simply, smart cities integrate diverse technologies to reduce its environmental impactUsing a more formal definition from a recent report by the United Cities and Local Governments, smart cities use new technologies, innovation and knowledge management to become more liveable, functional, competitive and modern, bringing together six key fields of performance: the economy, mobility, the environment, citizenship, quality of life and management.


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Ideas on transforming cities - Singapore a case study

Ideas on transforming cities - Singapore a case study | green streets | Scoop.it

'We know that the planet is warming up and the human population is growing, raising our demand for resources. The combination of these factors is why the battle against climate change will be decided in cities, particularly cities in the Asia-Pacific.

These urban centres are triple ‘hot spots’: they face rising temperatures, increasing populations and escalating consumption.

To tackle these challenges, we need practical and successful ideas that can easily be replicated.


At the 4th Sustainable Cities Conference last week in Singapore, I discussed ways for Singapore and Hong Kong, already recognised as innovative cities in tackling these problems, to become even greener and establish themselves as leaders in creating sustainable city models for the Asia-Pacific.'

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Luiz F. Costa's comment, May 14, 2013 9:23 AM
E isso temos que incentivar.
Norm Miller's curator insight, May 14, 2013 10:49 AM

Singapore transformed it's economy faster than any other nation in the world.  It is not surprising to see them leading on other dimensions as well.

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The Costs of Population Growth

The Costs of Population Growth | green streets | Scoop.it

The United States population is expected to pass 400 million by 2051.


That’s 85 million more people who will need good jobs, sufficient space, clean water and energy.


We will need to make adjustments in order to have a healthy economy in the coming years. So what would happen if the world population – including in the United States – just kept growing? It’s simply not sustainable. The costs to both people and our planet would far outweigh the benefits.

Read the complete article for the relevant facts on the potential impacts of population growth on environmental and social issues...

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MissPatel's curator insight, December 17, 2014 2:07 AM

It is constantly a strain on the environment but what about economically? 

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Urban Farming is Growing in Shanghai, China

Urban Farming is Growing in Shanghai, China | green streets | Scoop.it

After years of relentless growth, Shanghai, China is entering a new phase of environmentally sustainable development, where issues like urban farming are becoming more prominent. 


Increasing urban density, competition for land and a rising demand for food from the burgeoning middle class, Shanghai needs to ensure that the opportunity to produce food in the city is possible.

The main challenge facing urban farming in Shanghai remains to be a lack of awareness. Without the proper education and know-how, the urban farming movement is unlikely to take shape on a large scale, and with very little outdoor space available, few options are available to grow food. Many residents have turned to creative land-intensive solutions such as balcony or rooftop farming to produce fresh, organic, healthy and cheap foods...


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Ten Points for Liveable Cities: Lessons from Singapore

Ten Points for Liveable Cities: Lessons from Singapore | green streets | Scoop.it

Urban populations are expanding at an exponential rate as people are migrating to city centers where economic opportunities promise social mobility and access to education, health resources, and where employment is more abundant than in rural areas. 


Nations once considered in the “third world” are making leaps to accommodate growing populations with thoughtful considerations in designing these new urban capitals.  Population trends have shifted considerably and have contributed to some of the densest urban cities never before seen in history.  The rise in the classification of cities as “mega-cities” and the problems that such high population densities face speak to the fact that our cities have reached a saturation point that needs to addressing.

Singapore, an island nation in the Asian Pacific, is the third densest country in the world. Last year the Center for Liveable Cities and the Urban Land Institute participated in a summit of leading planners and policy makers to discuss the steps that Singapore was taking in its development in response to its growing urban populations.  The result of the conference was a list of ten points that contribute to making Singapore a liveable high dense city...

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Cities Without Borders | Sustainable Cities Collective

Cities Without Borders | Sustainable Cities Collective | green streets | Scoop.it

With more people now living in urban environments for the first time in history, we have a tremendous opportunity to harness the productive capacity of a city. Money saved from no longer maintaining physical boundaries could be better spent on developing the urban fabric of future cities. High density, multi-functional spaces, and interconnectivity are paramount. Investing in renewable energies and innovative food sources would further the autonomy of the city.


by: Rashiq Fataar


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U.S. Cities Outpace Suburbs in Growth

U.S. Cities Outpace Suburbs in Growth | green streets | Scoop.it
U.S. cities are growing faster than the suburbs for the first time since the 1920s. Twenty-seven of the nation’s 51 largest metropolitan areas exceeded their suburbs in population growth in the nine months between July 1, 2011, and April 1, 2012, according to census data.

“This is the culmination of a trend that’s been going on the last several years,” says William Frey, a demographer and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Using other data sets, you can see that this trend was kind of starting already around 2007.”

But while the trends aren’t new, 2012 became the tipping point when cities finally overtook the suburbs. The data even showed growth in areas that historically had been declining in population. Midwest cities like Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis all gained in population in the past year.

But just because these cities are growing doesn’t mean that people want to be there. Experts say that even though the recent crash in property prices has made the suburbs more affordable, because of a lagging economic recovery, people can’t afford to move out of urban areas. Young families who would normally lead the exodus to the suburbs are “hunkering down” in cities, Frey says. Young professionals, especially, are living in low-rent apartments with roommates or moving in with parents rather than buying a house in the burbs.

Urban growth isn’t all bad. “The crash also gives younger people and other households a chance to give cities a second look,” Frey says. Denver, Washington, Austin, Seattle and Atlanta have become “youth magnets” — areas that have had an influx of young people looking for jobs.

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Mobility shapes the Metropolis

Mobility shapes the Metropolis | green streets | Scoop.it
Mobility shapes our metropolises - The Audi Urban Future Award 2012 seeks to identify new ideas for future urban mobility. To this end, six architectural offices are busy analyzing changes in mobility worldwide.

The experts more or less agree that in the future around 70 percent of the world’s population will live in megacities of eight or more million inhabitants. It’s an immense challenge for the politicians and for society, and companies and corporate groups will likewise have to square up to what will be emphatically different living conditions. “We want to learn to understand this situation and these metropolises in order actively to help shape the mobility of tomorrow,” declares Rupert Stadler, CEO of Audi AG.

To this end, the Ingolstadt-based company launched the Audi Urban Future Initiative and has now for the second time in this context announced an international architects’ prize. Stylepark supports and curates the project: this year six architectural and urban planning offices from metropolitan regions and conurbations have been invited to participate by thinking about mobility conditions on the ground and create visions of future mobility scenarios. Yet the basic situation today is anything but inform...

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A Few Smart Ideas to Clean Up and Re-energize Cities

A Few Smart Ideas to Clean Up and Re-energize Cities | green streets | Scoop.it

Smart cities are attracting residents -- and talent -- by making investments in infrastructure that save money, clean up and integrate sustainability into city functions.

More people live in cities now than in any other time in human history -- nearly half the world's population. They are the economic engines of our society, but they are also the source of 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

We all have a choice in where we live, and a lot of us are moving to places where we can enjoy parks, clean air and healthy waterways. Smart cities are attracting residents -- and talent -- by making investments in infrastructure that save money, clean up and integrate sustainability into city functions (think sports arenas).

We have found a few ideas about innovative cities on Planet Forward that have potential to change the game in our urban environments...

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“Dencity” Visualizes Seven Billion People

“Dencity” Visualizes Seven Billion People | green streets | Scoop.it

Earlier this year, we wrote about the symbolism of October 31 in marking the day the world population reached 7 billion people. A design firm based in Boston, Mass., Fathom Information Design, created “Dencity,” a map of global population density as the world reaches this important milestone. The map uses different size and color circles to represent the distribution of population and density around the world. Larger and darker circles show areas with fewer people. Smaller and brighter circles represent more crowded areas.

The map doesn’t tell us anything new, but instead, confirms the spatial distribution of population and density that we have known for quite some time. Eastern Asia has the densest and most populated geography in the world. “The largest city in the world is Shanghai, with over 23 million people as of 2010,” Fathom explains. “China is home to six of the twenty most populous cities in the world, more than any other country.”

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How do we create an holistic urban environment?

How do we create an holistic urban environment? | green streets | Scoop.it
A forthcoming debate between key players will introduce innovative ideas to transform our cities...

Everywhere, urban planners are creating utilitarian "smart cities" – interconnected, hard-wired, sensor-driven communities, where bus timetables appear on screens in eco-friendly homes and fridges send tweeted messages to replenish the salad drawer, using, of course, electric vehicle delivery. But the question arises: would you want to live there? Or is it better to renew what we have – whether it is a former cotton mill in the north of England or a tenement in the developing world...

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City growth worldwide intensifies sprawl concerns, study finds

City growth worldwide intensifies sprawl concerns, study finds | green streets | Scoop.it

A new study, co-authored by Yale urban environment professor Karen C. Seto, predicts a major global expansion of urban land over the next two decades. The study, which was published in the Aug. 18 issue of the journal PLosOne, projects that by 2030, cities will gain an amount of land roughly equal to that of Mongolia. This extensive and rapid growth will pose significant challenges to urban environments, the researchers said.

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Urban Design for New American Cities

Urban Design for New American Cities | green streets | Scoop.it

Around many of our Gateway Cities like New York, Washington DC and San Francisco, are sprouting "New Cities", complete with their own infrastructure, neighborhoods, employment centers and cultural identity.


With exploding global populations, much of the talk around urbanization revolves around cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America. But here at home in the United States, a new type of city form is taking shape. Around many of our Gateway Cities like New York, Washington DC and San Francisco, are sprouting "New Cities", complete with their own infrastructure, neighborhoods, employment centers and cultural identity.


The timing of these "New Cities" is good, since in recent years there has been a resurgence of ideas of urban planning that promote mix of uses, walkability and transit oriented development. However, New Cities confront us with many unprecedented realities that we must consider and analyze in depth before we rubber-stamp our current formulas for creating vibrant urban communities. These places are inherently different from Gateway Cities, Suburban Settlements or Rural Areas. They have a DNA of their own, which requires a more tailored response...

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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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Sky-high horticulture: Shenzhen's 'farmscraper' plan

Sky-high horticulture:  Shenzhen's 'farmscraper' plan | green streets | Scoop.it

Conceived in response to a densely populated Chinese city's unchecked growth, Asian Cairns is an ambitious take on vertical farming.


A Belgian architect recently unveiled the 79-acre masterplan for Asian Cairns, a dizzying new vision of urban vertical farming in China. 
Consisting of a sextet of “sustainable monoliths for rural urbanity” — stacked, pebble-esque, steel-ringed transparent pods that are powered by both vertical wind turbines and photovoltaics — Vincent Callebaut Architects’ Asian Cairns is planned for the rapidly swelling, skyscraper-heavy port city of Shenzhen in the southern province of Guangdong north of Hong Kong.
Beyond agricultural concerns, Asian Cairns is envisioned as a mixed-use development that also incorporates residential, retail, and recreational areas. Imagined as being completely emissions-free and producing more energy than they consume, the Cairns were conceived in direct response to Shenzhen’s unchecked urban development and the population growth and increased pollution levels that have accompanied it...
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Duane Craig's curator insight, March 15, 2013 12:00 PM

Really cool, but I bet it will be a real challenge and expense to build it. Look at all the curved glass.

ParadigmGallery's curator insight, March 19, 2013 1:08 PM

TY Lauren Moss...

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How will our future cities look?

How will our future cities look? | green streets | Scoop.it

Almost half of the world's population currently lives in cities, and by 2050 that is projected to increase to 75%, but what kind of city will they be living in?


The time is ripe, say experts, to start designing smarter urban environments, both new cities needed to sustain an ever-growing population, and retro-fits on the ones that we have lived in for centuries.


So, how do we make our cities stronger?

Some of these revolve around the idea that smarter equals greener. Sustainability experts predict carbon-neutral cities full of electric vehicles and bike-sharing schemes, with air quality so much improved that office workers can actually open their windows for the first time.


Visions of a green city often include skyscrapers where living and office space vie with floating greenhouses or high-rise vegetable patches and green roofs, as we try to combine urbanisation with a return to our pastoral past...


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Building Sustainable Cities in a Warmer, More Crowded World

Building Sustainable Cities in a Warmer, More Crowded World | green streets | Scoop.it

The future is urban... but is it sustainable?

For decades, warnings have been issued: the burgeoning human population will outgrow the planet’s capacity to sustain us. The formula seems simple. More people equals fewer resources and greater environmental damage.


But today, we have a more nuanced understanding of the population-environment connection. We know that the relationship between human beings and the environment is complex, mediated by systems of production and consumption. And we know that population growth is not the only demographic change that matters: age structure and population distribution also shape environmental impact.

In other words, the planet’s “carrying capacity” is not just about human numbers, but about how people live, and where...

Lauren Moss's insight:

An interesting analysis looking at the links between economic development, density and urban growth, as they pertain to sustainability and the future of our cities...

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Creating a City-Wide Energy Internet: A new study on urban infrastructure

Creating a City-Wide Energy Internet: A new study on urban infrastructure | green streets | Scoop.it

A new research study addresses the issue of the expanding populations in cities, and provides a solution for adapting urban infrastructure for the needs created by increased density and growth.


Drawing our attention to one core idea that can make our cities more liveable for good, ‘The Time Is Right for Connected Public Lighting Within Smart Cities‘, is a study that looks into the key concepts of urbanization but applies them to a specific context of “an intelligent, networked public lighting infrastructure”. The study dissects the current issues well, reminding us that the urbanization pattern across the world leads to an obviously problematic upswing in energy and resource demand, which in turn threatens the strong identities (inter-city competition and economic performance) that cities across the planet are attempting to shape and maintain.


The solution, according to the report, is the deployment of highly efficient connectivity within cities whether that be information, operational or communication systems – the solution is required urgently. It seems clear that connecting lighting infrastructures will minimize a city’s resource intake, reduce its carbon footprint and make it more resilient and future-proofed. The ripple effects of better lighting systems in cities include safer and more liveable streets (less crime, more appealing urban space and better road safety) and adds to a city’s pull factors for multi-national organisations and tourism...

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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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Charlotte's Evolution from Sprawling Metropolis to City of Sidewalks

Charlotte's Evolution from Sprawling Metropolis to City of Sidewalks | green streets | Scoop.it
How the city conquered its sprawl to create a bustling downtown.

Not too long ago, Charlotte, North Carolina, was an emerging metropolis attempting to solve its explosive population growth issues through sprawling development. However, over the past 20 years, it has consciously reinvented itself as a city of sidewalks.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Charlotte had fewer than 20,000 residents. By 2000, the city had a population of 540,800. In fact, from 2000 to 2010, no American city with one million or more people grew faster than Charlotte. Over that 20-year period, Charlotte shifted from a largely agricultural and manufacturing region into the region’s urban center with a financial stronghold.

Initially, the city dealt with the onslaught of residents by building more roads and developing office space in the suburbs. Growth was accompanied by the familiar issues of sprawl, congestion, and urban decay.

But Charlotte's top-tier workforce rebelled. 

The regional economic development partnership brought in an Urban Land Institute advisory services panel of real estate and land use planning experts to study the city's downtown...

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Can China Support Its New Urban Majority?

Can China Support Its New Urban Majority? | green streets | Scoop.it

By the end of 2011, the population in China was about 1.35 billion. Roughly 51.27 percent of that, 690 million people, are considered urban, according to a recent announcement from China’s National Bureau of Statistics. It’s an interesting landmark, but also slightly troubling in light of another official report that warns of "grim" threats from climate change...

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Anatomy of a Smart City

Anatomy of a Smart City | green streets | Scoop.it

The 19th century was a century of empires, 20th century was a century of nation states and the 21st century will be a century of cities...


This outstanding infographic (courtesy of postscapes.com) begins with some information about our current state of urbanization.


Did you know that 1.3 million people are moving to cities each week?! It then explains the need for smart cities and delves into what is required to establish these intelligent connected environments, how the smart city may take various forms in the developing worlds and what specific technologies are necessary to achieve such grand goals in practice.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, December 18, 2014 10:45 AM

There is an evolution taking place where politics, policy, technology, the environment, and the economy all intersect. This movement towards technical, empirically driven local policy making could be our saving grace.This could be the future of government.

Russell R. Roberts, Jr.'s curator insight, December 19, 2014 2:10 AM

A stunning infographic which predicts how urban living will change in this century.  Our age is truly becoming "a century of smart cities."  Exciting times lie ahead.  Aloha, Russ.

Paul Aneja - eTrends's curator insight, December 22, 2014 6:51 PM

What do you think makes a smarter city?

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Building a Greener City

Building a Greener City | green streets | Scoop.it
With urban populations expected to soar, cities will have to be rethought from the ground up. Here's a look at bike lanes, micro wind turbines, pneumatic garbage collection—and other ways to make urban areas more environmentally friendly.

 

The goal: compact living environments that require less resources and that get the most out of the land, water and energy they do use.

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