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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America's Most Bikeable Neighborhoods

America's Most Bikeable Neighborhoods | green streets |

'In honor of Bike to Work Day, we pulled together a list of America's most bike-friendly neighborhoods.'

The neighborhood rankings below are based on the latest neighborhood-level data provided to us by Walk Score (Walk Score measures walkability, Bike Score measures bikeability).

Bike Score places neighborhoods and cities into four categories based on a 100-point score (ranked on bike lanes, hills, destinations and road connectivity, and bike commuting mode share): Biker's Paradise (90-10), Very Bikeable (70-89), Bikeable (50-69), and Somewhat Bikeable (0-49). The data here cover more than 7,000 neighborhoods across the United States and the table at the article link shows America's 25 most bikeable neighborhoods.

Jim Gramata's curator insight, May 20, 2013 2:37 PM

Bike the Drive this weekend in Chicago!

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Why Is 'Authenticity' So Central to Urban Culture?

Why Is 'Authenticity' So Central to Urban Culture? | green streets |

As Jane Jacobs has said, it is in the mix of the streets where cities get their unique character and retain their independence. Authenticity comes from living in the city, rather than above it.

The more alike our cities and neighborhoods become, the harder we try to seek out spaces, food, and clothes that affirm a sense of realness and rootedness. The more alike we become, the thirstier we are for perceived individuality. And in crowded cities, being an individual means being rooted in modern notions of authenticity...

Pedro Barbosa's curator insight, February 2, 2013 4:58 AM

Authenticity and Character. I have been talking a lot about this issues as a trend for some time and reinforce its importance for the next years.


Pedro Barbosa | |

ParadigmGallery's comment, February 3, 2013 3:47 PM
a lot of insight in this piece...TY
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America's Most Diverse Neighborhoods

America's Most Diverse Neighborhoods | green streets |

Which neighborhoods best reflect American diversity?

To answer this question, the country’s most diverse neighborhoods and metros were identified using Census data on race and ethnicity and diversity was measured as the share of a metro area’s or ZIP code’s population in its largest racial or ethnic group: the smaller the share of the largest group, the more diverse the neighborhood is...

With maps, charts and statistics, the analysis provides an interesting look at the diversity of communities and counties across the country, with it being highest in California and Hawaii, and much of the South.

Learn more about diversity in America's communities at the article link...

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A Man-Made, Net-Zero Energy Island Off the Coast of Istanbul

A Man-Made, Net-Zero Energy Island Off the Coast of Istanbul | green streets |
A proposal imagines 300,000 housing units built into six hyper-energy efficient domes.

This year Istanbul Design Week goes back to the future with a very ambitious project: HavvAda, a cutting-edge net-positive-energy residential island conceptualized by New York-based Studio Dror.

HavvAda, will be built off the shore of Istanbul using excavated soil from a new massive canal planned between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

For the design, Dror has drawn on spatial geometry, as well as Buckminster Fuller’s legacy in structural engineering and Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City. Six months of intensive dialog with a team of experts have allowed Dror to realize an ambitious concept that offers a high quality of life and helps the environment.

The island is envisioned as a landscape of six residential hills, surrounding a circular valley dedicated to parks and recreation, supported by a mega-dome structure, allowing for a “three-dimensional grid” that aims to maximize energy and structural efficiency.

Read the complete post to learn more about the process and design of the integrated renewable energy system, water recycling, as well as efficient heating and cooling (which allow the community to produce more energy than it consumes).

Also, read further to find additional images and diagrams of how these systems and concepts function in the context of this innovative and ambitious project.

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Setting the Table, Making a Place: How Food Can Help Create a Multi-Use Destination

Setting the Table, Making a Place: How Food Can Help Create a Multi-Use Destination | green streets |

Food – we need it, we love it, and we structure our lives and cultures around it. San Antonio, Texas, is a city that is starting to structure its neighborhoods around it, starting with an ambitious redevelopment project called the Pearl Brewery. Located on 22 acres along the banks of the San Antonio River north of downtown, today’s Pearl is a multi-use campus of buildings originally founded as the J. B. Behloradsky Brewery and City Brewery over 120 years ago. The current vision for the site is for a vibrant urban district to grow out from a culinary destination that brings people together around the celebration of local food and culture...

A. S. CohenMiller's comment, September 5, 2012 4:14 PM
We love what Pearl has been doing. Definitely worth visiting (regularly)!
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Can the Olympics Bring Affordable Housing to London?

Can the Olympics Bring Affordable Housing to London? | green streets |
By 2031, this summer's Olympic site should be a dense checkerboard of housing and parkland.

The afterlife of London’s Olympic Park was partially confirmed last week, when officials agreed to plans for the construction of a new neighborhood on part of its site once this summer's games are over.

Called Chobham Manor, the 960-home neighborhood should be ready by autumn 2013, and will cover the current location of the Olympic basketball court (plus, one imagines, a little bit more of the park). It’s just the beginning of plans to cover London’s Lower Lea Valley area with badly needed new housing – four other neighborhoods providing a total of 6,800 homes are also in the pipeline, and by 2031, the former Olympic site should be a dense checkerboard of housing and parkland.

In an area that currently attracts few professionals with children, the new neighborhood aims to be especially family friendly, with four schools included in the blueprints. The plan so far is to have 35 percent of its housing fixed at affordable rents, making some of it suitable for people already living in this lower income area...

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Getting Greener: Seattle's eco-district nearing reality

Getting Greener: Seattle's eco-district nearing reality | green streets |
Attempting to better integrate the green agenda into local planning, the Bullitt Foundation, a Seattle nonprofit focusing on sustainability, awarded $50,000 last spring to the city’s Capitol Hill Housing Foundation to conduct a feasibility study for a neighborhood “eco-district.”

The foundation hired local firm GGLO to complete the study, and the firm last month began providing recommendations, including increased affordable housing, a community orchard, and a storm-water management system.

As Capitol Hill Housing Sustainable Communities manager Alex Brennan explained, the district planning unites neighborhood infrastructure and building design, considering energy, water, materials, transportation, and habitat. Proponents consider it a more unified alternative to LEED for neighborhood development.

“We see Capitol Hill as a catalyst for this type of planning, as the densest community in the northwest,” noted Chris Persons, executive director of Capitol Hill Housing...

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What Communities Should Do To Protect Against Climate Change

What Communities Should Do To Protect Against Climate Change | green streets |
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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Los Angeles Seeks Pedestrians

Los Angeles Seeks Pedestrians | green streets |
A pilot project aims to pave the way for community-led reuses of L.A. streets.

The automobile is undoubtedly the dominant mode of travel in Los Angeles. But to write off the city as made up entirely of car-driving, bumper-to-bumper rush hour commuters is clearly an over-generalization. A growing group of Angelenos is finding ways to make transit, cycling, and walking (and, often, a combination thereof) relevant and viable in their daily lives.

A physical example of this transition opened this weekend in the city’s Silver Lake neighborhood. On a short strip of street bordering a small triangular park within a vibrant commercial area, officials from the city’s departments of planning, transportation, and public works partnered with the county’s public health department to close the street off to car traffic and convert it into an outdoor plaza. On 11,000 square-feet, the roadway has been effectively removed form the automobile grid with the simple application of paint (in glowing neon green polka-dots), bike racks and planters around the edges and seating in the middle. The project was inspired by similar street plazas created in New York City and San Francisco.

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9 Essential Green Elements for the Development of Sustainable Cities

9 Essential Green Elements for the Development of Sustainable Cities | green streets |

Many cities are coming to the realization that creating a smart and sustainable city means ultimately attaining a high level of economic efficiency, a high quality of life, a highly desirable place in which to live and do business, and a meaningful commitment to environmental responsibility.

But what really makes for a green or sustainable city?  And how can sometimes highly diverse urban areas attain it?

LEED buildings and even LEED neighborhoods are surely a good thing, but they are not a sufficient thing to declare a municipality sustainable.  This is an overview of the essential elements (there are many more, but these are the most basic):

  • Committing to green
  • Building green
  • Buying green
  • Powering green
  • Conserving nearby (and creating internal) green landscapes
  • Protecting green:  both water quality and water quantity
  • Locating green:  creating a compact, walkable, interconnected, mixed-use community
  • Moving green:  diversifying transportation and increasing accessibility
  • (Not) wasting green:  getting to zero on the production of waste

Read the complete article for more on the green elements listed above...

Noor Fatima's curator insight, April 12, 2013 1:05 PM

Exactly :)

Daniel LaLiberte's curator insight, April 12, 2013 7:12 PM

100% Green is not fooling around.

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How a tough neighborhood is building a stronger future with vivid public art

How a tough neighborhood is building a stronger future with vivid public art | green streets |

A thriving inner-city cultural environment contributes to a healthy economic and social environment, which in turn produces significant benefits to the things we value in our natural environment: this is because the most effective antidote to the kind of sprawling outward development that has consumed our landscape, polluted our waterways and escalated harmful emissions across the US over the past half-century is a strengthening of our existing communities.

We particularly need our inner cities to be the kinds of places that will be loved and will endure – that will literally be sustained - over time. The human ecosystem is complex and, while making it healthy also requires a lot of things besides art, a holistic approach to placemaking that includes a key role for culture – especially homegrown culture – is essential.

That is exactly what Philly Painting is doing. To date, it is the most ambitious of many great projects sponsored by Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program, the nation's largest initiative of its kind. Since 1984, the program has created over 3,000 murals and works of public art in the city, engaging over 100 communities each year in the process, according to its website. Mural Arts also sponsors free art education programs for youth, especially at-risk teens and, impressively,provides jobs to adult offenders in local prisons and rehabilitation centers, “using the restorative power of art to break the cycle of crime and violence in our communities.” If you are as interested in this sort of thing as I am, you’ll enjoy the program’s website, especially its sections on the program’s history and emphasis on community engagement.

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Communities Aren't Just Places, They're Social Networks

Communities Aren't Just Places, They're Social Networks | green streets |
A conversation with urban sociologist Zachary Neal on his new book, The Connected City.

Cities are obviously more than just the sum of their physical assets — roads and bridges, offices, factories, shopping centers, and homes — working more like living organisms than jumbles of concrete. Their inner workings even transcend their ability to cluster and concentrate people and economic activity.

As sociologist Zachary Neal of Michigan State University argues in his new book, The Connected City, cities are made up of human social networks.

Neal took time to discuss his book and research with Atlantic Cities, explaining how cities work as living organisms and why what happens in Las Vegas cannot stay in Las Vegas.

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In Copenhagen, A Neighborhood Keeps Pace With Climate Change...

In Copenhagen, A Neighborhood Keeps Pace With Climate Change... | green streets |
All over, it seems, architects are thinking about how to plan for the realities of climate change. Some designers have risen to that challenge by imagining how conventional forms of architecture might become more adaptive and resilient in the face of high water, as in the Skygrove high-rise concept design by HWKN Architects of New York. Other architects, such as those at the Dutch firm Waterstudio.NL, have embraced the Netherlands’ long history of building barriers to hold back rising water for development in recent years by turning their attention to buildings that float, particularly in the nearly sea-level island nation of The Maldives.

But rising sea levels aren’t the only threats posed by climate change. ArchDaily reports that the Copenhagen-based architecture firm Tredje Natur recently presented plans to develop Saint Kjeld’s Quarter into Copenhagen’s greenest (and most resilient) neighborhood by planning for extreme weather events. This comprehensive urban development project is a case-study in planning for rain — lots of it. In this plan, rainwater is managed in the city’s streets in a more natural and effective way via wide range of pragmatic strategies. A key feature here: 20 percent of the neighborhood’s surface area devoted to streets will be reclaimed, creating more green spaces...

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Shareable: 25 Ways to Enliven Your Neighborhood

Shareable: 25 Ways to Enliven Your Neighborhood | green streets |

The neighborhood is the basic building block of human civilization, whether in a big city, small town or suburban community. It’s also where you have the most influence in making a better world.


These suggestions, drawn from 'The Great Neighborhood Book' (a collaboration with Project for Public Spaces), are focused on strengthening the sense of community and spirit of the commons by providing people with ways to come together as friends, neighbors and citizens.

That creates a firm foundation that enables a neighborhood to solve problems and seize opportunities...

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Why a Good Bar Is Essential to Sustainable Communities

Why a Good Bar Is Essential to Sustainable Communities | green streets |
A "third space" that encourages socialization, its easy access reduces emissions as well as drunk driving.

My friend Eliot Allen first introduced me to the concept of neighborhood completeness: that the quality of a place is defined in part by how many different functions it has in close proximity to homes and to each other. Eliot was closely involved in the creation of the LEED for Neighborhood Development green rating system, and the concept made it into the system. LEED-ND gives credit toward certification for a development that contains, or locates near, certain categories of diverse uses: supermarket, pharmacy, restaurant, child care facility, library, and so on.

I was part of the LEED-ND team as well, and I note that we did not list “bar” or “pub” as a credit-worthy neighborhood asset. But Michael Hickey, a community development consultant, makes a good case for their inclusion as “third spaces,” or community hangouts.

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Turn This Parking Lot Into a Village

Turn This Parking Lot Into a Village | green streets |

If we built village of small streets today, where would we locate it?

One great candidate would be a park-and-ride lot, which is parking located next to a subway or commuter rail station. Such parking gets some to use public transit who wouldn’t ordinarily...

But that’s just the problem: the people who use park-and-ride lots don’t ordinarily take transit. The reason they have to drive to a train station is that they don’t live near it. That’s why building new neighborhoods next to transit (called transit oriented development in planner lingo) has become popular in the last 10 years.

If we built a small streets village next to transit station, then we’d have a whole village of people who could use transit for all of their trips longer than a walk or bicycle ride away.
There are countless park-and-ride lots to consider, but we’ll look at just a couple. Greenbelt Station is located in Maryland at one end of Metro’s Green Line, which goes through Washington, DC and back out to Maryland. If you’ve ever hopped a ride on the Bolt Bus from New York City or the bus from BWI Airport, you may have visited this station...

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New York City Commits to Green Solution for Harnessing Water

New York City Commits to Green Solution for Harnessing Water | green streets |
With a landmark announcement this week, New York City has officially joined a growing number of cities around the country in embracing a smarter--and paradigm-shifting--approach to reducing water pollution. Using a suite of techniques like strategically located street plantings, porous pavements, and green roofs, collectively known as green infrastructure, New York is turning the problem of excess stormwater into a solution that will improve the health and livability of its neighborhoods, while cleaning up the waterways that course through and around the city.

It's hard to overstate what a dramatic shift in thinking this represents. Instead of viewing stormwater as waste, New York is turning it into a resource. With this move, New York is showing the rest of the country that if the largest city in the U.S. can finally tackle its chronic water pollution problems with green infrastructure--they can, too.

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