Ecotowns: for and against – Times Online

The Times has published an insightful article about the ‘eco-towns’ proposed by the UK Government

Ten new clean, green ‘eco-towns’ will be built by 2020. And pigs might fly, say critics. They argue that the government is bulldozing through a programme that will create the slum estates of the future

This is how it will be. Across the fair face of Albion, to the ringing of bells and the soft murmur of doves, appears a leafy flush of eco-towns. They are sun-dappled utopias, urban dreamworlds in which no human need is unfulfilled. Wildlife romps through bird-loud glades. People work at home or in business parks to which they can stroll or cycle. Public transport is swift, efficient and free, so cars are not needed. Community sports hubs, leisure and cultural facilities are so abundant that nobody wants to leave the town anyway. Children walk safely to schools in which the most popular subject is environmentalism. There are superstores for convenience, and farmers’ markets for friends of the planet. Allotments, too, for those who want to grow their own. Energy is renewable, insulation total and the carbon footprint zero.

Read more @ the SOURCE: Times Online – Ecotowns: for and against – .

Want a new urban model? Go west – TheStar.com

VANCOUVER–Even in this city of condos, The Beasley stands out. Not because of its height (33 storeys), the number of units (271) or its location (Yaletown). What makes it impossible to ignore is its name – The Beasley.

In this city, that can mean only one thing, Larry Beasley.

On the off chance you haven’t heard of Beasley, he is Vancouver’s former chief planner and creator of the famous “Vancouver model,” which for all its flaws, now defines this city.

The point is that in a world obsessed with starchitects and celebrity designers, Vancouver is one of few cities to have grasped that the important issue isn’t architecture, but planning. It’s not so much buildings as the space between them that differentiates one city from another, that makes one city attractive, another unappealing.

SOURCE: TheStar.com - Ideas - Want a new urban model? Go west.

Centre for Cities – New Centre for Cities Report: Big UK lessons for US cities

A new report from the Centre for Cities and Washington’s Brookings Institution has found that the USA has a lot to learn from Britain’s urban renaissance. But while British politicians and officials have always been keen to go on the hunt for policy ideas from the States, US politicians don’t always follow suit. US mayors – and the next US administration – should look more closely at British policy ideas, to help American cities compete in the future.

Smarter, Stronger Cities points to the following examples of UK innovations which could be exported Stateside:

Read more @ the SOURCE: Centre for Cities - New Centre for Cities Report: Big UK lessons for US cities.

Creating a walkable environment is one solution – The Tennessean

Lack of transportation choices, long commutes and cheap electricity from coal-fired power plants have contributed to Tennessee’s four major cities being ranked in the Top 25 worst emitters of carbon dioxide.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one-third of U.S. CO2 emissions come from transportation uses. Because most people live far away from their work in a city where adequate transportation alternatives are not entirely in place, auto dependency is naturally contributing to Nashville’s CO2 issue.
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What can be done about this? It is a complex issue, but the solution may be surprisingly simple.

The answer lies in better usage of land to create walkable, self-contained, sustainable environments.

Read more @ the SOURCE: The Tennessean – Creating a walkable environment is one solution .

Economics often drives city planning, expert warns

Ottawa residents who want to protect neighbourhoods from over-scaled and ugly development must roll up their sleeves and get involved in the political and planning process, says a longtime Montreal urban activist.

“Do not think that it is the city-employed planners who are going to negotiate with the developers a development project in the public interest,” says Dimitri Roussopoulos, founder and CEO of Urban Ecology, a think-tank on sustainable urban development.

“A lot of what happens in neighbourhoods and cities is driven by very influential and powerful economic interests,” he told a public meeting on intensification at City Hall last week.

SOURCE: canada.com – Ottawa Citizen – Economics often drives city planning, expert warns.

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