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.

The battle of the skyscrapers – Salon News

For an entire century, New York was the city of skyscrapers, the epitome of the vertical city. It just kept growing into the sky, faster and faster. It was an exhilarating adventure in stone, steel and glass — and seemingly unsurpassable.

In “Delirious New York,” his legendary 1978 book about the giant city of skyscrapers and its magic, the young Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas raved about what he called the “colonization of the sky.”

Even the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center have not diminished the enthusiasm the now world-famous architect has for the skyscraper as a model of success. Despite the disaster, says Koolhaas, the skyscraper is still “about the only type of building that has survived the leap into the 21st century.”

From a Western perspective, at least, this is precisely the problem. Economically booming megacities — such as Beijing, Shanghai and Dubai — where extravagant skyscrapers are shooting up all over, mean that cities like New York are beginning to look old and outdated, despite attempts to modernize. In Europe, the eastern part is beginning to look more modern than the western part. Cities like Istanbul and Moscow are more dynamic than London, Paris or Milan.

SOURCE: Salon News – The battle of the skyscrapers .

City’s creativity relies on affordability, author says

Vancouver is poised to become one of the creative cities of the world, but that success could be eroded if it can’t find a way to provide affordable housing, says the current guru of urban planning.

“You are in the proverbial catbird seat,” said Richard Florida, the hugely popular author of The Rise of the Creative Class, whose work has generated headlines around North America and even appearances on The Colbert Report.

For one, he says, Vancouver has developed a new kind of urbanism that combines a beautiful built environment with a beautiful natural environment

Read more @ the SOURCE: Vancouver Sun – City’s creativity relies on affordability, author says.

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