Melbourne leads Australia in cleaning stormwater naturally

EVERY year, about 500 billion litres of stormwater washes off the roofs, roads and footpaths of Melbourne into our rivers and bays.

That’s about the same amount of water that Melburnians consume each year.

Often it comes in a thunderous rush, surging out of drains, damaging waterways, and pouring litter into Port Phillip and Western Port bays.

But a $20 million bid to use Melbourne’s stormwater on “rain gardens” across the metropolitan area has gathered speed since early last year.

Rain gardens are designed to absorb large volumes of water from downpipes, road surfaces and paved areas.

Melbourne leads Australia in cleaning stormwater naturally | Herald Sun.

5 Hot Topics for Los Angeles Downtown Dwellers

Living in Downtown Los Angeles is full of highs and lows, excitement and frustration. With more than 30,000 residents already in the community and thousands more waiting to move in, issues are bound to arise. This year, expect these five topics to be discussed over the dinner table.

Social and Education Services
Pre-schools, Schools and Community services

Commercial Space and Events
City needs more shopping and large department stores especially a Target and a large bookstore.  Downtown also needs restaurants to bring dining into the city after hours. Also needed are festivals and weekly events such as markets.

Clean & Safe
LA Downtown needs to become cleaner and safer although the last 5 years have been an improvement.

Neighborhood Watch
Increase funding and community involvement in this powerful deterent to crime and making people feel safe in Downtown

Taxis and Transit
Freedom for taxi drivers to pick up in any area of Downtown not designated areas, increasing bus services and also the return of the Red Trolley.

Summary of Kathryn Maese article from Los Angeles Downtown News

Amsterdam neoliberal city?

Amsterdam is investing hundreds of millions of euros in the Zuidas, the new business district south of the city (corporations will also invest in the project, but if it fails, their losses will be compensated with taxpayers’ money). Despite the scale of the project, there has been almost no public debate. Decision-making is an opaque process dominated by government officials, banks and other potential investors.

Nieuws uit Amsterdam.

Face-lifting Beijing stops to retrieve its ancient flavor

How to protect Beijing as an ancient city, or is it necessary to protect it at all, has been under debate by officials and experts for over 60 years, during which fancy buildings mushroomed in the 62.5-square-kilometer area, while gray brick residential houses collapsed before bulldozers in a facelift frenzy, along with the memories they carried down through generations.

According to a report by the official People’s Daily in January2007, about 500 Hutongs still survived, in comparison to the more than 3,000 in early 1980s.

Local officials marked out 25 areas in the inner city in 2002 where traditional houses and alleys will be preserved, and later expanded to 33, accounting for 29 percent of the inner city.

Although real estate developers built some courtyard-styled houses, the sale goes very slow.

“Those ‘fake cultural heritages’ are too costly for local residents,” said Xu Pingfang, 77-year-old renowned professor of archaeology and director of the China Archaeological Society, “while Beijingers are forced out and the houses are purchased by new-riches, Beijing is losing its flavor.”

Feature: Face-lifting Beijing stops to retrieve its ancient flavor _English_Xinhua.

Creating Inspirational Spaces: A Guide to Quality Public Realm in the Northwest

Creating Inspirational Spaces: A Guide for Quality Public Realm in the Northwest has been produced by Gillespies on behalf of the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and RENEW Northwest, and forms part of the wider Places Matter! programme co-ordinated by RENEW Northwest.

Creating Inspirational Spaces: A Guide to Quality Public Realm in the Northwest – Landscape Institute– UK

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