Moving Downtown to save on car costs

The Associated Press and other news outlets have reported over the last few weeks on the growing trend for young people and empty nesters moving downtown in major cities across the USA to save on fuel costs and to reduce their travel time.

The other growing trend is more people opting to use public transport to get to work whether it be driving to a station and riding to work.

Both of these shifts in commuter patterns is due to fuel however it is not solely in the USA, across Europe and Asis are changing their habits however many governments have been left lagging on public transport as they never anticipated a huge spike in oil. 

Let’s hope this shift to downtown living and use of public transport stays for the long term and creates more livable walkable cities.

The reference SOURCE: Associated Press – Renters go downtown to save on gas, commuting

Hong Kong opens processing plant for manure –

Hong Kong has prepared a HK$37 million ($4.75 million) composting plant to deal with up to 20 tonnes of manure a day from horses taking part in equestrian events in next month’s Olympics and September’s Paralympics.

Hong Kong opens processing plant for manure –

Eco-towns set to face toughest ever green standards : Directgov – Newsroom

The UK Government has released the report with proposal’s for the Eco Towns, below is the full details.

Underlining the government’s determination that only the best quality schemes with very high sustainability standards should qualify for eco-town status, the standards being developed are set to include:

* achieving zero carbon status across all the town’s buildings, including commercial and public buildings as well as homes – a significantly tougher threshold than any existing or agreed targets
* allocating 40 per cent of land within the town to be green space, at least half of which should be open to the public as parks or recreation areas
* providing a minimum of 30 per cent affordable housing to provide more homes for social rent and assist those struggling to get on the housing ladder
* creating more options for travel and reducing residents’ reliance on the car to enable the majority of journeys to be made by sustainable transport, such as public transport, walking and cycling
* ensuring a minimum of one job per house can be reached by sustainable transport to reduce dependence on the car
* locating the average home within 10 minutes walk of frequent public transport and everyday neighbourhood services
* raising the threshold for individual homes so that they must all achieve at least level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, which includes standards for household waste recycling, construction waste, water efficiency measures and reduced pollution.

SOURCE: Directgov – NewsroomEco-towns set to face toughest ever green standards :

The rise of the urban shepherd – Society – The Guardian

It’s not often you go from your day job to turning a sheep over and inspecting its hooves,” says Brigitta Richards. A nursery nurse, Richards is one of a growing number of volunteer shepherds recruited by Brighton and Hove city council as part of an initiative to reintroduce grazing to its urban parks, after an absence of more than 50 years. “It gets me out and about, and you’re doing something to protect and conserve the environment as well.”

SOURCE: The rise of the urban shepherd – Society – The Guardian.

The Landscape Institute and the Trees and Design Action Group

Championing the value of large trees in the urban environment

The environmental, economic and social benefits of trees are well documented. Members of The Landscape Institute routinely work to ensure that trees form an integral part of the urban landscape and public realm. However, the valuable contribution made by large-growing trees in particular is often compromised or precluded by negative perceptions relating to maintenance, nuisance or safety and associated costs.

The Role of the TDAG
The Landscape Institute is a member of the Trees and Design Action Group (TDAG) – a multi-disciplinary group of individual professionals and organisations from both the private and public sectors who have come together under The London Tree and Woodland Framework to collaborate in achieving an increased awareness of the role of trees in the built environment. Its other members include representatives from the GLA, Design for London, Urban Design London, Transport for London, the City of London and other London boroughs, the London Trees and Woodland Framework, the Forestry Commission, Royal Parks, the Tree Council, Trees for Cities, various leading developers, representatives of the insurance and utilities industries and design consultants.

SOURCE: LI – The Landscape Institute and the Trees and Design Action Group.

Don’t let green roofs be victims of the crunch – Building Design

Phil Clark of Building Design asks Why bother specifying a green roof when it adds extra costs, consultants, hassle and work? This attitude seems common when it comes to deciding whether to add vegetation to your scheme’s structure. And in the credit crunch, any part of a project that could be considered an added expense is likely to be first for the chop. So does this spell a decline for the green roof, which has emerged as a significant sustainable design addition in the past few years?

Read more @ the SOURCE: Building Design( – Don’t let green roofs be victims of the crunch –

Solar-powered cars begin race to Calgary reports that 15 solar-powered cars, including four managed by teams from Canadian schools, rolled out of a suburb of Dallas, Texas, on Sunday en route to Calgary in the 2008 North American Solar Challenge.

The race should end on July 22 at the University of Calgary – Solar-powered cars begin race to Calgary.

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