Today’s suburbs, tomorrow’s slums? –

According to some doomsday scenarios, spiking gas prices could turn the cul-de-sacs and two-car garages that surround North America’s cities – built over the past 60 years and designed for the convenience of people with cars – into tomorrow’s slums.

The predictions for the most part come from subscribers to the theory of “peak oil,” which holds that crude prices will shoot permanently upward as global demand outstrips dwindling supply, ruining the economy. But their predictions are getting a second look now, as suburbanites, especially in the United States, grumble at the rising price of a fill-up.

Read more @ the SOURCE: Today’s suburbs, tomorrow’s slums?.

A mastermind of green design – China Daily

This site in Sandao, Hainan province, has been recreated in the virtual online world of Second Life where the public will design an “Eco-friendly Community” that will later be built on the actual site.

When David Greenberg stumbled across a cluster of tree houses while trekking the jungles of Maui, he felt a sudden and mighty urge to rebel.

“That was the moment I knew I wouldn’t be an urban designer,” he says. The California native with a disdain for convention and an admiration of nature would instead reinvent himself as an “anti-architect” and “anti-designer”.

“Just like the architects went into the rundown parts of the cities in the US during the 1960s to remodel and revive, the landscape architects must go to China’s rural areas and do much the same thing,” he says. For that reason, he says: “I’m so lucky and so happy to be working for my last few years in China.”

SOURCE: Chinadaily – A mastermind of green design.

Envisioning a world of $200-a-barrel oil – Los Angeles Times

“Throughout our history, we have grown on the assumption that energy costs would be low,” said Michael Woo, a former Los Angeles city councilman and a current member of the city Planning Commission. “Now that those assumptions are shifting, it changes assumptions about housing, cars and how cities grow.”

Push prices up fast enough, he said, and “it would be the urban-planning equivalent of an earthquake.”

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times – Envisioning a world of $200-a-barrel oil

Build eco-towns in urban areas, not the countryside, say council chiefs – Telegraph

Eco-towns should be built in urban areas and not in the countryside to stop them becoming “dormitory towns” where people have to drive somewhere else to work, town hall chiefs say.

Eco-towns should be built in urban areas, council chiefs claim
Eco-towns ‘should be built in urban areas’

A new report from the Local Government Association also warned that plans to create 10 eco-towns across the country were “significantly flawed” and risked creating “eco-slums” without proper urban planning.

SOURCE: – Build eco-towns in urban areas, not the countryside, say council chiefs

The Best U.S. Cities, by Design

The Best U.S. Cities, by Design
Architectural firm RMJM Hillier weighed sustainability, awards, and both expert and residents’ opinions in its list of top 10 U.S. cities for design

SOURCE: Business Week – The Best U.S. Cities, by Design.

Northern Ireland News – Causeway Architect’s Plan Has ‘Strong Environmental’ Basis

Causeway Architect’s Plan Has ‘Strong Environmental’ Basis
The National Trust’s preferred architect, for a proposed Giants Causeway visitor centre, will incorporate a “strong environmental basis” in its design.

The designer, Dublin-based Heneghan Peng, has taken the next step forward in building its plans, after submitting a “robust” planning application to the local authority.

SOURCE: Northern Ireland News – Causeway Architect’s Plan Has ‘Strong Environmental’ Basis.

Singapore official: Asian cities can harmonize economic growth and environment

With good management, Asian cities can sustain economic growth and provide a even higher standard of living for their population, said Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu here Wednesday.

Speaking at an event of the World Cities Summit which is held here from Tuesday, she said a key common challenge facing cities in Asia is to pursue economic growth while ensuring environmental and social sustainability.

While economic growth can bring more wealth and resource to cities, she pointed out that the distribution of wealth may be uneven, “economic growth can also widen the income disparity among the population and stress the social fabric that underpins economic and social stability.”

SOURCE: Xinhua – Singapore official: Asian cities can harmonize economic growth and environment_

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