Managing Traffic in the Urban Age

The human species is, at this moment, in the process of becoming a mainly urban animal after a thousand generations spent mainly in rural conditions. Many economists and sociologists see this trend as our potential salvation in a world heading toward 9 billion people, although there are some big ifs.

Gridlock already is estimated by some experts to cost New York City up to $20 billion a year in lost productivity. India’s cities are mired in traffic. China is seeing ever more millions abandon bicycles in favor of autos. We’re heading toward a world of a billion cars sometime around 2020.

Do you live in or around a city, and if so how do you get to work? Would you take a train or bus if traffic thinned out? Should drivers essentially pay for transit riders?

Read more @ New York Times  – Managing Traffic in the Urban Age – Dot Earth – Climate Change and Sustainability by Andrew Revkin

Architects can’t predict the future; why the fad for avant-garde architecture?

Abu Dhabi has recently announced plans to turn itself into a sort of Arabian Left Bank, with cultural venues designed by Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, and Jean Nouvel. Beijing, meanwhile, is completing the giant steel bird’s nest of Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron’s Olympic Stadium, and also has Paul Andreu’s titanium-egg National Theater, and Rem Koolhaas’ unusual state television headquarters, which locals have dubbed “the twisted donut.” An obscure sheikhdom on the Gulf and the world’s largest Communist dictatorship have unexpectedly become the latest hotbeds of avant-garde architecture.

Read more @ SLATE.com – Architects can’t predict the future; why the fad for avant-garde architecture? – By Witold Rybczynski

Urban Design Competition site choosen in Dallas

464-acre site south of downtown Dallas has been chosen as the study area for the sixth annual ULI (Urban Land Institute,USA) Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition, an ideas competition for university students created to honor the legacy of urban development pioneer Gerald D. Hines, chairman of the Hines real estate organization and a laureate of the Urban Land Institute J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development.

Read more at ULI: Testing a New Generation

Cities join WWF to cut carbon use

Shanghai and Baoding have become the first cities to take part in a new WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) initiative to research less carbon-intensive paths to urban development in China, the international environmental organization said.

The Low Carbon City Initiative will initially focus on energy efficiency in buildings, renewable sources of energy and the manufacturing of energy-efficient products.

“Cities are an important part of China’s economic development, but many face problems such as low energy efficiency and degraded environmental quality,” Li Lin, head of conservation strategies at WWF-China, said.

Read more @ Chinadaily.com – Cities join WWF to cut carbon use by Sun Xiaohua (China Daily)

Buy forests to help environment – Environment – theage.com.au

AUSTRALIANS could buy a stake in the protection of endangered tropical forests under a groundbreaking scheme being devised by former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery.

Professor Flannery — Australia’s most prominent environmental campaigner — wants to set up an internet-based carbon market with a pilot scheme to be run in Papua New Guinea.

In a paper prepared for Professor Garnaut, Professor Flannery says 20% of global carbon emissions come from the wholesale destruction of tropical forests, so preservation must be part of any effective response to climate change.

Read more @ The Age – Flannery’s plan: buy forests to help environment – Environment

HOK Designs First LEED Gold for Latina America

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has certified the first LEED Gold building in Latin America. Located in Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, the HSBC Bank Headquarters Tower features a redesigned facade, public spaces, and interiors by architecture firm HOK.

The 400,000-square-foot, 24-story redesigned Torre Angel building is a pilot project for HSBC’s new global workplace standard initiative and serves as the firm’s Mexican headquarters.

HOK Designs First LEED Gold for Latina America – 1/28/2008 – Interior Design.

Big green ideas for the workplace

Last summer I had a vision of life in a world post-climate change catastrophe. It was around midday on July 20. I was sitting on the 5th floor of an office building in London when the sky suddenly and dramatically turned black, as though night had descended.

And then the heavens opened, dumping two month’s rain in just a few hours, leading to the worst flooding in years.

Whether last summer’s floods had anything to do with global warming is far from certain, but as the torrents rained down on that day last July, what did we all do? We went back to our desks and carried on working. The lights were already on, the air conditioning was on, and after a few moments’ distraction, we simply ignored it.

While at home we may compost, recycle and insulate our roofs; at work it’s just not our responsibility.

Or is it? If you are an eco-warrior at heart and really want to make a difference, then in many ways the workplace is actually your best chance. Rather than turning off a few lights in your house, at work you can turn off thousands.

Read more @ Big green ideas for the workplace by Adharanand Finn – guardian.co.uk.

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