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
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
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
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)
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