Centre for Cities – New Centre for Cities Report: Big UK lessons for US cities

A new report from the Centre for Cities and Washington’s Brookings Institution has found that the USA has a lot to learn from Britain’s urban renaissance. But while British politicians and officials have always been keen to go on the hunt for policy ideas from the States, US politicians don’t always follow suit. US mayors – and the next US administration – should look more closely at British policy ideas, to help American cities compete in the future.

Smarter, Stronger Cities points to the following examples of UK innovations which could be exported Stateside:

Read more @ the SOURCE: Centre for Cities – New Centre for Cities Report: Big UK lessons for US cities.

Green design for buildings to become mandatory – The Jakarta Post

The Jakarta administration is taking a step toward creating more energy-efficient buildings by drafting green regulations for future and existing structures.

The regulations are being drafted by the Jakarta Property Management and Control Agency and will form the legal grounding for the green designs, agency head Hari Sasongko said Wednesday.

“Many cities in the world have applied the green building concept. We’re late in doing so and it’s time for us to follow suit as we face limited energy resources and fuel price increases,” he told The Jakarta Post at City Hall during a seminar on green buildings.

SOURCE: The Jakarta Post – Green design for buildings to become mandatory.

Creating a walkable environment is one solution – The Tennessean

Lack of transportation choices, long commutes and cheap electricity from coal-fired power plants have contributed to Tennessee’s four major cities being ranked in the Top 25 worst emitters of carbon dioxide.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one-third of U.S. CO2 emissions come from transportation uses. Because most people live far away from their work in a city where adequate transportation alternatives are not entirely in place, auto dependency is naturally contributing to Nashville’s CO2 issue.

What can be done about this? It is a complex issue, but the solution may be surprisingly simple.

The answer lies in better usage of land to create walkable, self-contained, sustainable environments.

Read more @ the SOURCE: The Tennessean – Creating a walkable environment is one solution .

Unsustainable Seattle – Crosscut Seattle

When you consider the carbon footprint of new construction, this city promotes growth and development policies that are wasteful, destructive, and myopic. Greens and historic preservationists need to find common cause in creating a truly sustainable urban landscape.

SOURCE: Crosscut Seattle – Unsustainable Seattle.

The battle of the skyscrapers – Salon News

For an entire century, New York was the city of skyscrapers, the epitome of the vertical city. It just kept growing into the sky, faster and faster. It was an exhilarating adventure in stone, steel and glass — and seemingly unsurpassable.

In “Delirious New York,” his legendary 1978 book about the giant city of skyscrapers and its magic, the young Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas raved about what he called the “colonization of the sky.”

Even the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center have not diminished the enthusiasm the now world-famous architect has for the skyscraper as a model of success. Despite the disaster, says Koolhaas, the skyscraper is still “about the only type of building that has survived the leap into the 21st century.”

From a Western perspective, at least, this is precisely the problem. Economically booming megacities — such as Beijing, Shanghai and Dubai — where extravagant skyscrapers are shooting up all over, mean that cities like New York are beginning to look old and outdated, despite attempts to modernize. In Europe, the eastern part is beginning to look more modern than the western part. Cities like Istanbul and Moscow are more dynamic than London, Paris or Milan.

SOURCE: Salon News – The battle of the skyscrapers .

Talking green: A guide to eco-English

Denise Ryan of the Times Colonist (Canada) has written a great article on the language, lexicon, jargon of Eco-English. Terms that we use in day to day life as professionals and educators but often we forget what they actually mean.

For the correct meaning on Bioaccumulation, Freecycling, Point Sources and many other terms we use in our professions this is a great reference for young and old.

Read more @ the SOURCE: Times-Colonist – Talking green: A guide to eco-English – Denise Ryan

Cuba’s urban farming program a stunning success – International Herald Tribune

or Miladis Bouza, the global food crisis arrived two decades ago. Now, her efforts to climb out of it could serve as a model for people around the world struggling to feed their families.

Bouza was a research biologist, living a solidly middle-class existence, when the collapse of the Soviet Union — and the halt of its subsidized food shipments to Cuba — effectively cut her government salary to US$3 a month. Suddenly, a trip to the grocery store was out of reach.

So she quit her job, and under a program championed by then-Defense Minister Raul Castro, asked the government for the right to farm an overgrown, half-acre lot near her Havana home. Now, her husband tends rows of tomatoes, sweet potatoes and spinach, while Bouza, 48, sells the produce at a stall on a busy street.

Neighbors are happy with cheap vegetables fresh from the field. Bouza never lacks for fresh produce, and she pulls in between 2,000 to 5,000 pesos (US$100-250) a month — many times the average government salary of 408 pesos (US$19).

Read more @ the International Herald Tribune Cuba’s urban farming program a stunning success .

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