Green light for transit after years of stagnation

In year-end reviews, writers and pundits on urban affairs often missed a very important transformation that occurred in 2007, one that will have reverberations possibly for generations to come. This change has come in the politics of public transit.

Fast forward to 2007 when the City of Toronto announced an ambitious Transit City plan costing billions of dollars. Some critics decried the plan a pie in the sky as it had no funding commitments.

Within a few months, however, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced his government’s commitment not only to fund the TTC plan, but to include ambitious targets for GO Transit and other municipal transit authorities. The commitment was to fund $11 billion of the $17 billion required for the plan, and advocate to the federal government for the remainder. | comment | Green light for transit after years of stagnation.

Library building is taking shape – Wales

A BOLT was tightened on the roof of Cardiff’s new central library to mark a milestone in work on the project.

The new library will include study spaces, reading areas, meeting rooms and the latest educational materials, information and entertainment. The fit-out begins later this year with the opening earmarked for early next year.

Located on the former Marriott Hotel car park opposite Mill Lane, the new library features pioneering environmental measures, including a green roof that is designed to enhance biodiversity by retaining rainwater, reducing heat in the summer and acting as an insulator in the winter.

Library building is taking shape – icWales.

Imagine: Rain, rain, stored away

Savvy designers are helping homeowners collect and reuse storm water rather than see it all wash away.

WHILE you watched much-needed showers race down the driveway and spill into street drains two weeks ago, did you perhaps think: How can I harness that rainfall? How can I save that water for a yard that has endured drought-like conditions?

It turns out that “harvesting” rainfall is not only good for the garden, but also good for the environment.

Read more at LA Times – Imagine: Rain, rain, stored away – Annie Wells

The Sustainable Landscape

Visualize a lush, green expanse of lawn surrounded by vibrant beds of flower blossoms anchored by ornamental shrubs. Tall, majestic trees loom overhead. Silent butterflies float and bees buzz happily, gathering nectar and pollinating. Joy filled birds dart from branch to branch.

You don´t have to imagine this scenario. It can be yours through sustainable landscaping. It is a whole system approach which benefits all inhabitants. Communal balance amongst all members is achieved through cooperation. Instead of focusing on manipulating nature, we as humans make a greater effort to work with it. Taking on the role of land steward is not as complex as it may seem.

Sustainable landscaping integrates long term solutions which address and eliminate problems; replacing short term, unnatural treatments that merely mask symptoms. The goal is to develop a healthy, self sustaining landscape that is capable of naturally warding off disease and pest infestation.

Read more at American Chronicle | The Sustainable Landscape – Jenn Miller

Tower of strength for Expo — Shanghai Daily

SHANGHAI will turn a 165-meter chimney at an old power plant into a state-of-the-art observation tower for the 2010 World Expo.

The building will demonstrate architectural prowess in combining advanced technology with the city’s history – and to say that it is on track is a truism in more ways than one.

see image at Shanghai Daily

Tower of strength for Expo — Shanghai Daily

Chongqing to spend $13b on housing

Chongqing municipality will spend 100 billion yuan ($13.8 billion) over the next five years on the demolition and renovation of all old and dangerous houses in its nine urban districts, officials have said.

The mammoth project aims to build affordable housing for low-income residents, officials from the municipal government said.

The city’s development and reform white paper revealed the ambitious plan. The 100 billion yuan investment is about a quarter of Chongqing’s estimated gross domestic product for last year.

Zhou Bo, a spokesman for the municipal government, said the city will this year complete building an additional 1.8 million sq m of affordable housing for 30,000 low-income families.

Chongqing to spend $13b on housing – China Daily – Xinhua – Huang Zhiling and Chen Hong

Minnesota Eco Group proves not only new houses can be green

Wayzata Minnesota-based environmental organization Live Green, Live Smart announces The Sustainable House™ received Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council™ (USGBC), for the remodeling of a 1948 rambler, located in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The award is the Council’s highest level certification for residential Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design™ (LEED). This is the first remodeled home to be certified Platinum by the USGBC, the most widely recognized green building standard-setting organization in the country.

The original house and landscape underwent major alterations focused on energy efficiency, water conservation, habitat protection, resource efficiency and healthy occupancy.

Eco-Pioneering Minnesota Group Earns First USGBC Platinum for Green Remodeled Home –

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