Sustainability Update - North American Cities

Biking Cities Better Educated, More Affluent, Happier: In an article for The Atlantic, Richard Florida writes about the variety of social and economic advantages enjoyed by cities with high rates of bike commuting, including better educated, more affluent, happier residents.  Read More

San Francisco Grabs Title of 'Greenest' City: San Francisco grabbed the mantle of 'greenest' major city in the US and Canada Green City Index, with New York, Seattle, Denver and Boston rounding out the top five U.S. cities. The study, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and commissioned by Siemens assesses and compares 27 major U.S. and Canadian cities on environmental performance and policies across nine categories - CO2 emissions, energy, land use, buildings, transport, water, waste, air quality and environmental governance. Read More

U.S. Cities Reinventing Buses as Modern, Efficient, and Effective: A new independent study, issued by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy rates Los Angeles, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Eugene and Pittsburgh as the nation's leading cities for bus-based transportation because of their high-quality bus rapid transit systems (BRT). Read More  

 

Reports and Studies

Increasing Public Transport Use with Smart Campaigns: Marketing efforts by public transportation systems are vastly outspent by those of the major automobile companies, which spend billions each year to attract new customers, says EMBARQ, a transportation think tank, in a new report on branding and marketing for public transportation.  To compete, transit agencies must focus their efforts on how to "attract new users that currently use private transport, such as cars and motorcycles; retain existing public transport users who might feel compelled to buy a private vehicle; and secure political and financial support from government officials." Read More 

Lowering Costs and Finding New Revenue Sources

 

Atlanta Partnership Makes Green Homes Affordable: A new partnership between the City of Atlanta, Southface, the Home Depot Foundation, and Enterprise Community Partners aims to attract low-income homebuyers to EarthCraft-certified homes. Through its Green Home Advantage program, the partnership showcases homes that can save buyers more than a third of what is spent on utilities because they meet certain energy and water efficiencies.  Read more 

 

Biking and Walking

 

Los Angeles Mayor Orders 1,680 Miles of Networked Bike Paths, Construction To Increase Fourfold: With an end-game of every Angelenos having access to a bike path within one mile of their home, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered department heads on Friday to take immediate action in a coordinated effort to "build a 1,680-mile bikeway system and make the city more bike-friendly." Read More  

 

Toronto Public Works Committee Closes One Bike Lane, Plans Others Amid Controversy: Members of the city's public works committee voted Thursday to rip up the Jarvis Street bike lanes installed by the previous council. The decision to scrap the lanes, which will go to city council next month for a vote, came at the end of a day-long debate on a proposed bike network, which the committee recommended go forward. Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, the committee chair who pushed for separated lanes, had a different take on the day's events. "We are moving forward for the first time with a dedicated, separated, connected network in the downtown core where most of the cyclists are riding, so I think it is a positive day for cyclists," he said. Read More 

Green Spaces

 

Portland Reviews Zoning Code Impacts on Urban Farming: The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) has begun an effort to eliminate legal hurdles for local, small-scale food production and distribution. Made possible by a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant received by Multnomah County, the urban food zoning code update project will establish and clarify zoning in regards to community gardens, farmers' markets, and other means of food production and distribution in Portland. Read More 

 

Public Engagement

 

Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza: A Historic Step Towards Urban Excellence:

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence has named the Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza as a 2011 Silver Medal recipient. The Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza emerged from a 15-year community effort to shape the form and content of the city's last major redevelopment area, and is a testament to the power of civic involvement in the realization of great urban spaces. When Santa Fe's 50-acre rail yard was threatened by private development in the early 1990s, the city mobilized to purchase and protect the historic site for a local vision. With involvement from over 6,000 community members, a master plan was developed and implemented over the next decade through a unique partnership between the newly created nonprofit Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation (SFRCC) and The Trust for Public Land. Read More 

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Covering the game changing discussions that are taking place in the realm of sustainability. From the impact of the City of Fayetteville's decision to switch its fleet to biodiesel to Paul Stamet's research in the Pacific Northwest on how mycelia...

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