Thursday, May 19, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Cities all across the US are starting to get creative with cheaper methods of transportation. The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) has named 22 US cities as "2010 Smarter Cities" for their investment in green power and energy efficient measures.
Some of the criteria include:
Electricity consumption (kWh) per capita: Pursuing this figure for each city was an exciting step forward in understanding city level energy use and behavior. However, obtaining these numbers proved to be highly complicated. Because metropolitan area population data were not available for all cities in this study, and because reporting on consumption was bounded differently by different respondents (government use only vs. total city use, municipal boundary vs. metropolitan boundary vs. county boundary based on data availability), this figure is a first cut estimate of per-capita consumption only. City population, rather than metropolitan area population, was used to create the figures presented.
EPA Defined Green Power: Building from the EPA definition, cities were asked to report on the percentage of their power that is generated using solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass and small hydro capability.
Innovation: Finally, cities were asked to share any innovative approaches to energy management, consumption and production they had developed. For this category, no threshold was developed because of the wide variety of responses. These data will help inform the final picks for top performers.
The cities, classified according to size, are:
2010 Smarter Cities for Energy -
Large (population > 250,000)
Medium (pop. between 100,00 - 249,999)
Small (Pop. < 100,000)
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
China pumped €300 billion into its 2010 energy consumption goals, and it may be the only country on earth to have actually met them. This is partially thanks to strict environmental requirements for new projects such as SBA Design’s futuristic new city. Dubbed “Glo-cal DNA”, the self sufficient, low carbon, mixed-use development is slated for construction on Hainan Island – a pumping 42.6 square kilometer tourist hotspot.
Between 2005 and 2010 the Chinese government decreased energy consumption by 20%. SBA Design’s future city is just one of numerous projects planned for China that support the country’s ambitious energy-savings goals. Renewable energy plans for the project include wind turbines, waste to gas generators, and photovoltaic panels that will capture up to 300 days of year-round sun with an energy potential of 1628-1861kWh. And to ensure a long supply of clean water, water recycling and rainwater harvesting systems will be put in place.
To achieve a healthy mix of self-sustaining urban and rural lifestyles, the “glo-cal” city will comprise a series of districts interconnected by pedestrian-friendly interior networks. These will be intersected by various public green spaces and even canals. Every district will have its own central ‘city,’ which will include environmentally-friendly industries, an ecological community center, a conference center, and cultural, information, and tourism centers. The financial district will be positioned ‘off-site.’
A Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) system will navigate between the various themed portions of the mega-city, contributing the final component of Hainan’s ‘self-regenerating organism.’
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Want a safe place to raise kids? Look to the cities
It bears repeating: Cities are safer for children than outer suburbs — and with dropping crime rates, cities are getting safer all the time. We've reported in the past on research from the University of Virginia supporting that conclusion, and now Grist has a nice article that amplifies this research, also reported in Planetizen.
The Grist article interviews Lenore Skenazy, author of Free Range Kids, who points out that many of the risks that parents worry the most about — amplified on popular TV shows — are in fact so small as to be negligible, yet they tend to drive families out to the seemingly safe environment of leafy, isolated suburbs. The chances of a child being abducted and killed by a stranger, for example, are one in 1.5 million, Grist reports.
The biggest risk by far is having that child die in an automobile accident, and deadly vehicle crashes occur much more regularly in the isolated suburbs, where cars go fast on two-lane roads.
That research also shows that the safest places to raise children are inner suburbs, many of which share some of the characteristics of cities and suburbs. They are often walkable, but also have low crime rates. But cities are safe as well, and Skenazy points out that many of the qualities that some parents fear — many strangers on the street, for example — are actually an advantage for safety. They translate to more eyes and ears on the street, giving criminals less chance to act.
Skenazy offers the following advice, as reported in Grist: "And, tell kids not to go off with people they don't know, but also teach them 'To talk to strangers. That way, if they're ever creeped out by someone in the proverbial white van, they can run to the man across the street, raking his leaves, and say, 'Help! I'm being followed!' Or they can run into a shop and say, 'Call the police!' Or, 'Can I please borrow your phone?' "
To read the full story: