What kind of a statement does car-free living make in a small city? Today on theStreetsblog Network, Aaron Renn at The Urbanophile poses that question in a provocative post. Sure, it’s about walking the walk of sustainable transportation, he says, but it also represents a withdrawal from the community structure in places such as Columbus and Cincinnati:
Photo by World of Oddy via Flickr.
In a metro area that is nearly all auto-oriented, much of the setting of civic life in that city is outside of the core downtown area and districts where it is easy to get to without a car. To live without a car is a deliberate cutting off of oneself from those activities and regions — especially suburban — and from that part of society.
IF climate change and population growth progress at their current pace, in roughly 50 years farming as we know it will no longer exist. This means that the majority of people could soon be without enough food or water. But there is a solution that is surprisingly within reach: Move most farming into cities, and grow crops in tall, specially constructed buildings. It’s called vertical farming.
This year’ Aspen Ideas Festival lived up to its name with a lively exchange about Placemaking vs. the iconic architecture of Frank Gehry and other “starchitects”. But not in the way anyone expected.
On the forgotten shores of Hamburg’s Harburg Harbor, once busy with ship building, the site of a former comb factory has been repurposed to house an eco-minded development, combining a modern futuristic look with restored historic buildings and classic industry architecture. While Germany’s environmental initiatives are ahead of the curve, from creating green jobs to organic fast food, this is the country’s first eco-city. Transforming a previously bustling industrial area into a sustainable development is real urban renewal. With Phase I complete, the next stage is even more ambitious.
How much more space does the car need? Cleveland To Allow Parking On Some Sidewalks
It is nearly four times larger than its predecessor and includes the latest technologies and concepts in library design.
The new Churchland Branch Library opened to the public last week and was immediately swarmed by city officials, patrons and well-wishers.
“We want this to be a resource for the entire city, a place where people can meet – regardless of what ZIP code they live in,” said Sue Burton, director of Portsmouth Public Libraries.
The library, at 4934 High St. West, features 46 public-use computers, a technology education room with SmartBoard capability, a large children’s section with a storytelling room, “Teen Scene” section, a 110-person community meeting room with warming kitchen, three small-group meeting rooms, three large-screen monitors for announcements and wireless Internet throughout
In 1979, the City of San Diego launched a plan to steer new development into the craftsman-lined neighborhoods close to downtown. The idea was sound: scatter higher density housing throughout existing “smart growth” communities. Part of the city’s General Plan under Mayor Pete Wilson, increasing density in urban areas was good way to accommodate the anticipated population influx without converting open space and agricultural land into tract homes, thereby avoiding costly infrastructure and public service expansions. The growth-management strategy would also redirect attention to neighborhoods that were neglected after the migration to outlying suburbs.
But the new housing diminished neighborhood character and walkability.
Residents of Detroit like to say, when the country catches a cold, their city gets the flu. These days Detroit is sick. The U.S. auto industry is in crisis and there are too few jobs. Crime and foreclosures are on the rise.
That doesn’t sound like the best climate for new business ventures, but Ryan Cooley, a Detroit native, thinks he’s at the beginning of the city’s renaissance.
…But now, with the benefit of 30 years of hindsight, Arlington seems to have been extraordinarily foresighted in its decision to grow around Metro. From 2000 to 2008, Arlington’s population grew by 10 percent — all of it infill development, and a remarkable achievement for an inner suburb.
An online publisher set out to show that urban farming could be profitable. In her fourth year, she brought in $68k from her half-acre plot in Philadelphia.
“Several years ago, she set out with the Philadelphia Water Department to prove that a half-acre of urban land could yield crops worth $50,000. She planted 60 types of vegetables on a tiny PWD plot and raised only high-value crops that grow quickly. In its fourth year, the parcel produced gross sales of $68,000. ‘The only way for urban agriculture to establish itself on any scale is to be a viable business proposition,’ says Christensen, who has written a book on small-plot farming.”
Roxanne Christensen is co-creator of SPIN-farming, or Small Plot Intensive farming.
Feral Houses Abandon homes of Detroit, photo story
Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) — More forests, deserts and grasslands in the U.S. will be used to produce energy under a proposal to cap greenhouse gases, an unintended consequence of efforts to fight global warming, according to a Nature Conservancy report.
At a time when many cities are struggling to spur civic vitality, places that are home to major colleges or universities are percolating along robustly, often with healthy job growth, low costs of living and rising property values. Fueling this rise is the massive influence academic institutions have on their regions in terms of economic impact, civic connections, and innovative mindsets. Diverse spots — Columbia, Missouri; College Park, Pennsylvania; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina and Chico, California, just to name a few — attract families, retirees, and the academically-minded. The migrants are drawn to the intellectual stimulation and community vibe.
Many large cities have enclaves of depressing poverty and some of immense wealth. But getting past the extremes, there is some evidence that in expensive cities, the difference is diminishing between what people in typically higher paying professions (such as doctors) are earning and those in normally lower paying occupations (such as retail clerks).
From a 2005 report I found by chance by Sagoon Conan Lee of the Sauder School of Business:
Average wages tend to increase with city size. Most explanations of this urban wage premium emphasize productivity spillovers. This paper proposes a consumption-side explanation….The wide consumption variety found in large cities is more important to high-skill hence high-income) workers than low-skill workers, and thus the higher wages found in large cities are due to the selection of high skill workers choosing to live there. A testable implication f my theory, distinguished from productivity-based theories, is that urban wage premiums may be negative for high-skill workers. This implication is confirmed by data on the medical profession. At the top skill level, there is substantial urban wage discount: doctors in large cities are paid 8 percent less than their peers in small cities.
Rexdale, the northernmost tip of Etobicoke, has a higher proportion of immigrants than the Toronto average. Most are drawn from southern Asia, but many come from the Caribbean and Bermuda and from South America. The streetscape reflects that. What was once the Kentucky Fried Chicken is now home to a Pakistani restaurant. The former Pizza Hut next door is an Indian grocery store where, coincidentally, you can still get pizza.
Neighbourhoods matter in this town – what they’re called, what they represent. They’re a kind of shorthand for our values, which is why they can arouse such passion. and..
Local Tourists“More and more people see urban exploration as an activity to do on a regular basis.” -Claire Weisz
Gridlock and Growth: The Effect of Traffic Congestion on Regional Economic Performance Traffic congestion increases costs to American businesses, workers and families. It increasingly takes more time and fuel to get where we want to go, costing us time and money. As traffic congestion worsens, it will significantly undermine the economic competitiveness of U.S. cities and regions.
Small Lot Homes Changing Face of L.A. “These hybrid homes provide an alternative to condominium or apartment living that is still more affordable than single-family residences in the same neighborhood
Parks Are Cash Cows A new report claims that Central Park in New York added $1 billion to the economy in 2007, and the new High Line park added $4 billion in new real estate developments.
Wanna Trade Homegrown Veggies? Imagine if each of these was a kitchen garden growing fruits or nuts. And that streets could be closed to traffic on Saturday mornings and we could trade with each other:
OP-ARTScents and the City what do our neighbourhoods smell like?
Mayor Dave Bing
For too long, the wrong things have defined leadership in Detroit. From name recognition to simply holding an elected office and everything in between, leadership has been more than compromised: It has been reduced to an exploitative characteristic.
Because our city faces one of the worst financial, educational and social crises of the past century, the time for pseudo-leadership has passed. Gone must be the days of rhetoric without action, style without substance and promises with no potential.
Detroit on brink of financial ruin As budget balloons, some fear city can’t stay afloat
Food Among the Ruins Detroit, the country’s most depressed metropolis, has zero produce-carrying grocery chains. It also has open land, fertile soil, ample water, and the ingredients to reinvent itself from Motor City to urban farm. Mark Dowie’s immodest proposal…
Cities Stress the Brain, Nature Restores the Mind Philosophers, poets, and writers have long known the dangers of city life. Now scientists know why. Neuroscience writer extraordinaire Jonah Lehrer writes for the Boston Globe that the simple act ofbeing in a city “impairs our basic mental processes.”
For Chris: How Old Mattresses Can Be Recycled
Bananas in Southern Ontario?Toronto goes bananas