NRDC: Gas prices can cripple residents in sprawling communities

As gas costs go up and geopolitical concern over oil supplies rises, many Americans are feeling increasingly vulnerable. But residents in some metro areas are more exposed than others. Places where “affordable” housing lies at the distant fringe no longer look so affordable. Spread-out metros like Atlanta, where Gov. Sonny Perdue cancelled school during the post-Katrina fuel shortage, are especially susceptible to fluctuations in gas prices…

Uncategorized

Foundation funds ambitious initiative in southern Virginia

A local foundation has launched an audacious effort to make the southwest Virginia community of Martinsville/Henry County a paragon of walking, biking and healthful physical activity. The Harvest Foundation is investing $1.56 million over three years to transform the furniture-making town into “a place where bicycling and walking are deeply valued and integral features of vibrant and healthy life in the region…”

Complete Streets Uncategorized

Planning for an aging America: New report shows how to allow older citizens to "age in place"

Much has been made over the last few months about America reaching the 300 mark in population, heading towards 400 million in another 40 years or so. What’s often lost between the lines is how much older that population will be. By only 2030, nearly 1 in 5 Americans will be over age 65. As the Aging in Place Initiative tells us, the largest majority of seniors are not retiring to the beach or moving into a nursing home – they choose to remain where they are and “age in place”. But as many seniors choose to stay where they are, they are realizing that many of our communities aren’t made for such a lifestyle, and find their options to be extremely limited….

Uncategorized

"Restoring Prosperity" to America's older industrial cities

On the whole, America’s central cities are coming back, with growing employment and increasing numbers of young people, empty-nesters, and others choosing city life. Unfortunately, many cities are lagging behind their peers, especially older industrial communities that are still making the transition from manufacturing-based economies to more knowledge-oriented activities…

Uncategorized

California's challenge: "We have to address land use" to reduce greenhouse gases

California paved the way last year for states to take the lead in tackling rising greenhouse gases when Gov. Schwarzenegger signed AB 32, which promises to reduce the state’s greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020. Cleaner energy, efficient cars, and green buildings are all part of the equation, but some state leaders question whether they can make much progress given the increase in driving required by sprawling development…

Uncategorized

Ontario's leaders look for "Places to Grow"

Last year, Ontario, Canada raised the bar in the realm of forward-looking planning when they released the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, after more than five years in the making. With nearly a quarter of Canada’s entire population nestled in this horseshoe-shaped region around the lake stretching from Niagara Falls through Toronto to the eastern edge of the Province around Lake Ontario, the leaders recognized that adding a projected 4 million more people in the coming years while continuing to grow in the same sprawling fashion will surely spell disaster. So they rallied everyone together, studied the outcomes, built consensus, and authored a gem of a plan…

Uncategorized

'Green’ cities: The key to sustainability?

n introducing his bold, comprehensive plan for a sustainable New York on Earth Day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed to research showing that New Yorkers already had the lowest per capita carbon emissions in the nation. While most news outlets focused on the controversial idea of congestion pricing for Manhattan below 86th Street, they missed the larger point: Well-planned urbanism is likely to be our best hope for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting oil dependency…

Uncategorized

'Green' Cities: The key to sustainability?


Image from the PlaNYC 2030 Website

In introducing his bold, comprehensive plan for a sustainable New York on Earth Day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed to research showing that New Yorkers already had the lowest per capita carbon emissions in the nation. While most news outlets focused on the controversial idea of congestion pricing for Manhattan below 86th Street, they missed the larger point: Well-planned urbanism is likely to be our best hope for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting oil dependency. Sheryl Eisenberg, a New Yorker who blogs for the Natural Resources Defense Council, explains: “The primary reason is … population density. First, it makes a truly comprehensive public transit system possible. Second, it makes walking and biking emissions-free modes of transportation viable. And third, it keeps home energy use down,” because New Yorkers live in smaller-than-average dwellings, and shared walls are more efficient.”

Uncategorized

Red, White and Blue = Green?

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has drawn much attention for his declaration last month that “green is the new red, white, and blue.” As a companion to a special on the Discovery Channel, Friedman wrote an article for the Times Magazine arguing that the U.S. must seize the lead in creating and deploying “green,” energy-efficient technologies as the only way to maintain our economic edge while shielding ourselves from radical movements and geopolitical instability….

Uncategorized