16 July 2008

Urban Innovations ~ Towards Green, Clean, Intense, Smart, Responsive Vital Cities!

Several recent interesting advances in the realm of green, livable, ecologically-savvy, smart and vital cities! The WSJ's Ana Campoy points out that With Gas Over $4, Cities Explore Whether It's Smart to Be Dense specifically looking at Sacramento, CA's blueprint for growth. See the Before-After images, including these examples... and the related video... And Steven Erlanger in the NYTimes spotlights that A New Fashion Catches On in Paris: Cheap Bicycle Rentals as I've noted before. In San Francisco, CA, if you Can’t Find a Parking Spot? Check Smartphone writes John Markoff in the NYTimes. But all is not smooth sailing. Boston, for instance, just can't get its act together. Noah Bierman writes in the Globe that Open road tolling stalled, not installed about slow technology upgrades and ongoing inefficiencies. Noah also writes that the endless, infamous Big Dig is now covered by -- what a surprise -- Not-So-Green Acres, and is a pretty barren and dreadfully misdesigned place. And continuing as the bearer of bad Boston news, Noah writes about the Summer of discontent on Red Line, which the MBTA officialdom can't seem to maintain, fix, or run properly. Tactically speaking, we today live in a pretty shitty city. On the other hand, bold thinkers are imagining really dramatic greening of future cities as Bina Venkataraman writes in the NYTimes story entitled Country, the City Version: Farms in the Sky Gain New Interest. Thanks to Cory Kidd, now based in Hong Kong, for pointing me to this delighter as well as an earlier piece on vertical hog farms! There's a great slide-show of Towers of Food design variants by Dickson Despommier, a professor at Columbia University and his students, including these samples... On the commercial side of things, I've been really impressed with the public pronouncements of United Technologies or UTC, the group which makes Otis elevators, Carrier air conditioners, and an array of power, fire, security and other systems crucial to city living. UTC Chairman George David, in a recent advertisement in the WSJ, wrote about Why do we have cities? and on the basis of this intellectual-historical survey, positioned the strategy and vision for UTC. Fantastic! Read for yourself this and the rest of their Leadership Series of adverts...

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