Climate positive, carbon neutral, carbon negative: What do they mean?

A quick guide to understanding popular sustainability jargon. In the same week that the state of Hawaii announced it intends to be carbon neutral by 2045, the Swedish restaurant chain Max Burger introduced what it claims to be the first-ever “climate-positive” burger–which just as accurately, could be described as “carbon negative.” You would be forgiven,…

Silicon Valley’s company towns are doomed

Facebook and Google want to build planned communities. A brief spin through history shows why this is a bad idea. Willow Village is a community planned for a 59-acre site in California’s Silicon Valley, between Menlo Park and East Palo Alto. It will have housing, offices, a grocery store, a pharmacy, and its developers say,…

Madrid Takes Its Car Ban to the Next Level

Starting in November, the city will make clear that downtown streets are not for drivers. The days when cars could drive unhindered through central Madrid are coming to a close. Following an announcement this week, the Spanish capital confirmed that, starting in November, all non-resident vehicles will be barred from a zone that covers the…

Price Less

The “natural capital” agenda is morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, and most of all counter-productive By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 15th May 2018 Never mind that the new environmental watchdog will have no teeth. Never mind that the government plans to remove protection from local wildlife sites. Never mind that its 25-year environment plan…

How Much Are You ‘Smoking’ by Breathing Urban Air?

A new app can tell you (and it’s not pretty).   Have you ever wondered how many cigarettes you’re passively smoking while walking through the streets of a polluted, smog-infused city? No? Well, a pair of digital developers just invented an app that will definitely (and accurately) answer that question. (Attention, smokers: You might want…

Copenhagen Mastermind Jan Gehl Isn’t Sold on ‘Smart’ Cities

Architect and planner Jan Gehl looks back on how he helped transform Copenhagen into one of the world’s most livable cities and talks about how people can reclaim the streets.   Advocates of bike lanes, shared streets, and walkable cities could take a lesson from their adversaries: If they want to build communities where people,…

Bogotá’s Bronx Is Barren, But Not for Long

Once home to crocodile pits where drug dealers disposed of victims, the Bronx in Bogotá awaits an ambitious revitalization and its few remaining residents face an uncertain future. “At 5am the police arrived. They kicked our doors down, and drove us out. We grabbed whatever we could carry, but we had to leave most of…

Berlin Just Canceled Its Airbnb Ban

The city will formally allow vacation rentals again, but there’s a strict new set of rules—and even tougher penalties.     Berlin’s “Airbnb ban” is over. The city’s assembly decided Thursday to overturn a law introduced in April 2016 that barred almost all landlords from letting their apartments to short-term visitors, enforced by a maximum…

4 Radical Real Estate Ideas To Fix Our Broken Housing System

In almost every community in the U.S., it’s clear that market-based housing is not affordable for the vast majority of people. Here are some radical alternative models that are–and that policymakers should consider as ways to make our cities and towns livable and equitable.         At the core of the American housing…

The Bike-Share Oversupply in China: Huge Piles of Abandoned and Broken Bicycles

Last year, bike sharing took off in China, with dozens of bike-share companies quickly flooding city streets with millions of brightly colored rental bicycles. However, the rapid growth vastly outpaced immediate demand and overwhelmed Chinese cities, where infrastructure and regulations were not prepared to handle a sudden flood of millions of shared bicycles. Riders would…

There Are Simply Not Enough Places For Low-Income Americans To Live

The rent is too damn high If you care about rising income inequality, you should care about housing affordability. What people pay in rent as a percentage of their incomes has a lot to do with whether they can invest in other parts of their lives, including education and training that allows them to move…

This College Wants To Be The First 100% Renewable Campus In The U.S.

 After a long process of implementing energy-efficiency measures and installing solar arrays and battery storage, Maui College is ready to cut ties with fossil fuels forever. BY EILLIE ANZILOTTI – Published March 19, 2018     In 2015, the state of Hawaii committed to converting 100% of its energy supply to renewables by 2045. It’s…