Right-sized living is far from a new idea. The architect Le Corbusier was a pioneer, from his cabanon at the Cote d’Azur to the super-efficient and well-designed density of Unite d’Habitation. This was a good idea then, as it is now. This is a classic case of the importance of the underlying rules of the game – the land use regulations, zoning, and building codes that guide our built environment. These more technical matters aren’t nearly as sexy as the shelter porn in Dwell magazine. But you can’t have one without the other.
In the long run, even the largest, most powerful cities will struggle to rein in sophisticated global mobility companies. Thoughtful regulation at the state and federal level will eventually be necessary. Cities are becoming more active in setting policy for emerging services like bikes and scooters, and can incorporate thoughtful requirements in their license schemes. There are steps that government can take today to avoid some of the worst long-term risks.
Urban trees remove over 710,000 tons of air pollution per year in the U.S., which has a major impact on fighting respiratory illnesses like asthma. Trees also filter up to 80% of phosphorus out of stormwater before it pollutes waterways and drinking water. And tree canopy shade, along with evapotranspiration (the return of water vapor from trees and vegetation back to the atmosphere), can lower peak temperatures by 2°-9°F—a key tool in combating the heat island effect present in many cities, which disproportionately impacts lower-income neighborhoods and other vulnerable populations.
Developing ITS solutions for cycling shows cyclists that they are appreciated and welcome in the city. Creating high-quality tech solutions for cyclists as a way of encouraging cycling was first tested in Denmark in 1999-2002 during the Odense Cycle City project. In addition to green waves and LED lane lights, the city and a local ITS company developed the world’s first so-called cyclist counter, which is now implemented in cities all over the world.
Downtown West Union is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building stock dates from the late 1800s to 1910 and remains relatively intact. Having a downtown full of historic buildings can be a wonderful asset. Perhaps not the same can be said for 100+ year old underground infrastructure when seeking to serve 21st century business.
The groundwater basin is only 46 percent full, but that is an annual improvement thanks to reduced pumping. Beyond centralized water recycling, water reuse is also done at the building level, following zero-energy and living-design principles. Water efficiency, AMI (advanced meters), leak detection, storage, infrastructure, and IoT with sensors are all helping.
Parking is a tough problem, and it’s a common issue for many cities across the globe. Municipalities face the challenge of keeping residents happy while also providing a welcoming atmosphere to out-of-towners when an influx of traffic occurs.
Mobility could get much better or it could get worse. Planning, policy, and pricing will make the difference. Done well, we will have fast mobility powered with renewable energy as we travel connected cities on high-speed rail, then fast commuter rail and electric buses, with last mile services that include ride-hailing AV-EV shuttles, cars, bikes and safer walking.
Over the last three months, the City of Tomorrow Challenge has convened communities in Pittsburgh, Miami-Dade, and Grand Rapids to share transportation experiences and build understanding around people’s personal mobility struggles. Join the conversation and submit a mobility idea for a chance to win $100K in pilot funding at challenges.cityoftomorrow.com.
Akron Civic Commons launched in 2016 as a demonstration project of Reimagining the Civic Commons. After selecting Summit Lake as one of the sites for reinvestment, we immediately recognized that one of the greatest challenges to the work was overcoming decades of broken promises. There was a legacy of things being done to the community, not with them, and a healthy skepticism and mistrust of government and community organizations. If we wanted to do this work, it was imperative that we restore trust as part of the process.
The data we have gathered about trees in this region are powerful, but are mostly meaningful because they are in fine enough in detail to be applicable at a local scale. We spent our first few years gathering data so we could identify solutions based on need and not speculation.
In order to realize its potential, green infrastructure must be designed holistically in partnership with the community, delivered at scale, and maintained for the long-term.
Here are 10 ways Portland is tackling housing—along a spectrum from homelessness to homeownership, and creating affordable solutions along that spectrum. We have focused our efforts on leveraging funding sources, and maximizing strategic investment opportunities.
Cities and private parking owners can use parking analytics to create policies and rates, adapting them to changing conditions or shifts in demand. Parking analytics help managers better understand pricing and maximize revenue in different parts of the city. This can also be adjusted for special events or if new businesses move into a location.