The work of transitioning to a carbon neutral global civilization requires that our next generation of leaders looks to, and invests in, the future. By working right now to build climate resilience across the U.S. in small and mid-sized cities, we will not only protect our families and communities in the near-term, we will protect our capacity to do the work of reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the long-term.
The benefit of parks and trails is greatest for those who live closest to these resources, and a disparity in access can have significant health, social, and economic implications, while also exacerbating environmental justice concerns in communities.
Reaching 100 percent renewables takes political courage. California puts a price on carbon. Minneapolis facilitates private investment in community solar. Texas ends utility monopoly power with an open market.
The social and environmental factors that influence our health do not play out in a linear way—they interact with and affect each other. We are each the product of our cumulative experience, and our health is the product of our cumulative exposures over a lifetime. For that reason, we sought to provide a holistic model for individual and community health and well-being.
Many of the techniques that enabled this evolution to take place were not learned in northern California. For me, Smart City concepts originated in muddy holes, sandstorms and military classrooms around the world. Functional Smart City use cases originated in the cabs of Public Works trucks and at water treatment plants and were articulated by City employees with decades of civil service experience, not a coding background. Truly smart evolutions grow out of solving real problems for real people based on real experiences.
In California, millions of homes are all-electric and 819,337 have solar roofs. Electric heat pumps can accommodate all needs for water heating, air conditioning and heating. Starting in 2020, all new California homes will be required to be zero-energy, accomplished by being well insulated, very efficient, all electric, and having solar roofs. Zero-energy homes, government and commercial buildings will allow the major cities of San Diego, San Francisco, and even massive Los Angeles to meet city goals of using 100 percent renewables.
US retail is, at present in robust good health, as measured by the most important metric: overall year-on-year revenue. What’s going on is not an apocalypse, but an ever-accelerating, very-Darwinian process of natural selection.
In this climate of distrust, we conducted a study to learn how activists and civic institutions are leveraging media and digital technology to rebuild and reimagine new approaches to civic discourse and action. Through our conversations with over 40 practitioners in Boston, Chicago, and Oakland, we provide a way of identifying and evaluating media and technology designed to facilitate democratic process.
We spoke to people in a variety of civic organizations (everything from government, arts, to community journalism), who were grappling with the challenge of using new media and technology to engage, or connect with the publics they serve. Among these practitioners, we saw that their work reflected an ethic of care, an essential part of citizenship that orients people towards an understanding that citizenship is the practice of how we work with others to take care of the world we live in.
Mobility is not about a car or a bus, it’s about accessing the resources we need in a timely manner or being in contact with people we want to interact with, for any number of reasons. We have already seen how technology can enable remote access to information and some basic medical care, how people can work remotely from an office base or enable a web of delivery services to avoid the need for individual transport to and from a location. New technologies, both those we label as mobility and those we call Internet based, will continue to evolve and further alter what we think of as mobility.
The expansion of Barcelona in recent years led the Council to make the decision to abolish the highway around Glories and rebuild the area in order to make space for more housing and services. The project has been delayed by 19 months, meaning extra time and money (millions of euros) going into construction time and widespread citizen dissatisfaction with the ongoing roadworks and construction eyesore. With a technology like OI, this project may have stood a better chance at being finished on time and under-budget.
Water is a precious resource. Let’s face it, flushing toilets and urinals with potable water IS waste and we have an opportunity to shift the conversation towards one of water stewardship. As the “yuck factor” begins to subside, we are seeing a growing interest in water reuse strategies. However, the long slog isn’t over. Educating the design community, communicating the benefits of water conservation to clients, and working with regulatory and health officials to develop effective policy is core to the mission of Urban Fabrick Inc. and The William J. Worthen Foundation.