News Roundup › Sustainable Development
Jan 13 2013
Major projects, some financed with federal dollars, are expanding the drainage system’s capacity to funnel even greater volumes at faster rates out of populated areas. This is an antiquated approach to water management, Becker and Waggonner argued. It lowers the water table, dries out the soil and causes the city to sink further into the swamp. Such subsidence cracks roads; upsets foundations.
Nov 4 2012
In his book The Conundrum, David Owen, a staff writer at the New Yorker, contends that as long as the West places high and unquestioning value on economic growth and consumer gratification—with China and the rest of the developing world right behind—we will continue to burn the fossil fuels whose emissions trap heat in the atmosphere.
Nov 2 2012
Sep 12 2012
Like many cities hoping to make the transition from car-centric to multi-modal, New Orleans faces several obstacles, ranging from physical infrastructural improvements that must be made, to a cultural shift that encourages more bikers and transit riders. While better bike lanes and sidewalks might solve part of the problem, how might the city help its residents to choose alternative methods of transportation? As part of GOOD Ideas for New Orleans, the Biking & Transit team received $500 from Neighborland to execute simple, low-cost ideas for improving the biking experience.
Jun 8 2012
Jun 1 2012
Studies show that most Americans want to live in walkable neighborhoods. They also conclude that neighborhoods boasting the best walkability also come with the highest price tags. Since easily-traversable neighborhoods encourage healthier and more robust communities, the costliness of walkability poses “a serious social equity issue.”
May 22 2012
“Mastering the Metro,” in this case, does not mean understanding the local subway system. Instead, the metro is our city, our community, and those cities and communities surrounding ours. In “Mastering the Metro,” Brian Katz, author and vice president at the Brookings Institution, explores what it means to harness and support ideas, innovation, and growth through local partnerships based on individual communities’ and cities’ strengths and weaknesses. More minds working to achieve a common goal? The possibilities are endless, and are just beginning to take root in communities near you.
May 8 2012
May 8 2012
Jane Jacobs was a renowned urban planner and author. She chronicled the “death and life” of cities and communities by how well they served their constituents. Jacobs argued that a community’s success should be measured by its accessibility- and walkability. In his article, “The Myth of Jane Jacobs in New Orleans,” Owen Courreges argues that although New Orleans hosted numerous Jane Jacobs walks this past weekend, her ideas are not properly represented throughout our city.
May 8 2012
While proposals for the creation of a new hospitality district are being quietly shuffled through the city and state legislatures, concerned New Orleans residents are raising their voices in an effort to ensure increased transparency and public involvement in the process. Citizens’ suggestions include slowing the bills down to allow for further public review and comment, as well as appointing an affected-resident review board.
Apr 17 2012
Friends of the Lafitte Corridor hosted over 100 walkers at their annual “Hike the Lafitte Corridor” informational guided tour of the Greenway on Saturday, April 14th, 2012. The hike paired knowledgeable Greenway guides with curious citizens eager to learn more about the design, process, and implementation of the community-connecting Greenway trail and bike path.
Mar 27 2012
Preservation is our city’s salvation, argues Jack Davis, a trustee of The National Trust for Historic Preservation. Succinct, clear, and convincing, Davis’ article, originally published in the Spring 2012 edition of Louisiana Cultural Vistas, the quarterly arts-and-culture magazine of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humaniities, entitled “Stop Demolishing New Orleans’ Heritage”, calls for New Orleans to recognize the importance architecture plays in our cultural economy. To view the complete 2012 Louisiana Cultural Vistas spring edition, click here.
Mar 26 2012
On March 21, 2012, the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority unanimously approved the 50-year, $50 billion five-year update of the state’s master plan for coastal restoration and hurricane storm surge protection, and sent it on to the Legislature.
Now in front of the Louisiana Legislature, the comprehensive, “revised plan is the result of two months of public hearings and intense jawboning by parish elected officials, legislators and others.”
Feb 28 2012
What does it mean to “Rebuild New Orleans?”
From the February 20, 2012 Times-Picayune: “After closing on financing and land acquisition this month, Stirling Properties officials say they are poised to green light construction on the Mid-City Market, a Winn-Dixie-anchored shopping center that will include a mix of smaller retail outlets.”
The 107,000 square foot project, set to open sometime next year, promises to generate revenue for the Mid-City area, but at what cost?
Jan 25 2012
Every city has them: struggling neighborhoods whose main boulevards and avenues have more “Closed for Business” signs than open doors. How can one combat this sort of storied and unfortunate blight? The answer is, possibly, that ONE cannot, but that together, MANY can. Such is the idea behind Oakland-based experiment Popuphood, where a group of like-minded or complementary businesses simultaneously move into a few blocks of space (rent-free for six months) to increase a boom in talk, traffic, awareness, and fresh faces to areas that need them most.
Jan 17 2012
On January 12, 2012 Louisiana state officials released a $50 billion, 50-year master plan to rebuild land lost due to erosion and protect coastal communities from future storm surges. The 50-year strategy is outlined in the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s plan update. Ambitious in scope, the plan takes into account funds that “the state is reasonably sure it will receive.” Although a monumental undertaking, restoring lost coastal wetlands and marshes is integral to maintaining a healthy coastline and community.
Sep 3 2011
Today, the High Line is one of Manhattan’s most popular public spaces: a mile-long, modern, high-concept park built on the old railroad track. In the 10 months after it opened in 2009, it drew 2 million visitors and — in a rare ratio for a public space in New York — about half were tourists. Half were native New Yorkers.
Aug 25 2011
Mar 22 2011
“It is critical that the Greater New Orleans region has a comprehensive water management plan that can mitigate risk while enhancing economic opportunities and improving the quality of life for our citizens,” said Senator Mary Landrieu. “We are fortunate to have a dream team in place to do this important work. Waggonner & Ball has extensive expertise in water management gleaned from projects that span the globe, and GNO, Inc. is uniquely positioned to manage the process efficiently.”
Mar 21 2011
Mar 16 2011
Walgreens executives have yet to commit to the Magazine Street project (which would include closing their location on Tchoupitoulas), said developer Louis Stirling Properties, but appear to be the tenant most likely to be able to pay the building’s $600,000 lease. Stirling’s plan for the building includes removing its brick front completely and replacing it with a glass wall with steel columns — not unlike nearby Whole Foods — and many residents asked why such a modern design was chosen.
Dec 12 2010
Dec 6 2010
Oct 16 2010
Ending our love affair with the automobile, no matter how unhealthy it has become, seems overwhelmingly disruptive. Although more and wider roads lead only to more congestion, states are loath to reject federal highway dollars such as those offered in economic stimulus packages. Highways are easy things to spend money on, so who cares if what they stimulate is sprawl?
Aug 12 2010
Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson, who took the lead in pushing for approval of the plan, said its adoption will provide certainty to both residents and developers. “The rules won’t change in the middle of the game,” she said. “You will not be able to just whimsy and whamsy change zoning.”
Jun 1 2010
May 21 2010
In the past two years, 12.6 miles of bike lanes have been added to city roads, including the three-mile St. Claude Avenue bike lane, the 1.8-mile shared lane and 0.8-mile off-street path along Robert E. Lee Boulevard and the 2-mile Gentilly Boulevard bike lane, said Jennifer Ruley, a bicycle and pedestrian engineer who provides technical assistance to City Hall on behalf of the Louisiana Public Health Institute and Entergy New Orleans.
More bike paths are to come: The city is using bond money to finance “bikeway” development in conjunction with federally funded road resurfacing projects, Ruley said.
Apr 12 2010
Those responsible for the current plan are obviously unaware of the transformative and progressive events and trends occurring in America: the emphasis on livability, on walkable urban design, energy-efficient, multi-modal transportation, compact development and sustainable building design. This hospital plan is so out of touch it doesn’t even address the needs of the dramatically changing health-care system.
Mar 16 2010
Feb 23 2010
Jan 13 2010
Such a departure would spare scores of camelback and shotgun houses from being taken by eminent domain for the VA to build its hospital in a century-old neighborhood, much of which is included in a National Register Historic District. The property owners are likely to get lower payments from the seizures, because the City Council prohibited them from obtaining permits to fix their houses after the storm, the only New Orleans neighborhood not allowed to recover.
Jan 13 2010
Transparency ought to be the order of the day in a dispute involving a third of a billion dollars, the health of tens of thousands of post-Katrina New Orleanians and the fate of a 25-square-block neighborhood of historic homes and buildings threatened by eminent domain. Instead, secrecy rules.
Dec 3 2009
Dec 3 2009
Dec 3 2009
Sep 14 2009
The perfect city isn’t static. It’s evolving and ever changing, and its laws and structure allow that to happen. Neighborhoods change, clubs close and others open, yuppies move in and move out—as long as there is a mix of some sort, then business districts and neighborhoods stay healthy even if they’re not what they once were. My perfect city isn’t fixed, it doesn’t actually exist, and I like it that way.
Sep 13 2009
“It has been a ploy all along by these people to keep on getting another thing, another thing,” Mr. Perry said as he stood on the porch watching cars snake into the facility late Friday afternoon. “First they got to be open 24 hours a day on weekends, then they’ll get it all week, then they’ll go for gaming tables, too.”
Aug 12 2009
Jun 22 2009
I own a multimillion dollar business, with thousands of employees, headquartered in our building at 1900 Canal St. That’s in the 37-acre site that LSU has targeted for expropriation to build a $1.2 billion hospital in Lower Mid City. “Read more.”: http://blog.nola.com/guesteditorials/2009/06/point_of_view_feeling_discarde.html#more
May 25 2009
Apr 17 2009
The Kansas City Star
By Yael T. Abouhalkah
April 15, 2009
For years economic development gurus have pumped up tax-increment financing as the savior of Kansas City’s budget.
The mantra went this way: TIF projects will bring in new jobs, stores and tax revenue so the city will be able to spend more money on basic services such as public safety and capital improvements.
However, new information from the city shows this contention isn’t coming true. In fact, a good case can be made that tax-increment financing is killing Kansas City’s budget. Read more.
Dec 1 2008
Nov 21 2008
Nov 20 2008
Sep 20 2008
All of the great challenges that confront the 21st-century city — from class, race and environmental issues to the continuing duel between history and modernity — are crystallized in New Orleans.
Yet the kind of visionary urban plan that could address these issues in a bold and thoughtful way has yet to materialize. Instead, some of the country’s greatest architectural minds are inventing the future in cities like Beijing, Shenzhen and Dubai, where their talents are more appreciated.
Aug 18 2008
Jul 15 2008
A year after the introduction of the sturdy gray bicycles known as Velib’s, they are being used all over Paris. The bikes are cheap to rent because they are subsidized by advertising, and other major cities, including American ones, are exploring similar projects.
Jul 14 2008
Jun 28 2008
Long before the recent spike in the price of energy, environmentalists decried suburban sprawl a waste of land, energy and tax dollars. Governments from Virginia to California have in recent decades lavished resources on building roads and schools for new subdivisions in the outer rings of development while skimping on maintaining facilities closer in. Many governments now focus on reviving their downtowns.
Jun 23 2008
Devastated by the subprime mortgage crisis, hundreds of homes have been foreclosed and thousands of residents have been forced to move, leaving in their wake a not-so-pleasant path of empty houses, unkempt lawns, vacant strip malls, graffiti-sprayed desolate sidewalks and even increased crime.
Jun 17 2008
May 27 2008
So what are intelligent responses to our predicament? First, we’ll have to dramatically reorganize the everyday activities of American life. We’ll have to grow our food closer to home, in a manner that will require more human attention. In fact, agriculture needs to return to the center of economic life. We’ll have to restore local economic networks — the very networks that the big-box stores systematically destroyed — made of fine-grained layers of wholesalers, middlemen and retailers.
May 9 2008
For years, New Yorkers have grown basil, tomatoes and greens in window boxes, backyard plots and community gardens. But more and more New Yorkers like the Wilkses are raising fruits and vegetables, and not just to feed their families but to sell to people on their block.
This urban agriculture movement has grown even more vigorously elsewhere. Hundreds of farmers are at work in Detroit, Milwaukee, Oakland and other areas that, like East New York, have low-income residents, high rates of obesity and diabetes, limited sources of fresh produce and available, undeveloped land.
Apr 19 2008
Apr 8 2008
“We built the opera house in two months, the botanical gardens in three months, Niemeyer’s museum in five months. We transformed the city’s main street into a pedestrian area in 72 hours. It wasn’t that we were chasing after records - it was necessity.”
Wally N’Dow, former head of the UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), has described Curitiba as “a wonderful example, because cities that follow this lead can jumpstart the economies, assist the poorest of their poor, and clean up their cities.”
Mar 7 2008
Mar 7 2008
Feb 4 2008
In recent years, downtown Mississauga has amassed both significant density and a reasonably broad mix of land uses. But its sidewalks remain virtually empty, especially when compared with the attractive central areas of the world’s great cities. And it’s that lack of street life that Canada’s sixth-largest city hopes to address starting with Parkside Village by Vancouver-based developer Amacon.
Jan 29 2008
Once completed, the concrete segment of the Wisner route will be among the city’s major paved off-street bike infrastructure, joining the 1.79-mile Mississippi River Levee path and the 1.38-mile West End path, said Jennifer Ruley, a bicycle and pedestrian engineer with the Louisiana Public Health Institute.
Jan 17 2008
Jan 3 2008
The Mayor of Paris is about to launch another novel scheme for fighting congestion and pollution: self-service cars Bertrand Delanöe aims to start with 2,000 electric-powered vehicles that subscribers can drive off without booking at dozens of sites 24 hours a day and then leave anywhere in the city.
Dec 30 2007
The streetcar has represented something else besides the connections through time and space: the city’s living room, a privileged spot for tentative social encounters across lines of race, class and nationality, in a place not otherwise given to them. Thanks to an accelerated repair schedule, that meeting place, absent since the hurricane, is back.
Dec 7 2007
Announcing Release of the Big Box Evaluator Website and Tool: The tool that helps you learn about the impacts of big box retail stores
Nov 21 2007
Available free to the public at www.bigboxevaluator.org, the web-based interface allows users to learn about commercial and retail development in general, but also to input specific information from their communities and receive customized reports on economics, values, planning and municpal services, and ways to improve the development process.
Nov 11 2007
Pre-Katrina, the St. Charles line, which extended from Canal Street to Carrollton Avenue and Claiborne Avenue, ran 24 hours a day, but the new Canal-to-Napoleon service will operate daily from 5:27 a.m. to 11:55 p.m. with a fleet of five 1923 Perley Thomas streetcars running 10 minutes apart.
Nov 9 2007
KB Home, which once announced a 3,000-home subdivision project in the New Orleans area and later abandoned it, is leaving Louisiana altogether. Clint Szubinski, president of the company’s Gulf Coast division, said residents are rebuilding instead of buying new homes.
Oct 22 2007
The ORM has $2.4 million of an estimated $2.5 million needed to complete phase one, which includes developing a greenway between North Broad and Jefferson Davis Parkway. ORM will use $2 million from the $117 million authorized by the Louisiana Recovery Authority for the city, $313,000 from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and a $95,000 grant from the American Institute of Architects to develop the park.
Jun 19 2007
Working from barges and tugboats off New York City’s Roosevelt Island, engineers are battling northeasters and this month’s heavy spring tides to install the first major tidal-power project in the United States. The project involves a set of six submerged turbines that are designed to capture energy from the East River’s tidal currents.
Apr 18 2007
Mayor Marcelo Ebrard proposed the programme last year — and was the first to get on his bicycle from his home south of the city to his office in the central Zocalo.
Apr 18 2007
[Louisiana] is getting ready to spend three hundred and fifty-eight million dollars on a gigantic automobile overpass along the northern edge of the Lower Ninth Ward, to connect downtown New Orleans with neighboring St. Bernard Parish. St. Bernard was home to sixty-seven thousand people before Katrina and to maybe a little more than a third of that now. Opponents call the overpass “the bridge to nowhere.”
Apr 18 2007
Between 1990 and 2005, the amount of store space per capita in this country doubled, while consumer spending grew at less than half that rate. The predictable result is that the U.S. is now home to thousands of dead malls and vacant-strip shopping centers. City planners are not the only ones alarmed. “The most over-retailed country in the world hardly needs more shopping outlets of any kind,” advised PricewaterhouseCoopers in a report to real-estate investors.
Nov 1 2006
EMO, a Falls Church, Va.-based energy efficiency and sustainable design consulting company, has been recommending and designing alternative building materials since 1998. Initial plans were to construct the first zero-net energy building for its Virginia headquarters but Hurricane Katrina changed plans.
Oct 18 2006
The office of Farr Associates is no next-generation green-building prototype — it’s located in the historic 114-year-old Monadnock Building, Chicago’s tallest all-brick skyscraper. But inside, green spores of sustainability burst forth. The open studio spaces have walls that have been painted by a local artist who used milk-based, non-toxic paints. The desktops are made of natural linoleum, and a translucent divider embedded with leaves separates one desk from another. “Occupancy sensors” trigger energy-conserving lights in the kitchenette, conference room, and main studio. Large, operable First Chicago School windows gaze over nearby Printer’s Row, letting in eastern and southern light that is welcomed by the many living creatures in the space.
Oct 18 2006
Wal-Mart’s specific approach to reducing the growth of its health insurance costs centers on providing disincentives for less healthy workers to take a job at Wal-Mart in two ways: by incorporating physical activity into all job functions (the benefits memo suggests, for example, that cashiers should gather carts) and by providing health benefits that expose workers to much more cost-sharing for medical expenses than their wages suggest they can reasonably afford.
Sep 29 2006
When the Central Artery expressway was built in the 1950s, it carved through Boston indiscriminately, destroying sections of Chinatown and effectively cutting off the North End from the rest of the city. Half a century later, as part of the massive Big Dig construction project, much of the elevated expressway has been torn down. In its place will be the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a nearly 30-acre stretch of parks and public spaces that promises to reunite neighborhoods long divided.
Aug 9 2006
Welcome to the world of “objective” economists, economic developers, and business leaders who believe that the future of their community depends on Wal-Mart and Borders. Despite the nearly one hundred “Local First” campaigns around the country, fervent opposition is also growing. So, to prepare you and thousands of other independent businesses for the battles ahead, let me share a half dozen of the most common arguments circulating and how best to respond to them.
Aug 9 2006
Five years later, no one is questioning Saulson’s sanity. Thanks to midcourse changes in the building’s design, materials, lighting, and heating and cooling systems, the 647,000-square-foot steel, stone and curved glass structure overlooking the Monongahela River spends $1.5 million a year on utilities — 26 percent less per square foot than one of the bank’s comparable standard buildings.
Jul 25 2006
“The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design” aims to show visitors how thoughtful choices — even small ones — can help conserve resources, save money, and support healthier lifestyles. With displays that are complemented by lectures, trips to renovation and construction projects, family programs, and a comprehensive website, the exhibit offers something for everyone.
Jun 27 2006
Chicago is set to unveil new plans for becoming a bicyclist’s haven. And this time, it means business. The new Bike 2015 Plan wastes little time on breezy rides in the park. Instead, the city’s Department of Transportation is bent on getting people to bike to work, to school, to stores and to mass transit stops, cobbling together a 500-mile network of designated routes.
Jun 5 2006
With world oil production approaching a plateau, energy demand soaring, growing talk of global warming, and fossil-fuel habits under scrutiny, you may be worried about the employment outlook for traditional energy industries like oil. But according to Kevin Doyle, author of The Complete Guide to Environmental Careers in the 21st Century , there is a bright side for job hunters: Renewable energy.
“In 2006, we’ve made a switch: Alternative energy is no longer alternative,” he says.
Jun 5 2006
May 17 2006
Schools must become more “carbon neutral” by 2020 by reducing pollution and encouraging children to walk or cycle from home, the government says.
Education Secretary Alan Johnson also called for lower water and energy use, with some schools in England using solar panels and wind turbines.
The government says that by 2020 it wants all schools to be “models of energy efficiency and renewable energy” and provide “healthy, local and sustainable food and drink produced or prepared on site”.
Dec 14 2005
An agreement that will be discussed at this week’s WTO
ministerial meeting in Hong Kong poses a serious threat to state and
local authority over land use policy, according to Public Citizen. Big
box retailers such as Wal-Mart are pushing for new provisions in the
WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services that could further
undermine local zoning and other land use and development policies.
Among the local laws threatened by GATS rules are those that impose size and height restrictions on big box stores; limits on hours of operation; economic needs tests before stores can be approved; and limits on development to protect the environment or protect historic and cultural sites. No state or local group has yet recognized the threat posed to land use laws and local sovereignty by the WTO’s one-size-fits-all rules for service firms. One group that has recognized this threat is major
“Major big box retail corporations have been eyeing the GATS as a way of gutting local zoning and land use laws that have kept them out of
communities in Europe and the United States.”
Nov 2 2005
A Louisiana environmental group said Tuesday that the cake-like muck that Hurricane Katrina dumped in much of St. Bernard Parish is loaded with toxic substances in amounts exceeding federal and state recommended levels, and the group contends that federal and parish officials are not giving returning residents enough warning about potential health risks.
Mar 30 2005
“Economic juggernaut, factory of the world, emerging superpower: When it comes to China’s ascendancy, the journalistic cliches come fast and furious. And there’s no denying that China’s hypergrowth wave is a wondrous thing. But another, darker dimension to China’s prosperity exists. The country is fast becoming an ecological wasteland, home to some of the world’s smoggiest cities as well as rampant water shortages, soil erosion, and acid rain.”
Jan 12 2005
“So next time you are in the supermarket pondering the organic Gala or the local Granny Smith, consider how you might help create a food system that is both organic and local. Seek out a local farmers market or vegetable subscription service that provides a weekly bag of produce. Meet your local farmers this way. Encourage them to use organic methods and local sources of compost and other soil amendments. And seek out the small growers, who don’t have to exploit labor to gather their harvests.”
May 27 2002
Aug 1 2001
State and Local Policy Edition
August 8, 2001, Vol. 3, Issue 5
In a victory against big-box sprawl, the Chestertown, Maryland, Planning Commission voted June 19 to reject a proposal by Wal-Mart to build a sprawling, 107,000 square-foot store on the outskirts of this small historic town in Kent County. The vote came after the Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld the prior ruling of the Kent County Circuit Court, which had remanded the Wal-Mart application back to the planning commission for reconsideration based on issues relating to traffic and economic impacts on local businesses. After hearing testimony on how damaging these impacts would be, the commission denied the proposal in a 5-2 vote. The decision was based on the proposal’s violation of the Kent County Comprehensive Plan, which prohibits projects that have certain negative effects on the community.
Kennedy Smith, director of the National Trust’s Main Street Program, had testified at a planning commission hearing that economic assertions regarding the project’s economic benefits were overly optimistic and that the development would have an adverse effect on Chestertown’s Main Street. The National Trust had filed an amicus brief in support of Chestertown.
Wal-Mart has appealed the decision.
Local governments should scale back the amount of retail-zoned land to reflect a realistic assessment of the size and strength of the market, advises the Urban Land Institute in its latest publication.