The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on December 11, 2011

  • So true.
    Streets and parking can take up as much as a third of a community’s land, and designing them solely for the comfort of people in cars, and then only for the most congested hour of the day, has significant ramifications for the livability and economics of a community. Under the planning and engineering principles of the past 70 years, people have for all intents and purposes given up their rights to this public property. Streets were once a place where we stopped for conversation and children played, but now they are the exclusive domain of cars. Even when sidewalks are present along high-speed streets, they feel inhospitable and out of place.

    tags: street_usage urbanplanning cities public_space

  • Sounds like a no-brainer. Plant the trees anyway, but paint all th roofs white, please.
    In a study just published online in the journal Building and Environment, researchers out of Yale University show that the cooling effect of tree cover and other vegetated areas is far outpaced by the cooling achieved through reflective roofing. By analyzing satellite imagery of the city of Chicago from around 1995 and 2009, the researchers found that parts of the city that had increased their reflectivity show greater reductions in temperature than areas that increased their vegetation.

    tags: cities heat_island_effect atlantic_cities roofs

  • Another book I need to read (and so should you):
    Lawrence Lessig has an answer. In his new book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress — and a Plan to Stop It, he spends 20 pages reviewing the the 30 years of deregulation that led up to the financial crisis and outlining our present circumstances. In fact, this book, published just before Occupy Wall Street began, is perfectly positioned to become the movement’s handbook. While few protesters will need convincing that the government is corrupted by money, the book lays out the case in a such a comprehensive and persuasive manner — and proposes such specific and radical solutions — that it seems tailor-made for the Occupy movement. And it’s ambitious proposal for state-based activism on behalf of a Constitutional Convention could provide the movement with a next organizing step as it nears its two-month anniversary Thursday — and faces such questions as how to ride out the winter and how to respond to police crackdowns.
    So how do we begin a popular movement that might end with states petitioning for a convention? Lessig calls for mock conventions to happen all across the land: assemblies of regular people to think of these, and other, problems, and come up with solutions that might work. Not only would these conventions come up with a spectrum of solutions which could be evaluated and selected from, but they’d build national support for the idea that a convention like this could work.

    It sounds unlikely to happen. But this is where Occupy Wall Street comes in. Properly leveraging its support, it could generate enough energy to do what Lessig, while writing this book, couldn’t quite picture. In fact, the original call for Occupy Wall Street, from Adbusters, called on president Obama to “ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington.” Already, “The 99 Percent Declaration” is calling for “a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY beginning on July 4, 2012 in the City Of Philadelphia” to address the influence of money in politics and other issues.

    Properly presented, the strategies and aims of Lessig’s book could make it the handbook the protesters have been looking for — and provide a pathway for them to ride out the winter ahead.

    tags: occupy_wall_street lawrence_lessig socialtheory politics

  • I need to read this book (loved Natural Capitalism).
    Lovins believes that most people in business are just waiting for Washington to tell them what to do, but that’s not necessarily where the answers are. Business leaders might alternatively look to state and local government, which can implement the policies needed to speed the transition to efficiency and renewables. As we have seen, military leadership can also accelerate change in the civilian sector.

    tags: amory_lovins energy environment

  • It may be winter, but summer’s on its way. This is great:
    A cooling method used by the ancient Romans—circulation of cold water—has found a modern home at Harvard University. The hydronic air-conditioning system used at Harvard’s operational services facility at 46 Blackstone Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of the energy-efficiency innovations that has helped win the building the U.S. Green Building Council’s top-ranked Platinum LEED status.

    tags: air_conditioner environment

  • This is really interesting (and not good). Religious people are less mobile. Poor people are less mobile. Poverty and religiosity is making the US stuck?
    If mobility was once considered to be a quintessentially American attribute, it is now one that only an elite sliver of the population can lay claim to. It is both a significant shift and a sobering one.

    tags: richard_florida atlantic_cities mobility socialtheory

  • QUOTE It doesn’t solve the problem to buy a hybrid and retrofit your house if all of that takes place 20 miles from your job. You’d still consume more energy (“suburban single family green”) than an urban household without the latest green tech (“urban single family”). And that has as much to do with associated transportation emissions as the size and efficiency of your home.

    The implication is that if more suburbanites opted to move out of their low-density detached homes and into walkable, mixed-use urban communities (or if we retrofitted suburbia to better resemble such places), right there we’d be on our way to taking a real whack at carbon emissions. UNQUOTE

    tags: cities suburbia housing atlantic_cities energy ecological_urbanism

  • Makes me laugh. Wall as nostalgist or NIMBY? Sad.
    The two celebrity contributors to the book, photo-artist Jeff Wall and novelist Douglas Coupland, have each produced short and somewhat quirky essays. Wall writes that the character of Herzog’s 1950s and ’60s photographs would be impossible to achieve today, for the obvious reason that many of the buildings they document no longer exist. He declares that Vancouver is now dominated by architecture that is “vulgar, cheap, ugly and even ridiculous,” and extols the beauty and “gracious air of appropriateness” of buildings now lost, especially an old clapboard house in Herzog’s 1957 image, New Pontiac. Contrarily, Coupland writes about the ways Herzog’s photographs reveal how “utterly filthy” Vancouver was five decades ago. “Vancouver was ghastly back then,” he declares. “What was society thinking?”
    Vancouver definitely was ghastly (even in the late 70s/ early 80s), present faults notwithstanding.

    tags: fred_herzog vancouver photography books jeff_wall

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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