Quebec Budget Funds Transit

Quebec has the potential to become a North American leader in sustainable transportation (see last week's post). Transportation is also central to the Province's challenging climate change goals. In the lead-up to yesterday's budget, hopes were high that the Province would put some money where their targets are.

In the end, we weren't disappointed: The budget included a possible total of $173 million in new funding for infrastructure and public transit for this year alone. The money, a result of raising gas taxes, is set to steadily increase until 2014.

There are of course objections to the tax increases. I'm not supporter of taxation for taxation's sake. If you are raising taxes, you had better be able to clearly show increased public benefits. But it's worth remembering that public transit is about much more than getting you to work in the morning:

First, public transportation gets you the most bang for your buck when it comes to spending transportation infrastructure money. The alternative – spending money on roadways for private vehicles – just feeds a vicious circle of congestion and sprawl.

Second, transit is as much about creating compact livable cities as it is about moving people around. A good public transportation system creates a virtuous circle of compact development, cheaper costs for providing services and infrastructure, and more walkable and livable neighbourhoods. A targeted tax to support transit can lead to a variety of public benefits.

The money, announced as part of Quebec's new budget, comes from increases to two different gasoline taxes. $120 million comes from a 1 cent per litre increase to the provincial gas tax, similar increases over the next 3 years will bring in an additional $480 million by 2013-14. The province has also given the Montreal Metropolitan Community the power to increase by 1.5 cents the regional gas tax used to fund transit. That will bring in $53million, the majority of which will go to the Société de transport de Montréal (STM).

Montreal was hoping for more, especially when it came to the regional gas tax, but over all this seems like good news. I'm not a specialist in the economics of public transportation by any means. But, like many North American cities, there are still large areas of the Montreal metropolitan region that are poorly served by public transportation. In the coming years the STM has plans to increase ridership and quality of service over the next few years. On it's side, the Province has committed to an ambitious climate change action plan that puts a special emphasis on reducing transportation related emissions.

For either level of government to be serious about meeting their goals,  the key - 
long with smart planning and good management - is dependable increased funding. Read more...

L.A. Energy: Killing Coal by 2020 with a new Solar Feed-In Tariff

Los Angeles has come up on my radar again this month. Twice actually. First when it topped the EPA's list of cities with the most Energy Star rated buildings. And then again when it was announced that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is proposing a new Carbon Reduction surcharge that would create a $168 million annual pot for local renewable energy and efficiency.

This is the second year that L.A. has placed first on the EPA's list. The city has come a long way since starting16 building efficiency pilot projects in 1996. But buildings are only part of L.A.'s ambitious energy plans: 20% renewables by the end of this year, a complete phase out of coal-fired electricity and a 10% reduction in demand by 2020. But will they get there?

To meet their goals, the city is currently building the largest municipally owned wind farm in North America and plans for large private solar development in the storied Owens Valley are being discussed. The new Carbon Reduction surcharge would support smaller generators by funding for a new solar feed-in tariff as well as further energy efficiency initiatives. The tiered charge would hit large users hardest, increasing their bills by up to 28%. Smaller increases for residents will mean on average an extra $3 a month.

What L.A. has on the drawing board is a truly ambitious redesign of the city's energy system. That kind of work takes a dependable flow of money. You can't run large longterm projects if you are going from grant to grant. Other cities like Toronto, Berkeley and Portland are funding energy retrofits through a variety of creative loan structures. But – at least on paper – what L.A. is aiming for is something much bigger.

There has predictably been push-back against what some are calling a “hidden tax.” On the other hand unions in particular are coming out in support of the proposal. An estimated 16,000 to 18,000 new jobs in the energy and building trades is hard to ignore. But similar measures, like last year's Solar B ballot measure, have been killed by voters.

I know we've got some Angelinos in the audience. Anyone who knows more about the city's progress to meeting its 20% renewables by 2010 goal, or public opinion on the new surcharge: the comment field is there for you.

Retrofitting With Justice: Clean Energy Works Portland

I just came across a great short video on Clean Energy Works Portland (CEW).  Energy Works is one of my favourite examples of how cities can combine social, environmental and economic objectives.  Earlier this year I talked about it in an interview with Mike Armstrong (the City's Deputy Planning Director)  – and I'm sure to cover it again after I've seen some of the projects first hand this summer. 

CEW takes on three of the biggest elephants that are always in the room when people talk about urban sustainability: existing buildings, financing, and social justice.  It's hard to pretend you are really sustainable unless you can do something about the sieve-like quality of existing buildings, do it in a way that removes the barrier of initial upfront costs, and make it accessible regardless of which side of the tracks you live on. Now in a pilot phase, CEW does all three.


CEW provides low-interest loans -- paid back over 20 years on the building's utility bill -- that fund home energy retrofits.  There are no upfront costs to homeowners, and a community workforce agreement means that the jobs created benefit low-income communities.

If you want to read more Green For All, who produced the video, also recently released a report on CEW.

(Got other examples of innovative financing and retrofit projects that you'd like to see discussed here? Leave me a comment!)

Climate Action in Quebec: A New Transportation Leader Rising?

If you are looking for leadership on climate change in Canada or the United States, much of the action comes from provinces and states.

California's auto emissions standards jump to mind, but so do Ontario's smart grid roll-out and New York's leadership on carbon trading.  Recently in Canada, the province of Quebec has been elbowing out some room among that leading group. In the process it has positioned itself to be a key centre for transportation innovation on the continent and angered and confused the federal government.

More news this week shows that Canada continues to be stuck under a science-phobic government.  In the U.S., climate legislation is still stalled in the Senate.  In that context, Quebec's increasingly vocal political stance is a welcome break.

Along with Ontario, Quebec was an outspoken presence at last year's ill fated Copenhagen negotiations.  Just prior to the conference Quebec had announced ambitious emissions reduction targets that put it in league with objectives set by the EU.  During and after the summit, the provincial Premier Jean Charest didn't mince words either when stating clearly that provinces would not be bound to a weak treaty and lashing out at the Canadian federal government for having undermined the negotiations.

Easy Promises?
Now all this may seem a bit facile when you take into account that Quebec already gets nearly all of its electricity from hydro power. Some commentators criticized the province for making a big deal out of shallow promises; they argue that hydro power makes it much easier to reduce emissions in Quebec than elsewhere. But hydro is a double edged sword -- it also means that emission cutting measures used elsewhere will have no effect in Quebec.

Put up all the windmills you want, insulate every home and subsidize residential solar panels – none of that has any impact because Quebec's power supply is already clean. The sector generates a little less than 2% of Quebec's emissions, compared to say 20% in New York, or 17% in Ontario.
That unique situation means other sectors, particularly transportation, have acquired more importance when it comes to climate change plans.

Transportation & Innovation
All told, transportation is the single biggest source of GHGs in Quebec and is the source of 40% of the province's annual emissions. Transportation was a center-piece of the provinces' 2006 Climate Change Action Plan, and in 2007 it passed Canada's first carbon tax to raise revenues for public transit improvements. In 2008 it pledged a further  $4.5billion over five years.

None of that got nearly as much attention as the January announcement that Quebec would adopt California's strict auto emissions standards. Canadian's will remember the amusing Federal reaction where the government first attacking the plan as “absolutely counter-productive and utterly pointless” and then announced days later that they planned to do exactly the same thing.

At the municipal level Montreal, the province's largest city and the second largest city in Canada, has just completed two long awaited extensions to its metro system.  (Montreal has the second highest per capita transit ridership in North America after New York.) The metro transit authority has also just appointed former environmentalist André Porlier as its new deputy president. Future expansions are already on the books and the city has become an international model for how to support transit oriented cycling.

Innovative companies large (Bombardier) and small (ZENN and Nemo) also make their home in Quebec. To support this market, it has become one of only two provinces to legalize low speed urban electric vehicles (EVs), and recently announced the first large scale test of how different EV technologies deal with the Canadian climate. Communauto, one of the world's largest carsharing networks, is also partly funded by the province. And it's services are now being integrated into the larger regional public transportation systems.

The final piece of the puzzle would be high speed rail, and there as well that the province is hoping to push ahead -- or at least talk about it. During a February meeting in Washington, Charest and American Transport Secretary Ray LaHood announced the creation of a working group to study high-speed rail links between Montreal, New York and Boston.

The Big Lever
So while the province's green political bluster might be new (potentially linked to the Premier's aspirations to Federal leadership) it is rooted in a half decade of impressive work on the transportation front. But much still has to happen for Quebec to truly lead transportation innovation in North America.  In a province where existing transportation lines are already very popular, new lines will have to succeed in winning over large numbers of new users far more accustomed to taking their cars than riding the bus.  Economically, the province will also have to expand its fledgling green automotive sector by attracting investment and supporting R&D.  This will be no small challenge.

Transportation is a big lever when it comes to changing the way we live and use energy.  Shift transportation models and you affect everything from land use planning to housing design. Beyond immediate emissions reductions, making changes in this sector influences the shape of development for decades to come.  North America has painted itself into a corner of inefficient and congested auto-centric development.  Here's hoping that Quebec's mixture of political bombast, innovative thinking and financial support will help us all find our way out.

Mega-Bats in HD: Austin, the World's Largest Urban Bat Colony

Over the past few months, new HD video of Austin's 1.5million bats have been popping up on YouTube (watch'em full screen). For those not in the know, Austin is home to the world's largest urban bat colony.They migrate up from Mexico in the late summer and roost under the Congress Avenue Bridge.

The new HD footage really captures the drama of seeing such an enormous quantity of bats all air born at the same time. At points they look like a tornado about to form in the sky. The bridge is always crowded  with people watching (and filming), and the voices you hear in the background of the footage show just how much people enjoy the show.

But why are the bats there?
In 1980 the bridge was rebuilt and the new support beams were spaced roughly one inch apart.  That created exactly the size of crevice that bats roost in. Much wider or thinner and they won't use it. From what I can gather, it seems like this was done on purpose. What a simple and inexpensive way to integrate habitat into infrastructure and create an icon that captivates locals and visitors.

Even if green design is all the rage, the cities we live in have been built almost exclusively for human use. Architects past and present rarely, for example, stop to wonder if their next condo tower will provide good roosting spots for owls or help preserve local endangered species. It's a problem of specialization: Conservationists might ask those questions...but then they rarely design buildings.

The thing that I love about the Austin footage is that it makes you wonder: What if entire cities were built to work this way? An Urban Jungle of a different kind...

This one is not in HD, but I love the kids reaction at the end: "WOW!" 
That is definitely the best one word definition of "biophilic design" I've ever heard.


Adapting to Climate Change: How to Build Resilient Cities ICLEI Congress 2010

The fact that cities will have to adapt to climate change - not just try to cut emissions - used to be completely off the radar when you talked to people about urban sustainability.  That adaptation and resilience are getting more attention is, I think, a sign that the conversation about urban environmental policy is maturing.  It's also, unfortunately, a measure of just how ineffective we've been at getting this big ship to corner (i.e. cut emissions and de-carbonize our economy).

Warren Karlenzig (president of Common Current, and author of The SustainLane US City Rankings) has started an excellent series of urban resilience for dummies posts on his blog (via worldchaning).   And today ICLEI released the preliminary program for what is to be the first World  Congress on how cities can adapt to a changing climate.

The congress runs from May 28-30 in Bonn, Germany.  I was at the ICLEI world Congress in Edmonton this past June (see coverage here)  but I won't be able to make Bonn.  If you are going - drop me a note, I would love to hear about it. 


Open Sourcing Climate Change, Health, and Poverty: An Open Book On Social Innovation

Why is it that the best examples of innovative problem solving so often come from people or organizations who work across or outside of the traditional divides between the public, private, and non-profit sectors?

Governments, companies and NGOs all have established structures and silos that tend to block innovation. The drive to "own" an issue or solution also slows the spread of good ideas, approaches or technologies. Social Innovation, by contrast, proposes a more collaborative, decentralized, open approach.

The Young Foundation's newly released "Open Book of Social Innovation" takes a closer look at this approach to "open-sourcing" the solutions to the interlocking crises that we face.

The ReCode Portland and Barefoot Solar projects, discussed here before, are both concrete examples of what social innovation can create. You could also look at Freecycle, participatory budgeting, and local organic food cooperatives that link urban consumer with rural producers for other variations.

Examples like these have won social innovation an increasing amount of attention. Released today, the Young Foundation's new book adds weight to a concept that could easily become over-hyped. It is a well written primer that uses a mountain of case studies and concise analysis to discuss how social innovation happens, and how it can be supported to function even better. The authors' argue that this open and cross-cutting approach allows you to circumvent the inertia of established institutional structures and find solutions to our most pressing problems, namely: reducing carbon emissions, maintaining health, and ending poverty.

One of their most valuable arguments comes early, when they point out that collaborative social innovation does more than find solutions to specific problems. The nature of the process – which creates new links between organizations and individuals, provides opportunities for the learning, and gives people opportunities to participate actively in their communities – also increases society's ability to respond to future challenges. As they put it, social innovations "are innovations that are both good for society and enhance society’s capacity to act."

The 224 pages e-book is well written and packed with good examples. I particularly liked the sections on how to scale-up and diffuse innovations to reach for larger system wides changes. The style is concise to the point of being almost encyclopedic. While it doesn't always make for the most enticing reading, it is easy to navigate through the wealth of information and drill down into subjects where you have a particular interest.

From the Introduction:

"The materials we’ve gathered here are intended to support all those involved in social innovation: policymakers who can help to create the right conditions; foundations and philanthropists who can fund and support; social organizations trying to meet social needs more effectively; and social entrepreneurs and innovators themselves.

In other fields, methods for innovation are well understood. In medicine, science, and to a lesser degree in business, there are widely accepted ideas, tools and approaches. There are strong institutions and many people whose job requires them to be good at taking ideas from inception to impact. There is little comparable in the social field, despite the richness and vitality of social
innovation. Most people trying to innovate are aware of only a fraction of the methods they could be using.

This book, and the series of which it is a part, attempt to fill this gap. In this volume, we map out the hundreds of methods for social innovation as a first step to developing a knowledge base. In the other volume of the Social Innovator series, we look at specific methods in greater depth, exploring ways of developing workable ideas and setting up a social venture in a way that ensures its financial sustainability; and that its structures of accountability, governance and ownership resonate with its social mission.

We have also launched an accompanying website,, to gather comments, case studies and new methods."

Making Global Warming Unacceptable: TALK Vancouver Wednesday March 10, 8am

Three interesting looking talks on how we understand and address the threat of climate change are coming up this Wednesday and Thursday. The highprofile speakers list include Rob Hopkins, who cofounded the Transitions Towns Movement, and Globe and Mail Columnist Jeffrey Simpson (co-author of "Hot Air"). [See below for more speakers] Both talks fall under the umbrella of a larger event called "Making Global Warming Unacceptable: From Perceptions to Social Action" that are being hosted at Vancouver's two main universities.

For people – like me – who aren't in Vancouver, at least some of the talks will also be webcast.

The first two talks are this Wednesday, March 10th:

--Changing perceptions of climate change through community action
March 10, 2010, 8:00am – 12:00pm
[11.30am-3pm East coast time, 4.30pm-8pm UK time, ]

Rob Hopkins (Transition Town Network)
Elke Weber (Prof. of Psychology, Columbia University) Stephen Sheppard (PICS Social Mobilisation
theme-leader and Prof. UBC)
Moderator: John Robinson (Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, UBC)

Liu Centre for Global Issues, Multipurpose
Room, 6476 NW Marine Dr., UBC Campus
Free event open to all –
to register.

Webcast here. [updated link]

-- New ways to communicate climate solutions
March 10, 2010, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Susanne Moser (author of “Creating a Climate for Change”)
Jefrey Simpson (Globe and Mail columnist and co-author “Hot Air”)
Jamie Henn (
James Hoggan (author of “Climate Cover-up”)
Claudia Pahl-Wostl (Prof., Institute of Environmental Systems Research University of Osnabrück)
Moderator: Tom Pedersen, Director, Pacifc
Institute for Climate Solutions

SFU Segal Business Centre, Rm. 1500, 500
Granville St. SFU downtown campus
Free event open to all – no registration required

There is also a research workshop intended for a more specialized audience that will be webcast on Thursday:
--Research Workshop on Prioritizing Research Needs on Social Mobilisation:
8.30am-12.15pm and 12.40pm-4.30pm PST [Effectively 4.30pm-8.15 pm UK time and later, 11.30am-7.30pm East coast


Shrinking the City: Narrow Streets Los Angeles

At the end of a week of interesting street front news, (here, here, and here) I had the pleasure of talking with writer and almost accidental activist David Yoon.

Yoon is the man behind "Narrow Streets : Los Angeles." The photoblog began four months ago with one digitally altered image. Since then he has been taking the most famously car-centred city in the world and rebuilding it at a human scale. The approach is simple: he digitally reduces images of Los Angeles' famously wide streets to one half or one quarter of their original width. The results are equal parts incongruous and inspiring.

The photos don't present a real proposal that we literally "shrink" the streets (good luck with that). But his convincing, sometimes surreal, streetscapes jar you into taking a critical look at your surroundings. There is sometime visceral, almost instinctive, about the way a well crafted image captures your attention and sparks your imagination.

Yoon sees his playful critique as an entry point into more concrete revisions of our streets. I talked to him from his LA home about the serendipitous origins of the project and the fact that the streets are ours to redefine.

Alex Aylett: Tell me a bit about the reaction so far to Narrow Streets : L.A.

David Yoon: Almost everyone gets it. They understand that the purpose of it is to get people talking and thinking. We take cityscapes for granted; we don't quite understand that they are totally in our power to define. We usually have this top down mentality, as if there was an ivory tower somewhere filled with all these guys who studied civil engineering who get to define our world for us.

There are some people who are completely confused by the photos -- as if I was suggesting that we actually physically move the buildings closer together! A few others are really hostile; they say things like "who are you to take away our parking, and where the hell am I going to make my left turn!?"

But in all cases there is this really passionate response. People are more passionate about their surroundings than they realize. Just showing people a change – even an impossible imagined one – triggers a strong response.

And of course people care; we are a culture obsessed with space and design. Look at all those interior design, or fashion, or gardening shows on TV. And yet there is not a lot of discourse about our surroundings, the place where we all live. Which are just as important as...what kind of couch you buy for your living room!

AA: You are a writer and an art director. How did you get interested in streetscapes and walkability?

DY: Well, I grew up in Orange County. I was always frustrated because to hang out with my friends and do anything -- even go play Double Dragon at the 7-eleven – we had to all pile into the car and someone had to drive.

We drove at least two miles to get to that 7-eleven! I knew that something was wrong with that. This is not the way that a 14 year old should be growing up.

All through high-school all my best moments with my friends happened in the car, that was just the space where things happened. It makes you realize how everything is based around the car.

Then I moved, first to Berkley, then Japan, then to Boston, and I saw that not everywhere was like this.

AA: So how did Narrow Streets begin?

DY: Well, a normal Los Angeles day involves sitting though traffic jams. But one morning, I think it was 4th of July weekend, I was walking with my wife. It was really quiet on this street, Montana Avenue, and it just occurred to me "wow this street is really big, once you take the cars away, there is just so much asphalt."

If you take a look at Matt Logue's photo project Empy L.A. you get an idea of what it was like. In his work, he strips out all the cars from the freeways and streets. It really shows how much asphalt is reserved just for private transport.

For us that walk down Montana had the same effect. Seeing that street empty and so wide, it made me wonder "what would happen if we just... made it narrower?" We'd just come back from Paris and I wanted to see what the streets would look like if they were more like those little cobblestone streets that they have over there.

Once I did it, I knew it was cool. Since posting that first photo people have begun sending in requests asking me “hey, can you shrink my street?” Someone from the Los Angeles County Regional Planning department just sent in a request actually.

It has became this weird hobby of mine.

AA: What do you think the impact of all this is?

DY: The first step to designing your street is imagining it. Before you actually do anything you have to imagine what is possible. Vizualizations help with that.

The photos are deliberately meant to provoke people into taking an active interest in their surroundings. I want to get people thinking at the hyper-local level. When people think about LA's infrastructure, it is such a big huge monster that it is impossible to wrap your brain around. But if you start thinking hyper-locally, like that intersection near your house, then you have a good place to start. It gives you a little toe hold for climbing that mountain of redefining where you live.

David Yoon will be speaking and showing a selection of his photos at the 2010 LA Street Summit at the end of March.

EVOKE: A Ten Week Crash Course In Changing the World

I remember reading once that video games were training the next generation of the world's jet fighter pilots. Not being much into jet fighters, I wasn't too impressed.

The idea that video games can teach real world skills finds a more interesting (and less lethal) manifestation in Evoke, a new massively multi-player on-line game that went live last night. The game is part graphic novel, part primer on real-world development challenges, and part brainstorming, networking and mentorship program.

Their tagline is: "Evoke: A Ten Week Crash Course In Changing the World." The aim: to motivate people to identify, understand and help solve the problems that they see around them.

I love the slightly dark quality of the illustrations, and the captivating mix of fact and fiction that structures the game play.

The game was designed by the World Bank as a way of encouraging a new generation of creative development problem solvers. The Bank calls them "social innovators." Interestingly, beyond the game play, ambitious players are invited to propose real-world projects and can get partnered up with mentors to help them along the way.

The game is primarily targeting an African audience, but it's open to all. It can be played on a variety of bandwidths, and even via SMS (but only in South Africa for now).

You can read an interview with Jane McGonigal, the game's creator over at WorldChanging. I'm really fascinated by the possibility of games as a way for people to imagine and create better futures. I'll be playing along -- at least for a little while -- so perhaps I'll see you in there.

From the EVOKE page:
EVOKE is a ten-week crash course in changing the world.

It is free to play and open to anyone, anywhere.

The goal of the social network game is to help empower young people all over the world, and especially young people in Africa, to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems.

The game begins on March 3, 2010. Players can join the game at any time.
And here is the rest of it.

Parking to Parks in San Francisco

Worldchanging has a great post up on a new guerrilla-greening style program being run in San Francisco. The city is converting parking spaces into temporary mini parks. The experiment uses recycled urban materials, plants and seating to create little green oasis in the city. It's great example of what happens when we start rethinking the way we do parking (see my earlier post).

From Worlchanging:
In San Francisco, a handful of parking spaces and public right-of-ways are being remade into mini parks and plazas. Some are lined with trees sprouting from old dumpsters, others are buffered from traffic with large, discarded pipes; inside the improvised borders, tables, small patches of grass and concrete slabs are arranged for seating.

These 'parklets' and plazas are part of San Francisco's new Pavement to Parks initiative, an attempt to transfer some of San Francisco's public space back to pedestrians.
[full post with photos]

Free Parking? Breaking Our Addiction to the Parking Lot

Cars may be the #1 contributor to climate change, but did you know that drivers looking for parking make up up to 40% of city traffic? And building more parking lots only makes the problem worse.

A recent report (pdf) on U.S. parking policies by the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy is a great resource on parking policy as a lever for sustainable urban transitions.

Parking policies have a huge impact on our urban spaces. How you regulate parking can be the difference between walkable and bike friendly downtowns or sprawling big-box retail islands surrounded by seas of asphalt.

Through six U.S. case studies including Portland, Chicago, San Francisco and New York, the report "U.S. Parking Policies: An Overview of Management Strategies" lays out both the problems and possibilities tied to parking.

Their key recommendations are to set parking maximums, not minimums; coordinate parking regulation with public transportation; replace free parking with metered spots that encourage turn over and reduce congestion; and use parking revenues to fund increased transit, parks and other local benefits.

A few highlights:

- "Historically the "parking problem' has been identified as the problem of too little supply; increasingly the problem is now seen as the poor management of existing supply and, in cases where cities have instituted parking maximums, the problem is understood to be of too much supply."

- "Minimum parking requirements have contributed to a cycle of automobile dependence that is especially damaging to city centers. More parking reduces the cost of car use, which leads to more car use and more demand for parking." ... "Minimum parking regulations reduce density, and increase distances between destinations. This reduces land values and increases traffic congestion, storm-water runoff pollution, air pollution, and construction costs, as well as discouraging walking, bicycling and public transit."

- Since the 1972 Clean Air Act more and more U.S. cities have been setting maximum, not minimum, off-street parking regulations: "Their objectives include promotion of higher density development, walkable downtown areas, promotion of transit and other transportation modes (to increase choice and reduce congestion), as well as the original intent of reducing auto use and harmful emissions."

- "Good access is easily impeded by abundant parking. Conservative parking requirements allow better accommodation for public transit, walking and bicycling."

- "Metering is a response to the irrationality of the claim that “paying with your time” is as
reasonable a rationing algorithm as paying with money. But this discounts two important facts. First, the motorists cruising for parking pays with his or her time, and the time of everyone stuck in traffic behind him. Second, neighborhood residents suffer from the additional air pollution, noise, danger and degraded quality of life caused by cruising and the additional traffic congestion it engenders."


This is a blog for news and views on the future of sustainable cites. A major revamp is in the works. Until then I am keeping this version up as an archive of my past writing.

You can expect occasional updates, but not with the same frequency as in the past.

You can also find my writing on urban redesign and sustainability in ReNew Canada, The Mark, Sustainable Cities Canada, WorldChanging, and other more specialized academic publications.

Info on my consulting work, c.v. and current research focus is all here.

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