Cities Running Huge Risks by Ingoring Climate Change: UN Habitat Report

I'm one of the many contributing authors for this year's UN Habitat Global Report on Human Settlements, launched in London on Monday (see also BBC). This is the first time that the report, one of the most authoritative sources for analysis on urban issues, has focused on climate change. The picture it paints isn't pretty.

Looking to the middle of this century, and overlaying our understanding of climate change on top of the rates and locations of urban growth, the report invokes a world of “unprecedented disaster, wide-scale disruption and loss face many of the world’s cities.”


New Landmark Greenroof for Montreal

Montreal is set to build a new landmark green roof on it's eccentrically colored convention center. This summer the Palais des Congrès de Montreal – better known for being clad is huge swaths of neon multicolored glass – will be inaugurating a $200,000, 536 m2 (5 770 sq.ft) rooftop garden.

Compared to the 217 000 sq.ft. greenroof on the Vancouver convention centre, this project is still small potatoes. But at its full extent, the Palais hopes to green 13 378 m2 (144 000 sq.ft.).  If they reach that level they would be in the ranks of some of the largest non-industrial greenroofs in North America. 

Carbon Zero: A Short Tour of Your City's Future - Kickstarting A New Book

Alex Steffen, the founding editor of the excellent (who I wrote for during the blog's seven year run), has announced an interesting new project. His new book-in-the-making "Carbon Zero" is being crowd-funded over at kickstarter.  If he can raise $10,000 to cover production costs by mid-April, he's promising to put out a short readable ebook on how cities can re-design themselves to go beyond the traditional limits of piecemeal urban sustainability projects.  The ebook will be release in time for Earth Day (April 22nd).  In under a week he's already raised $7,500. 

Alex is one of North America's most dedicated and insightful public thinkers.  You can see kickstarter for a full description of the "Carbon Zero" project, and to kick in a few bucks.  I like many things about the project, but I think he's really nailed it when it comes to explaining why a book like this is needed - not in general - but right now.

Flying Car Not Included: Getting Real About Urban Sustainability

I've got a short opinion piece running in the new March/April edition of Water Canada magazine.

Water infrastructure is a favourite of mine. It tends not to be as glamorous as energy or transportation, but those pipes buried under our streets can be the building blocks for some truly amazing projects. All the more so because that potential is so hidden from view.  The piece also gave me a chance to rant a little bit about far-fetched eye-candy projects that get announced with a lot of fanfare, but little follow through.

You can read the PDF of the published piece here (.pdf).  I've posted a slightly longer version after the jump.


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.