DIrt! The Movie: Montreal Green Drinks Feb. 22

For my Montreal readers, the local Green Drinks event tomorrow will be screening the movie Dirt!  I haven't seen it yet, but the trailer looks excellent.  Particularly the urban gardening and depaving section near the end. Reminds me of a project I was part of in Portland this past summer.  All the details are after the jump.



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Cities, Green Development, & Politics: Passing the Buck or Jumpstarting Change?

I've been meaning to write about Steve Cohen (director of Columbia Universty's Earth Institute) Valentine's Day piece in the Huffington Post since it came out on Monday. It's an interesting juxtaposition of the savage grilling that Climate and Sustainability policy is getting at the Federal level in the U.S., versus the political support it's gotten in New York City.

If you've ever wondered why (some) cities seem to be able to move faster on the climate and sustainability issues it's worth a look. Cohen's point is that New York has joined the magic dots between environmental sustainability and economic wellbeing in a way that still eludes Federal politicians. At the same time cities are better placed to feel the negative impacts of declining environmental quality and climate change.

"In Washington," Cohen argues, "our environmental leaders are subject to hostility and an outmoded understanding of the connection between environmental quality and economic growth. In New York, it is clear that both the Mayor and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner understand that economic growth requires environmental quality."
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Sustainable Systems as if People Mattered - WEBCAST

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) is hosting a fascinating sounding lecture next week called "Sustainable Systems as if People Mattered."  Not in Vancouver?  No worries the full proceedings will be webcast here. The full details are after the jump.

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The Big Picture Approach to Cities and Climate Change

It was former London Mayor Ken Livingstone who started the ball rolling in 2007 when he announced that “Urban areas are responsible for over 75 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, so the battle to prevent catastrophic climate change will be won or lost in cities.”

That figure – “75%” – became the urban climate factoid of the decade.  It spread like a virus popping up again and again in newspapers, mayor's speeches, and government reports. The thing was, no one knew quite where it came from. What was the math behind the meme? Was Climate Change all cities' fault – or were they going to be the new climate heros?

A year later the number got some closer scrutiny (see here) and last month a new paper (.pdf)came out that does an excellent job of sorting out how to understand cities' responsibilities and what they can do about them.
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Jane Jacobs in Cowtown

Calgary's new Mayor Naheed Nenshi seems intent on shaking things up, and the Globe and Mail this weekend has a snapshot on some of the green shifts that he is pushing in the city formerly known as Cowtown.  Walkability, denisty, transit oriented development are all on his agenda.  But in Canada's most sprawling large city he's got a bit challenge ahead.  The Globe does a great job of catching the conflict interests that will influence the city's direction, as well as Nenshi's drive to really make Clagary into a thriving city.

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About




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.