Why cities should stop fighting big banks and create their own – Salon.com

Frack-happy, Trump-supporting North Dakota probably isn’t the first place you would expect to find a working model, but since 1919, the state has used the Bank of North Dakota to finance everything from student loans to sewer upgrades and small business loans. The bank just posted its thirteenth consecutive year of record profits, earning more than $136 million in 2016. And unlike at a big private bank, that money goes right back into investing in the people, rather than into investors’ pockets.

Source: Why cities should stop fighting big banks and create their own – Salon.com

Dam it! How beavers could save Britain from flooding | Environment | The Guardian

At a secret location in the rolling pasture of west Devon lies a marshy patch of farmland protected by £35,000-worth of solar-powered electric fencing. This isn’t to keep people out but to restrain the tree-chomping, river-damming residents of these three hectares. Outside the fence is a typical small valley, with a trickle of a stream, willow thickets and pasture grazed by cattle. Inside the enclosure, the tiny stream has been blocked by 13 dams, creating pools and half-metre-wide canals. These have been built by Britain’s newest wild mammal, the beaver, which uses its waterways like we do – to transport goods. And as the beavers have coppiced trees, the willow thicket has been replaced with sunny glades of wild flowers – marsh thistles, watermint, meadowsweet – which dance with dragonflies and butterflies.

Source: Dam it! How beavers could save Britain from flooding | Environment | The Guardian

Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Trees can make or break city weather — ScienceDaily

 

Even a single urban tree can help moderate wind speeds and keep pedestrians comfortable as they walk down the street, according to a new University of British Columbia study that also found losing a single tree can increase wind pressure on nearby buildings and drive up heating costs.

Ties in with The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (definitely worth reading) where he discusses how trees in a forest create their own micro-climate and provide each other with physical support against wind and storms. But also read where he discusses the plight of urban trees forced to live without the forest community that they evolved for.

Source: Trees can make or break city weather — ScienceDaily

This Kansas City neighborhood wrote the blueprint for transforming a community | Grist

Today, the drug-running and dumping are contained, new residents are moving in, and the enclave is considered an example, both regionally and nationally, of how a community can organize itself and choose the future its residents want. Blocks of houses, some old, some renovated, some looking brand new radiate out from the renovated former fire station and boxing gym that’s the headquarters for the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, which drives the revitalization efforts. Next door is a small park with a playgrou

Source: This Kansas City neighborhood wrote the blueprint for transforming a community | Grist

GCR – News – Norwegian team to build world’s first autonomous electric cargo ship

The battery-driven carrier was created by technology group Kongsberg and fertiliser specialist Yara. It will initially be operated as a manned vessel before moving to remote operations in 2019 and performing fully autonomous operations from 2020.

Ship will replace 100 trucks per day – good for economy, good for company, good for environment, bad for drivers being laid off. Need to address the negatives, not just enjoy the positives.

Source: GCR – News – Norwegian team to build world’s first autonomous electric cargo ship

Bank of America confirms Dublin as location for EU hub

Even if the UK reverses and doesn’t Brexit, the genie is out of the bottle. While London may survive as Europe’s premier financial center in a no-Brexit scenario, it will be by a smaller margin and with more competition.
Frankfurt and Dublin will be more important as financial centers with or without Brexit. Paris will gain – especially as high-speed transportation links advance. Just as Wall Street now stretches coast-to-coast, the European financial industry will spread across Europe. And don’t forget, non-financial institutions are also important and also relocating. For a country with strict gun control, the Tories-led UK has amazingly managed to shoot itself in one foot with no-Brexit and both feet with Brexit.

Wall Street giant Bank of America Merrill Lynch has picked Dublin as the preferred location of its EU hub, joining a growing number of international financial groups to outline initial plans for how they plan to deal with the fallout from Brexit.

Speaking to The Irish Times in Dublin on Friday, group chief executive Brian Moynihan said this will result in the bank’s existing Irish subsidiary merging with its current most important EU banking unit, based in London.

It will also involve the group setting up an EU trading operation, or broker-dealer, in the Republic, which will require separate Central Bank approval, he said.

 

Source: Bank of America confirms Dublin as location for EU hub

Opening day for Detroit’s QLINE M-1 rail – National Resources & Technical Assistance For Transit-Oriented Development

 

The QLINE M-1 light rail line is scheduled to finally open in Detroit this weekend, with a full weekend of festivities to celebrate. The line will permanently connect several major destinations in greater downtown Detroit, and improve access to jobs and services for thousands of residents along the corridor. The project has already catalyzed more than $1 billion in real estate investment along the corridor. All told, the economic impact of transit-oriented development is expected to top $3.5 billion with

Source: Opening day for Detroit’s QLINE M-1 rail – National Resources & Technical Assistance For Transit-Oriented Development

How Donald Trump Could Build an Autocracy in the U.S. – The Atlantic

Frankly frightening.

Those citizens who fantasize about defying tyranny from within fortified compounds have never understood how liberty is actually threatened in a modern bureaucratic state: not by diktat and violence, but by the slow, demoralizing process of corruption and deceit. And the way that liberty must be defended is not with amateur firearms, but with an unwearying insistence upon the honesty, integrity, and professionalism of American institutions and those who lead them. We are living through the most dangerous ch

Source: How Donald Trump Could Build an Autocracy in the U.S. – The Atlantic

How One of the World’s Densest Cities Has Gone Green

Picture of SuperTrees at Gardens by the Bay

Symbol of Singapore, these “Supertrees” belong to a display at the 250-acre Gardens by the Bay. The high-tech structures range from 80 to 160 feet and collect solar energy to power a nightly light show. They have a softer side too: their trunks are vertical gardens, laced with more than 150,000 living plants.

Source: How One of the World’s Densest Cities Has Gone Green

China smashes solar energy records, as coal use and CO2 emissions fall once again

In one sector after another, the US is falling behind. The US isn’t losing its global leadership, its walking away.

We are witnessing a historic passing of the baton of global leadership on technology and climate from the United States to China. The new U.S. administration has said it will abandon climate action, gut clean energy funding, and embrace coal and oil — the dirty energy sources of the past that experts say can’t create a large number of sustainable new jobs. At the same time, China is slashing coal use and betting heavily on clean energy, which is clearly going to be the biggest new source of permanent hig

Source: China smashes solar energy records, as coal use and CO2 emissions fall once again

Republican bill to privatize public lands is yanked after outcry

It seems like the Republicans hate nature – especially national parks and anything unspoiled. Especially if there a way to make money while destroying the environment.

 

 

Last weekend, more than 1,000 sportsmen, outdoor business owners, and public lands supporters joined Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) in Helena, Montana. Wednesday afternoon, a rally in New Mexico drew hundreds more people, all protesting congressional attempts to sell off or privatize public lands. The outcry was prompted in part by Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) introduction of a bill to sell off 3.3 million acres of public lands — an area the size of Connecticut.

Source: Republican bill to privatize public lands is yanked after outcry

Three Reasons Trickle-Down Tax Cuts Don’t Work

History shows that bad economic ideas almost never die, especially when they serve the wealthy and powerful. There’s no better example of this truth than trickle-down tax cuts. As we write this, the Trump administration is teeing up a tax plan that slashes taxes for the wealthy and the corporate sector, does little for everyone else (repealing the Affordable Care Act actually raises taxes on some with low and moderate incomes), and stiffs the U.S. Treasury to the tune of $6.2 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center’s estimates.

Source: Three Reasons Trickle-Down Tax Cuts Don’t Work

The shifting global landscape – The Boston Globe

If my view is broadly correct, the great foreign policy challenge of our age will be to manage cooperation among many competing and technologically advanced regions, and most urgently to face up to our common environmental and health crises. We should move past the age of empires, decolonization, and Cold Wars. The world is arriving at the “equality of courage and force” long ago foreseen by Adam Smith. We should gladly enter the Age of Sustainable Development, in which the preeminent aim of all countries, and especially the great powers, is to work together to protect the environment, end the remnants of extreme poverty, and guard against a senseless descent into violence based on antiquated ideas of the dominance of one place or people over another.

Jeffrey D. Sachs is University Professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, and author of “The Age of Sustainable Development.”

Source: The shifting global landscape – The Boston Globe

Paul Krugman: Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan is one big scam – Salon.com

Paul Krugman: Donald Trump's infrastructure plan is one big scam

Trump’s plan to rebuild the country’s infrastructure is really a scheme to enrich wealthy people…..

There is also the fact that private investors will have no interest in building infrastructure that can’t be turned into a profit center. Privatizing these public projects is a gratuitous hand out to select investors, who would be aquiring public assets for “just 18 cents on the dollar, with taxpayers picking up the rest of the tab.

Source: Paul Krugman: Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan is one big scam – Salon.com

Toronto’s skyline is about to join the big-leagues: What the city could look like in 2020 | Toronto Star

Toronto's vibrant downtown holds some advantages over many vertically ambitious cities, says the city’s former urban design and architecture chief.

 

Toronto’s skyline is entering the stratosphere… at least by North American standards. A look at what 10 new projects will mean to the city, its residents and its image.

Source: Toronto’s skyline is about to join the big-leagues: What the city could look like in 2020 | Toronto Star

Paris allows anyone to plant an urban garden | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Paris, France, greenery, plants, plant, garden, gardens, public space, public spaces, creative gardens, alternative gardens, living wall, living walls, green wall, green walls, rooftop garden, rooftop gardens

Paris just passed a new law that allows anyone to plant an urban garden within the city’s limits. Upon receiving a permit, gardeners can grow plants on walls, in boxes, on rooftops, under trees, or on fences. They can cultivate greenery in front of their homes or offices. They can grow flowers, vegetables, and fruit. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo’s goal is to create 100 hectares of living walls and green roofs by the year 2020, with one third of that greenery dedicated to agriculture.

Source: Paris allows anyone to plant an urban garden | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Finland’s longest bridge will be a beautiful pedestrian and cyclist superhighway | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Knight Architects, WSP Finland, Kruunusillat bridge, pedestrian bridge, Finland, longest bridge in Finland, Helsinki, cable-stayed bridge, walkway, cyclists, pedestrian-friendly design

 

 

The architects collaborated with engineering firm WSP Finland to design this tram, cyclist and pedestrian bridge, the name of which translates to Crown Bridges in Finnish. The €259 million…

Source: Finland’s longest bridge will be a beautiful pedestrian and cyclist superhighway | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Top Websites – 2016 | Planetizen: The independent resource for people passionate about planning and related fields

The annual list of the best planning, design, and development websites, representing some of the top online resources for news, information, and research on the built environment.

Source: Top Websites – 2016 | Planetizen: The independent resource for people passionate about planning and related fields

Who’s Moving Into and Out of Washington, D.C. – Next City

Construction workers, cashiers and janitors are moving out of Washington, D.C., while doctors, economists and software developers are moving in. As the cost of housing increases in the city, it’s part of a larger trend, says the District of Columbia’s Office of Revenue Analysis (ORA), which has low-wage workers fleeing for the suburbs, and higher-wage workers flocking to urban cores.

Source: Who’s Moving Into and Out of Washington, D.C. – Next City

Fear Spreads of a Housing Crash in Canada | Alternative Economics

The reading marks a change from almost unbridled consumer optimism in a housing market that has carried the Canadian economy since the 2008 global financial crisis, even as policy makers warn price gains in some cities are unsustainable.

Source: Fear Spreads of a Housing Crash in Canada | Alternative Economics