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

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

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

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

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

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

The Global Real Estate Bubble Is OFFICIALLY Bursting | Seeking Alpha

Bubbly cities like Singapore and Vancouver have started punishing foreign housing investors that have pushed up property prices to unaffordable – and unsustainable – rates. Foreign investors are now being taxed in many of these areas, and as a result, their real estate markets have begun to tank.During this housing burst, the most high-end, desirable locations will be hit the hardest.

Source: The Global Real Estate Bubble Is OFFICIALY Bursting | Seeking Alpha (sic)

Submit Your Ideas to The Architectural Review to Stop the Spread of #Notopia | ArchDaily

In its recent issues, The Architectural Review has been on a mission, highlighting a phenomenon that they have named “Notopia.” Characterized by a “loss of identity and cultural vibrancy” and “a global pandemic of generic buildings,” Notopia is – in overly simplistic terms – a consequence of the cold logic of market forces combined with a disinterested populace. The AR’s campaign therefore aims to analyze this “thing of terror” and push back by raising public awareness and by proposing alternatives. And they need your help.

 

Source: Submit Your Ideas to The Architectural Review to Stop the Spread of #Notopia | ArchDaily

Big Wall Street Firms Make Lame Excuse for Volcker Rule Non-Compliance, Ask for Additional Five Year Extension | naked capitalism

Anyone who knows bupkis about finance knows if you can’t sell a financial asset in three years (or more accurately, seven), particularly with public and private market valuations at record levels, the problem is not liquidity. It’s valuation. These banks are carrying these holdings on their books at inflated marks and don’t want to recognize losses……..

“It’s laughable that the biggest, most sophisticated financial firms in the world claim they can’t sell the stakes year after year,” said Dennis Kelleher, CEO of non-profit Better Markets. “Everyone else in America has to comply with the law and Wall Street should also.”

Source: Big Wall Street Firms Make Lame Excuse for Volcker Rule Non-Compliance, Ask for Additional Five Year Extension | naked capitalism

Cleveland’s Revamped Public Square Mixes Downtown’s Future With Preservation – Next City

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The physical heart of Cleveland is a 10-acre civic space called Public Square, but until recently it wasn’t exactly pulsing with life. Two of downtown’s busiest roadways, Ontario Street and Superior Avenue, bisected the square, and its four quadrants felt neglected and forgotten. Instead of being a destination, it was a place people avoided.

Yet now, following a 15-month, $50 million renovation, Public Square is reopening as a dramatically re-envisioned centerpiece of the city’s ongoing redevelopment efforts. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the architects behind New York’s High Line, it now has a lush green lawn, unobstructed city views, a full-service cafe with outdoor seating and a mirror pool that reflects the landmark buildings lining the square.

Perhaps most significantly, traffic has been eliminated through the park except for buses.

Source: Cleveland’s Revamped Public Square Mixes Downtown’s Future With Preservation – Next City

The Push to Revitalize Urban Alleys Across the United States Is Fostering Community and Sustainability – CityLab

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For places that were meant to be unseen, alleys take up a not-insubstantial amount of space. A 2011 report by Mary Fialko and Jennifer Hampton, graduate students at the University of Washington*, found that in Seattle, there are 217,000 square feet of public alley space downtown, 85 percent of which are underused. The report estimated that reinvigorating alleyways could increase the number of total public space in the city by 50 percent.Alleys, too, are vital players in a city’s overall ecosystem. As the need for cities to rely on more sustainable approaches has become more pressing, the proliferation of trash and flooding in alleyways has come to be seen not only an aesthetic blight, but an environmental one.And as Daniel Freedman of the Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative says, there’s a lot of crossover between sound environmental practices and livability. Revitalizing an alleyway creates an opportunity to introduce green infrastructure, but also, Freedman says, it invites the surrounding community to collaborate on improvements and make use of the space.

Source: The Push to Revitalize Urban Alleys Across the United States Is Fostering Community and Sustainability – CityLab