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Monday News Roundup

Jan 31, 2011

Seeking an example of sustainable urbanisn in Seattle (Planetizen)
Seattle has the political momentum behind sustainable urbanism, but it doesn’t seem to have a physical neighborhood example of how sustainable urbanism can work, according to this article.

Building the virtual city (Planetizen)
Beatville is a new “open source, multi-player environment for real cities”, which purports to be a useful tool for democratizing urban planning. Does it live up to the hype? Urban Omnibus checks it out.

Giving a lift to Vancouver’s downtown eastside: build taller buildings (The Vancouver Sun)
A group of academics have challenged Vancouver’s Historic Areas Height Review, which recommends city council permit buildings on several sites to exceed the existing height allowance to further the long-standing goal of densification, supported by consecutive city councils.

Green building: where to live? (Cambridge)
Are cities the best place to live? Are suburbs OK? A fight grows in urban planning, with Harvard at the center.

Affordable housing, parks to receive budget boosts from city council (The Vancouver Sun)
Vancouver City Council will decide Tuesday where to spend its $337-million capital budget, with priority going to creating affordable housing, community centre developments and more park space. The budget will also provide funding to support the city’s green initiatives, including improvements to cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, work on sewer separation and initiatives related to the solid waste plan.

A new tool for fighting rural sprawl (Crosscut)
Developers can already buy up development rights in farmland and nearby forests, transfering the rights to increase density in cities and towns. This new proposal from Cascade Land Conservancy would tap the increased taxes to help pay for urban infrastructure and amenities. It solves economic and legal issues that have held back such transfers.

Top 10 Nations With Clean Power – Hydropower, Nuclear or Small Populations Figure Heavily (treehugger)
Apropos of President Obama’s intent to have 80% of US electricity come from clean power sources by 2035, GE has just released a graphic detailing to the top ten countries with the cleanest energy sources.

Gallery: 5 Up-and-Coming Canadian Cities (The Vancouver Sun)
Here are five Canadian cities on the up and up.

The future of transporation funding in uncertain times (Planetizen)
In this Q&A, urban planning professor Mitchell Moss explains how budget crises at the federal, state and local levels will affect transit funding in New York City and other places.

First Full Bamboo School in Philippines Stands Up to Tough Stormwinds (inhabitat)
A new school in the Philippines (where they know quite a bit about buildings being blown down by powerful tropical winds) has done one better by utilizing a flexible, storm resistant material that is also locally grown and rapidly renewable – bamboo.

Glass-Clad Bike Transit Center Opens in Downtown Washington DC (inhabitat)
A newly-opened bike station in the heart of Washington, DC has been likened to an eye, a bike spoke and even a bike helmet. The glass-enclosed station sits adjacent to Union Station, where it makes low-impact commuter travel a reality.