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Monday News Roundup

Jan 24, 2011

Heavy Traffic Means Less Social Streets (Planetizen)
Streetfilms looks back at Professor Donald Appleyard’s pioneering work observing the social life of streets, which proved that streets with less traffic fostered more social interactions than those with heavy traffic.

Unimaginable marriage of high-end architecture and car storage (The New York Times)
A Miami Beach Parking lot doubles as an event space. When cars aren’t in the way, the space is open for Bar Mitzvas, Wedding receptions, Charity events etc.

Portlandia parody show:Can a City This Self-Serious Take a Joke? (The New York Times)
The first episode of “Portlandia,” a new television show that pokes at the Northwest confection’s urban preciousness.

UNStudio Unveils Green-Roofed Library of the Future for Belgium (inhabitat)
UNStudio has unveiled designs for an Urban Library of the Future in Gent, Belgium that presents a refined sense of public space. The building’s light, transparent design creates a public gathering place that doubles as a learning environment.

The Good & Bad News Of World Energy Consumption to 2030 (Planetizen)
“From 2010 to 2030, the report says, renewable energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal and biofuels) will increase their contribution to energy growth from 5% to 18%.

UK’s Largest Solar Housing Project Also Tackles Fuel Poverty
Some folks may believe that solar feed-in tariffs are a subsidy for the wealthy, but it’s not just the rich that are getting in on the action. Just like some pioneering solar affordable housing projects in the States, one UK housing authority is pressing ahead with plans to install solar on over 650 houses by 2012. The initiative will, it claims, make it the largest solar housing project in the country, and other housing associations are looking to follow its lead.

Vancouver vs. suburbs: What homes you can get for around $750,000 (The Vancouver Sun)
What do buyers sacrifice by choosing to live within Vancouver city limits, versus a more suburban location? We compare the homes in the $700,000-$800,000 range in Vancouver to those found throughout the Metro area to find out.

Spaced Out in a Flat World (Observers Room)
Tom Friedman’s book The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (2005) is filled with anecdotes about change in different parts of the world that threaten our fat-cat lifestyles in the North.

City of mass construction: Toronto’s unstoppable condos show no signs of slowing down (National Post)
“There’s no other place on the planet where all this [activity] is happening,” says the president of Brad J. Lamb Realty, who specializes in downtown condo sales. “We have a large immigration of people coming to Toronto every year. We have a diverse economy that can support a reasonably affluent lifestyle. And we have a very stable Canadian economy.

Fear of Ghosts: Vancouver’s Hospice Uproar (The Tyee)
Proposed St. John Hospice location makes some Chinese residents uneasy as ghosts have ominous cultural meaning.

City seeks federal stimulus grant extension (The Vancouver Sun)
Vancouver city council has asked the federal government for an extension on a stimulus-grant program so it can finish $150-million worth of civic infrastructure projects. Affected projects include the two most expensive the city is doing under the program — a new visitors’ centre for the VanDusen Botanical Garden, and a police property and forensic storage facility.

A Comprehensive Urban Agriculture Plan (Planetizen)
A new project is seeking to create the first citywide, comprehensive urban agriculture plan for New York City.