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Monday News Roundup

Dec 20, 2010

California approves more big solar powered projects (Grist)
The California Energy Commission on Wednesday approved two more big solar thermal power plants, ending the year having green-lighted a total of nine projects that would generate 4,142.5 megawatts if all were built.

The music of planning (Planetizen)
A website called “Isle of Tune” lets you build streets SimCity-style, with a twist- the houses and streetlights become musical elements in the sequence that you make.

TransLink to let public vote on name of electronic fare card (Planetizen)
TransLink plans to let the public decide what its new electronic fare cards, which are set to be introduced in 2013, will be named.

View corridors in downtown Vancouver are protected, city planner says (Vancouver Sun)
Vancouver city’s plan to consider allowing extra-tall buildings in the downtown core affects only seven specific sites and would not allow any intrusions into long-protected view corridors, the city’s director of planning said Thursday.

Can streetcars save America’s cities? (CNN)
In a down economy, pursuing the American dream can be challenging, but restaurant owner Todd Steele was willing to take a chance. He set up shop on a streetcar route and has benefited tremendously from it.

A video of Curitiba, Brazil, the birth place of bus rapid transit (youtube)
Hover over cc to get English subtitles and learn about the planning that went into the bus rapid transit of Curitiba.

You’ve Heard of Pocket Parks, but Pocket Airports? (Planetizen)
A NASA-related agency envisions a future when people will commute from small neighborhood “pocket airports” in their “Suburban Air Vehicles” (SAVs).

Five Technologies That Matter For Cities (Planetizen)
Mobile broadband, government-sponsored cloud computing, smart devices – these are a few of the technologies that cities should be thinking about for the future, says the Institute for the Future in a new report.

Smart Growth’s Future in Northern Virginia (Planetizen)
In an interview with Arlington County Board Vice-Chairman Christopher Zimmerman, Jonna McKone asks the local official about current and future transit-oriented development (TOD) and managed growth in the Washington, D.C. region.

‘Humane’ food sparks excitement, labeling controversy (Vancouver Sun)
ST. LOUIS — American shoppers face a dizzying array of labels in the aisles of their grocery stores, most designed to help them make healthy choices. Soon they’ll see yet another label — this one concerning the health of animals in the food chain.

Solar-Powered Machine Creates Rainbows From Recycled Rainwater (Inhabitat)
Rainbows are fleeting and beautiful illusions – a gift from nature to us. Certain climatic conditions are generally required in the creation of a rainbow — unless you’re artist Michael Jones McKean, who has found a way to shoot rainbows across the sky at will. Next June McKean will produce a rainbow twice a day for 15 minutes using reclaimed rainwater and sunlight.