Getting to 2100

 

Getting to 2100

March, 2013 Archive

28 March 2013

It seems like there is nothing like threatening the loss of a parking spot in front of your house to raise the ire. A voice of reason in this debate is the informal group calling itself Portlanders for Sustainable Development whose letter to the Mayor and City Council appears below. Coming soon will be a […]

27 March 2013

Metro, the Portland Oregon regional government, is asking about Greenhouse gas reduction strategies here Focus is on motor vehicles and transport with a bit of land use thrown in. *Note: Opt In is an innovative on-line civic forum with almost 20,000 registered participants from all around the metro region begun when I was a Metro […]

26 March 2013

econforecast
What would happen if we decided to tax the burning of fossil fuels–gasoline, natural gas, coal–and gave back the money to businesses and individuals as rebates on their income taxes?

25 March 2013

Now, the demand for water to cool coal-fired power plants is drying up the breadbasket of China. Add this to the heavy pollution blanketing urban areas like Beijing and its a wonder the people are as quiet as they are.

25 March 2013
Categories:

In a tempest in a teapot, a few residents of southeast Portland – that supposed bastion of eco-friendliness – are taking to the barricades to defend their right to park. They feel threatened by the recent appearance of numerous new housing developments that are taking advantage of a two-decade old exemption from parking requirements for buildings along transit streets. From the enraged and outraged tone of their complaints, you would think that the City is sending in the black helicopters.

There are good arguments that government shouldn’t be requiring parking anywhere – it reduces developable land area, it raises costs and therefore reduces affordability, it increases impermeable surface or requires expensive mitigation, it encourages car ownership and use and many times creates barriers to pedestrian activity and deadzones. Parking is an amenity, like granite counters, that a homebuyer or renter should be able to choose, or not, depending on how much they are willing to pay for housing…

25 March 2013

Two articles in today’s NY Times highlight the challenge and promise of changing our energy mix.

China is in the midst of its worst air pollution crisis, with images reminiscent of 1950s Pittsburgh, when the noontime sun disappeared regularly in the dark cloud of smog.

While in the US, the tax credit for alternative energy being restored in January has led to a resurgence in wind energy projects. The US still lags most of the industrial world in its percentage of energy produced with non-carbon sources but a recent report done in New York state lays out a viable path for virtually 100% renewable energy there by 2050. The study authors noted:

“We must be ambitious if we want to promote energy independence and curb global warming,” said study co-author Robert Howarth, a Cornell University professor of ecology and environmental biology. “The economics of this plan make sense,” said Anthony Ingraffea, a Cornell engineering professor and a co-author of the study. “Now it is up to the political sphere.”

19 March 2013

Over 20 years ago, the City of Portland removed off-street parking requirements for residential development along streets served by transit. Check out this photo essay on how off-street parking (for years required by cities) disrupts the “traditional” neighborhood character, community interaction and aesthetics…
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Traditional development along transit streets

18 March 2013

Portland is heralded for its strong investment in bicycle facilities and is being copied around the continent (think NYC, Vancouver, BC and Chicago). Can’t even remember how many times Bicycling Magazine has called Portland the Best Cycling City in North America. In the past 20 years, Portland has built over 300 miles of bicycle facilities and much of the Portland metropolitan area is not far behind. Well, has it worked? Let’s find out…

11 March 2013

The Portland region is one of the few in the US that is actually increasing its urban tree canopy. Trees are making a difference in air quality, temperature, stormwater and beauty. How did this happen? Surprise, it was citizens taking action to make a difference…

[caption id="attachment_332" align="alignright" width="374"]Planting crew from Bamboo Sushi--sustainable fish only, please! Planting crew from Bamboo Sushi–sustainable fish only, please![/caption]
7 March 2013

Once considered the disease of the affluent, obesity and its attendant dysfunction is spreading across the world. The culprits? Nike jumps into the fray in a big way, find out more…