Ideas, inspirations and discussionson creating better, smarter cities

Getting to 2100

March, 2013 Archive

Off-Street Parking Mandates (continued)

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 […]

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Tell Metro about your ideas to reduce carbon pollution from cars

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 […]

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Don’t Tread on Me: It’s time to stop requiring off-street parking

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…

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The Cost of Fossil Fuels and some light ahead

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.”

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Off Street Parking and Neighborhood Livability: photo essay

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

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Build it (bike lanes, that is) and they will come!

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…

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Urban Reconstruction: the living side of things

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] Read More »
About Gettingto2100

Why Getting to 2100? The next century will be a test: can humans use their intelligence and foresight to successfully transition from our consumption-fueled economy to one that balances the needs of humans with the Earth’s available resources. Getting to 2100 aims to be a forum for sharing of good ideas and good works. Got a good example or a new idea? Share it with the world!

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