If you are an urban or city dweller, it can feel as though the living is noisy, over-crowded and distinctly unfriendly to mother Earth, but new developments in urban planning are making for eco cities and sustainable living spaces of the future.
The Sustainable City Blog is written by a 27-year-old urban planner and political activist who chronicles the zero-carbon, eco-friendly efforts of various cities the world over.
Abu Dhabi has plans for Masdar City, an urban centre that will be car-free, human-scaled and, importantly, will use passive shading and cooling to become the world’s first carbon-neutral city.
On the other hand, North America has a big problem with ageing freeways built in the economic boom of the Fifties and Sixties that are now sitting there, looking an unlikely solution to our future travel problems.
Although this is a US blog, the link to a page testing your city’s IQ is also applicable to us Irish. There are tests for how much recycling, energy conservation, green spaces and eco-friendly urban planning is going on in your urban area.
This blog gives a glimpse into the lives of others in huge over-crowded cities around the globe. Do you know that ‘super dense crush load’ is a term to describe what happens during rush hour in Mumbai with 14–16 standing passengers packed into one square metre of floor space on the Mumbai Suburban Railway?
Some cities are suffering from population drop, however. This blog has an interesting post on the US city of Baltimore, explaining how the population is literally dropping by the minute and trying to encourage people to stay.
This does seem to be a community blog as opposed to one run by the city mayor, but it is ‘bigging up’ the advantages of living in Baltimore to comic yet endearing effect. If you’re looking for a vibrant and not- so-densely-populated city experience this year, have a read of this blog and consider ‘Charm City’.
You’ve all heard about ghost towns scattered throughout the US, but what about ghost malls? Many big, ugly shopping centres erected during the heady consumerism of the Seventies and Eighties are slowly dying.
Thankfully some cities, such as Pasadena in California, are rejuvenating these malls by integrating them with local office and residential space, demolishing walls and opening them up to daylight and public walkways.
By Marie Boran
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