snippets

Snippets – City Infrastructure

Today, stories about developing and improving cities and their infrastructure.

The City of Chicago announced the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, which will leverage private investment for retrofits pending City Council approval. For the first project, they will be doing an energy efficiency retrofit of municipal buildings (via Greentech Media).

Bay Area cities begin to adjust to life after redevelopment agencies shut their doors on Feburary 1st. A blog post by SPUR walks through the impact of these changes in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.

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Oaklavia

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Thousands Play in Oakland’s Streets at the First-Ever ‘Oaklavia’ fromStreetfilms on Vimeo.

On October 2, Oakland will hold an event called Oaklavia, closing a few miles of roads to cars to let people experience car-free city streets. Today’s video is the community reaction to the first time Walk Oakland Bike Oakland organized Oaklavia, last year.

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You can learn more about Oaklavia at its website, oaklavia.org, or at walkoaklandbikeoakland.org.

See you there?

THIS POST IS PART OF OUR FRIDAY VIDEO SERIES.
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Pecha Kucha Rundown: Denser, Part 3

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Noelle and I had fun at Pecha Kucha in San Francisco at the SPUR Urban Center on June 21.  For those unfamiliar with the Pecha Kucha format, each speaker has 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide. The format makes for a fun but focused look at what a wide range of professionals is working on and thinking about. Presentations are loosely organized around a theme. The theme this time was “Denser.”

Using my notes, I am putting together a set of posts that lists the presenters in order, along with links to their website (if I could find them) and any major thoughts I jotted down. For some presentations, I took a number of notes. Other presentations have fewer notes (maybe I was looking at the images more carefully?). All of the presentations were more interesting and beautiful than revealed by my notes and these posts.

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Julie KimHot Studio

essay – “Why We Lie to Kids” – Paul Graham

suburban existence – capsule to capsule

organized chaos – systems for sharing space in dense areas

suburban promise – control enables freedom

2 symbols – house + car

urban reality – loss of control enables freedom

worlds colliding in “meatspace”, the real, physical, non-virtual world

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David Baker – Architect – David Baker + Partners Architects

crowded

hot & dirty

green

looking at density per square mile and the carbon footprint per person

Portland Pearl District full of 300 x 300 blocks

poem – “Lines in Potentis” – Ben Okri

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Gabriel TanOut of Stock Design, Singapore

members of the firm are from different countries, but find a way to work together online

umbrellas in internal gutter to drain

mix of handcrafts and mass production

very focused on flatpack furniture

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Antonio Roman-Alcalá – SF Urban Agriculture Alliance and Alemany Farm

“The Political Economy of Urban Land, and Its Relation to an Urban Agricultural Future”

farming and cities have co-evolved

our population is no longer “mostly farmers” – not directly tied to the land

what society values – highest-earning college majors vs lowest-earning college majors

can’t urban plan our way out of mining and destruction of rainforests

17th & Folsom = “future park” – park for kinds + urban garden

who gets to decide the best use of the land? the owner of the land or the community?

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Part 1 is posted here. Part 2 is posted here.

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10 American Cities Running Out Of Water?

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Las Vegas, Nevada (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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24/7 Wall St. evaluated a couple recent studies (from Ceres and the NRDC) and also conducted some of its own analysis, focusing on the 30 largest American cities,  to  come up with the following list of 10 large American cities at the greatest risk of running out of water:

10. Orlando, FL

9. Atlanta, GA

8. Tucson, AZ

7. Las Vegas, NV

6. Fort Worth, TX

5. San Francisco Bay Area, CA

4. San Antonio, TX

3. Phoenix, AZ

2. Houston, TX

1. Los Angeles, CA

You can read more about their analysis and reasons for inclusion of each city here.

A note from Anna – I do not know much about 24/7 Wall St. or their track record on this sort of analysis. I think this sort of list is good for raising awareness that it is not just cities in the dry Southwest that are facing future water shortages. However, there are a few items in this article that gave me pause – first is the consistent misspelling of San Francisco as “San Fransisco”, second is the consistent listing of the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) as the “National Resources Defense Council.”

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$274 Million for Water & Sewer Upgrades

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The Fresno Bee reports that the EPA is awarding $127 million to California’s Department of Public Health and another $147 million to the State Water Resources Control Board.

The agency said at least 20 percent of the money must be used to fun so-called “green” infrastructure projects that improve water conservation, energy efficiency and environmental projects.

The two agencies will be responsible for awarding dozens of grants or low-interest loans to cities throughout the state for new sewers and drinking water facility upgrades.

Read the entire story here.

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Tracking Water Resources in Real Time

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Image credit: SEBAL North America

According to a recent press release, scientists at SEBAL North America, located in Davis, California, are tracking real-time consumption of water by crops, cities, and natural ecosystems using satellites.

This new technology, applicable to water management needs globally, reduces substantial uncertainties in traditional approaches, greatly increasing confidence in water management decisions. Grant Davids, the company’s president, notes the broad range of applications of SEBAL for water managers. “Water consumption is usually the most important yet often most poorly quantified water management parameter. More accurate and spatially discrete estimates of consumptive use lead to improved water management over a wide range of conditions, from local to basin scales and from historical analysis for planning to real-time operations decision support.”

The company will be providing weekly maps showing water use for the Central Valley. The company also makes image overlays that can be opened in Google Earth to allow users to look more closely at water use in specific areas. Maps and data can be found on the SEBAL website.

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Assorted Links

For the first time in 35 years, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) is moving to enforce decades-old energy efficiency and water conservation standards.

ICLEI USA has compiled a list of cities taking action to reduce their GHG emissions.

NPR has a map showing renewable energy goals and renewable energy generated for each state.

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City Rankings – Energy, Walkability, and Transit

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This Friday’s links highlight a few examples of city rankings…

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has released a list of 22 American cities named “2010 Smarter Cities” for their investment in green power, energy efficiency measures and conservation – Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz are the Northern California cities that made the list and have profiles on the NRDC website.

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Walk Score has ranked 2,508 neighborhoods in the largest 40 U.S. cities to help you find walkable neighborhoods – San Francisco is ranked #1!

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The 2006 American Community Survey measured the percentage of commuters who take public transit, as opposed to walking, driving, riding a bicycle, or other ways of getting to work. In the top 50 are the Bay Area cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond, and Concord.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Assorted Links

NRDC rates the USA’s cities on smart energy use and clean energy sources.

Contractors in Montana develop portable housing for $20 per square foot.

CalISO opens market to demand response.

The city of San Francisco launched a website listing products it considers eco-friendlySFapproved. org

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