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  • March 15, 2017

    The Barrancas of Cuernavaca: Rescuing Lost Landscapes Hidden by Garbage
    Janice Astbury, London

    The first five people we spoke to in the San Anton neighborhood of the Mexican city of Cuernavaca didn’t know the location of the Salto Chico (small waterfall). The neighborhood’s larger waterfall, referred to as the Salto Grande or Salto...

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    January 18, 2017

    Can a City Be Sustainable?
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    A review of Can a City Be Sustainable? By Gary Gardner, Tom Prugh, and Michael Renner. 2016. Island Press.  Buy the book. This compact volume is an ambitious portmanteau of information on sustainable urbanism that covers an impressive range of issues and amply...

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    September 4, 2016

    The Rivers Have Called Upon Us
    Niki Singleton, New York City

    As I was reading Musagetes’ Manifesto on Economic Dignity and getting all passionate about activism, the usual disturbing and stressful noise from the construction of a new ferry pier next to the construction site of another huge tower on the...

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    July 4, 2016

    Gazing at the Gowanus
    Keerthi Potluri, New York City

    A review of Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal. By Joseph Alexiou. 2015. ISBN: 9781479892945. NYU Press. 2015. 398 pp. Buy the book. Even a brief summer shower can cause fresh human waste to spill into the Gowanus Canal, as anyone who lives along...

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    May 12, 2016

    Look Who’s Coming to Dinner…Bacteria that Eat the Gowanus Sludge—TNOC Podcast Episode 7
    Philip Silva, New York
    David Maddox, New York City

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn is well known throughout New York City as a nearly two-mile-long trench filled with sewage and chemicals left behind by years of neglectful pollution. Though the canal is slated for a...

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    May 8, 2016

    Designing for a Moving Target, Part II: Ensuring Human Health in a Changing Climate
    Chris Garvin, New York City

    Predicting the future is impossible, but climate science is beginning to paint a concerning image of a future troubled by climate change. My last feature post outlined the challenges climate change poses to our cities and aging infrastructure, but climate change also...

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    May 5, 2016

    School Partnerships are Key to Vibrant and Sustainable Cities
    Polly Knowlton Cockett, Calgary
    Janet Dyment, Hobart
    Mariona Espinet, Barcelona
    Yu Huang, Beijing

    Urban schools—any public, private, or charter schools delivering formal primary or secondary education—are key institutions in the shaping of vibrant and sustainable cities. Imagining such cities depends on the assumptions and ideologies of those involved in the transformation of urban...

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    April 24, 2016

    Establishing New Models of Human Rights: Creating Clean Places to Live
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    A Burmese man surprises me with a question, an idea that will make my thoughts race for weeks. “They talk about human rights abuses and political prisoners and all of these things. Yes, these things are important,” the man says,...

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    April 21, 2016

    Shortcomings of the Paris Accord: We Need to Combat Air Pollution at Multiple Scales
    Christopher Sellers, Stony Brook

    As world leaders gathered recently in New York to sign the momentous Paris accord to curb future carbon emissions, the air in Indian cities such as Delhi continued to scale alarming heights of befoulment, and Chinese cities such as Beijing keep...

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    April 8, 2016

    Confronting the Dark Side of Urban Agriculture
    Francois Mancebo, Paris

    How do you like roller coaster rides? I love them—provided that I am sitting in the operator’s cabin and not in one of the small, shaken carts frantically moving up and down. In two of my last posts, The Nurtured...

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    February 29, 2016

    The Flint Water Crisis Illuminated by Citizen Science—TNOC Podcast Episode 6
    Philip Silva, New York
    David Maddox, New York City

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: Federal regulations make clean drinking something close to a guaranteed right for residents of cities in the United States, but not all urban water systems are created equal. Last year, independent scientists and grassroots activists discovered...

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    February 25, 2016

    Photo Essay: Life and Water at Rachenahalli Lake
    Sumetee Gajjar, Bangalore

    Rachenahalli is one of the few living lakes of Bangalore, in the north of the city. It is connected to water bodies upstream and downstream, particularly Jakkur Lake in the northeast. Both of these lakes have been rejuvenated, at substantial...

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    January 27, 2016

    The Revalorization of Urban Nature, for Good and Ill
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    An image of expanding cities is associated, in most people’s minds, with the shrinking and gradual disappearance of urban nature. Yet, as life in cities becomes increasingly stressful and challenging, a gradual revalorization of urban nature is taking place across the...

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    January 4, 2016

    Leveraging Urban Form to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in China
    Pengfei XIE, Beijing

    A review of Towards Low Carbon Cities in China: Urban form and greenhouse gas emissions, edited by Sun Sheng Han, Ray Green and Mark Y. Wang. 2015. ISBN: 9780415743310. Routledge, New York. 216 pages. Buy the book. Urban morphology has...

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    November 22, 2015

    Air Pollution: Urban Myths and Realities
    Huda Shaka, Dubai

    You may have noticed ambient air quality returning to centre stage globally as a hot topic of discussion and debate. While the media coverage has helped draw attention to this critical issue, the plethora of data and views can cause...

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    November 10, 2015

    Reflections on “Laudato Si, On Care For Our Common Home”
    Mike Houck, Portland

    Pope Francis, City Planner After reading Pope Francis’ Laudato Si, On Care For Our Common Home, I was moved to select references I felt relevant to efforts in Portland to integrate nature into the city and weave nature into the...

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    October 23, 2015

    Justice from the Ground Up
    Julie Bargmann, Charlottesville

    Soil contamination is a baseline condition for most of the sites I’ve worked on over the past two decades. The toxic imprint derives from industry—steel production, shipbuilding, fabrication of automobile and machine parts, to name just a few—in both urban...

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    October 21, 2015

    Ceci n’est pas une pipe: Unpacking Injustice in Paris
    Francois Mancebo, Paris

    “We all know the sound of two hands clapping. But what is the sound of one hand clapping?” says a famous Zen Koan. At first consideration, it seems impossible to conjecture about the “just city” without having already in mind what is an “unjust...

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    October 5, 2015

    Rah! Rah! for Rail: Solving Transportation in Cities
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    A review of Rail and the City: Shrinking Our Carbon Footprint While Reimaging Urban Space, by Roxanne Warren. 2014. ISBN: 9780262027809. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 336 pages. Like a dog with a bone, some of us just can’t let go...

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    September 28, 2015

    Stormwater Management as Both Utility and Amenity
    Ben Feldmann, Los Angeles

    A review of Artful Rainwater Design: Creative Ways to Manage Stormwater, by Stuart Echols and Eliza Pennypacker. 2015. ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-266-2 / ISBN 10: 1-61091-266-7. Island Press, Washington. 284 pages. Stormwater is a topic of great interest, especially now that the...

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