green cities

Recent stories

Biking for a Better City

It’s a regular Sunday afternoon in Monterrey. While most people are home with their families or enjoying the last days of summer inside their ranch houses–due to the nearly 40 degree heat–a handful have decided to do something “crazy”. At six in the afternoon, people start gathering at the local plaza, bringing along their bicycles, helmets, fluorescent clothes, and most importantly, their thirst for change. Despite the overwhelming heat, which makes it hard to breath, cyclists assemble, and thirty minutes later, they start their ride.

Fast Times in Vilnius’s Electrolanes

In Lithuania, entire lanes are reserved for electric cars, according to law. These are nearly always free: At the moment, according to the data published, out of Lithuania’s just over 2 million vehicles, a grand total of 12 are electric, and the lanes are occupied by public transport.

Switzerland’s First Zero-Carbon Technology Park

FRIBOURG, Switzerland – Square glass buildings are silhouetted against a green city park and glistening blue pond. They are towered over by a building whose sides are equipped with prominent solar cells. An old redbrick chimney stands in the middle of modern architecture. This is what Switzerland’s first completely zero-carbon technology park could look like in a few years. The park is located in Fribourg, halfway between Zurich and Geneva.

Geoff Cape, Reimagining Cities at Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works

For a long time, the environmentalists’ mantra was Thoreau’s declaration, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Increasingly, however, environmentalists have become preoccupied by the concrete jungle: the city, dressed in glass, concrete, and steel. The city’s importance can’t be over-stated, because half the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and because the city consumes for more than 75 percent of resources, worldwide. In some parts of the world cities are growing rapidly; in others they are losing population and falling into disrepair. Yet, cities everywhere are being forced to reimagine themselves due to variability in population and climate. The way they do so will have massive consequences for our communities and collective ecological resilience.

Curitiba, Where the Rubber Hits the Road in Urban Transportation Planning

Flashy ultra-modern generators of large-scale employment and big government contracts, urban rail projects have long been the darlings of ribbon-cutting, crony-friendly politicians.  However, as the Brazilian city of Curitiba and the visionary planning of architect-turned-politician Jamie Lerner demonstrate, sound planning combined with creative deployment of public transport’s humble workhorse—the bus—can have tremendous impact. Leadership in a particular industry or sector does not depend on superior access to resources or greater depth of experience. “The two things you really need are a breakthrough idea and persistence”, says an emphatic Leny Toniolo, advisor at Curitiba’s Environmental Secretary, who met with me at Athletes’ Park during the Rio+20 summit in June. Athlete’s Park Curitiba exhibition booth, Riocentro; Source: Student Reporter. The populations of major urban centers in the developing world have been increasing at an accelerating rate.  Brazil is no exception.  As populations grow, so does the need to move people into and out of cities.