URBAN ReTHINK

TRACKING THE FUTURE OF CITIES

Don’t sustain, regenerate.

  Has sustainability as a concept reached its limits? Author and academic Herbert Giradet, who was recently in London to promote his book Creating Regenerative Cities (Routledge, 2014), compares the … Continue reading

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Should we ditch the “sustainable” label (and replace it with something meaningful)?

By: Pierre Herman I finally came to this conclusion (the thought had already been percolating for a while) after perusing an article in the Guardian newspaper (Frankfurt beats London to … Continue reading

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More waste, better economy? The dilemmas facing market-based solutions

By: Pierre Herman Waste not, want not, so it goes.  That’s the theory anyway. We’ve had the “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto pounded into our brains quasi-religiously. We meticulously sort our … Continue reading

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Urban Innovation: Steel and Plastic “Trees” to Generate Energy

By: Pierre Herman Energy self-sufficiency is a long way off for most cities, but could this innovative idea born in a French start-up help prod cities towards liberation from traditional … Continue reading

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Unstoppable Growth: Istanbul’s Decent into “Chaos”

“The ecological limits have been surpassed. The population limits have been surpassed. The economic limits have been surpassed. If you ask me where this will lead….chaos.” (Mucella Yapici, Istanbul Chamber … Continue reading

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Grenoble bans street ads, to replace billboards with trees

Are billboard ads just a fact of life in big cities? Grenoble doesn’t think so. In this small but symbolic gesture, the city in the Alps is proving that the … Continue reading

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Cable cars reach new heights in Bolivia’s capital

 By: Giles Constantine for Eye on Latin America Bolivia is now home to the world’s largest urban cable car system, connecting two of the world’s highest major cities, and transforming … Continue reading

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Spain: Thousands of traditional businesses facing closure as rent law ends

Up to 250,000 stores and bars could shut once landlords are free to hike charges by 1,000% By: María Lillo Madrid (El Pais) The face of many Spanish cities could … Continue reading

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Mega public-transport projects: What’s the effect on social sustainability and equality?

By: Pierre Herman While there’s no doubt we need more and better public transport, we must be aware of the way it impacts not only on the liveability of a … Continue reading

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Sau Paulo faces water shortages amid unprecedented drought

By: Brian Clark Howard October 24, 2014 (National Geographic) Thanks to the worst drought in eight decades in southeastern Brazil, water levels have dropped dramatically in the reservoirs that supply … Continue reading

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Why the Sharing Economy is a Big Opportunity for Cities

Is sharing the future? Some say it is. And in our quest to advance not only the environmental sustainability but also the social sustainability of cities, Joe Peach at This Big City … Continue reading

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San Francisco first city to financially incentivise urban farms

By: Pierre Herman In early September of this year, San Francisco became the first city in the US to offer financial incentives with the aim of promoting urban agriculture within the city. … Continue reading

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If New York fails, cities will have to take the lead once again.

Cities have been at the forefront in the fight to reduce carbon emissions. National governments however, with few exceptions, have been far slower off the mark. And they won’t pick up … Continue reading

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Commuting by public transport boosts happiness levels, reduces anxiety: The Times

By: Pierre Herman I’ve recently written about the connection between living in cities and our happiness. It’s an area I’m particularly interested in. If we take an earnest look at … Continue reading

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A billion dollars for a floating what?!

Half a billion pounds sterling (that’s almost $1 billion US) for a floating cycle path? It’s only on the drawing board, but that’s the projected cost of the eight-mile “Thames … Continue reading

October 13, 2014 · Leave a comment

City Visions: London’s Barbican offers a cinematic exploration of cities

The Barbican cultural centre in London (UK) is hosting City Visions, a two-week long celebration of the past, present and future of the urban form and the people who are … Continue reading

September 18, 2014 · Leave a comment

Why Cities Make Us Happier

By: Pierre Herman Is paradise a large metropolis? As city dwellers, we’re prone to believing that the good life is found on a desolate beach far from the cacophony of any urban environment. Cities, … Continue reading

August 17, 2014 · Leave a comment

20 Cities with Great Ideas (That Should be Copied Everywhere): Part 1

By: Pierre Herman 1. Muscat: Keeping it low rise Oman’s private-car dependent capital is no environmentalist’s dream, but what it does have that make it unique among oil-rich Gulf nations … Continue reading

July 30, 2014 · 1 Comment

The AirBnB phenomenon: What impact is it having on cities?

By: Pierre Herman Never has something as innocent as renting out a room in one’s home to tourists become so controversial. While some say it’s helping build a “sharing economy” … Continue reading

July 5, 2014 · Leave a comment

China’s incredible ghost cities: urban planning gone terribly wong?

In its bid to relocate an astounding 400 million people into cities, China has for the last several years embarked on a gargantuan-scale city-building effort. What has resulted in some regions is an … Continue reading

June 25, 2014 · Leave a comment

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