Urban farmers were delighted Tuesday when Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a proposed ordinance that could make growing and selling fresh produce in Chicago much easier.
In December, some of the biggest local names in urban agriculture had protested a previous proposal that they felt would stunt the growth of city gardens with cumbersome rules on plot size, high-end fencing and produce sales in residential areas.
Erika Allen, head of seven nonprofit Growing Power farms in Chicago, predicted at the time that her group’s work “would be over” if the zoning ordinance passed.
But Tuesday morning, Emanuel chose Allen’s new Iron Street Farm in Bridgeport to present his proposed ordinance — one that marks a turnaround on almost every thorny issue in the last proposal.
“We’ve been working really hard to see this happen,” said Allen, who served on the mayor’s transition team. “I think it’s just a new administration and a changing of the guard. Former Mayor (Richard) Daley was supportive, but there was a lot of opposition coming out of (the zoning department) that was very much entrenched in ‘this is the way it we do it.’”
Earlier this month, 35 mayors from major cities around the world convened for the Resilient Cities 2011 Conference and released a declaration [PDF] that highlighted the recent rise in natural disasters and the imperative for cities to increase their resiliency and ability to adapt to climate change.
But what does it mean for a city to be “resilient” to climate change? Which cities are most resilient — and what makes a city vulnerable?
Grist recently ran a slideshow featuring “the top 10 climate ready U.S. cities" — which was basically a measure of steps those cities were taking to reduce carbon emissions. What that piece didn’t address is how vulnerable or resilient a city is to climate change based on the city’s environmental context. For instance: What’s a city’s risk for climate-related disasters? Is its water supply sustainable?
In 2009, Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) placed automatic bike counting equipment at many locations around the city. It uses pneumatic tubes to count the number of bicyclists (excludes cars) at that point in the street – it counts ALL trips, and cannot distinguish between people going to work or going to school.
The size of the blue dot indicates the bicycle mode share for that count location. Mode share calculated by adding bikes and cars and dividing by bikes.
Chicago’s skyline dominates the southwest tip of Lake Michigan.The downtown area - “the Loop” - is one of the world’s most concentrated collections of notable architecture.Highlights include the art deco Board of Trade, the glowing blue pyramid atop the Metropolitan, and the modernist Willis Tower.The Willis, formerly the Sears, has been the tallest building in the United States since its construction in 1974.
The Loop takes up only 1.6 square miles, and a tour group can cover it in a couple of hours and still have time to gawk.But this density comes with an environmental price.
“Walgreens is piloting several food centers in Chicago after Mayor Daley approached the chain about helping end “food deserts” — areas bereft of grocery stores and food options. Walgreens is now selling fresh produce and light perishable groceries in low-income and/or black communities in Chicago.”
“This towering eco high-rise offers a green gateway to the city of Chicago that includes a large vertical farm, mixed-use towers, and a residential tower all tied together by a series of sky bridges. Envisioned by a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the project is located over Lake Shore Drive and was designed specifically for the location of the dormant Chicago Spire site, otherwise known as the “Giant Hole in the Ground”.
The Chicago Gateway is composed of two vertical mixed-use towers supported by a leaning tower covered in a green roof. Offices and commercial space would reside in the vertical towers and residences in the leaning tower, which bridges over Lake Shore Drive. All of the structures are connected together via a vertical farm podium, and a network of sky bridges connects the towers and provides access to other nearby buildings.
Urban farming via hydroponics would take place inside the green podium, and a green roof would grow additional produce. Vegetables and herbs would be grown in mechanized hanging baskets in the hydroponic farm. Produce from the farm could be delivered via they sky bridges, and the public can access the building and use the elevated routes to travel around the city.