Greening the Concrete Jungle (The Economist)

THERE are many places in Illinois where you expect to find a prairie. The roof of City Hall in Chicago is not among them. Yet there it is—20,000 square feet (almost half an acre) of shrubs, vines and small trees, 11 storeys above LaSalle Avenue. Planted in 2000, City Hall’s “green roof” reduces the amount of energy needed to cool the building in the summer; captures water during rainstorms, thus reducing the amount of water flowing into Chicago’s already overtaxed sewers; and combats the urban “heat island” effect, which makes cities warmer than nearby rural areas. On average, air temperatures above City Hall are 10-15°F degrees lower than those above the adjacent black-tar roof of the Cook County Building; on hot summer days the difference can be as great as 50°F.

Large as it is, City Hall’s roof accounts for a small proportion of Chicago’s total green-roof space. And those roofs are just one part of Chicago’s Climate Action Plan (CCAP), which was launched in September 2008 and was preceded by years of green initiatives during the tenure of Richard Daley, who from 1989 until earlier this year was mayor of Chicago. CCAP aims to reduce Chicago’s greenhouse-gas emissions to 75% of their 1990 levels by 2020, and to just 20% of their 1990 levels by 2050. In the two years after CCAP’s launch public-transport ridership rose, millions of gallons of water were conserved, hundreds of hybrid buses were added to Chicago’s fleet and over 13,000 housing units and nearly 400 commercial buildings were retrofitted for energy efficiency.

More: Greening the Concrete Jungle (The Economist)

via captainplanit:

CitiSense: Cellular Environmental Monitoring  » dailywireless.org   » 
CitiSense, a cell-phone based sensor network system, has won a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and deploy hundreds of small environmental sensors carried by the public in San Diego. The goal of CitiSense is to build and deploy thousands of small environmental sensors that use cell phones to relay data. The sensor-wearing public may also wear biological monitors, collecting basic health information, such as heart rate. The data will be analyzed, anonymized and reflected back out to individuals, public health agencies and San Diego at large.

CitiSense: Cellular Environmental Monitoring  » dailywireless.org  »

CitiSense, a cell-phone based sensor network system, has won a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and deploy hundreds of small environmental sensors carried by the public in San Diego. The goal of CitiSense is to build and deploy thousands of small environmental sensors that use cell phones to relay data. The sensor-wearing public may also wear biological monitors, collecting basic health information, such as heart rate. The data will be analyzed, anonymized and reflected back out to individuals, public health agencies and San Diego at large.

Streetswiki - Livable Streets
StreetsWiki is a community-created, online encyclopedia for transportation, urban environmental, and public space ­issues. It’s a place for ordinary people, planners, and academics to write and read about our cities and how we can make them more livable. Best of all, StreetsWiki is a Wiki, which means anyone can edit or add articles (think Wikipedia, but for streets). To start editing pages, you’ll need a Livable Streets account.

Streetswiki - Livable Streets

StreetsWiki is a community-created, online encyclopedia for transportation, urban environmental, and public space ­issues. It’s a place for ordinary people, planners, and academics to write and read about our cities and how we can make them more livable. Best of all, StreetsWiki is a Wiki, which means anyone can edit or add articles (think Wikipedia, but for streets). To start editing pages, you’ll need a Livable Streets account.

Land use debates need commmunity input based on data

A Smarter City would use community-accessible data visualization to illustrate tradeoffs involved in important debates about land use.  Community input could then be based on facts rather than rhetoric and opinion from opposing sides. In this case in Durham NC, a privately commissioned land survey was used to justify removing buffer protections from a lake that supplies water to the region.  It is too hard for an ordinary citizen to know what is the truth: was the land survey correct? will the revised watershed boundary adversely affect water quality? will the development provide badly needed jobs? Better access to data, modeled and visualized so everyone can understand the data, would inform the community debate.

From the Herald Sun Oct 13
Board votes to end N.C. 751 protection

Durham County Commissioners voted 3-2 this week to remove watershed-buffer protection from a 165-acre site along N.C. 751 next to Jordan Lake.  The decision followed a lengthy public hearing and debate about whether environmental or economic interests should control the decision. A Raleigh developer wants to use the site for development; on the other side are concerns about impact on the regional watershed.

Durham, N.C., USA.  land use, watershed, debate, community, data, visualization, facts, environment