Posts Tagged ‘Carbon-neutral’

Research – Tree lined streets soothe children’s lungs

Posted in Research, Visions by fedwards on May 26th, 2008

The abstract below was posted on the Planet Ark News list available at

“Four- and five-year-olds living along the city’s greenest streets were less likely to have asthma than young children living in sparsely planted neighborhoods, Dr. Gina S. Lovasi and colleagues from Columbia University found.

“We think that trees might have a beneficial effect on air quality — affecting air quality right at the street level,” Lovasi told Reuters Health. While the effects were independent of poverty and pollution, the researcher added, its possible street trees may simply be a stand-in for a healthful environment. “We’re not confident that it’s the trees themselves that are what’s driving this.”

Asthma rates have risen sharply in the US since 1980, and inner cities have been hit particularly hard, Lovasi and her colleagues note in their report. Trees could cut asthma risk by cleaning the air and encouraging kids to play outdoors, they add; but the pollen they release could also contribute to asthma attacks. To investigate, the researchers compared a census of New York City’s half-million street trees from 1995 to statistics on asthma prevalence and hospitalisation rates for 1999.””

To read the full article visit

'Tree-lined street' by jilldoughtie

Model – Update on Portland’s plan to become a sustainable city

Posted in Models, Visions by fedwards on May 23rd, 2008

The abstract below was posted on

“Pushing the planning envelope and building its visionary urban design legacy, the City of Portland is taking the lead on sustainable, equitable and economically viable long-range planning. Over the next three years, the Bureau of Planning will be updating its 1980 Comprehensive Plan and the 1988 Central City Plan in an effort called the Portland Plan.

The Portland Plan is an inclusive, citywide effort to guide the physical, economic, social, cultural, and environmental development of Portland over the next 30 years. The plan will build on the work the community did through visionPDX, which captured and fleshed out our shared values of sustainability, equity and accessibility, and community connectedness and distinctiveness.”

To read the full article visit

Event review – Highlights from the recent 7th EcoCity World Summit

Posted in Events, Models, Movements, Visions by fedwards on May 7th, 2008

Holly Pearson has recently published an article about the highlights from the 7th EcoCity World Summit on and its well worth a read! Find an abstract of her post below followed by a link to the full text.

Highlights from the 7th EcoCity World Summit
APRIL 28, 2008 9:48 AM

“In order to transform our cities, we need to move from ego-culture to eco-culture.”
— Rusong Wang, President, Ecological Society of China

The EcoCity World Summit wrapped up on Saturday afternoon in San Francisco. An incredible assemblage of the world’s brightest minds that are working to build greener cities and towns gathered for three and a half days of presentations, discussions, city tours, arts & culture, and celebration. As an urban planner for whom the sustainable cities movement is not only a passion but also a raison d’etre, professionally speaking, I found the conference to be nothing short of mind-blowing.

A vast amount of information and ideas was exchanged, and after letting it all sink in for a day or so I’ve summarized what I thought were some of the most interesting concepts and initiatives presented at EcoCity.

The Big Picture for Saving the Planet: Sustainable Cities
Amazingly, somehow I have worked as a city planner in Oakland, California for almost a year without knowing that right here in my own neighborhood is one of the leading green city advocates in the country, if not the world: Richard Register. Dubbed “EcoCity Master” by his conference co-organizer, Rusong Wang of China, Register is the President of non-profit EcoCity Builders.

Looking critically at the environmental movement, Register asserts that humanity is “winning the battle but losing the war.” Despite lots of successes – stronger environmental legislation, recycling programs in most metropolitan areas in the U.S., and the like – ecological degradation continues and is, in fact, worsening. That’s because, says Register, we’re not paying attention to the big things. And the big things, first and foremost, have to do with the design and functioning of our cities. Urban population is on the rise the world over, and cities are by far the greatest sources of natural resource consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and other pollutants. For this reason, a sustainable global future cannot be achieved without re-thinking and redesigning cities to reduce their ecological impact.

To read the full article visit:

WorldChanging - Highlights from the 7th EcoCity World Summit

Visions – Web resources of future city thinking

Posted in Models, Visions by fedwards on April 23rd, 2008

Links to Future City thinking from Architects with water as a role:

Listen at:

See designs at:

See New York City at:

See Chicago at:

See LA at:

Model – Carbon-free beer anyone?

Posted in Events, Models by fedwards on April 18th, 2008

Fosters launches new ‘green’ beer
Fosters Australia, (the beer brand – but they own wine and spirits too) has recently launched a ‘carbon offset’ beer – see here for the press release and here for further details:

The company has also published its 2007 sustainability report. The energy target is to reduce energy use per case by 10% by 2011.

Fosters launches new 'green' beer

Resource – Papers available – environmental economics

Posted in Research by fedwards on April 16th, 2008

The UK Network of Environmental Economics recently held its annual conference. The presentations given at the event are now available online at or more specifically at Sessions focused on: Climate and carbon; Ecosystem services and biodiversity; Water; market based instruments; Economic valuation; and Life expectancy and satisfaction.

Content from past conferences (envecon 2004-2007) and UKNEE seminars can also be accessed via the website.

Post Carbon Cities update – The Relocalization Network

Posted in Models, Movements, Research, Visions by fedwards on March 28th, 2008

The information below is sourced from The Relocalization Network’s Newsletter #17: March 2008. According to their website “Relocalization is a strategy to build societies based on the local production of food, energy and goods, and the local development of currency, governance and culture. The main goals of Relocalization are to increase community energy security, to strengthen local economies, and to dramatically improve environmental conditions and social equity“. The Post Carbon Cities section of this newsletter is a program of Post Carbon Institute which works to smooth the transition of local economies to a world no longer dependent on hydrocarbon fuels nor emitting climate-changing levels of carbon in the post-carbon world.

Post Carbon Cities: Update
We were happy to hear that Haines Borough, Alaska had formed a Peak Oil Task Force and just released its final report for public comment. Haines Borough (at 2,241 people) is the smallest municipality that we know of working on this issue – but perhaps you know another? Let us know!

The Brattleboro Peak Oil Task Force in Vermont made a presentation to the town’s Selectboard in February, urging them to take up preparation for peak oil in earnest. The Selectboard will be continuing that conversation when they meet again in March.

And zig-zagging back across the country to California, Oil Independent Oakland presented their final draft report to the Public Works Committee on February 26. Task forces are busy this year.”

To read the full story visit

Technical problems fixed – SustainableCitiesNet is up and running again!

Posted in Events, Models, Movements, Research, Visions by fedwards on March 25th, 2008

After a spurt of complex, unexpected and for us, unusual technical glitches, is now back up and running again! We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

We now invite you to contribute posts and comments to this site – to do this please click on the “contribute” tag above and follow the prompts. Alternatively email Ferne Edwards at fedwards

The next SustainableMelbourne newsletter (which includes material on Sustainable Cities) is also due for distribution at the end of this week, Friday 28 March. If you would like to include material in this newsletter which now reaches 1000 people (!!!!) please remember to post your news by 28 March.

Apologies – is experiencing technical difficulties

Posted in Events, Models, Movements, Research, Uncategorized, Visions by fedwards on March 15th, 2008

The website has been experiencing some technical difficulties over the last week. Due to these problems we have been unable to update content on the site. People are working on fixing these problems to get the site up and running as soon as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Resource & Review – The Transition Town Movement & Handbook

Posted in Movements, Visions by fedwards on March 10th, 2008

See below a comment by Adam Fenderson from the Energy Bulletin about the Transition Towns movement and the recent book release for the Transition Handbook.

“The Transition Towns project (now Transition Initiatives) is the embodiment of community driven holistic regional planning, with a strong focus on food security. (It has grown out of the Energy Descent Action Plan concept which many may have heard of). For my money it’s the most exciting environmental movement in the world for it’s focus on opportunities and positives while being both radical, broad reaching and practical.

The Transition Handbook has just been released. Here’s a suitably gushy review:
By Richard Barnett, editor of Pulse.

The newly published Transition Handbook is so important that I am tempted just to confine this review to five simple words ‘You must read this book!’ But to do so would, of course, completely fail to communicate its message which is, I believe, so profound and inspiring that I want to do my very best to encourage its spread far and wide. Rob Hopkins is described on the book cover as ‘The Founder of the Transition Movement’. I would add to that that he is a superb communicator, visionary and one of the most important thinkers in our chaotic 21st century world.“”

Read more.