California


Water Planning After the Age of Infrastructure

Publication:
Date: 
December 14, 2009
Despite geologic barriers and in the face of scientific advice, huge infrastructure projects of the 20th century brought water to the arid Southwest and fueled the growth of a megaregion. But now that era of infrastructure-enabled growth is over, leaving planners, developers and policymakers looking for new ways to sustain growth and rising demand amid diminishing resources.

With the one arm he had left after fighting for the Union during the Civil War, John Wesley Powell led a team of 10 men and four boats on what was likely the most extreme and adventurous fact-finding mission since Lewis and Clark stumbled upon the West Coast of North America. It was 1869, and this was neither the first nor the last river voyage Powell would command.

Federal Deadline Sets Off Rush to Approve Solar Plants

Date: 
November 1, 2010
Of all the ways that California is attempting to reduce its carbon footprint, perhaps none will have a more dramatic, or immediate, impact than that of solar power.

Up to 200 solar energy projects, are seeking, or have received, approval to be developed in California. Most notable of these are nine large-scale projects in the state’s own Empty Quarter – the Mojave and Colorado -- where state and federal officials are on the verge of inking approvals on more than 4,100 megawatts worth of solar thermal farms. Collectively, they represent nearly ten times the amount of solar capacity installed in 2009, and enough energy to power roughly 2 million homes.

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Creating Neighborhood Capital from Strip Malls

Publication:
Date: 
October 1, 2010
Strip malls are in virtually every American city, but they're rarely an important part of those cities. Ava Bromberg says they can be. Her idea is to turn strip malls into community-owned hubs that generate capital within their neighborhood and keep it there.

Strip malls probably don’t fit into the definition of progressive urbanism for most people, but maybe they should. Well, maybe after a little organizational tweaking.

Top-Down Greening In The Urban Core

Publication:
Date: 
July 27, 2006
Can cities get back in touch with nature? Planners, developers, architects, and policy makers convened in Los Angeles June 7 to face the challenge and develop a plan of action to help bring life onto the rooftops of L.A.'s downtown.

"Nature" is increasingly represented in the urban world as an incidental garnish -- a potted shrub at the door of a towering high-rise; a bush inside the loop of a freeway onramp.

These greening gestures calmly try to suggest a connection between the urban environment and the natural one. Yet other than providing window dressing, they contribute little to counter the harm that cities inflict on the natural ecology.

So what is a densely developed and thoroughly paved American downtown to do? ...