Climate Change


The Radical Plan to Cool Down LA as the World Heats Up

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August 10, 2017
How trees and white streets could reduce L.A.'s urban heat island effect.

It’s barely 10 a.m. on an August day in Hollywood, and the heat is already becoming oppressive. The temperature’s only in the mid-80s, but in the direct sun it feels hotter—and it’s getting worse by the minute. Part of the reason is the ground. The black asphalt of this side street off Sunset Boulevard is sucking up the sun and radiating its heat back out. An infrared thermometer shows the surface temperature to be 112 degrees. By mid-day, it’ll rise above 150.

How a Design Competition Changed the US Approach to Disaster Response

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January 18, 2017
the story of Rebuild By Design, a competition – and now its own organisation – based on taking a more proactive approach to disaster response in cities; but how far can you prepare for the effects of climate change?

Ten years ago, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg released a plan to create what he called “the first environmentally sustainable 21st-century city”. The blueprint, known as PlaNYC and released on Earth Day, outlined more than 100 projects and policies to create that sustainable city by 2030.

It set a precedent for local action on climate change; cities around the world began drafting their own sustainability plans. But then in October 2012, it got a harsh reality check.

The Port of the Future Is Arriving in Los Angeles

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October 27, 2014
Is Fighting Climate Change the Next Maritime Industry?

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the first and second busiest ports in the U.S., are a jigsawed infrascape of water channels and shipping terminals, a skyline built of cranes and steel containers. Together the neighboring ports cover more than 7,500 acres of land – about 12 square miles – and at least that much water. The metropolis of L.A. and Orange County and greater Southern California fans out around the ports, the grand industrial gash in the coastline, endlessly swallowing up and spitting out the commercial goods of the global economy.

Planning for Sustainability in New York City

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November 9, 2009
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is both a local challenge and a global imperative, says Rohit Aggarwala, the director of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability for New York City. Nate Berg caught up with Aggarwala to talk about his office's sustainability plans and the possible dangers posed by federal intervention.

New York City is America's most iconic metropolis. It's the biggest, the most famous and in many ways the most exciting. Beyond the glitz, New York is also exciting because it is instituting some very forward thinking programs and policies like the city's long-term sustainability plan, PlaNYC. New York's leadership on environmental sustainability has been a model for the nation.

To Re-Imagine Cities, Re-Imagine Urban Design

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November 13, 2008
Oil is running out and the climate is changing. How this impacts cities will largely be determined by how the urban design field reacts.

By name, the field of urban design is only about 50 years old. It was born at the 1958 "Conference on Urban Design Criticism" held at the University of Pennsylvania, attended by such legendary urban thinkers as Jane Jacobs, Kevin Lynch, Lewis Mumford, Ian McHarg and Louis Khan – each before publishing the seminal works that cemented their places in the history of urban planning practice and theory. They gathered together to discuss a new vision for American cities, one in response to the wide-scale urban renewal focus that was destroying communities across the country.

The World is a Third-World Country

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November 7, 2008
If one were to step back and take a look at the world as a whole, without international borders, the health and efficiency of this one entity would appear very poor. It’s a dismal view, but might this be a better way to approach the challenge of climate change?

This is the hypothetical view of Adil Najam, of Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. “In some ways I don’t think you can understand the city if you’re too close too it,” he says at a morning plenary session of the Urban Design After Oil symposium at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s kind of like forests.” ...

Live blog from the Re-imagining Cities: Urban Design After Oil symposium at the University of Pennsylvania.