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Urban design and traffic - Dec 29

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Want a safe place to raise kids? Look to the cities

Carla Saulter, Grist
Cities have a bad reputation with parents, for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest: crime. Ask the average suburban parents why they've chosen to raise their family far away from the urban core, and chances are good the topic will come up early in the conversation. Cities might be enriching and green and beneficial for kids in all kinds of ways. But what most parents want to know is, are they safe?

Last week, I chatted with Lenore Skenazy, author of Free Range Kids, about this very topic. You remember Lenore. She's the mom who was crucified by the national media back in 2008, after she let her nine-year old son ride the subway alone and then wrote about it for The New York Sun. A self-described "worrier mom," Skenazy encourages parents -- no matter where they live -- to move beyond fears and focus on facts.

Incessant coverage of the most gruesome, horrifying crimes against children makes us think our kids are in constant danger. But, she points out, many of the risks we take great pains to guard against -- at the expense of our sanity and our children's well-being -- are actually extremely rare.
(27 December 2010)



Turning Failed Commercial Properties Into Parks

Jonathan Lerner, Miller-McCune
Turning foreclosed commercial properties into park networks could put people to work, raise real estate values and promote wise redevelopment.
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... Now comes “Redfields to Greenfields,” a promising initiative aimed at reducing the huge supply of stricken commercial properties while simultaneously revitalizing the areas around them. (It’s a catchy title, if imprecise because it’s about re-establishing greenfields within developed areas, not about doing anything to natural or agricultural acreage at the urban margins.) The plan, in essence, is this: Determine where defunct properties might fit a metropolitan green-space strategy; acquire and clear them; then make them into parks and conservation areas, some permanent and some only land-banked until the market wants them again.

January-February 2011 Miller-McCune While it addresses the long-term challenges of greening cities and reversing sprawl, this idea is a response to immediate dilemmas: the oversupply, devaluation and abandonment of commercial real estate; the destabilization of banks by mounting commercial mortgage defaults; and persistent unemployment
(28 December 2010)



Road rage in India growing along with economy

Nirmala George, AP
... While Indian police keep no specific numbers on traffic-related assaults, officers interviewed agree that road rage is on the rise, fueled by the country's economic boom and the masses of new vehicles it is adding to the already crowded roads.

Roughly 10 million cars, buses, trucks, scooters and motorbikes crowd New Delhi's potholed roads every day, causing long traffic jams, gridlock — and frayed tempers.

The city's roads have not kept up with traffic growth. While the vehicle count has soared 212 percent over the past two decades, the number of miles of road has grown a mere 17 percent, according to the New Delhi Transport Department.
(28 December 2010)



Paris To Test Banning Gas-Guzzlers (Yes, SUVs!) In City Core

John Voelcker, Green Car Reports
Why are many European carmakers now planning to build electric vehicles? Because many European cities are widely expected to ban high-emissions vehicles from their city cores over the next decade--perhaps even vehicles with any emissions at all.

Now, Paris may be the first city to experiment with such a policy. Next year, it will begin to test restrictions on vehicles that emit more than a certain amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometer--the measure of a car's contribution to greenhouse gases.
(28 December 2010)

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