Archive for the ‘Urban Sustainability’ Category

Do Cities Need Universities to Survive?   Leave a comment

The so-called “town and gown” relationship between cities and universities has become increasingly important in recent years. As universities contribute more and more to the local economy through research, reputation and building, they’re seen not only as educational and cultural institutions, but economic development tools. But how much should cities rely on universities?

This essentially was the question posed to four university professors at a panel discussion in Los Angeles. Hosted by Zocalo Public Square and moderated by The Chronicle for Higher Education editor Jeff Selingo, the event asked whether universities can save cities.

“We really can’t believe that universities can save cities,” said Gene Block, chancellor at the University of California Los Angeles. He argues that even though universities contribute to a city’s culture and economy, they can’t be fully relied upon to solve major foundational problems should they arise.

And so far they haven’t, according to Rice University President David Leebron.

I don’t really see it so much as a question of whether universities can save cities. Cities generically aren’t really in any danger,” Leebron said. “The real question, I think, is can universities make our cities more competitive, and more competitive on a global scale?”

Leebron said universities can play a major role in helping cities provide jobs and education that attract people and businesses from all over the world.

That’s both in terms of what they can contribute to the economic advancement of the city, but also importantly what the universities contribute to the quality of life in the city and the quality of governance in the city,” Leebron said.

Arizona State University President Michael Crow said that universities will continue to be a part of ensuring a city’s economic success, but also that they will be a key part of a wider scale regional economic cohesiveness. He points to the concept of megapolitan regions, in which ten major clusters of metropolitan areas in the U.S. are expected to be home to about 80 percent of the country’s future population.

“The role of the universities in each of them is not to save the cities, because they are what they are,” Crow said. “It’s whether or not in the United States the universities can be facilitative of our megapolitans being competitive and at the same time have some concept of economic justice in the way that they evolve.”

The university heads pointed to some of the benefits they bring to the community, such as an increased involvement in K-12 education. But they also touched on the more physical side of university building projects. University of Southern California President C.L. Max Nikias pointed to a massive mixed use project the university is pursuing right off campus in South L.A. It will be the largest redevelopment project in the history of that part of town.

And though the university clearly is a developer, it’s not only a developer, according to Nikias.

“This university is in the business of educating people and doing research. We’re not a real estate company,” Nikias said.

Unsurprisingly, the four university heads spun their relationship with their cities in a positive light. None were willing to argue that their cities wouldn’t survive without them. But the link between the two is undeniably powerful. And as these universities and the knowledge-based economy they enable become more important, the interrelationship between universities and cities will become even closer.

via Do Cities Need Universities to Survive? – Jobs & Economy – The Atlantic Cities.

Atlanta Grows Lettuce Near Runway as Urban Farms Bloom – Businessweek   Leave a comment

The return to basics of food production is occurring in our midst , even in small urban settings and farmer’s markets with locally grown produce .

“From New York to Seattle, cities — which the U.S. Conference of Mayors says account for 90 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — are attempting to create jobs, foster economic development, feed impoverished neighborhoods and fill long-vacant lots by returning to their agrarian roots.”

via Atlanta Grows Lettuce Near Runway as Urban Farms Bloom – Businessweek.

Cisco to pioneer Europe’s largest sustainable city project   Leave a comment

Convergence is “IN” 

“Cisco is to become the master planner for the IT and communications design of PlanIT Valley in northern Portugal, which is set to be the world’s greenest city when completed and a model for how to advance sustainable urban living when completed.

Cisco and Portuguese technology company Living PlanIT announced a strategic alliance to develop new business models for city management and help accelerate innovations in urban development via the PlanIT Valley project, which will be located near Paredes in northern Portugal.

In 2009, Cisco and Living PlanIT began working together to develop a model for greenfield and urban revitalisation as well as to accelerate innovation in urban development, operations and community services.

Cisco is to look at ways of integrating its Smart+Connected Communities technologies into the PlanIT Valley project. Once this is achieved, Living PlanIT will implement a network infrastructure based on Cisco technology as the platform for urban sustainability in PlanIT Valley.”


via Cisco to pioneer Europe’s largest sustainable city project.

Posted June 22, 2011 by arnoneumann in Urban Sustainability

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Green Space in Cities: What’s a Tree Really Worth? | This Big City   Leave a comment

Trees can provide aesthetic value but what other tangible value ? Cabon sequestation, energy savings through shade cooling, pollution reduction and more. The values add up significantly. Read in full…


“Beyond their aesthetic value, trees provide vital ecosystem services: cleaning the air, managing rainfall, storing carbon, reducing noise pollution and stabilising temperatures. Take out a tree, and you lose a free service. But until now, little assessment of the financial burden caused by the damage or destruction of local trees has been undertaken in the UK.

Torbay Council’s Arboricultural Services team is using i-Tree Eco software to measure the environmental services and corresponding financial values of local trees. The project, a collaboration involving Forest Research and Natural England, collects data on the way trees:

• save energy: their shade cools buildings in summer, and offers some shelter from winter winds

• store and sequester carbon (and at what rate)

• reduce pollution through filtration.

It will also assess the ‘structural value’ of the trees, including the cost of replacement. The findings will be used to establish a UK-wide benchmark for valuing trees.”

via Green Space in Cities: What’s a Tree Really Worth? | This Big City.

Posted June 19, 2011 by arnoneumann in Urban Sustainability

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Reinventing the City to Combat Climate Change­   Leave a comment

How the world’s cities develop their infrastructure over the next 30 years will determine the future path of global warming.

via Reinventing the City to Combat Climate Change­.

Posted May 19, 2011 by arnoneumann in Urban Sustainability

Thinking in Systems: The Urban Systems Symposium « Sustaining Places   Leave a comment

Thinking in Systems: The Urban Systems Symposium « Sustaining Places.

“the Urban Systems Symposium is designed to kick start an interdisciplinary dialogue around creating, operating and living in ’smart’ cities. The forum is an effort to establish and formalize a collaboration across industries where experts can share knowledge and create solutions that will help make visions for smarter cities a reality through effective urban design, more efficient planning, better use of IT, and improved city operations.”

Posted May 18, 2011 by arnoneumann in Urban Sustainability

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