Nov 25, 15

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The Good News Paradox: Reflecting on the Human Development Index

This year's Human Development Index (HDI) came out last week and it was full of good news. The HDI started out 20 years ago to provide a way of indexing development and progress that gives a fuller picture of human well being than GDP's shallow economic calculations. This year's report celebrates the fact that over the past 40 years “average life expectancy rose from 59 to 70 years, primary school enrollment grew from 55 to 70 percent, and per capita income doubled to more than $10,000.”...


72 Hour Urban Action

72 Hour Urban Action was a real-time/crunch-time architecture competition that took place in a town near Tel Aviv, Israel as part of the Bat Yam Landscape Urbanism Biennale. The competition was unique among the hundreds of architecture competitions that take place each year: it demonstrated how much could be done to improve public space in an incredibly short amount of time and with a very limited budget. Ten teams, with a materials budget of 2,000 Euro each, designed and constructed a...


Connecting Delta Cities

Connecting Delta Cities (CDC) was set up to share best practice in adapting to climate change and consequent sea level rises for delta cities. They are holding their first conference at the end of this month. With more than 50% of the world's population now living in urban areas and more than two thirds of the world's cities vulnerable to rising sea levels, water management and flood defense forms an important part of climate adaptation. (See the diagram, When Sea Levels Attack! from...


Reader Report: Seattle’s First Designers Accord Town Hall

by Linda Norlen Editor's Note: We encourage "Reader Reports" -- submissions from members of Worldchanging's global audience who volunteer to write up their notes from conferences, workshops and other worldchanging happenings they participate in. If you'd like to contribute your own report, please email The Designer's Accord Seattle Town Hall was billed as a shared discussion about ways to make designing sustainably a reality in Seattle. The evening was very full...


Preservation and Sustainability: The District Approach

Our former Managing Editor Julia Levitt has a great interview up on with Liz Dunn, a developer, urban policy consultant, head of the Preservation Green Lab, and one of Alex's heroes. In the interview Julia and Ms. Dunn discuss the Lab’s vision for district energy, and its work to craft policies that will help put historic districts on a new path to sustainability. District energy has been around for years. Why is there such renewed interest now? District energy systems...


CABE's Large Scale Urban Design Guidelines

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), the public body advising on architecture, urban design and public space in the UK, has recently launched this set of guidelines on how to develop a large scale urban design. It includes a substantial number of international examples of best practice and describes an approach to design that recognizes that many social, economic and environmental challenges need to be addressed at a larger scale than that of an individual borough...


Measuring and Marketing in Japan's Eco-Model Cities

by Warren Karlenzig Japan's national Eco-Model Cities program has set aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals in 13 of its urban areas, from small towns to some of its largest cities. These cities and towns are showcased as they try to achieve excellent performance in a variety of locally flavored sustainability strategies. Eco-Model Cities, started in 2008 and expanded last year, comes from an office of the national government, JETRO, the Japan External Trade Organization. It's a...


Improving Water Systems, Conceptualizing a One Planet City, and Discovering Africa Anew

Looking back one, two and five years ago today on Worldchanging: 2009 For The Love Of Water: H209 & The New Generation Competition Sean Conroe reviews the top three prize winners in The New Generation Competition, s challenge to undergraduate students in the U.S. and the Netherlands to submit their own ideas for improving water systems... 2008 Conceptualizing the One Planet City Holly Pearson discusses the work city planning PhD candidate Jennie Moore is doing at the University of British...


Product-Services, Urban Innovation and the Death of Car Culture

A few items of interest: We'll be writing more about the recent spate of books and reports on product-service systems and sharing models soon, but for right now, this image from our friends at GOOD is a pretty interesting take on the evolution of some aspects of the post-ownership trend: "Sharing is Contagious" graphic; cropped to show only the "Product Service System" column (full graphic via GOOD) Throughout the Global North, but especially in North America, cars are losing their...


Copenhagen - Malmö Loop City

An interesting idea by our friends at Bjarke Ingels Group to use a proposed new rail line to link Copenhagen and Malmö and their surrounding cities into a binational metropolitan area. What I find compelling about these sorts of ideas is the possibility of taking new infrastructure and laying it over existing agglomerations of (often broken and unsustainable) places to make possible both radical innovation and intelligent infrastructural reuse. Whether this BIG idea has practical legs,...

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