1. Short-Term Vacation Rentals Impact Neighborhoods

    Placing a rarely used bedroom or house in the short-term rental market through a service like AirBnB can be a good way for a homeowner to bring in extra cash. It can also help communities that are short on hotel space make room for more visitors, which benefits the local economy.But too much of a good thing can be, well, too much, resulting in some painful unintended consequences. Sometimes the tipping point is the entrance of commercial investors into the scenario.
  2. Minneapolis Invests in 'Green Zones'

    Actively fighting climate change since 1993, Minneapolis was one of the first cities in the world to adopt a framework for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Today, the city remains a leader in sustainability with an emphasis on bringing environmental justice to its most vulnerable neighborhoods.The city’s goal to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by 2015 was exceeded by two and a half percent. It’s now on pace to reduce emissions 30 percent below 2006 levels by 2025, though many more significant changes are needed (including decarbonization of building heating systems) to achieve its ultimate goal of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050.
  3. EPA Tool Helps Chicago Visualize Urban Water Flows

    Urban water systems are necessarily complex. Delivering drinking water and treating sewage for millions of people, in addition to managing stormwater across hundreds of square miles, requires an extensive network of pipes, pumps, and treatment facilities.The buried and often hidden nature of this infrastructure adds to its complexity.
  4. The Link Between Energy Efficiency and Clean Air

    Energy efficiency is a proven, low-cost way to reduce pollutants, and it can significantly help 32 states comply with U.S. air quality regulations, according to a new report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.Despite its value, many states are not taking credit for using energy efficiency to meet federal standards.
  5. Americans Want to Live in Healthy, Sustainable Communities

    At first glance, cities like West Palm Beach, Fla. and Carmel, Ind. may seem worlds apart. But though they are separated by more than 1,000 miles and a vast array of social, political and economic differences, these two cities have one thing in common: they are both leaders in America’s new climate movement.And they are not alone.
  6. What Saves Lives, Money and Ecosystems?

    Environmental policy guided by science saves lives, money, and ecosystems. So reports a team of 11 senior researchers in Environmental Science & Policy.Using air pollution in the United States as a case study, they highlight the success of cleanup strategies backed by long-term environmental monitoring.
  7. Communities Find Quality Daycare is No Child's Play

    Finding a job, a safe place to live, and reliable transportation would seem to take care of life's big-picture necessities for most people… unless you’re a parent with young children.That's when quality child care often leaps to the top of the list.
  8. Salt Lake City Commits to Zero-Carbon Power Plan

    Things are heating up in Salt Lake City, Utah. And not in a good way.The city is located in a region of the U.S. that climate scientists say is warming at more than twice the national average. It would be bad enough if the only victim of that problem was the area’s $1.3 billion ski resort industry, but local leaders know the stakes are higher than that, as water reserves decline and air quality reaches dangerous levels.
  9. Corporate Giants Help Plano Grow

    In the northeast corner of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, Plano, Texas is an economic hub and headquarters to some of America’s biggest companies, including such recognizable brands as Capital One, Toyota, Frito-Lay, Dr. Pepper/Snapple and J.C. Penney.In 2016, Fannie Mae and JP Morgan Chase announced they would move their regional operations to Plano, bringing a combined 7,000 new jobs.
  10. Planning for Environmental Justice

    Urban and regional planners customarily focus on developing land use plans and programs to accommodate growing communities, keeping in mind social, economic and environmental realities.Now a law in California shaping how planning is carried out requires another element to be considered: Environmental justice.
  11. The Financial Risks of Climate Change

    The U.S. municipal market has always faced credit exposure to weather-related and natural catastrophes – such as fires, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes.However, what were previously viewed as one-off implications for creditworthiness – transitory storms, for example – can increasingly be analyzed through the lens of climate change risk. As such, there are possible risks faced by U.S. municipal issuers as a result of a rapidly changing climate.
  12. Tool Helps Cities Use Trees for Stormwater Mgmt

    Communities wrestling with critical stormwater management issues have a new tool to help local decision makers throughout the U.S. integrate trees into facility design regulations and policies for new and retro-fitted installations.TreesAndStormwater.org developed by the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), the USDA Forest Service and other national partners, was created specifically to help overcome the widespread lack of understanding, acceptance and credibility of using trees for green infrastructure to manage stormwater.
  13. Restoring a Lost Corridor

    There is only one obstacle standing between the college town of Laramie, Wyo., and the year-round recreational opportunities of the Medicine Bow National Forest just to the east.That obstacle is a spread of 5,528 acres of privately owned land, sloping uphill from the edge of Laramie to what is known as Pilot Hill, which also happens to stand atop a portion of the Casper Aquifer, the main water supply for Laramie and the surrounding area.
  14. Green Shoots in the U.S. Bond Market – But Still a Sapling

    As market interest continues to mount in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water conservation measures, U.S. cities and states are witnessing substantial reductions in their environmental footprints, as well as an ongoing mass transformation of the generating grid.In order to finance this green transition, many municipalities across the country are taking advantage of the green bond as a form of financing.
  15. Anchorage Lights the Way

    LED streetlights have been around for a while, but the communities that have made the conversion from older technologies in recent years are discovering a plethora of benefits that go well beyond saving millions of dollars on energy and maintenance.With wireless mobile controls, automated management features and the ability to add a variety of high-tech sensors and other devices to individual nodes, these definitely aren’t your father’s streetlights.
  16. COP23: Two Degrees, With Separation

    In contrast to the euphoric Paris conference of 2015, where 195 countries agreed to limit global warming below two degrees Celsius, the 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany was a more subdued event.After a year of multiple extreme weather events around the world, some delegations expressed their growing sense of urgency for action, particularly small island states and developing countries.
  17. Plan Now for Supporting Pollinators

    It is late December, the days are short, the temperatures chilly, and in much of the country plants and insects are dormant or headed south.But to make sure they keep coming back, now is the time to start thinking about creating a robust environment for pollinators, said Phyllis Stiles, founder and director of Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA.
  18. Chattanooga’s Takeout Taken In

    With busy households ordering takeout more than ever, municipalities are seeing a rapid escalation in the volume of foodservice packaging in their waste streams.Now, with new technology and education, many communities are finding ways to route cups, pizza boxes and paper bags away from the landfill and into the recycling system.
  19. Pharmaceuticals Impact Aquatic Life

    MILLBROOK, N.Y. -- Traditional toxicity testing underestimates the risk that pharmaceutical and personal care product pollution poses to freshwater ecosystems.Criteria that account for ecological disruption – not just organism death – are needed to protect surface waters, which are under pressure from a growing population and escalating synthetic chemical use.
  20. Using Creative Placemaking for Quality of Life

    Vibrant public gathering spaces make communities more livable.“At their best, public spaces are where communities come together,” said Sharon Yazowski, executive director of the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation. “They are platforms for civic engagement and for social dialogue. They are vehicles for connection where neighbors meet, where strangers can interact easily with each other, where people can share a sense of belonging, and where communities can heal.”
  21. Revitalize Downtowns with 'Maker' Economy

    Technological and economic changes have created new opportunities in small-scale manufacturing and the “maker” economy, which present a chance for communities to make progress on several important economic development issues.Small-scale manufacturing can grow local entrepreneurship and small business, develop or enhance new and existing economic sectors, and revitalize downtowns and business districts, according to a new report by Smart Growth America.
  22. Future Shock: Will Better Batteries Dim Electric Utilities?

    Imagine a fantasy world where solar roofs or panels efficiently and cheaply generate electricity to be stored for weeks in a customer's diminutive and low-cost battery.Such a world would have little need for a centralized, fully integrated (generation, transmission, and distribution) electric utility, relying instead on self-sustaining battery-combined "distributed generation" systems.
  23. EPA Continues Transformation Under Trump

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its "final report" on how it plans to implement President Trump’s executive order curbing environmental regulations in order to promote energy production and economic growth.Required by law to issue a request for public comments when considering changes to environmental regulations, the EPA reported receiving more than 460,000 comments, including a record-breaking 63,346 individual responses.
  24. Community Gardens: Equity, Equality, Eggplant

    Community gardening isn't undertaken for the health and well-being of squash and tomatoes. Rather, it is all about the people who otherwise have limited access to fresh, nutritious foods.That's why groups in Madison, Wis., and Douglas County, Kan., have focused on developing food systems that include community gardening and that make equity a central part of their framework.
  25. How to Prevent and Kill Development: On Purpose and by Accident

    Public/private partnerships can make a positive difference for communities trying to encourage development or redevelopment, particularly in their downtowns.But sometimes apathy — exacerbated by public officials who are popular but not good at their jobs, or city staff who want to be in charge of policy — get in the way.
  26. Red County, Blue City Work Together on Climate Resilience

    The Greater Kansas City area is known for the state line that divides its two metropolitan parts between Kansas and Missouri. There are many other borders: county lines, city limits and political stripes.It’s the latter that makes action around climate resilience seem insurmountable at times, but a coalition has come together to develop a strategy.
  27. How Chemistry Shapes the Local Environment

    MILLBROOK, N.Y. – Through a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) is partnering with Baltimore City Public Schools to transform the way that chemistry is taught in the city’s high schools.The innovative approach draws on data gathered by BES to convey how chemistry shapes the local environment.
  28. How to Organize a Successful Farmers Market

    Farmers markets are becoming more popular than ever across the country, as consumers become more concerned about the safety and quality of mass-produced and processed foods. When combined with arts and entertainment components, these local food venues can become the focal point in a community’s placemaking, tourism and economic development endeavors.Farmers markets can also play a critical role in strengthening community resilience, fighting obesity, improving health and supporting disadvantaged neighborhoods in urban food deserts.
  29. Ecologists Track Deadly Fish Virus in Pacific Northwest

    Pacific salmon and trout are vulnerable to infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV), a pathogen that can be lethal to juvenile fish.A recent Ecology and Evolution study is the first to explore how IHNV spreads among juvenile hatchery-raised fish in the Pacific Northwest, where high rates of infection and mortality can occur.
  30. More Farms Transitioning to Organic in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin

    CASCADE, Iowa — Kim and Marvin Lynch’s dairy farm in Cascade was certified as organic in 2009, but the process wasn’t easy.The Lynches had to discontinue using fertilizers, insecticides and synthetic herbicides in the fields of their third-generation farm for three years before it could be certified. Their cows could no longer be given a regular regimen of antibiotics.
  31. Overcoming the Biggest Biogas Market Challenges

    California’s biogas market could be at a turning point in 2018 as regulatory bodies push to eliminate current barriers facing project developers.“We’re getting successes in ones and twos and tens of projects, and we need a couple of hundred, 500, a thousand,” said Tim Olson, a senior policy adviser on transportation-related topics for the California Energy Commission, a state government agency.
  32. Reducing Speed-Related Crashes

    Speeding — exceeding a speed limit or driving too fast for conditions — is one of the most common factors in motor vehicle crashes in the United States.In this safety study, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) examines causes of and trends in speeding-related passenger vehicle crashes and countermeasures to prevent these crashes.
  33. Campaign Seeks to Lower the Voting Age in Local Elections

    In most U.S. states, 16- and 17-year-old citizens are considered old enough to drive on local roads, work in local businesses, attend local schools and pay local taxes.Now a nationwide campaign is pushing to give these young people the right to vote in local elections as well.
  34. First Sports 'Smart City' Under Construction

    How often do you get to build a city from the ground up — every building, street, light pole and operating system? That’s exactly what Johnson Controls is doing with Hall of Fame Village LLC at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.In an 18-year project initiated in late 2016, the two organizations are creating the first sports and entertainment “smart” city, a state-of-the-art $700 million development being spearheaded by the Hall of Fame and Industrial Realty Group.
  35. Senate Bill Protects Transit, TIGER and Community Grants

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved the fiscal year 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. The bipartisan bill makes investments in infrastructure, provides funding for economic development projects and helps to meet the housing needs of the nation’s most vulnerable individuals and families.The bill reflects a total allocation of $60.06 billion in discretionary spending, $2.4 billion above the current funding levels, and $12.1 billion above the President’s request.
  36. Chattanooga Goes Green with Zero-Emission Car Sharing

    The city of Chattanooga, Tenn., is home to many firsts when it comes to sustainable transportation.From being one of the first cities in the nation to offer free rides on electric buses, to starting one of the first electric vehicle ride-share programs, the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) is paving the way for innovative and cleaner transportation.
  37. Study Finds Poor Neighborhoods Have More Mosquitoes

    MILLBROOK, N.Y. - A new study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology reports that in Baltimore neighborhoods with high levels of residential abandonment are hotspots for tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus).This environmental injustice may leave low-income urban residents more vulnerable to mosquito-borne disease.
  38. How Trump's Policies Could Affect the Power Sector

    During its successful presidential campaign, the Trump Administration derived much of its support from (and perhaps owes its victory to) blue collar, rust belt residents.These individuals feel they have been left behind not just by the changes in the economy, but by the ongoing transformation of the energy sector in the United States, which has left coal-fired generation (and related extraction industries) in the figurative dust.
  39. Nashville Welcomes All Its Rowdy Friends

    Like the country music that made it famous, the city of Nashville, Tenn., has been through some changes in recent years.Just as the “Nashville sound” of Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline gradually gave way to the more raucous and glitzy contemporary country music of Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift, so has the city itself gone from a quiet little town of less than 180,000 in 1960 to one of the fastest growing urban centers in the South, now with more than 650,000 people and an estimated 85 to 100 more arriving every day.

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