1. Reno Brings Sustainability to the Wild West

    In a region with one of the highest concentrations of ski resorts in the U.S. and a water supply that depends on mountain snowpack, the climate trends in Reno, Nev., have not been promising.“Reno is the fastest warming city in the nation,” said Lynne Barker, the city’s sustainability manager. “Our average annual temperature has increased more than five degrees over the past five decades.”
  2. LOCUS Ranks U.S. Opportunity Zones on 'Smart Growth Potential'

    As a new federal tax incentive promises to generate trillions of dollars in private investment into pre-designated low-income communities, smart-growth advocates have issued a report that ranks these Opportunity Zones to determine which are positioned to bring positive social, environmental and economic returns to distressed people and neighborhoods.LOCUS, a program of Smart Growth America, and the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University this month released the National Opportunity Zones Ranking Report.
  3. Transportation Demand Management: Taking Wheels Off the Road

    Eric Sundquist, managing director of the State Smart Transportation Initiative at the University of Wisconsin, said we have been going about the problem of traffic congestion all wrong.Instead of “destroying the village to save it” – making roads wider and development more auto-centric – we should approach traffic from the demand perspective. That means figuring out how to reduce traffic and reduce the number and length of car trips, especially single-occupancy vehicle trips.
  4. Chemists Develop Carbon Fibers from Greenhouse Gas

    In collaboration with fellow researchers, chemists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a process that, according to initial calculations, can facilitate economically removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.The latest World Climate Report (IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5° C) acknowledges the global relevance of the process.
  5. Making Hazard Mitigation a Local Planning Priority

    Through good urban planning, communities determine with logic and order how land is developed, how transportation systems work, and how water flows into and out of homes. At the same time, local governments work hard to be equitable, attractive, efficient and sustainable.But what happens when things don't go as planned; when natural or man-made disasters unexpectedly bring chaos, confusion and tragedy?
  6. The Role of Urban Forests in Sustainable Communities

    Urban trees should not be an afterthought or taken for granted like, well, something that grows on trees. Instead, they should be included in all stages of planning for sustainable communities.Whether you see urban trees as art, infrastructure or the lungs of a city, they are important assets in a community. They not only help establish a sense and pride of place, but they also provide many critical ecosystem services along with measurable benefits related to human health and infrastructure.
  7. Ecotourism Can Benefit Rural Communities

    In 2006, Fred Lochner was hired by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to help it decide what the group could do with some land it had bought in a remote part of Pennsylvania. (Lochner, an engineer who has long worked in parks and recreation, is now senior development specialist at MSA Professional Services in Baraboo, Wis.)He went to visit the area and stayed in a farmhouse on the property. The next morning, he found a herd of elk outside the window.
  8. Racial Equity is Key to Cleveland’s Comeback

    On June 22, 2019, the city of Cleveland will host what organizers hope will be the largest clean water rally in the nation, in observance of the 50th anniversary of one of the most infamous and influential disasters in the city’s history – an event that ultimately resulted in the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the federal Clean Water Act.It was on that date in 1969 that the Cuyahoga River caught fire… again.
  9. Report: Forest Soils are Absorbing Less Methane

    Farming, energy production, and landfills produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Forests can remove methane from the atmosphere through the activity of soil bacteria.But increasing precipitation – a symptom of climate change – is making it harder for forest soils to trap greenhouse gases, creating a feedback loop that exacerbates global warming.
  10. The Big (Green) Apple

    New York City is sometimes called the Capital of the World, the City of Dreams, or the Big Apple, but officials in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s sustainability office would like the city to be known as something else: no less than the most resilient, equitable and sustainable city in the world.And, they have a plan to make that happen.
  11. Upward Mobility Depends on Where You Live

    Children born in a low-income neighborhood whose families then relocate to an area with better opportunities can experience much-improved earning potential in adulthood than had they not relocated.While this data might encourage disadvantaged people to move to better neighborhoods, it could also help low-opportunity neighborhoods learn how to get better, the researchers say.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.”
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.

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