Why Urban Areas Are More Efficient Than Suburban Areas

It’s been known for years that urban centres have a lower carbon footprint than the lands of urban sprawl. This is a for a variety of reasons and it’s rather complex, sure most of it comes down to density, but the exact know how is still being figure out.

Over at Alternatives Journal they looked at how building sustainable cities makes better cities overall. This is how and why people make resilient cities.

FOR EXAMPLE, existing low-density suburban developments “actually increase the damage on the environment while also making that damage harder to see and to address,” wrote Green Metropolis author David Owen. Although Forbes ranked Vermont as the greenest US state in 2007, Owen’s 2009 article revealed that a typical Vermonter consumed 2,063 litres of gasoline per year – almost 400 hundred litres more than the US national average at that time. This vast consumption is primarily due to single-use zoning and the absence of a comprehensive public transit system. Contrary to popular belief, dense cities such as New York City typically have the lowest carbon footprints. NYC emits 7.1 tonnes of greenhouse gases per person per year, or less than 30 per cent of the US national average. This is due to its extreme compactness. Over 80 per cent of Manhattanites travel to work by public transit, by bicycle or on foot. Population density also lowers energy and water use, limits material consumption and decreases the production of solid waste. For example, Japan’s urban areas are five times denser than Canada’s, and the consumption of energy per capita in Japan is 40 per cent lower.

Read more.

Sustainable Bus Shelter

Waiting for the bus is not the most exciting thing to do in the world, but it is a very necessary one. (And let’s face it waiting for a bus and reading a book is better than starring at a license plate in front of you during a traffic jam.) Designer Tiffany Roddis has come up with a bus shelter that is better than most and is also good for the environment.
Bus shelter

The stylish new eco friendly bus stop will attract new tourists and new custom to lower pollution from existing car owners. The frustration of late buses and complicated timetables can now be reassured by the new colour coded main head-stream. It’s easy-read route finder can accommodate everyone, comforting users that they can arrive to work, school or general destinations on-time by guaranteed GPS signals.

Here’s Tiffany’s project page.

Building a Green Home in the Land of Oil

Calgary is absolutely flush with oil and oil-related wealth, it is also the last place in Canada that you’d think you would find a green huose being built.

Well, the Ramsay House Project is a project that a family of Calgarians are undertaking to live in a sustainable way. It’s great to see that in a province that hates the Kyoto Accord that people are still caring for and about the environment. You can follow the Ramsay House Project at their site and they also include information on how to build green into your house (if you have one) too!

Nailing it Right

In hurricane and tornado prone areas a very cheap and simple but effective nail can be used to help a house hold tight. The HurriQuake is a nail that is designed to hold better than other nails even in earthquakes. Popular Science as a lot of information on how the nail was designed and how the idea was inspired by a trip to the Caribbean, the article concentrates on the man who invented it – Dr. Nail.

The nail adds about $15 to the cost of an average 2000 sq. ft. house, it’s such a cheap and effective solution to keep a house standing.

Via MeFi

Safer Homes

A house in West Point, PEI, is the first Canadian home built under the “Designed for safer living” program.  This program is a joint collaboration between the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, the Canadian insurance industry, and home builders.

This slide show details how the house was rebuilt after being badly damaged by fire last spring.  The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction says it’s unclear how much the improvements added to the cost of the home, because the program is new.

Five more are expected to be built by December 2007, including one in the Prairies that will withstand wildfires, one in Vancouver that will handle earthquakes, and another in Sudbury to deal with wind and storms.

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