How prepared are American cities for increased natural disasters? Over the years, Americans have insisted on expanding and building cities and suburbs in locations that are clearly threatened by natural hazards. This week’s monster tornado in Oklahoma demonstrates this. Cities and states have encouraged people to live in these areas through city planning, architectural design, and the so-called need for “economic development.”
Thus, instead of encouraging people to not live in these hazard zones, city leaders have created methods to help people survive relatively normal lives there. Houses in California must meet specific earthquake design standards, buildings in Oklahoma have “safe rooms,” and countless structures must be stable enough to handle floods and erosion along American coastlines. These are adaptations. Not good adaptations (I believe people should not be encouraged to live in these areas), but there it is.
With the climate changing, the impacts on communities are likely to increase. Incidences of natural disasters are expected to rise, costing many lives and causing a need for an endless stream of disaster aid.
Researchers at MIT teamed up with the non-profit ICLEI to survey cities around the world. The goal was to compare how they were adapting to climate change impacts, or preparing for future impacts. Progress, the researchers found, is very slow in the US, while cities around the world are far more advanced. 
It’s a great read, very visual so if you don’t have time you can skim it.
Survey: U.S. Cities Report Increase in Climate Change Impacts, Lag Global Cities in Planning

How prepared are American cities for increased natural disasters? Over the years, Americans have insisted on expanding and building cities and suburbs in locations that are clearly threatened by natural hazards. This week’s monster tornado in Oklahoma demonstrates this. Cities and states have encouraged people to live in these areas through city planning, architectural design, and the so-called need for “economic development.”

Thus, instead of encouraging people to not live in these hazard zones, city leaders have created methods to help people survive relatively normal lives there. Houses in California must meet specific earthquake design standards, buildings in Oklahoma have “safe rooms,” and countless structures must be stable enough to handle floods and erosion along American coastlines. These are adaptations. Not good adaptations (I believe people should not be encouraged to live in these areas), but there it is.

With the climate changing, the impacts on communities are likely to increase. Incidences of natural disasters are expected to rise, costing many lives and causing a need for an endless stream of disaster aid.

Researchers at MIT teamed up with the non-profit ICLEI to survey cities around the world. The goal was to compare how they were adapting to climate change impacts, or preparing for future impacts. Progress, the researchers found, is very slow in the US, while cities around the world are far more advanced. 

It’s a great read, very visual so if you don’t have time you can skim it.

Survey: U.S. Cities Report Increase in Climate Change Impacts, Lag Global Cities in Planning

(via urbnist)

Here are the hard facts. Climate change made Typhoon Haiyan the dangerous storm it was, and it is absolutely urgent that our leaders connect the dots to prevent worse in the future @ 350.org
Typhoon Haiyan influenced by climate change, scientists say @ Sydney Morning Herald
Is climate change to blame for Typhoon Haiyan? The Philippines has been hit by 24 typhoons in the past year but the power of Haiyan was off the scale, killing thousands and leaving millions homeless. Is there even worse devastation to come? @ Guardian

Here are the hard facts. Climate change made Typhoon Haiyan the dangerous storm it was, and it is absolutely urgent that our leaders connect the dots to prevent worse in the future @ 350.org

Typhoon Haiyan influenced by climate change, scientists say @ Sydney Morning Herald

Is climate change to blame for Typhoon Haiyan? The Philippines has been hit by 24 typhoons in the past year but the power of Haiyan was off the scale, killing thousands and leaving millions homeless. Is there even worse devastation to come? @ Guardian

smartercities:

Let’s Embed Mobile Sensors in Cars to Avoid Traffic | The Atlantic
The next time you’re sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a highway, think about how we need to make smarter decisions about how we manage traffic. The technology exists — if it’s used in the right way — to decrease traffic backups. But you can’t solve traffic problems until you understand them.

smartercities:

Let’s Embed Mobile Sensors in Cars to Avoid Traffic | The Atlantic

The next time you’re sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a highway, think about how we need to make smarter decisions about how we manage traffic. The technology exists — if it’s used in the right way — to decrease traffic backups. But you can’t solve traffic problems until you understand them.

By 2017, the City of Portland will have experienced a net positive return on investment in its bicycle infrastructure of $500 million in healthcare savings and $200 million fuel savings.

Gotschi, Thomas. Costs and benefits of bicycling investments in Portland, Oregon. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2011,8 (Suppl 1), S49-S58.

via oregon metro regional active transportation plan, aug. 2013 draft, pg.19.

(via citymaus)

(via thisbigcity)

smartercities:

Future Cities Of Floating Villas And Parks, Made From Ocean Plastic | FastCompany
The Maas river runs through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and empties into the North Sea. It also carries huge amounts of Europe’s trash from its cities into the ocean. Inspired by what’s floating by, Dutch architect Ramon Knoester and his firm WHIM have spent the last four years dreaming up ways to turn one of our greatest environmental ills into built utopias on water. Knoester’s latest vision: Floating parks and villas.

smartercities:

Future Cities Of Floating Villas And Parks, Made From Ocean Plastic | FastCompany

The Maas river runs through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and empties into the North Sea. It also carries huge amounts of Europe’s trash from its cities into the ocean. Inspired by what’s floating by, Dutch architect Ramon Knoester and his firm WHIM have spent the last four years dreaming up ways to turn one of our greatest environmental ills into built utopias on water. Knoester’s latest vision: Floating parks and villas.

smartercities:

IBM People For Smarter Cities: Sustainable Furniture

East London Furniture builds sustainable furniture from 100% recycled materials, such as used pallets thrown away on the side of the road. They take something that exists and make it better, making East London better.

Learn more smart ideas at http://www.people4smartercities.com

(via betterworlds)

smartercities:

Open Data’s Road to Better Transit | Government Technology
Data is everywhere. It now costs less to capture, store and process data than ever before, thanks to better technology and economies of scale. And more than ever, the public expects government to use data to improve its services. Increasingly, government’s problem is not capturing the data, but having sufficient resources to clean and analyze the information in order to address issues, improve performance and make informed decisions.

smartercities:

Open Data’s Road to Better Transit | Government Technology

Data is everywhere. It now costs less to capture, store and process data than ever before, thanks to better technology and economies of scale. And more than ever, the public expects government to use data to improve its services. Increasingly, government’s problem is not capturing the data, but having sufficient resources to clean and analyze the information in order to address issues, improve performance and make informed decisions.

smartercities:

MIT maps PV potential for Cambridge, MA | Green Futures Magazine
A new 3D map covering 17,000 rooftops in Cambridge, Massachusetts, means communities can estimate the benefits of installing photovoltaic panels on a particular building at a glance. The Mapdwell Project, developed by MIT’s Sustainable Design Lab, combines Google satellite imagery with light detection and ranging data. It improves on previous models by taking account of roof shapes, physical obstructions and weather conditions offering a more accurate calculation of potential hourly solar energy production.

smartercities:

MIT maps PV potential for Cambridge, MA | Green Futures Magazine

A new 3D map covering 17,000 rooftops in Cambridge, Massachusetts, means communities can estimate the benefits of installing photovoltaic panels on a particular building at a glance. The Mapdwell Project, developed by MIT’s Sustainable Design Lab, combines Google satellite imagery with light detection and ranging data. It improves on previous models by taking account of roof shapes, physical obstructions and weather conditions offering a more accurate calculation of potential hourly solar energy production.