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The August 2013 petcoke storm over the southeast side of Chicago. Photo: Anthony Martinez.

Petcoke: the toxic black dust coming to a community near you

Ben Whitford

9th December 2014

It's the fossil fuel industry's latest stroke of genius - a coal substitute that's cheaper, dirtier and more toxic than coal itself, writes Ben Whitford. The waste product of refining heavy oil from Canada's tar sands, petcoke is stored in open mountains around Chicago's 'Slag Valley', sending plumes of sticky black dust over poor neighborhoods every time the wind blows. more...
Zekiye Ozdemir and Gulseren Caliskan, both 70, maintain their daily vigil directly in front of a large iron police barrier  at the construction site on the edge of Validebag Grove, Istanbul. Photo: Nick Ashdown.

'Fake environmentalists' battle for Istanbul's last forest

Nick Ashdown

26th November 2014

After Gezi Park, another battle for one of Istanbul's increasingly rare green spaces is raging, writes Nick Ashdown - and this time it's on the city's Asian side. Demonstrators are holding a 24-hour vigil on the edge of an 'illegal' construction site at Validebag Grove - despite having been repeatedly detained and attacked by police. more...
The mass die-in of cyclists outside Transport for London's offices, 30th November 2013. Photo: Catherine Nelson.

Join us on Saturday to demand Roads Fit For Humans!

Donnachadh McCarthy

13th November 2014

A year ago six London cyclists were killed in a horrendous spate of road violence, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. A demonstration this Saturday will mark their deaths, and demand Government action to improve road safety and reduce traffic pollution - moves that could save over 210,000 lives over the next decade. more...
The view from Port Meadow, before and after. Original photos from Save Port Meadow.

Oxford University must put right the damage it has caused

Matthew Sherrington

14th November 2014

The country's first ever retrospective EIA finds that eight five-storey accommodation blocks built by Oxford University caused 'substantial' damage to historic views of the City's dreaming spires, writes Matthew Sherrington. Planners and University want to 'learn lessons' and move on - but campaigners are determined to cut the carbuncles down to size ... more...
In Shanghai much food used to be grown within the city. In recent years peri-urban agriculture has taken over from intra-urban cropping. Whilst some land has been paved over as the city expanded, large areas of peri-urban land are still being set aside fo

Making cities sustainable with urban agriculture

Herbert Girardet

3rd December 2014

To reduce the pressure on the world's productive land and to help assure long-term food security, writes Herbert Girardet, city people are well advised to revive urban or peri-urban agriculture. While large cities will always have to import some food, local food growing is a key component of sustainable urban living. more...
Boston in bloom - sunflower at the Eglestone Community Orchard. Photo: Alvin Kho via Facebook.

Making it happen - a community orchard in downtown Boston

Orion Kriegman

7th November 2014

A orchard garden has taken root on a long-vacant lot in an economically and racially divided neighborhood of Boston, writes Orion Kriegman. In the making it has united a community, helped to heal deep scars of violence, and inspired a wider reclamation of the urban commons. more...
A Bottlenose Dolphin does a backflip off of Kilauea Point, Hawaii. Photo: Byron Chin via Flickr.

San Francisco declares: every whale and dolphin has the right to be free

Laura Bridgeman

23rd October 2014

If SeaWorld is looking to build a new park in California, it will be steering well clear of San Francisco, writes Laura Bridgeman. Following a campaign backed by scientists and hundreds of high school students, the City has declared cetaceans' right to be free and 'unrestricted in their natural environment'. more...
Daniel Raven-Ellison. Photo: Darren Moore.

'He is bonkers?' Daniel Raven-Ellison on a Greater London National Park

Lucy Anna Scott

7th October 2014

Daniel Raven-Ellison is a man with a big idea - making London the world's first 'National Park City' to safeguard, and promote the enjoyment of London's myriad natural treasures, writes Lucy Anna Scott. Is he bonkers? Probably. But with a growing band of backers getting behind his bold vision, who cares? more...
Copenhagen Harbour Bath designed by JDS Architects. Photo: Lucy Reynell.

Urban Plunge - open swimming in the heart of the city

Jane Withers

13th September 2014

With the growing trend for natural swimming in cities new opportunities are opening for architects and designers to create dramatic, inspiring, enjoyable new public spaces in urban waterways, writes Jane Withers. And it's the subject of a new exhibition at London's Roca London Gallery ... more...
Male, Maldives, October 2010: President Nasheed installs solar panels on the Presidential Residence in 2010 - 18 months before the coup which brought his term of office to an end.

Only connect - a renewable energy future for small island states

Zaheer Allam

5th September 2014

The future of small island states has to be renewable, says Zaheer Allam. But that's only the first of many choices. It's just as important to develop energy networks that are diverse, resilient, adaptive and flexible - and avoid the centralised, unimodal models that investors and bureaucrats prefer to impose, often at huge long term cost. more...
Salad leaves growing in Lufa's rooftop farm in Montreal. Photo: Lufa Farms.

Coming to a rooftop near you - the urban growing revolution

Rachel Dring / Sustainable Food Trust

30th September 2014

Could London, New York and other cities be self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables? Yes, writes Rachel Dring, by converting wasted roof space into gardens and greenhouses. Benefits include reducing waste; raising energy efficiency, sustainability and food security; and healthier, more connected citizens. more...
These insulated pipes now connect a new building to University of Warwick's campus-wide combined heat and power system. Local authorities could deliver many more projects like this, where profit-driven energy companies have failed. Photo: Mike1024 / Wikim

Local authorities are key players in our renewable energy revolution

Councillor Mark Hackett

21st August 2014

Government energy policy is caught between apparently conflicting objectives, writes Mark Hackett. But there is a solution that is already working in the UK and abroad - to encourage the active participation of local authorities in delivering low carbon energy to the communities they serve. more...

cities: 1/25 of 46
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These solar panels on a Chiswick back street are

Solar panels: a clear & present threat to this and future generations?

Paula Owen

18th August 2014

An array of solar panels on a Chiswick side street, facing a brewery wall, constitute a threat to the quality of life of future generations, according to the council and a planning inspector. Paula Owen begs to differ, and wonders - exactly what kind of mushroom have they been smoking? more...
East Jerusalem: the view over Issawiya from the Hebrew University is lovely - but the realities of life in this tightly walled Palestinian neighborhood are anything but. Photo: Benjamin via Flickr.

Where survival is victory - resisting Occupation in East Jerusalem

Sam Gilbert

20th August 2014

After decades of occupation and dispossession, a culture of sometimes violent resistance has taken root in Issawiya. But it is never fetishized, writes Sam Gilbert - resistance is recognized as the only alternative to slavery, and the only means by which the people will ever achieve the freedom they thirst for. more...
Air Pollution Level 5, London, April 30 2014. Photo: David Holt via Flickr.

London, B'ham, Leeds will not get clean air until after 2030

The Ecologist

10th July 2014

The UK will break nitrogen dioxide limits until after 2030, EU judges were told today. And now the 'secret' information is public - accidentally published on a Government website, while lawyers were asking judges to keep it secret. more...
Inspecting a tomato at the wonderful Evergreen Brick Works' greenhouse in Toronto. Photo: Joseph Morris via Flickr.

Vertical farming - viable agriculture or urban pipedream?

Matt Bevington

27th October 2014

If you don't want industrial agriculture ravaging the world to feed cities nutrient-deprived, genetically modified, chemical-drenched pap, here's an alternative, writes Matt Bevington: let cities grow their own fresh produce on 'vertical farms' in disused industrial buildings, restoring sustainability and accountability to the food chain. more...
Could high speed railways transform the economy of England's ailing North? Photo: trains at Manchester Piccadilly station by Roger Marks.

Put high speed rail where it can really help - in the North of England

Ian Wray

30th June 2014

High speed railways connecting Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Huddersfield and Sheffield could transform the economy of the north of England, writes Ian Wray - creating a new mega-city that could challenge London's over-dominance. more...
Otero Agamemnon speaking at the Renewable Energy conference, 2013.

Agamemnon Otero, renewable dynamo

Lucy Anna Scott

23rd June 2014

Repowering London is an energising force - not just making renewable energy projects happen, but engaging communities to finance them, training young people to install them, and ensuring the benefits stay local. Lucy Anna Scott meets the dynamic Agamemnon Otero ... more...
These air conditioners in Shibuya, near Tokyo, are only adding to summer temperatures. Photo: Amir Jina via Flickr.

Aircon: keeping cool raises the city heat

Tim Radford

16th June 2014

Increasing use of air conditioners to stay cool is making entire cities warmers in a 'vicious circle' of increasing energy use and discomfort, writes Tim Radford. more...
This iceberg in the Amundsen Sea was once part of a glacier. Photo: NASA HQ PHOTO via Flickr.

Antarctica's ice collapse threatens metres of sea level rise within decades

Dady Cherry

26th May 2014

Scientists know that if Antarctica's ice sheets and glaciers collapse, sea levels could rise 5 metres. But the idea that it will take 200 years to happen is based on a linear model, writes Dady Cherry. In fact, the process is exponential - and could take place 'within decades'. more...
'The Phoenix Flowers' by 7N Architects and RankinFraser Landscape Architecture for the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership. Photo: Dave Morris Source: Contemporist.

Greening London's motorways

Marco Picardi

22nd May 2014

Elevated urban highways epitomise the dark side of vehicular mobility - polluting, visually brutal, noisy, and contributing to local 'heat islands', writes Marco Picardi. So let's re-engineer them for people and create imaginative urban spaces we can all enjoy! more...
White roofs are widespread in Bermuda, where they help keep buildings cool under the hot sun. Photo: Acroterion / Wikimedia Commons.

Green or white? Planted or painted roofs can cool buildings

Gurdane Virk

15th April 2015

As the world inexorably warms, Roger Kemp shows how we can help to keep our buildings cool with roof gardens - or just with white paint. And if enough people do it, entire cities will become more cooler, more pleasant places to be when hot weather hits ... more...
Hasankeyf, a 10,000 year old city in Turkey's Kurdish region, is due to be flooded by the Ilusu dam - giving common cause to the Kurdish minority, and environmental activists. Photo: Omer Unlu via Flickr.com.

After Gezi, a new eco-democratic alliance challenges Erdogan

Rosa Wild

26th March 2014

Turkey's Gezi Park protestors are finding common cause with Kurdish communities, writes Rosa Wild. Both are suffering from Erdogan's annihilation of land, forests, parks and cities in pursuit of economic growth. A new eco-democratic resistance is taking root. more...
Tree losing its leaves in the Beijing smog. Photo:  Philip McMaster via Flickr.com.

Beijing's $5bn tree project - will it cut pollution?

Jun Yang

16th March 2014

Beijing is to plant trees over an area 200 times the size of Central Park in the city's latest effort to neutralise its choking pollution. But Jun Yang asks - how much will the trees really help, unless accompanied by drastic reductions in emissions? more...
London's pollution is less visible, but it's still there and it's still deadly. Nelson's Column during the Great Smog of 1952. Photo: N T Stobbs / Wikimedia Commons.

British cities deserve clean air!

Caroline Allen

16th March 2014

Air pollution in London and other British cities is intolerable, writes Caroline Allen. Faced with the same deadly problem Paris has just imposed restrictions on cars - but here politicians do nothing. It's time to elect some who will act for public health! more...

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