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Aviation or ice shelves? Thje choice is ours. Photo: NASA’s DC-8 flies over the crack forming across the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, 26th October 2011; by Jefferson Beck / NASA via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

Heathrow 2.0: a 'sustainable airport'? Or alternative facts on planes and pollution?

David Howarth, University of Essex & Steven Griggs, De Montfort University

17th March 2017

The facts are simple: a new London runway means more planes, more noise, more pollution and more global warming, write David Howarth & Steven Griggs. The 'Heathrow 2.0' initiative's conflation of 'sustainability' and 'sustainable growth' and its avoidance of climate change reek of Trumpian 'alternative facts'. more...
Officially designated as a 'rural road': the M25 Dartford Crossing on the QE2 Bridge. Photo: highwaysengland via Flickr (CC BY).

Britain's eight-lane 'rural road' evades air quality reporting

Keith Taylor

7th March 2017

The government's 'misclassification' of an eight-lane M25 road bridge over the river Thames East of London as a 'rural road' meant they did not have to report the illegal levels of pollution found there, writes Keith Taylor - getting off the UK off the hook for a 17th breach of EU air quality standards. What an unfortunate error! more...
Last November 17, 2,000 police rushed onto farmland to enforce land measurement for Kertajati Airport. Photo: Walhi Jawa Barat.

Indonesia: Villagers resist eviction for 50 sq.km airport city on their land

Rose Bridger

5th April 2017

Ten villages and surrounding farmland have already been wiped from the map for a 50 sq.km airport and surrounding 'aeropolis' or airport city in West Java, Indonesia, writes Rose Bridger. And while investors are offered an 'attractive incentives plan', villagers are subject to fierce state repression and brutality. Now only a single village remains standing, but residents continue to resist eviction and demand an end to the project. more...
On Green Belt land in Sussex, near London - far too valuable to allow house-builders to let rip all over it! Photo: Jason Jones via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Green belt must not be sacrificed to unplanned housing

Alister Scott, Northumbria University

8th February 2017

The green belt is part of the critical green infrastructure that delivers multiple benefits for cities, writes Alister Scott. It provides space for recreation, biodiversity and farms supplying local food. It protects us from flooding and drought, improves air quality and mitigates the urban heat island effect. In short, it's far too valuable to allow developers to build all over it! more...
Sadiq Khan speaking against Heathrow expansion at a protest at Parliament Square, London, 10th October 2015. Photo: Steve Eason via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

London's 'Greenest Mayor ever'? Sadiq Khan still has a lot to prove

Caroline Russell

30th September 2016

London Mayor Sadiq Khan promised electors that he would be the 'Greenest Mayor ever'. In spite of his apparent support for a new Thames road crossing in East London and an expanded London City Airport, he still has huge opportunities to make good his pledge. And Green Assembly Members will be working hard to make sure he does. more...
A haven of peace, tranquillity and biodiversity in the heart of London: the wildlife garden at the Natural History Museum. Photo: Cary Grant.

Natural History Museum must not destroy its Wildlife Garden

Gary Grant

2nd June 2016

A proposed redesign of the Natural History Museum's grounds in London would cause some unfortunate collateral damage, writes Gary Grant - the destruction of the Museum's 21 year-old wildlife garden, an ecological jewel in the heart of London which features over 3,000 species of plant and animal in just one lovingly tended acre. The Museum must think again! more...
Staff at a Bristol primary school, a member of the Pesticide Safe Bristol Alliance, campaigning to keep glyphosate out of their school and other places where children play. Photo: via Harriet Williams.

Pesticide-free cities are possible! But there's more to it than vinegar

Harriet Williams

9th May 2016

Bristol's decision to trial vinegar as a weedkiller in place of glyphosate certainly grabbed headline-writers' imaginations, writes Harriet Williams. But with a wide choice of proven chemical-free weed control strategies available, might this experiment be 'set up to fail'? more...
Cyclists stage Die-In at Mansion House in June 2015, following death at Bank junction. Photo: Stop Killing Cyclists.

This deadly pollution must stop! London cyclists rally for health and climate

Donnachadh McCarthy

20th April 2016

Stop Killing Cyclists are staging a protest in London on 27th April to demand an end to the UK's intolerable air pollution, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. With an estimated 40,000 people dying every year from filthy air, much of it caused by diesel cars, all are welcome to join in, denounce the government's 'polluters' friend' policies, and insist on swift action to stop the needless deaths. more...
The water may be dirty - but the heat is still valuable! Photo: susan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Let's reclaim the free energy in our sewers - we have the technology!

Jan Hofman & Laura Piccinini

9th September 2016

First we heat up cold water for baths, showers and washing, write Jan Hofman & Laura Piccinini. Then we chuck all that precious heat down the plughole. So how about recycling our waste heat to warm up water on its way to the boiler or hot water tank, cutting bills and emissions? Or on a larger scale, use the sewage from entire communities as a free energy source for heat pumps? more...
Too bad about the Ferrari. But far more serious is the health damage caused by pollution from HGVs and other diesel vehicles, which is causing a surplus mortality of some 40,000 people a year across the UK. Photo: Paul Townsend via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

To clean up air pollution we must dump diesel - and here's how

Richard Howard / Policy Exchange

11th March 2016

Low Emissions Zones have their place in cleaning up the UK's worst air pollution hotspots, writes Richard Howard. But we also need to adopt fiscal measures to encourage a shift away from diesel vehicles, at once delivering cleaner air, increased tax revenues, and lower carbon emissions. more...
US suburbia: alright for some. But access to it was regulated along strictly racial lines. Mid 20th century calendar illustration. Photo: wackystuff via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Racist housing? How postwar suburban development led to today's inner-city lead poisoning

Leif Fredrickson, University of Virginia

7th March 2016

The lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan is just the tip of a vast iceberg of lead contamination afflicting mainly urban black communities, writes Leif Fredrickson. A rigid 'race bar' on postwar suburban housing and mortgages left black families in inner cities, exposed to flaking lead paint in run down housing, leaded gasoline residues and lead pipework. Now is the time to correct this shocking historic injustice. more...
London's air pollution is so bad, it can be seen on occasion. Photo: David Holt via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Five ways to slash London's lethal air pollution

John Weeks

24th February 2016

Today's threats of legal action by ClientEarth against the UK Government highlight the problem of London's poisonous air, which is killing some 10,000 people a year, writes John Weeks. Fortunately there are simple, low cost, effective measures that could be taken to bring about big improvements to the city's air quality, fast. more...

cities: 1/25 of 92
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Lima's 'wall of shame'. Photo: Belen Desmaison, Author provided.

Lima's 'Wall of Shame': the gated communities that construct Peru's inequality

Camillo Boano & Belen Desmaison

24th February 2016

Just as rich and poor are separated by walls of money, the Latin American trend is to add physical walls to keep wealthy and deprived communities entirely apart, write Camillo Boano & Belen Desmaison. On the one side people enjoy lavish homes, security, public services and piped water. On the other residents live in tiny shacks built of scraps, in a desert landscape ruled by criminals. more...
View from Diyarbakir hotel window, with bullet hole. Photo: William John Gauthier via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Turkey's war on Kurdish cities - clearing the way for 'urban regeneration'?

Defne Kadıoğlu Polat

3rd February 2016

Erdogan's horrific 'war on terror' in the Kurdish cities of Eastern Turkey may have a silver lining, writes Defne Kadıoğlu Polat - at least for property developers and ruling party insiders. Plans are already under way for 'urban renewal' projects that will see the valuable real estate cleansed of buildings and people by the war developed into luxury apartments and shopping malls. more...
Demolition under way at the the Acorn Estate, built from 1957-1963 by F.O. Hayes, Peckham, South London, in 2007. Photo: Steve Cadman via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Don't bulldoze Britain's brutalist housing - it's culture you can live in!

Sebastian Messer, Northumbria University

12th February 2016

Britain's 20th century architecture is in danger of obliteration, writes Sebastian Messer, with a 'new brutalism' that holds that socially deprived council estates are fit only for demolition. But these buildings are an important part of our cultural heritage, and more than that, they provide affordable housing to millions of people. more...
The Heygate Estate, London, in March 2010. Cheerless, but providing a lot of affordable housing. Now demolished, its communities have been broken up and dispersed. Photo: Thomas Bryans via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Cameron's 'sink estate' strategy - social cleansing by another name?

Loretta Lees

24th January 2016

Demolishing 'sink' council estates is no way to solve social problems, writes Loretta Lees. All it does is force low income communities out of affordable housing, and open valuable urban sites up for profitable redevelopment. But then, maybe that's the point? more...
Cyclists in the Copenhagen rush hour. Photo: MarkA via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

From Copenhagen to Delhi, 'smart cities' call for smart solutions - like cycling

Colin Todhunter

11th January 2016

The world's big cities are choking with pollution and endless traffic jams, writes Colin Todhunter - except one. Copenhagen, faced with these problems half a century ago, decided to act. Now it is showing the world that cycling is not just the basis of a sustainable transport strategy, but is key to making our cities clean, green, human and livable. May the global revolution unfold ... more...
Doing the right thing: an old landfill site in Birmingham's Selly Oak Battery Park being dug out prior to development for housing. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Zane: did Cameron order cover-up on landfill cyanide death of 7-year old?

Paul Mobbs

14th December 2015

The apparent conspiracy by the UK government and its agencies to conceal the real cause of death of 7-year old Zane Gbangbola may go right up to Prime Minister David Cameron, writes Paul Mobbs. He was chair of the COBRA emergency committee at the time when it appears to have held back the truth that he was killed by cyanide from the toxic landfill site his home was built over. more...
New building in Masdar City with an old twist. Photo: André Diogo Moecke via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Traditional architecture offers relief from soaring temperatures in the Gulf

Amin Al-Habaibeh, Nottingham Trent University

8th November 2015

As temperatures soar in the Persian Gulf, modern buildings rely on energy-guzzling air-conditioning to maintain tolerable temperatures, writes Amin Al-Habaibeh. But traditional buildings stay cool passively using shade; wind and thermally driven ventilation; and naturally insulating, reflective materials. For a sustainable future, modern architects must revive the ancient knowledge. more...
Plane coming in to land at Heathrow. 70% of flights are taken by just 15% of the population, while over half don't travel at all in any single year. Photo: Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Instead of airport expansion, a 'frequent flyer tax'

Keith Taylor MEP

10th October 2015

The demand for ever more air travel and new runways comes from a small minority of frequent flyers, writes Keith Taylor - the 15% who take 70% of flights. So we can reduce that demand with a frequent flyer tax - while making it cheaper for ordinary families to enjoy an annual holiday abroad. more...
Herbicide being sprayed to keep a footpath in a residential area free of weeds. Photo: Nick Mole / PAN-UK.

Pesticide-free towns and cities - citizen power in action

Keith Tyrell / Pesticide Action Network

6th October 2015

Local authorities around the world are going pesticide-free following an initiative by a small town in Canada 25 years ago, writes Keith Tyrell. Now the movement is coming to the UK, with campaign groups setting up in towns, cities and rural communities to keep pesticides out of our streets, parks, playgrounds and allotments. more...
Artists impression of the Garden Bridge planned for the Thames in London. Photo: Garden Bridge Trust.

Everything in the Garden Bridge is lovely!

Bee Emmott

3rd September 2015.

The Garden Bridge will offer a new kind of green space in the heart of the city, strengthening London's status as the greenest capital in Europe, writes Bee Emmott. It will benefit the health and wellbeing of local communities and visitors alike. more...
Artists impression of 'Garden Bridge' by Heatherwick Studio. Not immediately obvious is that it will block views from Southbank along the river to St Pauls Cathedral.

London's Garden Bridge: a damaging folly at public expense

Will Jennings

26th August 2015

It sounded wonderful: a futuristic 'garden bridge' across the Thames dripping with flowers and foliage, writes Will Jennings. But really it's a private enclosure of valuable public space, mature trees and views, backed by £60m of taxpayers money, that delivers no benefits to London's wildlife, environment or transport needs. more...
Detroit rises above the water ... but access to it is strictly rationed by ability to pay. Photo: Unique Day Tours in over 100 cities via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Water is a human right! Detroit's lessons for our common future

Chris Grove

4th August 2015

Detroit is the site of a neoliberal experiment that's already being repeated elsewhere, writes Chris Grove, with unpayable debt used to force the privatization of public services and the terminate democratic power and accountability. But as the city's poor find themselves cur off from water, a new, wider conception of human rights is emerging from the wreckage. more...
Roofscape: the 'BedZED' (Beddington Zero Energy Development), the UK's largest and first carbon-neutral eco-community, was completed in 2002. Photo: Tom Chance from Peckham via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Scrapping 'zero carbon' homes is policy vandalism

Gordon Walker

20th July 2015

The UK Government has ditched the requirement for new homes to be 'zero carbon' from April 2016, writes Gordon Walker. With builders already geared up to meet the challenge, this needless reversal will raise energy bills and carbon emissions for a century or more to come, and send out all the wrong signals for the Paris climate talks. more...
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