Increasingly in recent years, we’ve seen examples of social media having a profound impact on important moments in history. For example, Facebook was instrumental in igniting Egypt’s uprising in Tahrir Square. During U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, Twitter reached a record of more than 4,000 tweets per second sharing the news. Each day we hear about the latest and greatest tool in social media and the wave of social media entrepreneurship is understandable given its power to quickly and affordably reach target audiences. But what are the potential unforeseen impacts for community and livability?
The Transition Movement is a growing international network of “transition” towns, cities, islands and hamlets working to wean themselves from a dependence on oil, foreign or otherwise, as well as other finite resources. It’s rhetoric we’ve grown accustomed to hearing—but this effort stands out. In the process of successfully addressing the oil question, this grassroots model for change begins with its core constituents: the residents of a community.
At a time when modern cities across the globe are investing in healthy transit alternatives like cycling, the traditional rickshaw, a dominant form of transportation in Bangladesh, is now being banned in Dhaka for being "slow" and "inhuman." We agree, this ban is "wrong-minded modernization." Especially as we see a rise in popularity of the pedicab, or bike taxi, in cities like London, San Francisco, and Amsterdam.
A new Florida HOA proposal is threatening to ban children from playing outside - in their own neighborhood. This got us thinking about the importance of shared space and its impact on the health of kids and communities. There are lots of design solutions that could be implemented to benefit the neighborhood as a whole (woonerfs, anyone?) It comes down to a question, not of behavior mandates, but a change in perception.
Cities and regions across the world are launching ambitious transportation plans all in the name of sustainability. The EU's new proposal, Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area, aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transit and transport sectors by 2050. The plan is ambitious but not flashy— it promises a shining new transportation network focused equally on innovative technologies and the classic continental experience.
Every community wants to be considered the “most livable,” a title that can attract new business and investments, boost local economies and real estate markets, and foster community involvement and pride. Now, everyone from the Economist to seems to be getting in on the game of ranking cities for livability. The Philips Livable Cities Award is about to announce the winner of its new contest supporting new ideas in livability. Cities of all kinds have been described as the most livable—But what do residents think? And what does "livable" truly mean?
The concept of designing cities that meet the social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs of residents of all ages is one that IMCL has been advocating for years. Several new initiatives are underway to address the needs of some of a city's most vulnerable residents— children. These initiatives present the perfect opportunity to talk about how the smallest planning and design changes can have some of the most profound impacts. The also demonstrate how doing what's best for children just might help cities reach their livability goals.
In his recent book, Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, HRH The Prince of Wales presents an eloquent and impassioned call for a Sustainability Revolution. As president of the Foundation for the Built Environment, the Prince emphasizes the importance of a holistic vision for designing and planning sustainable, livable cities that foster community capital. The book shows how all the areas the Prince has addressed in the past – architecture and planning, agriculture, education, the arts, healthcare, society and economy – have suffered as a result of our disconnect from Nature. Through outstanding examples and best practices, he shows how each field is beginning to heal through the exemplary work of individuals and groups around the globe. Prince Charles urges us all to work collaboratively, creatively and with urgency that we might “tread more lightly upon this Earth, the miracle of creation that it is our privilege to call ‘home’.
The principles of True Urbanism are a key piece of planning for livable communities. While these characteristics are ideal for all ages, they are essential for the health and well-being of aging populations. On his blog, Phil’s Adventures in Elderburbia, Phil Stafford discusses the way that policy, planning, and design can impact aging generations. As the director of the Center on Aging and Community, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University, Stafford has a unique perspective on what makes communities livable for all ages.
Despite the (likely underestimated) price tag, concerns over budget shortfalls, and the emphasis on public transit, high-speed rail is receiving bipartisan support in Congress and at the state level. At a time when gas prices are set to reach $5 per gallon, you’d hope that common sense and the desire for energy independence would make support for high-speed rail a sure thing—a nonpartisan issue...
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