Creating Cities

By: Marcus Westbury

One Line:

An inspiring recount of a self-driven non-profit that coalesced to promote entrepreneurship, urban planning and street activation from the ground up.


In August of 2017 I was farther away from home than I had ever been–nearly as far as one can be with a starting point of the American Northeast. As part of the Vanguard Program run by Next City, I had touched down on the other side of the world in Sydney, Australia. After a […]

Continue Reading

The Sustainable Model for Tomorrow’s City Starts with the Post Industrial City

Over the past half century, our western cities that emerged from the industrial revolution have grown into dense nodes of interconnections. The premise of spatial connectivity that inspired these cities has facilitated a consolidation of old urban cores into larger ecologies of interaction that provide reciprocal benefit to their participants.

Whereas the western metropolis has evolved through the idea of a larger city, it could be our smaller, post industrial cities that will serve as candidates for the next iteration of the cityscape. Armed with new mechanisms for access and mobility, our current technological reality brings opportunities to reconnect to a class of smaller, under-utilized cities and activate existing landscapes that were previously deemed inaccessible.  The adaptive reuse and re-programming of these existing and largely-forgotten downtowns will offer the ability to unlock a new sustainable city model in a return to the idea of dispersed urbanity. Continue Reading…

Beside New York’s Bryant Park this morning, a crowd paired their pre-work coffee with an interview of prolific architect Daniel Libeskind to discuss the future of our urban spaces. While some in the audience were still waiting for the kickstart from their morning java, the aminated designer spoke with an enthusiasm that belied the early hour.  The task at hand: help shed light on what Smart Cities are and how they fit into our future.

As a part of the “Future Of” series hosted by the Wall Street Journal, the conversation was guided by WSJ Financial Editor Dennis K. Berman to dig into this oft repeated concept of the next evolution of dense urban cores. In many ways “Smart City” is still a term in its infancy with many trying to define where it begins and ends (struggling with the same reality as “sustainability.”) Though regularly paired with the technology advances of infrastructural systems and the utilization of big data, in Libeskind’s eyes the crafting of tomorrow’s city has as much to do with looking back as it does looking ahead.   Continue Reading…

Reviewed: Cultivating Food Justice - Race, Class & Sustainability

By: Alison Hope Alkon& Julian Agyeman

One Line:

A collection of essays that frames relative youth of sustainability's efforts surrounding the growing and distribution of food that reflects itself in the amount of progress still needing to be made in affording those goals to a broader cultural and socio-economic audience.


The voice of sustainability and environmentalism has repeatedly struggled with the retention of its message by those outside its group of core proponents. As environmental threats increase in their intensity, so too does the urgency of the pro-environmental message–an urgency that can often be misconstrued as aggression that only emboldens its opponents. Though every cultural […]

Continue Reading

president, environment, politics, white house, trumpYet only two months into a new administration’s tenure, we find ourselves with a new reality previously never before encountered by a millennial generation of environmentalists. After living in the comfort provided by having the highest office in the land vying for environmental reform, many of us find ourselves shocked, if not unprepared, for an executive branch that is doing just the opposite. Recent budget proposals from the White House show deep cuts intended for the Environmental Protection Agency with other bills floating around that call for the eradication of the agency all together. Talk is already circling about the new President’s intentions of unraveling both the Clean Power Plan and efficiency regulations for cars and trucks–both items forged under the watch of our former Commander-in-Chief. For the T-minus three years and ten months that we have under President Trump, environmental efforts must explore new tactics that take advantage of both our free-market economy and tiered system of government. Continue Reading…

solar panels, window turbines, clean power

[Editor’s Note: Below is a guest post from Jesse Glicker LEED AP. Formerly, the Special Projects Coordinator at COOKFOX Architects, Jesse is currently a Masters Candidate at UCL’s Energy Institute studying Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment.]

There is no shortage of news headlines about upcoming changes in the U.S. With the presidential inauguration only just behind us, we are already seeing intense shifts in policy targeting changes in the health care system, immigration reform and the renegotiation of trade deals. In this time of transition it is important not to lose sight of what this means for the environment and the U.S.’s role in fighting global climate change. Under the old administration, climate change was an accepted fact and U.S. environmental policy reflected that.

The Paris Agreement, considered the most ambitious global climate change efforts to date, was signed by 195 nations in December 2016. The agreement shows how serious the international community is about combating climate change.While the United States often claims the position of a leader in global policy, its waning commitment in the transition to a low carbon economy leaves it open to become outpaced by other world powers. The U.S. must remain focused on staying competitive in the high-growth industry of renewable energy and assess the options for doing so with or without federal support in order to remain a leader in this global effort.

Continue Reading…

render, infrastructure, ecology, permacultureThe majority of the developed, American landscape has been crafted around automotive transport. As auto technology matured, increasing amounts of resources and area have been devoted to expanding and solidifying our road network. The result has often been environments that are built for a monoculture of cars and their passengers rather than an ecology of transit that supports a variety of mobility options. In order for our streetscapes to evolve to cater to pedestrians more than cars, so too must the car-oriented infrastructure evolve in what kinds of services it provides to its municipality. A broader array of roles can allow infrastructure to improve quality of life in multiple ways with systems that complement each other.  Continue Reading…

vermont, wood, furnitureIn the new millennium, Urban planning trends have consistently embraced the practice of turning old industrial areas into new opportunities for residential and commercial development. While this methodology has ushered in the birth of many new neighborhoods, the results of industry-free urban locales may not be purely positive. As we see more communities age through similar transitions and observe their development over time, the fallout of industrial segregation should prompt a second look at the value of industrial program in maintaining a vibrant, diverse and sustainable urban realm.

Continue Reading…

One Line:

Pacific-based architecture firm WOHA offers a sustainable, urban alternative to the environmentally and socially destructive nature of modern mega cities.


Four years after the release of Breathing Architecture, Garden City Mega City continues to chronicle the pursuit of sustainable architecture and planning by Pacific-based architecture firm WOHA. Folding in subsequent years of creative proposals–both built and unbuilt–this new publication focuses on the environmental and social challenges of hyper-density in tall buildings. Author and photographer Patrick Bingham-Hall helps […]

Continue Reading

village view ecology

Photo by EFFEKT

The rate and degree of evolution for building types and development patterns around the world may be one of the most critical decisions facing the fate of the biosphere over the next century. While a growing number of voices can point to the decidedly unsustainable nature of the settlement patterns of many different cultures, proposals that offer a significant step towards the dynamic equilibrium of sustainability are harder to come by. One developer/architecture team has recently rolled out a vision that does more than toggle the mainstream model, but proposes the framework for a cultural shift built around goals of balance.

Together, entrepreneur James Ehrlich and Danish architecture firm EFFEKT have created the ReGen Village as a model for small communities that utilize planning and technology for some bold steps towards self-reliance while minimizing its negative environmental impact. Continue Reading…