Cities Need to Take the Lead on Climate, New Report Says

The 2014 People's Climate March. (Photo by 350.org)

Without cities, the planet’s global warming will be unstoppable, a new report from the Global Covenant of Mayors says.

So the group convened 18 scientists from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C, which in October said that the world is “completely off track” (BBC’s language) to translate the policy implications into things actionable for city leaders.

The October report said that the world must drastically cut emissions to avoid living in a future where climate change has wreaked havoc on our natural world, food supply, and disaster resilience.

Cities, the report says, will play a major role in whether the world makes it to that point. After all, cities already hold half the world’s population and are expected to hold two-thirds of the world population by 2050. Continuing with business-as-usual will lead to more sprawl and, ultimately, more greenhouse gas emissions in the first 30 years of the 21st century than has occurred in all of human history.

With that uplifting thought, the report proposes some feasible options for cities: encouraging public transit, reducing food waste, and promoting solar power and battery storage.

The transition to a low-carbon economy won’t be cheap. Lowering the carbon cost of energy — say, by switching to solar power — would cost about $2.4 trillion a year for the next 20 years, the report said.

Given, however, that economists have pegged the cost of inaction on climate change as 5 percent of global GDP, or about $4 trillion a year, the upfront costs of investing seem more palatable.

And cities have already, in many cases, taken the lead on climate. It was U.S. cities (and states) that first stepped up after President Trump announced the U.S. was withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group brings together 96 world cities to deliver on climate and clean-air goals. Washington, D.C. has switched 30 percent of its municipal electricity to wind, and Austin is at about 23 percent, CityLab reported last year. And more than a dozen U.S. cities have signed on to an RFI to potentially purchase 100,000 electric cars for city use. An order that big has the potential to shift markets.

As the IPCC report — and the new summary for city policymakers — makes clear, the time for action is now. “Unchecked, climate change will …undo much of the economic and social progress, albeit uneven, since the end of World War II and the formation of the United Nations,” the report says. Cities must act, and they must, the report says, act now.

 

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the mixed-use development seeks to restore the spiritual harmony between humanity and nature.

The post MAD’s nanjing zendai himalayas center nears completion in china appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 

jay osgerby opens his south london home to views of the horizon


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The post jay osgerby opens his south london home to views of the horizon appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 

Federal Agency to Study Dockless Scooter Health Risks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's headquarters in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will undertake the first epidemiological study of dockless scooters, SmartCitiesDive reports.

The agency is partnering with Austin Public Health and the Austin Transportation Department to study the health risks associated with dockless scooters.

Austin has one of the oldest and biggest dockless scooter programs in the country, with six scooter companies operating a combined 11,000 vehicles on the streets. (There’s also just around 850 dockless bikes in the city.) “The devices in the highly-trafficked downtown area compete for space with pedestrians and motorists, and users regularly can be seen attempting to weave through crowds on sidewalks, with varying levels of success,” SmartCitiesDive said.

The CDC will study injuries caused by scooters — of which there were 68 reported in just two months this fall.

To put this number into context, in just the month of October, there were 14 reported scooter crashes, the city said in a presentation about dockless scooters. During that same period there were 1,404 car crashes, four of them fatal. In October, scooter users took 275,000 trips averaging one mile apiece.

Texas Monthly adds that “the study comes at a good time.” Austin is also reconsidering its dockless scooter rules, considering raising permit prices on operators, studying governance models that would allow it to better manage the number of companies and vehicle fleet sizes allowed to operate in the city, and adjusting speed limits. The city hopes to have the new ordinance in place by February, before 70,000 people arrive for SXSW in mid-March.

Austin has not been shy about taking companies to task. Just last month the city ordered Lime to remove 1,000 scooters from its fleet for illegally parking too many of its scooters downtown, KUT reported. (Lime reported that the over-deployment downtown was unintentional, due to high demand.)

Dockless scooters have caused numerous injuries since appearing in many cities around the country, many due to rider inexperience, Vox reports. Plus, since cars and pedestrians can’t necessarily predict what a scooter will do at an intersection, there have been more collisions.

“We’re seeing these injuries daily, and at least once or twice a week we’re seeing someone who needs an urgent surgery,” Natasha Trentacosta, an orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles, told the Cedars-Sinai Blog. “These can be life-changing injuries, and they can often be prevented.”

Yet elsewhere, injuries reported have been minimal. Dallas police executive assistant chief David Pughes told the city council that they’d only heard of four injuries in a roughly three-month period, the Dallas News reported.

And in San Francisco, doctors believe that useful data will only appear once they come up with a classification schema that currently does not exist: was the scooter shared or privately owned? Was the user wearing a helmet? Christopher Colwell, chief of emergency medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, said in a release announcing the taxonomy initiative that “scooter crash” is currently lumped into the catch-all category — which also includes “squirrel attack.” Doctors are hoping more specific data will inform safety regulations in San Francisco, which has just started a modest one-year pilot, after the previous free-for-all did not work out.

Safety experts remind users to use common sense, wear a helmet, and not ride while drunk.

 

spacewear is the new haute couture: a boot that almost went to the moon


the neil armstrong apollo A7L lunar boot prototype offers unique insight into the intensive design and quality assurance placed upon spaceshoe.

The post spacewear is the new haute couture: a boot that almost went to the moon appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 

underwater drones are delivering coral babies to the great barrier reef


the undersea robot works by collecting, caring and dispersing microscopic coral larvae across the reef.

The post underwater drones are delivering coral babies to the great barrier reef appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 

MTMDESIGN brings spanish flair to ‘tomatito’ restaurant design in saigon


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The post MTMDESIGN brings spanish flair to ‘tomatito’ restaurant design in saigon appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 

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Westminster Fire Station helps transform Victoria

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starbucks reserve roastery opens in new york’s meatpacking district


following the opening of its first location in italy, starbucks presents the reserve roastery new york, marking the fourth location worldwide and the second in the united states.

The post starbucks reserve roastery opens in new york’s meatpacking district appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 



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