Is This America’s Smartest City?

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Dan McAtee and Laura Spoor’s utility bill last year came to $631. That’s not bad considering the average annual electric bill in Austin, the Texas capital, is more than $1,000, largely because air-conditioning may be the only thing locals love more than barbecue. But it’s even more impressive once you realize the bill actually came to negative $631. The solar panels on their roof mean McAtee and Spoor produce more electricity than they consume. “We got the biggest system we could get,” says McAtee, pointing to the array of panels laid atop their one-story home like domino tiles. “Now we’ve got what you might call overgeneration.”

via TIME.

Healthful living may soon be built into new communities

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A New York developer may be the first home builder to integrate wellness into its products. But if a major real estate education and research group has its way, healthful living will soon be incorporated in many of the places we live and work.

The Urban Land Institute is embarking on a two-year effort to educate its members and the development community at large on how they can build healthful communities and workplaces where people can thrive.

via LATimes.

Their Own Tiny Dream Home

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Mobile Home on a Flatbed Trailer

Over the years, house sizes in the United States have been doubling. However, couples like Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller have been realizing that size isn’t the most important thing about where you live. Instead, they, and others in the “small house movement,” know that efficiency and green living can be more important. Together, they decided to do something mind blowing – even though it is tiny. They built a house together.

via ViralNova.

Green in a mayor way

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While the election is still undecided, one thing is clear: Climate change awareness and smart growth will live in New York well beyond Bloomberg’s tenure. No major candidate ran on a platform of reversing Bloomberg’s climate or transportation policies.

via Grist.

Jump-starting urban farming

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City supervisors approved legislation Tuesday that will help grassroots farming groups replace barren concrete and forests of weeds on vacant land and rooftops with veggie gardens, chicken coops, and honeybee hives.

Source: Grist.

A good move but I think more housing on vacant lands will go a long way in reducing astronomical prices in the region.

Launching Copenhagens Bicycle Superhighways

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The 17.5 km Albertslund Route is the first one to launch. The route runs through a number of municipalities, including Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Albertslund and Rødovre.

They are being called Bicycle Superhighways, but it’s worth noting that the routes follow existing, separated bicycle infrastructure. There will be some improvements on certain sections and various facilities will be added.

Source: Copenhagenize.com.

The World’s Most Sustainable Neighborhood?

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Formerly home to an abandoned factory, the site’s contaminated soil was remediated and recycled, as was existing concrete. Each house in the neighborhood has a high energy-efficiency rating and priority was given to non-toxic, locally sourced materials during construction. The competitively priced homes are connected by pedestrian-friendly streets and shared public spaces, though they also have private gardens, terraces, and roof gardens.

Source: TreeHugger.