Amsterdam & Utrecht: beautiful bicycle parking

Amsterdam is running short on bike parking, despite efforts to continuously expand it, creating a ‘problem’ that few city planners could dream of. This cycling mecca has too many rush hour commuters clogging up its bike lanes, and not enough bike parking once they hop off.  To tackle Amsterdam’s bike parking challenge, the city uses old shipping barges turned floating cycle-parking garages, builds underground two-tiered parking at…

Re-using resources in cities: a Dutch case-study in Rotterdam

Dense urban environments have significant resource-saving potential and serve as good platforms for climate change mitigation. This study reviewed an initiative to improve use of energy and water in Rotterdam, highlighting factors important for success including exchanges in close geographic proximity and private-sector participation. *This post was originally  published by the European Commission’s Science for Environmental…

New York City’s Evolution: reducing cars, increasing livability

When conjuring up images of New York City’s transportation, the first picture that come to mind is the iconic yellow taxi cab or the screeching silver subway… Lately though, these images compete with NYC’s newest (albeit slower) transport trends: a hipster weaving through the city on a fixie or streets crowded with pedestrians. Locals pacing quickly between errands; tourists slowly sauntering…

Futuristic Peddle Power: Urban Cycle Innovations

In Amsterdam, I’m completely satisfied with my collection of “grandma bicycles” – or better omafiets. They get me around the city with decent speed and there are usually spaces to safely lock my bike(s) when I proceed by foot. But Amsterdam is a cycle-dominated city, with plenty of bike parking (and/or canal bridges) to choose from. It’s…

Nashville: ‘Tiny Homes’ for the Homeless

Homelessness is on the rise in many U.S. cities, in part due to a lack of affordable housing. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, some 600,000 people are homeless. Many cities lack the capacity to provide adequate shelter, and in some instances, local laws criminalize sleeping in public spaces. Homeless populations are…

Combating cold in Iranian cities: one ‘kindness wall’ at a time

It’s cold this time of year in much of the Northern hemisphere. As temperatures plummet, many of us turn up the heat, or reach for an extra layer – that is if we are lucky. For many of the world’s homeless, colder temperatures are not just inconvenient, they threaten survival. To respond to this, an anonymous…

Cars versus people: depicting battles over urban public space

No one likes to sit in traffic, and city traffic is the worst. But equally, when we step out of the car (or hopefully off the bus or metro) in a city, our pedestrian activities remain dictated by cars. We can only cross at designated points; we wait for traffic lights to cross the street – hopefully still…

Paris COP21: Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow we act…

In December 2015, I attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) and other ongoing events at the COP, joining almost 40 members of the IISD Reporting Services team in Paris. My team covered the Rio Conventions Pavilion – linking the 3 UN conventions on biodiversity, climate change…

Lessons from cities to green the economy – free online course

I’m happy to see more and more emphasis on cities and urban actors, for their efforts to shape sustainable and prosperous futures, and address environmental challenges, such as climate change. After all, this was the topic of my recent PhD dissertation.  Of course, I am far from the only one jumping on the cities as a problem…