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

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… Read More Paris COP21: Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow we act…

Milwaukee: Cycling Santas Welcome the Holiday Season

On Christmas Eve, Santa is a busy man – taking his (hopefully eco & star-powered) sleigh pole-to-pole and across oceans and continents. If you want to know his exact location,  Norad and Google offer ‘Santa tracker sites’ to follow The Claus. Yes, this is a busy man and many families eagerly anticipate his arrival. On his off-time though, Santa has been… Read More Milwaukee: Cycling Santas Welcome the Holiday Season

Fossil free divestment: coming to a city near you

On 13 and 14 February 2015, representatives from 450 cities in 60 countries marched, sang, danced, cycled and otherwise celebrated Global Divestment Day, making a public statement to encourage or proclaim to divest from fossil fuels. Amsterdam was one of those cities, showing off a little planetary love at this Valentines Day event. What is divestment?… Read More Fossil free divestment: coming to a city near you

Riga: visualizing wasted space of the car versus the bicycle

Bicycle transport is touted for its many benefits for cities: improving air quality, providing exercise, saving money or reducing traffic. Equally, cycling can help save something that all cities desperately require more of: space. To visibly display how much space vehicles require for driving – in particular during the morning commute – cyclists in the Latvian… Read More Riga: visualizing wasted space of the car versus the bicycle

Medellín: city of transition, city of hope

In April 2014, urban experts and enthusiasts from around the world travelled to Medellín, Colombia for UN-Habitat’s Seventh World Urban Forum (or WUF7). With nearly 25,000 participants (including mayors, civil servants, academics, students, NGOs and interested urban citizens) registered, it was the largest ‘WUF’ to date. And according to many veteran attendees, it was also the most enthusiastic… Read More Medellín: city of transition, city of hope

Detroit: Abandoned Buildings Offer New Urban Skiing Challenge

Photo taken from Grist. Detroit has had a rough recent period of history. Since the 1950s, more than a million people have left, fleeing as Detroit’s industrial base dwindled. Despite bankruptcy, unemployment and crime, Detroit has also attracted artists and urbanists. It has become famous for creative uses of abandoned buildings and infrastructure.  Artists, such as the Heidelberg Project and the… Read More Detroit: Abandoned Buildings Offer New Urban Skiing Challenge

Balinese dreaming: UN meetings on transport systems and real-life traffic problems

In April I traveled to Bali, Indonesia for the 7th Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) Forum in Asia, organized by the UN Centre for Regional Development, and the Environmental Ministries of Japan and Indonesia. Bali, the Island of the Gods as it is known by the locals, is famous for its beaches, its surf, its rice fields,… Read More Balinese dreaming: UN meetings on transport systems and real-life traffic problems

Amsterdam: urban food revolutions | power to the pieper (potato)

Food logistics & food trade are complicated issues these days and they don’t always make sense. In the Netherlands for example, almost as many potatoes are imported as exported: there are strict guidelines which often prohibit Dutch farmers from selling potatoes inside the country. As a result, it may be easier to buy potatoes from… Read More Amsterdam: urban food revolutions | power to the pieper (potato)