Urban Trees–And The Rest Of Nature–Are Critical Public Infrastructure

urban trees are important infrastructure

Urbanization continues, but urban can’t mean completely paved and mechanized. For protection, sustainability, and happiness, we must align our cities with the natural systems where we build. We need to be consciously designing, funding, and distributing nature in our cities. Urban trees, and nature more broadly, need to be treated as critical infrastructure for cities.

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Which Companies Are Digitizing Government?

digitizing government

Consultants at McKinsey estimate that countries globally can save $1 trillion annually by digitizing government. Yes, Trillion-With-A-T. Those savings could go a long way towards funding needs such as education, health, transportation, and infrastructure. What companies are tapping into this huge opportunity?

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Designing Healthy Communities Where Low-Income Populations Live Longer

Designing healthy communities brings diverse people together

Research by Raj Chetty of Stanford University shows that designing healthy communities can increase life expectancy, especially for low-income populations. What features can you design into healthy communities for people earning incomes in the bottom quartile?

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Branding Public Transportation

Branding public transportation

One benefit of a strong brand is that customers will pay more or go out of their way for their preferred brand of product or service. How else do you explain basic items like sunglasses priced at more than $1,000? In marketing the social good, is branding public transportation the answer to getting drivers off of jammed highways and onto public transit?

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Three Approaches to Neighborhood Design

Neighborhood design has a spectrum of challenges and approaches.

More and more of us live in cities, which essentially means we live in neighborhoods. A neighborhood may seem either something that’s always been or something that happened spontaneously. In reality, there’s a spectrum of approaches to neighborhood design, from the “organic” to the highly planned.

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Four Ways to Design Cities That Fight Climate Change

Earth already has a majority urban population. According to urban planner Peter Calthorpe, by 2050 our planet’s urban population will double. That means providing social goods and services to billions more city dwellers. How we accommodate that urban growth will say a lot about who we are and want to be. We can choose to design cities that fight climate change, instead of encouraging it.

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Design Better Mass Transit with Systems Thinking

We need ways of designing better transportation systems.

As U.S. cities grow more gridlocked and Millennials adopt mobility services like Uber out of desperation, transit becomes a crucial social good. Without the ability to easily move people and goods, cities become paralyzed. We need a way of designing better transportation systems.

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City Design: Redesigning Failed Shopping Malls

redesigning failed shopping malls

According to Credit Suisse, up to one-quarter of U.S. malls will close by 2022. During the past 60 years, malls served as a major public commons in the U.S. The design and stewardship of commons is a crucial component of public-sector marketing. Redesigning failed shopping malls could be an huge public-sector opportunity.

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How to Take Back The Night from Light Pollution and Enjoy The Stars Again

reduce light pollution

Light pollution at night is a growing urban problem. Most of us city dwellers can no longer see the stars at night, and this will only become worse as we become more urban. Dark skies at night is a common pooled resource that we can reclaim when we reduce light pollution though proper governance of the commons.

What, you may be asking, are dark skies good for?

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Two Hacks For Designing A Happy, Social City

From more than 60 years of experience and research concerning car-dependent suburbs, we now know that these environments create people and lifestyles with less social interaction: less civic volunteering, less participation in recreational team sports, even less voting. We’re uniquely social animals, wired to cooperate and interact with large numbers of our fellows in novel and unpredictable ways.

With urbanization, more of us are living in city environments, but this isn’t an automatic answer to the suburban blues. Living in a downtown residential tower can be just as isolating as the suburbs. How do we build denser places while also designing a happy, social city?

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