Writing on a replica of the #Berlin wall. #graffiti #currently (at Checkpoint Charlie)
Exactly what this looks like. Me petting a Czech horse. #Prague (at Staroměstské náměstí | Old Town Square)
#Love locks on the Charles bridge at dawn. Legend says lovers put their names on the lock and throw away the key, keeping their love eternal. #Prague (at Karlův most | Charles Bridge)
St. Peter’s Square in 2005 and 2013. What a difference 8 years makes.
I spy a RAZR. This is amazing.
Behold the change in technology.
Adelie penguins keep the same mate all their life. When a male Adelie penguin falls in love with a female Adelie penguin, he searches the entire beach to find the perfect pebble and when he finally finds it, he waddles over to his chosen one and places the pebble right in front of her feet. If she picks the pebble up it means she accepts the proposal.
The New York Times:
“Vetoing Business as Usual After the Storm
By Michael Kimmelman. Nov 19 2012
Not a month after Hurricane Sandy there’s a rough consensus about how to respond. America is already looking to places like London, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Tokyo, where sea walls, levees and wetlands, flood plains and floating city blocks have been conceived.
New York clearly ought to have taken certain steps a while back, no-brainers after the fact. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority ought to have installed floodgates and louvers at vulnerable subway entrances and vents. Consolidated Edison should have gotten its transformers, and Verizon its switching stations, out of harm’s way, and Congress should have ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to study the impact of giant barriers to block parts of the city from the sea.
Scientists, architects, planners and others have, of course, been mulling over these issues for years. They’ve pressed for more parkland and bike lanes, green roofs and energy-efficient buildings, and warned about the need for backup generators, wetland edges along Lower Manhattan and barrier islands for the harbor to cushion the blow of rushing tides.
Hurricane Sandy was a toll paid for procrastination. The good news? We don’t need to send a bunch of Nobel laureates into the desert now, hoping they come up with some new gizmo to save the planet. Solutions are at hand. Money shouldn’t be a problem either, considering the hundreds of billions of dollars, and more lives, another Sandy or two will cost.
So the problem is not technological or, from a long-term cost-benefit perspective, financial.”
Photo: A flood barrier on the Thames, one of the ideas American experts are looking at in the wake of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy. Patrick Ward/Corbis
“How LEED-ND Can Improve Older Neighborhoods
Kaid Benfield. October 16, 2012.
An inner-city neighborhood in Boston is providing a strong example of how the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system can be used to guide improvements to an older community. The system is being used to help community leaders identify the district’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for becoming stronger and greener.
LEED-ND, created by a three-way partnership and now administered by the US Green Building Council, is primarily intended to reward environmentally superior new land development. Merging the values of smart growth locations, walkable neighborhoods, and green environmental management systems, the program established a detailed set of standards and measurements, coupled with a numerical scoring scale, to approximate how well a new development will perform environmentally.
Over 200 projects, large and small, from the Bronx to San Mateo, from Milwaukee to Austin, have now been certified as green under either the program’s initial “pilot” phase or the more updated and fully launched version now available. The system is intended to be continually improved and updated throughout its life as users and administrators gain experience and its keepers are able to incorporate new knowledge and new best practices. LEED-ND is certainly not perfect, but it’s pretty darned good in my humble opinion (and, yes, I’m definitely biased because I worked on it).
The primary target audience for LEED-ND has been the world of private developers constructing new residential, commercial and institutional buildings at the neighborhood scale. A secondary target audience has been government, as the system establishes standards that can be adapted in part or in whole to update local, state or even federal measures and incentives for green development. As it has turned out, many government agencies have indeed found it very useful; USGBC has documented over thirty examples in a publication on the subject.
Many people have found the system somewhat less suited, however, for guiding the evolution of older, distressed neighborhoods that at this point are far more likely to improve incrementally rather than in large chunks of new development. But, while it is true that obtaining formal certification for changes occurring to smaller, more scattered parcels throughout a community can be challenging, that does not mean the system cannot still be extremely useful. The Syracuse (New York) “SALT” arts district, for example, developed a plan for updating an older neighborhood that earned a gold-level certification under the LEED-ND pilot program. Even without pursuing formal certification, a community can use the rating system to pursue its own evaluation, as the Natural Resources Defense Council elaborated last year in A Citizen’s Guide to LEED-ND.
In Boston, the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, NRDC and other partners are working together to use LEED-ND as a neighborhood evaluation and improvement tool in a low-income, inner-city community. (See my previous story on neighborhood pride in Codman Square.) Next month the community, located about six miles south of downtown, will finally get to enjoy the opening of its new and long-anticipated commuter rail station. This can bring changes and opportunity that are needed but very much in the neighborhood’s interest to manage.”
Via: The Atlantic Cities
Photo: Kaid Benfield
I’ve always wondered what country I idealized most in terms of economic, social and political well-being. Which country would I want every country in the world to look like? Although I didn’t have much knowledge or insight about them, I always felt it would be a northern european country:…