Archive | Environment

Chart of the Day: Minneapolis Electricity vs. Built Square Footage over Time

Via Brendon Slotterback’s Twitter, here’s a chart showing Minneapolis’ energy use and “built square footage” (i.e. the total amount of buildings) over time: As Slotterback says: Minneapolis’ total electricity use has declined 4% since ’06 while total square footage has increased 5.5%. At the global scale, preventing out of control climate change requires de-linking GDP […]

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Map Monday: USA Turf Grass

Next time you’re out mowing the lawn, think about this map for a second. Via (something called) Fusion.net, here you go: The map comes from a NASA study which looks at how lawns affect the environment. Here is the key part: There is now an estimated total of 163,812 square kilometers, or more than 63,000 […]

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Chart of the Day: Minneapolis Temperature, Dew Point, Wind Direction, Precipitation Forecast

This isn’t a weather report. Well it is, but that’s not the point. Check out what MPR’s Paul Huttner’s great blog says about “climate disruption.” First your forecast: OK, that’s summer. But the real eye-raising part is Huttner’s link to the Weather Channel’s list of top 25 cities for climate disruption. For some reason, Minneapolis […]

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Looking Beyond Minnesota (But Beyond Europe, Too)

While Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Minnesota appear at the top of lists for biking, health, literacy, and other enviable qualities, we’re fortunate enough to have at least some policymakers well aware of the lessons we could still learn from our counterparts across the world. In particular, there have been many efforts to apply urban planning […]

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Map Monday: Poverty vs. Toxic Release Inventory Sites in the Philips Neighborhood

This map is old but relevant today, given the debate at City Hall about environmental justice in the Phillips neighborhood. Almost 20 years ago, a few University of Minnesota professors did a GIS-based study (back in the early days of GIS) looking at how different toxic release geographic maps compared poverty and pollution at different […]

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A Twin Cities Paving Moratorium

Last Wednesday (February 4)  I attended a public presentation by Ramsey County engineers for a proposed redesign of the Randolph and Lexington Avenue intersection. They are proposing to spend a million and a half dollars to purchase four properties on the northeast corner of the intersection and bulldoze them to make space for a dedicated […]

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Map Monday: Rooftop Solar Grid Parity

Here’s a map that crossed my desk this morning all about how affordable rooftop solar is becoming in many places around the US. (This comes from a big infographic out of the Union of Concerned Scientists…) It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why Minnesota might be a bit slow with this particular technology. […]

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The Nicollet Mall Redesign and the Failure of Planning

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” – Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities The biggest impediment to improving Nicollet Mall is not the aesthetic of the street, but the buildings themselves and their poor frontages. This fact is apparently lost […]

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Traffic in downtown Minneapolis. CC licensed by flickr user Drew Geraets

Creating a Low-Carbon Transportation System for MSP: Part One, Baselining

Thrive MSP 2040, the new regional plan for the 7-county metro adopted by the Metropolitan Council, includes moderately strong language about addressing climate change.  But the main implementation tool we’ve seen so far from the Council, the Draft 2040 Transportation Policy Plan, doesn’t go nearly far enough.  In fact, it doesn’t even start where it should, with a […]

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