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Feature: Sustainable Communities

Sustainable Communities

By making our neighborhoods, cities and metro regions stronger, more livable and more efficient, we can save money, protect the environment and improve our quality of life. For decades we have allowed our older communities to deteriorate while allowing newer ones to gobble up the landscape with suburban sprawl.  The choices we make for our own habitat have enormous impacts on our well-being, economy and natural environment.

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Slum Dwellers Face Climatic Disasters

Posted April 1, 2014 by Jacob Scherr in Environmental Justice, Living Sustainably, Solving Global Warming

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Millions of people living in the shantytowns of the developing world’s mega-cities will be among the most-vulnerable groups feeling the brunt of climate change in the coming decades, according to a  just-released report from UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change....continued

Los Angeles looks to a Green, Sustainable Future

Posted March 28, 2014 by Jacob Scherr

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Matt Petersen, recently appointed as Chief Sustainability Officer for Los Angeles, has a perspective way beyond that city’s limits.  In this interview with reporter Sarah Glazer, Petersen reflects on his earlier experiences responding to major natural disasters in New Orleans and...continued

Helping neighbors plan their own communities' future: a model for inclusive revitalization

Posted March 28, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Environmental Justice, Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  Sustainable neighborhoods are the building blocks of sustainable cities.  Neighborhoods are where development decisions are made and where increments of change – whether good or bad – actually take place, as well as where residents and workers experience the...continued

NRDC's "Guide to Composting at Sports Venues"

Posted March 22, 2014 by Darby Hoover in Curbing Pollution, Green Enterprise, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, Solving Global Warming

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Composting for sports organizations just got easier with the release of NRDC’s Guide to Composting at Sports Venues. This is the latest in a series of technically-informed ecological management tools provided by the NRDC Sports Project at no cost to...continued

Why urban demographers are right about the trend toward downtowns and walkable suburbs

Posted February 25, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  I and others have been tracking for some time a surging interest in walkable neighborhoods, in both reinvested downtowns and more pedestrian-friendly suburban developments.  Just last month I cited University of Utah Professor Arthur C. Nelson for the propositions...continued

A glimpse inside the "undercity" of a Mumbai slum

Posted February 19, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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  Mumbai is a study in contrasts.  Once known to English speakers as Bombay, the city is India’s largest, with a population of some 12.5 million people (metro area 20.5 million).  It has the highest GDP of any city in...continued

Ending California's Love Affair with Bad Planning Practices

Posted February 14, 2014 by Amanda Eaken

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This Valentine’s Day, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) is giving California the chance to end its ill-fated love affair with Level of Service (LOS), an antiquated method of measuring the transportation impacts of projects under the California...continued

Caltrans must align its mission and investments with California's climate goals

Posted January 31, 2014 by Amanda Eaken in Living Sustainably, Solving Global Warming

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An external review of CalTrans released by the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) yesterday found that the department has fallen far behind the times in its priorities, particularly in light of the environmental challenges that the transportation system needs to...continued

Ten things planners need to know about demographics and the future real estate market

Posted January 30, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Living Sustainably

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  Professor Arthur C. Nelson, of the University of Utah, has made a career out of studying the relationships between demographic and real estate market trends.  He predicted the 2007 collapse of the housing market because of oversupply of key housing...continued

Giving the Streets Back to People - A Road to a Sustainable Future

Posted January 29, 2014 by Jacob Scherr in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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Recently, the severe air pollution in New Delhi, India, has been getting significant media attention. Yet New Delhi is far from alone. Hundreds of millions of people in cities around the world are choking on traffic, and local officials are feeling more...continued


Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

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