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Found 56 results

  1. Enjoy! Compliments of: Le Triomphe, Montreal, scale 1:87 *************************************************** CITÉ NATURE, Montréal, scale 1:87 ********************************************** DOWNTOWN MONTRÉAL, scale 1:1000 Some buildings in green...maybe some day they will rise.
  2. Traffic management APPlied logic Sep 13th 2011, 16:10 by The Economist online TRAFFIC lights are crucial tools for regulating traffic flow. They are not, however, perfect. Drivers exchange the gridlock that would happen at unmanaged junctions for a pattern of stop-go movement that can still be frustrating, and which burns more fuel than a smooth passage would. Creating such a smooth passage means adjusting a vehicle’s speed so that it always arrives at the lights when they are green. That is theoretically possible, but practically hard. Roadside signs wired to traffic lights can help get the message across a couple hundred metres from a junction, but such signs are expensive, and have not been widely deployed. Margaret Martonosi and Emmanouil Koukoumidis at Princeton University, and Li-Shiuan Peh at the Massachussets Institute of Technology, however, have an idea that could make the process cheaper and more effective. Instead of a hardwired network of signs, they propose to use mobile-phone apps. For a driver to benefit, he must load the team’s software, dubbed SignalGuru, into his phone and then mount it on a special bracket attached to the inside of his car’s windscreen, with the camera lens pointing forwards. SignalGuru is designed to detect traffic lights and track their status as red, amber or green. It broadcasts this information to other phones in the area that are fitted with the same software, and—if there are enough of them—the phones thus each know the status of most of the lights around town. Using this information, SignalGuru is able to calculate the traffic-light schedule for the region and suggest the speed at which a driver should travel in order to avoid running into red lights. Tests in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where five drivers were asked to follow the same route for three hours, and in Singapore, where eight drivers were asked to follow one of two routes for 30 minutes, revealed that SignalGuru was capable of predicting traffic-light activity with an accuracy of 98.2% and 96.3% respectively, in the two cities. This was particularly impressive because in Cambridge the lights shifted, roughly half-way through the test, from their off-peak schedule to their afternoon-traffic schedule, while in Singapore lights are adaptive, using detectors embedded under the road to determine how much traffic is around and thus when a signal should change. In neither case was SignalGuru fooled. Fuel consumption fell, too—by about 20%. SignalGuru thus reduces both frustration and fuel use, and makes commuting a slightly less horrible experience.
  3. The office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has been commissioned to design a large-scale residential complex in Singapore. The project will be located on an expansive 8 hectare site bounded by the Ayer Rajah Expressway and Alexandra Road, in a central position between the National University and downtown Singapore. With 170,000 m2 of built floor area, the development will provide over 1,000 apartment units of varying sizes with extensive outdoor spaces and landscaping. Instead of creating a cluster of isolated, vertical towers – the default typology of residential developments in Singapore – the design explores a dramatically different approach to the issues and challenges of living and social space. 32 apartment blocks, each six-stories tall, are stacked in a hexagonal arrangement to form six large-scale permeable courtyards. The interlocking volumes form the topography of a “vertical village” with cascading sky gardens and private roof terraces vertically extending the landscape of the courtyards. Extensive communal facilities which are embedded in the lush vegetation offer multiple opportunities for social interaction in a natural environment. While maintaining the privacy of the individual apartment units through unobstructed views and generous spacing of the building blocks, the horizontal and interconnected volumes create an explicitly social network of outdoor spaces within the green terrain. The site completes a green belt that stretches between Kent Ridge, Telok Blangah and Mount Faber Parks, while the stacked volumetric relationship of the apartment blocks extends the landscape and forms a mount/hill that relates to the surrounding topography. Beyond the extensive presence of nature and collective space, the project will be designed to respond carefully to the tropical climate and address issues of sustainability through incorporating multiple features of energy-saving technologies. The project is lead by Ole Scheeren, Director of OMA Beijing, together with Eric Chang, Associate. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=1943
  4. Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- New York’s biggest banks and securities firms may relinquish 8 million square feet of office space this year, deepening the worst commercial property slump in more than a decade as they abandon a record amount of property. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and industry rivals have vacated 4.6 million feet, a figure that may climb by another 4 million as businesses leave or sublet space they no longer need, according CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., the largest commercial property broker. Banks, brokers and insurers have fired more than 177,000 employees in the Americas as the recession and credit crisis battered balance sheets. Financial services firms occupy about a quarter of Manhattan’s 362 million square feet of office space and account for almost 40 percent now available for sublease, CB Richard Ellis data show. “Entire segments of the industry are gone,” said Marisa Di Natale, a senior economist at Moody’s Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “We’re talking about the end of 2012 before things actually start to turn up again for the New York office market.” The amount of available space may reach 15.6 percent by the end of the year, the most since 1996, according to Los Angeles- based CB Richard Ellis. Vacancies are already the highest since 2004 and rents are down 5 percent, the biggest drop in at least two decades. In 2003, the city had 14.8 million square feet available for sublease. If financial firms give up as much as CB Richard Ellis expects, that record will be broken. ‘Wild Card’ CB Richard Ellis’s figures don’t include any space Bank of America may relinquish at the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan, where Merrill Lynch & Co., the securities firm it acquired last month, occupies 2.8 million square feet. Brookfield Properties Inc., the second-biggest owner of U.S. office buildings by square footage, owns the Financial Center. Merrill “is a wild card right now,” said Robert Stella, principal at Boston-based real estate brokerage CresaPartners. Manhattan’s availability rate -- vacancies plus occupied space that is on the market -- was 12.3 percent at the end of January, up more than 50 percent compared with a year earlier and almost 9 percent from December, according to CB Richard Ellis. Commercial real estate prices dropped almost 15 percent last year, more than U.S. house prices, Moody’s Investors Service said in a Feb. 19 report. The decline returned values to 2005 levels, according to the Moody’s/REAL Commercial Property Price Indexes. SL Green The Bloomberg Office REIT Index fell 25 percent since the start of January, with SL Green Realty, the biggest owner of Manhattan skyscrapers, slumping 50 percent. Vornado Realty Trust, whose buildings include One and Two Penn Plaza in Midtown, has fallen 36 percent. SL Green of New York gets 41 percent of its revenue from financial firms, including 13 percent from Citigroup, according to its Web site. Bank of America plans to give up 530,000 square feet at 9 West 57th St. as it completes a move to 1 Bryant Park. New York- based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is leaving 1.3 million square feet of offices at 1 New York Plaza and 77 Water St. as it prepares to move to new headquarters near the World Trade Center site. JPMorgan put 320,000 square feet of Park Avenue offices on the market after scooping up rival Bear Stearns Cos. last year along with the company’s 45-story headquarters tower at 383 Madison Ave. Citigroup has put 11 floors, or 326,000 square feet, on the market at the 59-story Citigroup Center at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street, bank spokesman Jon Diat said in an e-mail. The tower is owned by Mortimer Zuckerman’s Boston Properties Inc. Moving Out “We’ve been having conversations for two and a half years with Citigroup, and it’s been very clear to us that for the right economic transaction, they would move out of virtually any space in midtown Manhattan that they have,” Boston Properties President Douglas Linde said on a conference call last month. Boston Properties is also expecting to receive about 490,000 square feet back from Lehman Brothers at 399 Park Ave. as part of the bank’s liquidation. That space “will be a monumental challenge” to fill, said Michael Knott, senior analyst at Newport Beach, California-based Green Street Advisors. “They’re going to have to really bend over backwards on rate, or make the strategic decision to sit on it for an extended period of time.” Zuckerman said in an interview he doesn’t expect the increase in sublets to be a long-term problem for landlords. “You’re not going to be able to get for the space what you were able to get a year ago,” he said. “But in a year or two, in my judgment, the space will be absorbed.” Future Forecast Landlords must be prepared for a slow recovery, said Di Natale of Moody’s Economy.com. Commercial vacancy rates climbed for almost a year and a half after the last recession ended in late 2001. Still, CB Richard Ellis Tri-State Chairman Robert Alexander said New York’s financial community will regenerate. “In the late ‘80s, we lost Drexel Burnham Lambert and we lost Salomon Brothers, and we lost Thomson McKinnon,” Alexander said. “New York City survived.”
  5. Tensions build over Roxboro high-rise project by Raffy Boudjikanian Article online since November 24th 2009, 13:00 Holly Arsenault shows the property line dividing her land from that of a developer whose potential project leaves many on Fifth Avenue North in Roxboro unhappy. Chronicle, Raffy Boudjikanian. Tensions build over Roxboro high-rise project Even as some residents of Fifth Avenue North in Roxboro, a dead-end street lined with single-unit bungalows, are concerned over the possible development of a multiple-storey condo at the end of their street, Pierrefonds officials at a lively public meeting last Wednesday night were at pains to explain nothing could move ahead yet. "Before the project can be accepted or acceptable, the developer must present plans that conform to our legislation. For now, that isn't the case yet," said Pierre Rochon, urban planning and business services department director, in answer to citizen questions. However, residents are concerned after seeing land surveyors walk into the swampy wooded area over the last few weeks. Holly Arsenault, who lives in a home right on the property line of the area, even said one of them told her the owner, Jacob Wolofsky, has already acquired all necessary permits and construction will begin in February. "If that's true, he's dreaming in colour," Rochon replied. When The Chronicle went to visit the street last Thursday, Arsenault showed a row of rocks that separates her yard from Wolofsky's property. Planted alongside both sides of that makeshift border are 45 trees, which Arsenault said play a large role in keeping her home from flooding when nearby Rivière des Prairies rises in the spring. "He said he's going to cut them down," Arsenault said, adding about half of them are on the developer's side. Another Fifth Avenue North resident, France Marsant, voiced her displeasure at the Wednesday meeting too. "Our street had a very peaceful, very calm character," she said. "We find it unthinkable to have a big block of eight floors on the street, which could lead to 300 cars going into the street by the summer." Borough Mayor Monique Worth insisted Pierrefonds was doing all in its power to ensure legal norms force the developer to create a reasonable project. "Our norms are getting higher and higher," she said. Rochon said previous bylaws allowed a 12-storey high project on the site, but the borough's revisions have already cut that size down to eight. At least one resident of the street was skeptical anything could be built at all. "I wouldn't even invest a cent into that land, it's a swamp," said Michel Davuluy, who has been living there for several years. After the meeting, Worth conceded the city of Montreal would, in an ideal world, like to buy up that land and turn into green space. "I think, in a way, we would like it to be a part of green space that would start, let's say, west of the Rapides du Cheval Blanc and end with that piece of property," Worth said. "But we can't force him to sell at a lower price because we would like to. It's up to him, it's his decision," she said. Though the land is valuated at about $188,000, a purchase by Montreal would cost millions because it is a public body, Worth said. Montreal had a right of expropriation on the property in question up to last May, but did not renew it after it expired, Marsant mentioned at the meeting. Wolofsky did not return calls for comment.
  6. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/30/travel/montreal-green-alleyways-take-visitors-backstage.html?smid=fb-share&_r=1
  7. Mon premier tour d'hélicoptère... malheureusement il y avait beaucoup de smog/humidité et ça rendais la prise de photo pénible... sans compter l'espace très restreint pour manœuvrer une grosse Canon 5D MK3. Certaines photos donnent l'impression d'une aquarelle à cause de la pollution. On a aussi eus une permission spéciale de faire un 360 autour du centre ville, le pilote l'as demandé puisqu'il voyait que je prenais des photos :-) Je vais sûrement refaire le tour une journée moins humide pour avoir de meilleures photos. Here's my helicopter by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal's suburb - pool paradise by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal's suburb - pool paradise by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal's suburb - pool paradise by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal's suburb - pool paradise by Malek Racho, on Flickr St-Laurence river by Malek Racho, on Flickr Hazy downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Notre-Dame boulevard and Montreal port by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal density by Malek Racho, on Flickr Olympic stadium by Malek Racho, on Flickr Olympic stadium by Malek Racho, on Flickr Olympic Stadium by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal's biodome by Malek Racho, on Flickr Olympic Stadium by Malek Racho, on Flickr Montreal's density by Malek Racho, on Flickr A green oasis in Montreal's density by Malek Racho, on Flickr University of Montreal campus by Malek Racho, on Flickr University of Montreal campus by Malek Racho, on Flickr MUHC and Turcot interchange by Malek Racho, on Flickr MUHC and Turcot interchange by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Construction frenzy around the Bell Center by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr Downtown Montreal by Malek Racho, on Flickr
  8. Green Mobility: A Tale of Five Canadian Cities Un article très intéressant de SustainableCitiesCollective..... qui parle de Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa et Calgary. Il y a plein de tableau qui montre le taux d'usager du transport-en-commun dans les villes, de densité, l'usage de l'automobile, type de logement, etc... À voir! Montreal is the largest city of the province of Quebec and the second largest city of Canada. It is located on the island of Montreal and is well known as one of the most European-like cities in North America and as a cycling city. It is also famous for its underground city and its excellent shopping, gourmet food, active nightlife and film and music festivals. Montreal's public transit consists of a metro and bus network, paratransit service for people with functional limitations, and the public taxi, which is a form of transport provided in low-density areas where it is not possible to establish regular bus services, according to the Sociéte de Transport de Montréal. Five commuter rail lines connect downtown Montreal with 83 municipalities in the Montreal metropolitan region, according to L'Agence métropolitaine de transport de la région de Montréal; and the 747 bus line links several downtown metro stations with Pierre Trudeau International Airport. A bus shuttle service links the same airport with the VIA Rail train station in Dorval, a suburb of Montreal. Public transportation is considered as Montreal's preferred transportation mode for the future. And in order to encourage the use of transit, the City's Master Plan aims to intensify real-estate development near metro and commuter train stations, as well as certain public transportation corridors, according to City of Montreal Master Plan. The modal share of transport on the Island of Montreal is expected to change from 2008 to 2020 as follows: car only from 48% to 41%, public transit from 32% to 37%, active transportation (walking and biking) from 15% to 18%, and other motorized modes of transport from 5% to 4%, according to the STM's Strategic Plan 2020. Montreal has nearly 600 kilometres of dedicated bikeways, according to Tourisme-Montreal. And Quebec Cycling, a non-profit organization, runs two programs designed to promote the use of active transportation in the city. The first, "Operation Bike-to-Work" supports employees who want to cycle to work and employers who want to encourage their employees to cycle to work. The second, "On-foot, by bike, active city" promotes active and safe travel in municipalities —especially near schools— to improve health, the environment and the well-being of citizens, according to Vélo Québec http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/luis-rodriguez/200096/green-mobility-tale-five-canadian-cities
  9. http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/15-wishes-for-montreal-in-2015 15 wishes for Montreal in 2015<article itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/NewsArticle" id="post-430336" class="post-430336 post type-post status-publish format-standard has-post-thumbnail hentry category-local-news tag-education tag-homelessness tag-montreal tag-politics tag-social-issues l-article" style="margin: 0px; padding: 15px 0px 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1;"><header class="entry-header" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"> KATHERINE WILTON, MONTREAL GAZETTE More from Katherine Wilton, Montreal Gazette Published on: <time itemprop="datePublished" class="entry-date published pubdate" datetime="2015-01-03T16:23:47+00:00" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">January 3, 2015</time>Last Updated: <time itemprop="dateModified" class="updated" datetime="2015-01-03T16:23:49+00:00" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">January 3, 2015 4:23 PM EST</time> </header><figure class="align-none wp-caption post-img" id="post-439490media-439490" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="http://wpmedia.montrealgazette.com/2014/12/montreal-que-november-25-2014-the-skyline-in-montreal.jpg?w=1000" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none;"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text" itemprop="description" style="margin: -1px 0px 0px; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> The skyline in Montreal at dusk Tuesday November 25, 2014. John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>SHAREADJUSTCOMMENTPRINT As Montrealers rang in the New Year this time last year, a gloomy cloud hung over our city. In the midst of an unforgiving winter, our social peace was being threatened by a divisive debate over the Parti Québécois’s proposed charter of secular values, which would have restricted public employees from wearing or displaying conspicuous religious symbols. With a spring election on the horizon, the fear of another referendum hung like a dead weight from many of our shoulders. Poor job prospects and political uncertainty persuaded some of our fellow citizens to leave for greener pastures in Ontario and Western Canada. No matter where we turned, it was hard to escape the bad news. The Charbonneau Commission continued to uncover tales of corruption, our road network remained in abysmal shape and commuters fretted about the safety of the Champlain Bridge. But one year later, the mood seems lighter. “Montreal is back,” insisted Denis Coderre, the city’s populist mayor who has been trying to set a new tone. Coderre is already at work planning the city’s 375th birthday celebrations in 2017. He says the festivities and related development projects will have lasting benefits for residents, such as a pedestrian link from the mountain to the river. But many wonder whether Coderre has a vision and long-term plan for a city that is still facing employment and demographic challenges. So what’s in store for Montreal in 2015? The city will get several new hospitals when the McGill University Health Centre opens this spring, and the city’s skyline is filled with cranes — but surely more needs to done to enhance our quality of life. We asked 15 Montrealers who are well-connected to their city for their suggestions on how to make the city a more enjoyable place to live in 2015. Here are their ideas, in their own words. Raphaël Fischler, director of McGill University’s School of Urban Planning <figure id="attachment_439425" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Raphael Fischler is director of the School of Urban Planning at McGill University. Courtesy of McGill University. Picasa</figcaption></figure>The new year must see progress in ongoing efforts: reducing the high-school dropout rate, helping the homeless find permanent housing, repairing old infrastructure, greening the city. It must also see two goals reach the top of the political agenda: making public spaces, facilities and buildings universally accessible; and anticipating the transformation of older suburbs. Montreal is a difficult place for people with limited mobility, be they children in prams, adults in wheelchairs or elderly people using walkers. The winter is an ordeal for them, but even the summer is difficult because of inadequate infrastructure in streets and buildings and in the transit system. Universal accessibility must become a priority. As central neighbourhoods continue to gentrify, low-income households, including immigrants, are moving away from the centre, in particular to suburbs built in the 1950s to 1970s. The residents of such suburbs will need better access to public transit and services than is currently the case there. It is imperative that we start planning to meet the challenge of suburban poverty. Yves Laroche, owner Yves Laroche Galerie d’Art <figure id="attachment_439485" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Yves Laroche in his art gallery on St. Laurent Blvd. in Montreal. Vincenzo D'Alto / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>I wish that Montreal could get its good mood, its collective happiness, back. I hope the people who are negotiating the public-sector contracts for the city of Montreal and the unions all put a little water in their wine and come to some agreement. This city has been in such a grumpy frame of mind lately. You can see it in the faces of the policemen and the firemen and the city workers. Visitors to the city tell me that they feel it, too. It is weighing on all of us. But what I wish for most of all is for the young, emerging artists who make this city what it is be left alone to create their own personal imprints without being boxed in by teachers or dealers or art-buyers who tell them what will sell, what’s in vogue, what colours are best. I wish we would begin to see outsider art from the worlds of tattooing and graffiti and comics with fresh new eyes. Matthew Pearce, chief executive officer of the Old Brewery Mission <figure id="attachment_439429" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Matthew Pearce, CEO of the Old Brewery Mission. Marie-France Coallier / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>In 2015, I want Montrealers to join the Old Brewery Mission in imagining a city where every citizen has a place to call home and no large numbers of people are resorting to shelters and soup kitchens for their survival — month after month, year after year. Further, I want us all to resolve to own the social phenomenon of homelessness and each contribute in our own way to significantly reduce the amount of men and women who find themselves on the street. The city and the province have recently issued their respective action plans on homelessness and so, for 2015, I want to see … action. Specifically, solutions to homelessness exist when we act collectively to create diverse affordable housing options with the appropriate counselling supports, adapted health care services and preventive measures to ensure people remain housed. See the end of homelessness as we know it today. It will work. Coralie Deny is the director general of the Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal <figure id="attachment_439431" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Coralie Deny, director general of the Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal, behind a staircase that was built from wood recovered from Georgian Bay in Lake Huron. Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>In 2015, there will be a lot of talk about planning and development in the Montreal region. We hope that it will be done with sustainable development in mind and that the changes will improve the quality of life. Some of the important issues will be the adoption of Montreal Island land-use development plan, urban plans for each city on the island, a parking policy, an updated transportation plan and the plan for repaving Ste-Catherine St. W. These plans will provide us with guidelines on how Montreal will be shaped. The plans must be precise and visionary and take into account principles that will be followed in all parts of the island. There must be improvements in public transport service and more bike paths. We need to promote Montreal as a walkable city, develop our streams and improve access to the river. We should also establish a network of connected green spaces, revitalize neighbourhoods and spruce up their commercial streets. If we work together, 2015 can be a pivotal year for Montreal. Heather O’Neill, author <figure id="attachment_439439" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Author Heather O’Neill lives in Montreal and writes about the city. She is photographed with her dog Muppet at home on April 25, 2014, at her desk where she spends most of her time writing. Marie-France Coallier / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>There’s an unhealthy fixation on young people in our society now. We try to micromanage every minute of their day and spend absurd resources on them. And I think they should be just left in peace to lie around in the libraries and daydream and doodle strange sea creatures in the margins of their notebooks and to engage in philosophical discussions with their pet mice. On the other hand, I think that we as a city should take better care of our elderly citizens. Transportation is really difficult for many of them. There are so many elderly who are abandoned and alone and neglected, prisoners in their own homes. There is no place for them in society and they are treated as though they are burdens. I just think they need to be valued and respected more. We’ve become a little callous in our attitudes toward the elderly. Everyone needs to accept that this is a part of life and one of our basic obligations. Better aid needs to be given to home care for seniors and those family members, often only one person, who have to shoulder all the responsibility of taking care of them. Eric Dupuis, chef-owner Dominion Square Tavern and Balsam Inn <figure id="attachment_439441" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Eric Dupuis, chef and co-owner of the Balsam Inn poses for a photograph at the newly opened restaurant in Montreal, Wednesday, December 17, 2014. Graham Hughes / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>We should exploit our European side more, with its lifestyle and traditions. That way we would make our city more vivante and exciting for residents and tourists. Let’s create more vibrant neighbourhoods by letting them develop their own personalities instead of passing so many laws and rules meant to over-protect our society. And as individuals we should stop being insular and share more time with our neighbours. Montreal should have terraces everywhere, even in winter. We should have more small markets where producers come to sell their goods. These are both ways of encouraging outdoor living in winter. We should let parents bring their kids into bars (not night clubs) when they go out for a drink with their friends. We should have l’apéro every evening of the week, not just on Thursdays. Bring back that old European spirit we had back in the day! Kim Arrey, nutritionist <figure id="attachment_439442" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Kim Arrey, a dietician/nutritionist prepares a yogurt and apple snack in her home in Montreal, Wednesday December 17, 2014. Vincenzo D'Alto / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>This will be the year that we show the world that Montreal really is different from other cities in North America and that we take very seriously the challenge of providing nutritious, healthy, delicious food to all our citizens at an affordable price. We will start with our hospitals and long-term-care institutions, ensuring that the meals served to patients will play a key role in establishing better health. Budgets will be adjusted so that food is considered medicine, and an integral part of the care plan of each patient. Rooftop gardens at the superhospitals will provide the kitchens with fresh, nutritious, tasty produce. Grocery stores on site will help our patients purchase affordable, nutritious food, as prescribed by our dietitians and doctors. Insurance companies will reimburse clients for the visits that they make to the dietitian, and the government will give us a tax credit for purchasing health-promoting food. The goal would be not just to prevent nutrition deficiencies but to promote good health through good nutrition. Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, president and CEO of VIA Rail Canada <figure id="attachment_439453" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> President and CEO of Via Rail, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano in the Montreal offices, on Thursday, December 18, 2014. Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>My wish for 2015 is to see more Montrealers travelling by train to Québec City, Ottawa or Toronto, and any points in between or beyond. Every time Montrealers choose the comfort and safety of the train, where they can put their time to good use — they are helping to reduce their environmental footprint, reinforce the importance of their national public transportation service and support the growth of Canada’s economy in the 21st century. Montrealers, like all Canadians whether they live in large metropolitan areas or in smaller communities in between, have in VIA Rail a reliable rail system that allows them to get wherever they need to be without the use of their cars. At VIA Rail, we believe that inter-modality is everyone’s business and, in cooperation with our public transportation partners, we offer an alternative that helps unclog our highways and makes getting in and out of our cities easier and more enjoyable. Robert Green, a history teacher at Westmount High School <figure id="attachment_439450" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Westmount High School history teacher Robert Green. John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>In 2015, I would like to see an end to politicians attempting to accomplish their goals at the expense of vulnerable public-school students. Last year, it was teachers and students from various religious minorities being stigmatized by the Parti-Québécois government’s proposed charter of values; this year, it’s (Quebec Premier Philippe) Couillard attempting to balance the budget by asking vulnerable students to pay for all the tax cuts the previous Liberal government had doled out to the rich. Montreal’s public schools have a high numbers of students with special needs and students from low-income families. These are inevitably the students most affected when budgets for education and other social services are cut. When Mr. Couillard was running for election, he stated that he saw education as an investment in Quebec’s future. It would be nice if in 2015 he showed this was more than empty rhetoric by doing two things: 1) reversing the cuts to public education; 2) dealing fairly with the province’s teachers in upcoming contract negotiations. Craig Sauvé, Projet Montréal city councillor for Saint-Henri — Petite-Bourgogne — Pointe-Saint-Charles district <figure id="attachment_439457" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Craig Sauvé, Projet Montreal city councillor, at city hall. John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>For 2015, I hope that improving the quality of life for citizens is truly a high priority for all levels of government. I hope that Quebec seriously re-thinks its transportation strategy: the government should reconsider its plans for the $600-million Highway 19 project and instead reinvest the money in important public transit projects such as the LRT (light-rail train) on the Champlain Bridge, a West Island mobility plan and the extension of the métro’s Blue Line. At the city level, I hope that Mayor (Denis) Coderre shows some leadership on transport. In 2014, the STM has had to cut bus departures because of budget cuts; they are now in catch-up mode. Our neighbourhoods need more bus and métro service, not less. We also need more investment in bike paths to promote healthy, active transport. Affordability and economic fairness are on the minds of all Montrealers, our governments need to implant measures that will make it easier for families to make ends meet: keep housing affordable, stop hiking STM fares and hydro rates, protect affordable, quality daycare and education. I also hope that all levels of government invest in greener neighbourhoods, green energy initiatives and protecting our valuable green spaces, such as Meadowbrook Park. I hope that 2015 is a year of peace, joy, understanding and working together. John Archer, wealth adviser for RBC Dominion Securities <figure id="attachment_439465" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Financial adviser John Archer in Montreal. Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>From a financial adviser’s point of view, the state of an individual city does not really impact financial markets or investment portfolios (unless, of course, you own Montreal’s municipal bonds in your investment portfolio or within your mutual fund or pension plan). However, the city does affect the adviser’s quality of life and that of his or her family. From a quality of life point of view, I have three items on my Montreal wish list: Firstly, I would like to see a drastic improvement of our homelessness issue. Just once I would like to walk freely from Atwater Ave. to Peel St. without being accosted for money every block or so. Secondly, I would like to see an improvement in programs and employment opportunities to help our youth thrive economically in the city. If our children cannot see a future here, and they continue to abandon us, then that will be our greatest loss. Thirdly, I would like to see a coordination of road construction along with our traffic flow and control. There is nothing more frustrating than driving on one of our many streets under construction than waiting for an intolerably long light and seeing that there is absolutely no work nor reason for the closed lane to be blocked off with orange construction cones. Surely our traffic flow can be better managed under these situations. Maria Liliana Madriz, co-owner of Cachitos, a Venezuelan restaurant on Ste. Catherine St. <figure id="attachment_439471" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> María Liliana Madriz in Montreal on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>I wish for the sharks not to bite so much. When you start a small business with all your savings (and countless working hours), you expect a fair amount of permits, taxes, and expenses to bite at your hard-earned income. My wish concerns the hidden taxes that keep biting at you every day: like the 30 free parking spaces that were removed in my area, only to become viciously hounded metered spots, leading clients to pay $52 for the few extra minutes they take to say goodbye. Or the added 25 cents per litre we’re charged for gas in Quebec, affecting our shopping, commute and errands. Or the hikes in rent due to raised school and property taxes. Or the felony of having an English sign that, God forbid, is close in size to the French one, even though the most profitable season is summer, which brings English speaking tourists. To name a few. And then, at the end of the day, while drinking a scotch to forget all of the above, you realize that the scotch also cost you more than it ought to, and that there’s nothing you can do about it, except to drink it slowly and hope that the bites won’t bleed you out. Geoff Molson: Owner, president and CEO of the Club de hockey Canadien, Bell Centre and Evenko <figure id="attachment_439476" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson speaks at the funeral for former Montreal Canadiens captain Jean Beliveau at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal, Wednesday, Dec.10, 2014. Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS</figcaption></figure>I think this city thrives when the Montreal Canadiens go a long way in the playoffs. I hope we can bring that to the city. And I hope that businesses start to thrive in Montreal and this becomes a destination for businesses to invest in. I can feel it coming. There’s a new wave of optimism in the city. It’s refreshing because it wasn’t always that way in the past decade or so. Just look around the city and see all the (construction) cranes. That’s one reason to be optimistic. But also look at the world economy. Compared to what’s happened in the rest of the world, Montreal and Canada survived quite well in difficult times since 2008. From where I sit, I need to equip Marc (Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin) with a winning organization for the fans to enjoy. From a business perspective, to do my part, I just need to keep investing in our city and bringing new festivals, a winning hockey team and more business, like the condominiums around our (Bell Centre) building. I hope others do that, as well. Debbie Friedman, trauma director for the Montreal Children’s Hospital <figure id="attachment_439478" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Debbie Friedman is trauma director of the Montreal Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at the McGill school of medicine. </figcaption></figure>I consider it a true privilege to work in the field of health care. Collaborating with many committed individuals who have dedicated their lives to helping others is rewarding and meaningful. Diminished budgets, cuts in salaries, corruption scandals and new laws often detract from what health care should be about namely: the patients and their families. Working in the field of trauma you are reminded all too often about how precious life is and how essential it is to be able to offer timely, expert care. This year, a new chapter begins in the history of the Montreal Children’s Hospital, and the McGill University Health Centre at the Glen site. As trauma director, I am committed to seeing our Pediatric and Adolescent Trauma Centre flourish in its new home. I am confident that despite the challenges we face in health care today, the people I work alongside will be focused on what we do best: providing the highest level of specialized care to our patients and their families. As well as training a new generation of health care professionals, conducting research, and working closely with the public, the media and governing bodies to develop and implement effective injury prevention strategies. As for Montreal, I would hope that a city that has so much potential would get back to the business of thriving and embrace its unique heritage, thereby encouraging our youth to build their lives here in Montreal. Life is precious and those of us working in the area of trauma see the tragic reality of injuries all too often. Danny Maciocia, head coach of the Université de Montréal Carabins football team <figure id="attachment_439494" class="wp-caption post-img aligncenter" itemprop="associatedMedia" itemscope="" itemid="photo url" itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" style="margin: 0px 0px 2em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; vertical-align: baseline; text-align: center; overflow: hidden; color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><figcaption class="wp-caption-text wp-caption" style="margin: -1px 0px 2em; padding: 10px; border: 0px; font-stretch: normal; vertical-align: baseline; zoom: 1; text-align: right; background: rgb(12, 12, 12);"> Universite de Montréal head football coach Danny Maciocia. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette</figcaption></figure>People giving back … as far as professional athletes or even university football players (and others from) athletics. Just trying to give back to the community … getting involved, trying to make an impact, trying to make a difference, trying to influence people’s lives on a positive note. Because at the end of the day, I’m sure they look at several of these individuals as role models. So, just give back, make an impact and, like I said, try to make a difference and bring some core values in their message in 2015. </article>
  10. :eek: :eek: Montreal gets geotourism designation The Gazette Published: 7 hours ago Montreal can expect a substantial boost in tourism as a result of becoming the first city to be awarded a geotourism charter by the Washington-based National Geographic Society. On his first visit here, John Francis, National Geographic's vice-president for research, conservation and exploration, said it was not hard for the multi-media publisher to select Montreal from other unnamed applicants. "This metropolitan city has and natural assets that appeal to visitors," he said before a signing National Geographic's "geotourism charter" with Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay and other officials today. Montreal, he said, can "stand as a guiding light for protecting cherished resources around the world." The city's "holistic approach to tourism" is a continuing process. Guatemala, Honduras, Norway, Rumania, Arizona, Rhode Island also have been singled by National Geographic out as global destinations. It recognizes the importance of urban centres to global tourism and rewards those who safeguard the "uniqueness of integrity" of special places. Special attention is given to architecture, cuisine, neighbourhoods, neighbourhoods, entertainment districts, green spaces, historical, cultural, and urban landscapes. After his first visit this morning, Francis said he could see Montreal is doing a good job of preserving its heritage and is "worthy of visiting." National Geographic, through its flagship magazine and other publications, TV channel, and other platforms, is said to reach some 300 million people each month. About 7.5 million visitors came to Montreal last year, pouring $2.5 billion into the economy
  11. Changing the plans America’s oil capital is throwing up a few environmental surprises Jul 14th 2012 | HOUSTON | from the print edition STEVE KLINEBERG, a sociologist at Rice University, mentions a couple of events that made Houston’s leaders take notice of a looming problem. One was the day, in 1999, when their city overtook Los Angeles as America’s most polluted—evidence that the rise in asthma attacks among the city’s children, and the students passing out on football pitches, were no coincidence. Another was when Houston came up short in its bid to compete to host the 2012 Olympics. No one on the United States Olympics Committee voted for it, despite the fact that Houston had a brand-new stadium and had promised to turn an old sports field into the world’s largest air-conditioned track-and-field arena. At a casual glance, Houston looks much as it ever did: a tangle of freeways running through a hodgepodge of skyscrapers, strip malls and mixed districts. A closer inspection, though, shows signs of change. The transport authority, which branched into light rail in 2004, is now planning three new lines, adding more than 20 miles of track. Most of the traffic lights now boast LED bulbs, rather than the incandescent sort. More than half the cars in the official city fleet are hybrid or electric, and in May a bike-sharing programme began. Every Wednesday a farmers’ market takes place by the steps of city hall. Other changes are harder to see. The energy codes for buildings have been overhauled and the city is, astonishingly, America’s biggest municipal buyer of renewable energy; about a third of its power comes from Texan wind farms. Houston, in other words, is going green. Laura Spanjian, the city’s director of sustainability, says that businesses are increasingly likely to get on board if they can see the long-term savings or the competitive advantages that flow from creating a more attractive city. She adds an important clarification: “We’re not mandating that they have to do this.” That would not go down well. Houston is the capital of America’s energy industry, and its leaders have traditionally been wary of environmental regulation, both at home and abroad. In fact the city has been sceptical of regulations in general, and even more of central planning. Houston famously has no zoning, which helps explain why the city covers some 600 square miles. It is America’s fourth-largest city by population, but less than half as densely populated as sprawling Los Angeles. People are heavily dependent on cars, the air quality is poor and access to green space is haphazard. At the same time, Houston has jobs, a low cost of living and cheap property. Many people have accepted that trade-off. Between 2000 and 2010 the greater metropolitan area added more than 1.2m people, making it America’s fastest-growing city. Still, the public is taking more interest in sustainability, and for a number of reasons. As the city’s population has swelled, the suburbs have become more crowded. Some of the growth has come from the domestic migration of young professionals with a taste for city life. And despite living in an oil-industry hub, the people of Houston are still aware of the cost of energy; during the summer of 2008, when petrol prices hovered around $4 a gallon, the papers reported a surge of people riding their bicycles to bus stops so that they could take public transport to work. The annual Houston Area Survey from Rice’s Kinder Institute also shows a change. This year’s survey found that 56% think a much better public transport system is “very important” for the city’s future. A similarly solid majority said the Metro system should use all its revenue for improvements to public transport, rather than diverting funds to mend potholes. In the 1990s, most respondents were more concerned about the roads. People’s views about houses have changed, too. In 2008 59% said they would prefer a big house with a big garden, even if that meant they had to use their car to go everywhere. Just 36% preferred a smaller house within walking distance of shops and workplaces. By 2012, preferences were running the other way: 51% liked the idea of a smaller house in a more interesting district, and only 47% said they wanted the lavish McMansion. http://www.economist.com/node/21558632
  12. IAIN MARLOW From Friday's Globe and Mail Published Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 6:40PM EST Last updated Monday, Jan. 02, 2012 12:32PM EST http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/how-a-montreal-company-won-the-race-to-build-the-worlds-cheapest-tablet/article2282337/ Fantastic story! [...] "Datawind’s main office is located in a bland concrete tower block on René-Lévesque Ouest in downtown Montreal. There’s no sign of the company in the building lobby. The only indication of Datawind’s presence is a white sheet of paper taped to an 11th-floor door that reads, “Datawind Net Access Corporation.” Even that had only been posted for the benefit of a visitor. Behind the door, around 50 of the company’s 150 employees—many of them engineers—toil and tinker with motherboards and mobile operating systems. Datawind was founded in 2000 by Suneet and his brother, Raja, who is two years his senior and holds the title of chief technology officer. The pair have had modest success building and selling wireless devices like the PocketSurfer (a small, clamshell mobile device) and the UbiSurfer (a mini-netbook), mainly in the United Kingdom for use on Vodafone Group’s network. The company has an office in London, and another in Amritsar, in the northern Indian state of Punjab, where it operates a call centre and handles some engineering, testing, accounting and HR duties. Although Suneet and his brother are Canadian citizens—born in India, they arrived when they were 12 and 14, respectively—Datawind is registered in the U.K. Suneet says this is largely because of Canada’s notoriously conservative venture capital market, the U.K.’s funding support for innovation and the fact that Canada’s wireless industry—dominated by just three companies—has had little incentive to supplement its own high-margin smartphones with the kinds of inexpensive Internet devices Datawind designs." [...] "Behind the paper sign on the door, and down a hallway lined with overflowing cardboard boxes, Datawind’s Montreal headquarters becomes a dizzying blur of after-hours engineering. It is the kind of scene more common to bootstrapping Silicon Valley start-ups than a decade-old company run by a pair of seasoned entrepreneurs who have already listed two companies on the NASDAQ. Technicians like Cezar Oprescu, a heavy-set Romanian who not only wears two collared shirts but two pairs of glasses at the same time (they double as a microscope), work in rotating shifts, some lasting more than 36 hours, at desks littered with soldering irons, spare computer parts, discarded motherboards and fast food wrappers. Their monitors flicker with the drip of neon green code that looks like something from The Matrix. While one staff member, seated at an impossibly cluttered desk, sets about re-engineering the piece of hardware responsible for receiving WiFi signals, a colleague, stationed just a few feet away, adjusts the software drivers that will interact with it. Elsewhere, programmers are still testing the code that dictates how the touchscreen user interface deals with the drivers. The pace is unrelenting. Not only are employees ordering in dinner, they’re ordering in breakfast, grappling in real time with the allergies and dietary restrictions of an incredibly diverse staff of Eastern Europeans, Indians, Chinese, Russians and French Canadians, several vegetarians and one person who is allergic to green peppers." [...]
  13. Anyone who's sat at a red light for minutes on end in the middle of the night when there's no cross traffic can cheer on science for proving what we already knew: lights that adapt to the flow of traffic, instead of dictating the flow of traffic, can improve the flow of traffic. A team of researchers discovered that if you let lights locally decide how to time their signals based on how much traffic they're dealing with, and then communicate that with nearby lights, you get closer to the "green wave" of lights that keeps thing moving smoothly. The issue with the centralized, top-down system of control is that it is geared to address an average traffic situation that rarely occurs as planned. The variations in rush hour traffic mean that lights are trying to apply one solution to a vast number of situations. In their trial in Dresden, Germany the team found that traffic congestion was eased by nine percent, pedestrian congestion by 36 percent, and bus and tram traffic by 56 percent. With rush hours spreading in time and distance, the proof and implementation of this can't come soon enough. Blog: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/09/23/study-traffic-lights-should-respond-to-cars-not-other-way-arou/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+weblogsinc/autoblog+(Autoblog) To tame traffic, go with the flow Lights should respond to cars, a study concludes, not the other way around By Rachel Ehrenberg Web edition : Friday, September 17th, 2010 Traffic lights that act locally can improve traffic globally, new research suggests. By minimizing congestion, the approach could save money, reduce emissions and perhaps even quash the road rage of frustrated drivers. The new approach makes traffic lights go with the flow, rather than enslaving drivers to the tyranny of timed signals. By measuring vehicle inflow and outflow through each intersection as it occurs and coordinating lights with only their nearest neighbors, a systemwide smoothness emerges, scientists report in a September Santa Fe Institute working paper. “It’s very interesting — the approach is adaptive and the system can react,” says mechanical engineer Gábor Orosz of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “That’s how it should be — that’s how we can get the most out of our current system.” An ultimate goal in traffic regulation is “the green wave,” the bam, bam, bam of greens that allows platoons of vehicles to move smoothly through intersection after intersection. When that happens, no drivers have to wait very long and sections of road don’t become so filled with cars that there’s no room for entering vehicles when the light does go green. To achieve this rare bliss, traffic lights usually are controlled from the top down, operating on an “optimal” cycle that maximizes the flow of traffic expected for particular times of day, such as rush hour. But even for a typical time on a typical day, there’s so much variability in the number of cars at each light and the direction each car takes leaving an intersection that roads can fill up. Combine this condition with overzealous drivers, and intersections easily become gridlocked. Equally frustrating is the opposite extreme, where a driver sits at a red light for minutes even though there’s no car in sight to take advantage of the intersecting green. “It is actually not optimal control, because that average situation never occurs,” says complex-systems scientist Dirk Helbing of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, a coauthor of the new study. “Because of the large variability in the number of cars behind each red light, it means that although we have an optimal scheme, it’s optimal for a situation that does not occur.” Helbing and his colleague Stefan Lämmer from the Dresden University of Technology in Germany decided to scrap the top-down approach and start at the bottom. They noted that when crowds of people are trying to move through a narrow space, such as through a door connecting two hallways, there’s a natural oscillation: A mass of people from one side will move through the door while the other people wait, then suddenly the flow switches direction. “It looks like maybe there’s a traffic light, but there’s not. It’s actually the buildup of pressure on the side where people have to wait that eventually turns the flow direction,” says Helbing. “We thought we could maybe apply the same principle to intersections, that is, the traffic flow controls the traffic light rather than the other way around.” Their arrangement puts two sensors at each intersection: One measures incoming flow and one measures outgoing flow. Lights are coordinated with every neighboring light, such that one light alerts the next, “Hey, heavy load coming through.” That short-term anticipation gives lights at the next intersection enough time to prepare for the incoming platoon of vehicles, says Helbing. The whole point is to avoid stopping an incoming platoon. “It works surprisingly well,” he says. Gaps between platoons are opportunities to serve flows in other directions, and this local coordination naturally spreads throughout the system. “It’s a paradoxical effect that occurs in complex systems,” says Helbing. “Surprisingly, delay processes can improve the system altogether. It is a slower-is-faster effect. You can increase the throughput — speed up the whole system — if you delay single processes within the system at the right time, for the right amount of time.” The researchers ran a simulation of their approach in the city center of Dresden. The area has 13 traffic light–controlled intersections, 68 pedestrian crossings, a train station that serves more than 13,000 passengers on an average day and seven bus and tram lines that cross the network every 10 minutes in opposite directions. The flexible self-control approach reduced time stuck waiting in traffic by 56 percent for trams and buses, 9 percent for cars and trucks, and 36 percent for pedestrians crossing intersections. Dresden is now close to implementing the new system, says Helbing, and Zurich is also considering the approach. Traffic jams aren’t just infuriating, they cost time and money, says Orosz. Estimates suggest that in one year, the U.S. driving population spends a cumulative 500,000 years in traffic at a cost of about $100 billion. And the roads are just going to get more congested. The optimal way of dealing with such congestion is to take an approach like Helbing’s and combine it with technologies that deal with driver behavior, Orosz says. Car sensors that detect the distance between your bumper and the car in front of you can prevent a sweep of brake-slamming that can tie up traffic, for example. “In general these algorithms improve traffic, but maybe not as much as they do on paper because we are still human,” he says. “It is still humans driving the cars.” http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/63481/title/To_tame_traffic,_go_with_the_flow
  14. MONTREAL'S FIRST 100% GREEN CONDO AND TOWNHOUSE PROJECT Overview Located minutes from Montreal’s downtown core and the historic Atwater Market, Maison Productive House (MpH) is a contemporary, green living project that offers a contemporary architecture that makes sustainable urban living bountiful and verdant. At Maison Productive House empowers consumers to live intelligently. Maison Productive House offers you two housing choices to meet you specific needs, Condo and Townhouse. Each unity offers a contemporary and green design that is both rich in space and refined in its architecture. MpH residences offer a privileged, refined living environment, which is refined and avant-garde. MpH perpetuates the exceptional architectural style with the most advanced Green (sustainable living) elements. MpH is Montreal’s first ecological design that seeks carbon-neutrality and addresses various productive aspects of a responsible lifestyle: alternative energy, food garden, active transportation, more personal productivity and leisure time. Here are some of the design principles that inspired the vision for the MpH Its walking distance from Charlevoix metro station Amenities MpH is very green. Its infrastructure can contribute to the environment instead of being as drain upon it. Maison Productive House seeks a LEED® Platinum certification and follows zero-emission development (ZED) design principles. What is unique about the MpH project is that it is Novoclimat® certified, uses Solar Panel and Geo-thermal energy; includes EnergyStar® appliances, dual-flush toilets and radiant heated floors. Additional examples of this unique project include: Onsite garden Custom-built doors kitchens and stairways using FSC or reclaimed wood or bottles No use of VOC products in lacquers, and natural fibers wherever possible (insulation, wall structure). Social and productive spaces, mixing ecological and social functions, such as: its year-round greenhouse, sauna, meditation room, and laundry room recovering grey waters and balcony. The sauna is strategically placed to allow for voluntary heat loss that directly will benefit the otherwise passively heated (solar) greenhouse. The greenhouse is supplied with recouped rainwater and filtered gray water for irrigation. Other amenities include: - Attention to linkages between outdoor and indoor spaces with the innovation of SunSpaces and ample roof, garden and balcony spaces for social interaction and growing. - Artisan bakery integrated into the residential development - Creation of possible income-streams to owners through rental spaces - Proximity to public transportation and the provision of a shared car service - Both inside and outside the greenhouse, the roof is maximized for growing vegetables. Cold-frames are integrated in the roof balustrade with seasonal covers to extend the growing season. - This social gathering area will have all the amenities for Bar-B-Qs, sun-bathing and gardening. - The Sauna uses an electrically-powered design which utilizes pine wood and is large enough for 4-6 people. - In addition to the roof greenhouse, every owner has their own private plot for growing fruits and vegetables in the garden as well as access to a fruit orchard and a herbal garden. - Water filtration systems: Units 2,4 and laundry room have recycled gray waters. Also personal units are supplied with carbon filters in the kitchen counters to provide the cleanest possible drinking water. backview They say they have 55% sold. It seems like they have 3-4 condos [only 1 left] (each are 3.5 equalling 809 sq.ft) and there is 4 townhouses [only 2 left] PDF File
  15. Dimanche le 3 Mai il va avoir un référendum surle nouveau plan d'urbanisme proposé par l'administration Finn à Saint-Lambert. Le plan le fait possible de construire des édifices de 6 à 8 étages dans certains secteurs ou on trouve des immeubles abandonnés. Le comité du OUI supporte le plan et le comité Vert/NON l'oppose. The Green committee is opposed to all new construction in St. Lambert. When I was a high school student at Chambly Academy a few years ago, the school was planning to expand (add on a new gym, library, etc). These people managed to block the construction of these facilities while I was there claiming that it intruded upon "their" greenspace (which belonged to the School Board, and they were technically trespassing on). They were also opposed to the construction of a CHSLD to serve the city's aging population. They managed to delay these things for 10 years, until last year when Mayor Finn gave the green light to school expansion (by purchasing the land behind the school), and then re-sold the land to Groupe Savoie to build the CHSLD at a profit for the city. The Green committee is looking for revenge against the city and is attempting to prevent further development (St. Lambert is entirely built up, but there are a few abandoned buildings that the city has zoned for some medium-density residential develipment). J'ai déja voté dans la vote avancé (OUI bien sur). J'ai mis les vidéos des deux cotés pour que vous pouvez tous voir quel coté est négatif et déraisonnable. Le vidéo en faveur d'un densification à Saint-Lambert: Français: <object width="400" height="300"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4282831&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4282831&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></object><br /><a href="http://vimeo.com/4282831'>http://vimeo.com/4282831">OUI à l'avenir de Saint-Lambert</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user1634290'>http://vimeo.com/user1634290">Oui Saint-Lambert 3 mai 2009</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>. English: <object width="400" height="300"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4294312&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4294312&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></object><br /><a href="http://vimeo.com/4294312">Yes to Saint-Lambert's future</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user1634290'>http://vimeo.com/user1634290">Oui Saint-Lambert 3 mai 2009</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>. http://oui-st-lambert.blogspot.com/ Le vidéo "fear-mongering" des NIMBYs: Français: <object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.tagtele.com/v/36339"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.tagtele.com/v/36339" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object> English: <object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.tagtele.com/v/36863"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.tagtele.com/v/36863" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object> http://www.nonle3mai.com/
  16. New York City streets go green New York City transportation head, Janette Sadik-Kahn is taking it to the streets, literally. The visionary transportation planner, who has been on the job for two years and was tapped by the Obama Administration for a top post, is serious about sustainability. And, while her first attempt to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by proposing congestion pricing for those who came in to the city by car went over like a lead balloon, her current efforts to green the city’s streets by reinventing car lanes as public space has carried favor with just about everyone. Her latest project, dubbed “Green Lights for Broadway”, aims to transform the city’s iconic car-clogged thoroughfare into a pedestrian oasis. As the only street in Midtown that is off the grid, Broadway poses significant traffic problems and safety issues along its length. “Green Lights for Broadway” aims to reduce traffic congestion through Midtown with targeted improvements focused at Times Square and Herald Square that will speed cross town traffic and replace car lanes with public space where pedestrians can lunch or relax in the middle of the street. Broadway is just one of many areas of the city that is being “pedestrianised” by Sadik-Kahn. Another intiative to green the city steets is the Plaza Program which began last year aiming to put all New Yorkers within a 10-minute walk of a park. Under this program, streets throughout the city are being reinvented as public plazas, as, for example, at Madison Square Park where 45,000 sq ft of public space was recently added in the middle of Madison Avenue and in nearby Chelsea where a car lane was transformed into a plaza with planters and a bike lane. While these efforts will no doubt make the city more liveable, the Mayor and the Transportation Commissioner would like to see a Manhattan with fewer cars. As such, the city is tweaking its public transportation system to expand and speed service. While the focus is mainly on adding designated bus lanes and improving ferry service, there may also be a tramway in New York’s future. In the 1990s, while with the Dinkins Administration, Sadik-Kahn tried to build a light rail system on 42nd Street. And though that project died on the vine, the idea of a building a light rail line on 42nd Street is still very much alive. The Institute for Rational Mobility (RUM), an advocacy group, is currently floating a proposal, dubbed “Vision 42” that re-imagines 42nd Street as a landscaped pedestrian mall with a 2.5-mile long light rail line that runs river to river. In a recently released report, RUM indicates the roughly $500 million project would generate $704 million in annual benefit. While that project’s future is yet to be determined, Sadik-Kahn has said she is not opposed to using the dedicated bus lanes initiative as a “back door “ step toward light rail, noting that cities all over the world, like Bogotá Columbia, are working toward a light rail service by reclaiming auto space in this way. Regardless, the city’s green transportation czar is on the case manipulating over 6,000 miles of roadway and 12,000 miles of sidewalks for the betterment of the public. While incomplete, her efforts have led to large increases in cycling as a primary mode of transit, increased ridership on subways and busses, and reduced mortalities amongst bicyclists and pedestrians. Sharon McHugh US Correspondent http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11479
  17. Great green hospital build commences UK's 'greenest' hospital wing breaks ground at Great Ormond Street Construction has begun on the first phase of the new, £300m Mittal Children’s Medical Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust (GOSH), which is on target to become the UK’s ‘greenest’ medical building to date. The scheme, designed by UK-based architectural practice Llewelyn Davies Yeang (LDY), is estimated to offset in excess of 20,000 tonnes of CO² annually - the equivalent to the typical yearly carbon footprint of around 2,000 people living in the UK. These figures are based on the scheme’s NEAT assessment, the health sector equivalent of BREEAM accreditation, in which the scheme has achieved an overall ‘Excellent’ Rating. This is a major step forward to achieving GOSH’s targets of a 120 per cent carbon reduction and 60+ per cent renewable energy contribution by 2016, when Phase 2 of the project is due to complete. The new design for the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre will comprise of two linked buildings totalling more than 30,000 sq m, to be constructed over 2 phases, including the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building and the radical reconstruction and refurbishment of the old Cardiac wing. The glazed facade of the new building maximises the amount of daylight to the building’s interior whilst minimising the solar gain internally. This greater level of transparency contributes to creating a comfortable environment that welcomes patients, visitors and staff whilst also forming a healing environment that aids patient recovery. As well as natural ventilation and lighting, the green design utilises natural paints and linoleum, and low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) materials have been selected in the vast majority of the interior finishes. Dr. Ken Yeang, Design Director at LDY said: “We have designed the building in line with the client’s desire for a deep green sustainable development. The scheme’s estimated BREEAM figures are impressive in setting a new benchmark for sustainable design in the healthcare sector.” http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11345 http://www.ich.ucl.ac.uk/gosh_families/coming_to_gosh/go_create/current_exhib.html
  18. January 11, 2009, 10:00 pm What Will Save the Suburbs? For a long time now I’ve been obsessed with suburban and exurban master-planned communities and how to make them better. But as the economy and the mortgage crisis just seem to get worse, and gas prices continue to plunge, the issues around housing have changed dramatically. The problem now isn’t really how to better design homes and communities, but rather what are we going to do with all the homes and communities we’re left with. In urban areas, there’s rich precedent for the transformation or reuse of abandoned lots or buildings. Vacant lots have been converted into pocket parks, community gardens and pop-up stores (or they remain vacant, anxiously awaiting recovery and subsequent conversion into high-end office space condos). Old homes get divided into apartments, old factories into lofts, old warehouses into retail. Projects like Manhattan’s High Line show that even derelict train tracks can be turned into something as valuable to citizens as a vibrant public park. A brownfield site in San Francisco has been cleaned up and will house an eco-literacy center for the city’s youth. Hey, even a dump (Fresh Kills, on Staten Island) is undergoing a remarkable metamorphosis into a recreation area. But similar transformation within the carefully delineated form of a subdivision is not so simple. These insta-neighborhoods were not designed or built for flexibility or change. So what to do with the abandoned houses, the houses that were never completed or the land that was razed for building and now sits empty? Lands cleared to make way for houses that were not (and may never be) developed. (DigitalGlobe, Sanborn, GeoEye, U.S. Geological Survey; 2008 Google Imagery) Cover of Julia Christensen’s “Big Box Reuse.” Take as an analogous example their symbiotic partner, the big box store. As I learned in artist Julia Christensen’s new book, “Big Box Reuse,” when a big box store like Wal-mart or Kmart outgrows its space, it is shut down. It is, apparently, cheaper to start from scratch than to close for renovation and expansion, let alone decide at the outset to design a store that can easily be expanded (or contracted, as the case may be). So not only does a community get a newer, bigger big box, it is also left with quite an economic and environmental eyesore: a vacant shell of a retail operation, tons of wasted building material and a changed landscape that can’t be changed back. The silver lining in Christensen’s study are the communities she’s discovered that have proactively addressed the massive empty shells they’ve been left with, turning structures of anywhere from 20,000 to 280,000 square feet into something useful: a charter school, a health center, a chapel, a library. (And, in Austin, Minn., a new Spam Museum.) The repurposing of abandoned big-box stores is easier to wrap one’s head around: one can envision within a single volume (albeit a massive one) the potential to become something else. But exurban communities are a unique challenge. The houses within them are big, but not generally as big as, say, Victorian mansions in San Francisco that can be subdivided into apartments. So they’re not great candidates for transformation into multi-family rental housing. I did visit a housing development last year that offered “quartets,” McMansions subdivided into four units with four separate entrances. These promised potential buyers the status of a McMansion with the convenience of a condominium, but the concept felt like it was created more to preserve the property values of larger neighboring homes than to serve the needs of the community’s residents. There has been a nationwide shift toward de-construction (led by companies like Planet Reuse and Buffalo Reuse, the surgical taking-apart of homes to salvage the building materials for reuse, but often the building materials used in these developments aren’t of good enough quality to warrant salvaging. I don’t have the perfect solution for how to transform these broad swaths of subdivisions, and while I’ve heard much talk of the foreclosure tragedy, I’ve heard nary a peep about what to do about it. A recent article in The Times spotted an emerging trend of kids usurping the abandoned pools of foreclosed homes for use as temporary skate parks. (Interestingly, this was big in the ‘70s, as you can see by watching the rad skate documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys.”) It’s a great short-term strategy for adolescent recreation (and for ridding neighborhoods of fetid pools, which often harbor West Nile virus), though it’s not a comprehensive solution to the problem of increasingly abandoned, ill-maintained and more dangerous streetscapes. But there are some interesting avenues to be pursued. Part of President-elect Obama’s proposed massive public works program, for example, is to be dedicated to clean tech infrastructure. Included in this is the intent to weatherize (that is, make energy-efficient) one million low-income homes a year. One can already see how those in the construction industry can begin to make the shift from new construction to home retrofitting. It’s the centerpiece of “The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems,” the best-selling, Al Gore- and Nancy Pelosi-endorsed book by environmental activist Van Jones. Though we hear a lot in the news about new LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design/) buildings and incentives for implementing the latest green technology, it’s often the case that fixing leaks and insulation are just as effective in reducing the carbon footprint of single-family homes (which account for about 18 percent of the country’s carbon footprint). As people increasingly stay put — and re-sell homes less — this retrofit strategy makes sense. Millions of homes, not just low-income ones, are in need of the sort of weatherization the Obama plan describes. The non-profit Architecture 2030, established in 2002 in response to the global warming crisis, is leading a major effort in this arena with the goal of dramatically reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the building sector by changing the way buildings and developments are planned, designed and constructed. And after decades of renovation-obsession that has simply gotten out of hand, it seems a prudent time to swap Viking ranges for double-paned windows and high-efficiency furnaces. It’s the perfect moment to fix what we’ve got. Despite their currently low numbers, green homes typically re-sell for more money than their conventional counterparts. I still dream that some major overhaul can occur: that a self-sufficient mixed-use neighborhood can emerge. That three-car-garaged McMansions can be subdivided into rental units with streetfront cafés, shops and other local businesses. In short, that creative ways are found not just to rehabilitate these homes and communities, but to keep people in them. __________________________________________________________ “The Ponzi State” New Yorker, February 9, 2009, p. 81 ABSTRACT: A REPORTER AT LARGE about Florida’s real-estate market and the economic downturn. Writer visits a number of inland real-estate developments near Tampa, Florida. Developers there dreamed up instant communities, parceled out lots, and built look-alike two-story beige and yellow houses. The houses sold to some of the thousand or so people who moved to Florida every day. Now many are ghost subdivisions. In one community, Twin Lakes, property values dropped by more than a hundred thousand dollars in the past two years. Writer interviews Angie Harris, a Navy veteran and mother of five, who says of her neighbors, “It used to be people would wave. Now they don’t.” In another community, Hamilton Park, the writer interviews a woman named Lee Gaither, whose only income came from Disability payments. She was facing eviction and planned to sell many of her possessions on eBay. Florida is one of the places where the financial crisis began. Gary Mormino, a professor at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, tells the writer that, “Florida, in some ways, resembles a modern Ponzi scheme. Everything is fine for me if a thousand newcomers come tomorrow.” The state depends for revenue on real-estate deals and sales taxes. By 2005, the housing market in Florida was hotter than it had ever been. Flipping houses and condominiums turned into an amateur middle-class pursuit. Writer tells about Floridians with modest incomes who made money buying and selling real estate. Mentions one case in which a house appreciated in value by almost fifty per cent overnight. According to an investigation by the Miami Herald, government oversight of the real-estate market was so negligent that more than ten thousand convicted criminals got jobs in the mortgage industry. Flipping and fraud burst the bubble. But in places like Pasco County, it was the ordinary desire of ordinary people to buy their own home that turned things toxic. Tells about Anita Lux, who moved to Florida from Michigan with her husband, Richard. Gives a brief history of Cape Coral, Florida, which was first developed in the fifties by two businessmen from Baltimore. Writer interviews a number of Florida residents who have lost their jobs or homes. A Fort Myers real-estate agent named Marc Joseph tells the writer, “Greed and easy money. That was the germ.” By last year, the highest foreclosure rate in the country could be found in Fort Myers and Cape Coral. Mentions other indicators of the economic hard times, including the closure of auto dealerships and the theft of copper. Writer visits the office of Tampa’s mayor, Pam Iorio, who is determined to build a light rail system to revive the city’s fortunes. A number of people in Florida told the writer that the state needs a fundamental change in its political culture.
  19. Telus announces $33 million "Green" Internet data centre Wednesday, 08 October 2008 Telus announces $33 million "Green" Internet data centreTelus today announced that it would be investing over $33 million to build a more energy efficient Internet data centre to be located in Laval, Quebec. The company says the state-of-the-art facility will be designed according to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. An Internet data centre is a highly secure building that houses extremely powerful computer servers; all of which have redundant power, cooling and security systems. Recent estimates suggest that data centres now consume about 1 to 1.5% of all energy produced in North America and its share is growing therefore, longer term, greener data centres could make a significant dent in overall energy consumption. Telus, which currently operates eight data centres across Canada, says its newest Internet data centre will be a 44,500 square foot facility that will be connected to six mega-volt-amps of power, equivalent to the needs of more than 5,000 homes! In addition to the power required to power individual computer servers, data centers require a vast amount energy to counter the heat generated by the computer servers. The new data center features a high density power design and efficient heat exchange system will turn Quebec's cold climate into "free cooling" during two thirds of the year. Large, highly efficient air conditioning units will be used when "free cooling" is unavailable. The company says its newest, greenest Internet data centre will become operational in 2010.
  20. Time to protect the 'green lace doily' of Montreal, environmentalists say Coalition is pressing Quebec to create a provincial park joining endangered lands MICHELLE LALONDE, The Gazette Published: 10 hours ago Environmental groups across southwestern Quebec are ratcheting up the pressure on the Quebec government to create a new kind of provincial park to stop the rapid destruction of forests, wetlands, islands and other natural spaces around Montreal. Fifty-five groups have united behind the innovative project to create the Montreal Archipelago Ecological Park, Montreal's answer to the "green belts" other Canadian cities have established to stop urban sprawl, combat climate change and preserve nearby natural green space. "We don't call it a green belt, though, it's more like a green lace doily," said David Fletcher, a spokesperson for the new coalition calling itself Partners for the Montreal Archipelago Ecological Park. The ship has sailed long ago on creating a true green belt around Montreal, since the island is surrounded by rapidly growing suburbs. But environmental groups say it would be possible for the province to legislate as protected the remaining forests, shorelines, wetlands and other natural spaces on Montreal Island and Laval's Île Jésus, as well as a number of undeveloped islands in the region. The groups want to see this "green doily" of remaining natural lands protected with the same status as a provincial park, or what the Quebec government refers to as a national park. The government has made repeated international commitments to protect at least eight per cent of its territory, ensuring that the protected areas reflect the biological diversity of the province. While the government has recently created some new conservation areas in northern Quebec, Fletcher says nothing is being done to protect southwestern Quebec, an ecologically rich domain that biodiversity experts refer to as the sugar maple bitternut hickory bioclimatic domain. Less than four per cent of this domain, which stretches from the lower Laurentians to the U.S. border, is protected from development. "The tough job that needs to be done is down here, where half the people of Quebec live, and this is is simply being ignored." Although former Liberal environment minister Thomas Mulcair had expressed enthusiasm for the park project, current minister Line Beauchamp has been at best lukewarm. In a recent letter to the project's proponents, responding to their request for support, an Environment Department official suggested the protection of these lands is a municipal and regional responsibility. "I share your concerns about the protection of biodiversity in southern Quebec, where we find a great richness of species and ecosystems, both land-based and aquatic," wrote Patrick Beauchesne, director of ecological heritage and parks in the Environment Department. But Beauchesne went on to suggest that municipalities are responsible for zoning of privately owned urban land, and did not offer support. Fletcher said his group is determined to take the debate to the National Assembly. Members of his group met last week with Mulcair, now an NDP member of Parliament, and with Parti Québécois environment critic Camil Bouchard. "The political establishment has to get behind this project," Fletcher said. "Quebec has (biodiversity) commitments that are international. ... Now it's time to move from statements of principle to action." [email protected] thegazette.canwest.com
  21. Canadian retail sales up in 2008: Report By Derek Abma, Canwest News ServiceJanuary 9, 2009 10:04 AM A report released Friday by Canada's largest processor of credit- and debit-card transactions indicates people were spending more money this past holiday season than the year before despite the downbeat economic environment. Moneris Solutions said its data for December sales indicates "resilience" in consumer spending last month and "dramatic growth" for certain categories, such as department stores and clothing retailers. Moneris said it processed two per cent more sales in all merchant categories in December compared with a year earlier. It said sales at department stores — which includes Wal-Mart and Zellers — were up nine per cent, and sales at apparel outlets were up six per cent. "Canadian consumers and retailers are owed a little bit of credit," said Brian Green, senior vice-president of Moneris Solutions. "Despite the inclement weather and despite all the noise about the economy, consumers went out and they bought more this year than they did last year, and retailers gave them a reason to do that." Green said retailers should be credited for their holiday sales performance because they responded to "a more difficult economy" by providing discounts, conducting successful promotions, and ensuring a positive experience for the people that came to their stores. He said in better economic times, the increase in holiday sales processed by Moneris has been as much as seven per cent. Richard Talbot, president of retail-analysis group Talbot Consultants, said he's not surprised by these numbers and never expected this past holiday season to be as bad as some expected. "I was not a great believer in the doom and gloom for Canada that we were led to believe in the media ahead of time because that wasn't the feedback I was getting from the retailers I deal with," he said. Talbot said the economic situation in Canada is not as dire as in the United States, though there could be more difficulties for domestic retailers in the coming year as the downturn for Canada's largest trading partner, the U.S., spills across the border. Moneris' figures for December showed sales for discount retailers, such as the various "dollar stores," were down 11 per cent from the year before. Moneris said it processed nine per cent less sales for wholesale outlets last month, a category that includes Costco. Green said it's possible the bargains being offered by department and specialty stores cut into some of the business for discount and wholesale outlets. Moneris said the average transaction value in December was three per cent less than a year before. Green said it was the first time Moneris, which has been doing these holiday-season comparisons for eight years, has seen a year-to-year decline in the average transaction amount. The company attributed this to a combination of discounting, lower gasoline prices and overall economic conditions. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  22. Je trouve ça assez épatant !! The project by the young architectural studio Urbanplunger has been recently awarded the third prize in the Night Club Hotel in Hong Kong international competition. The main idea is to create a suspended building structure to comply with the extremely compact planning in Hong Kong. The whole structure is elevated above the ground by leaning on the nearby buildings. The nature of the design allows for a green square underneath the building and increases the area of the existing recreation zone. [...] Source : www.arthitectural.com/