In the latest attempt from a big city to move away from car hegemony, Barcelona has ambitious plans. Currently faced with excessive pollution and noise levels, the city has come up with a new mobility plan to reduce traffic by 21%. And it comes with something extra: freeing up nearly 60% of streets currently used by cars to turn them into so-called “citizen spaces”. — The Guardian
"The plan is based around the idea of superilles (superblocks) – mini neighbourhoods around which traffic will flow, and in which spaces will be repurposed to “fill our city with life”, as its tagline says."A precedent for Barcelona's superblocks was actually...
Outdoor air pollution has grown 8% globally in the past five years, with billions of people around the world now exposed to dangerous air, according to new data from more than 3,000 cities compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
While all regions are affected, fast-growing cities in the Middle East, south-east Asia and the western Pacific are the most impacted with many showing pollution levels at five to 10 times above WHO recommended levels. — The Guardian
According to the WHO data, the most polluted city in the world is Onitsha, a booming port city on the coast of Nigeria. With almost 600 micrograms per cubic meter, the city has around 30 times the recommended level of PM10 particles (the larger, but still dangerous, air pollutant particles).In...
Residents of just four American metropolitan areas have had regular access to healthy air in recent years. Those four places — Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.; Honolulu; Elmira-Corning, N.Y.; and Salinas, Calif. — had the pleasure of breathing air consistently free of unhealthy ozone, short-term particle and year-round particle pollution from 2012 to 2014,according to a new national air quality report card from the American Lung Association.
The air everywhere else was less consistently clean. — Washington Post
Actually, air quality has significantly improved in American cities since the passing of the 1970 Clean Air Act and subsequent legislation. This year marked the lowest particle pollution levels in 16 years for all but four of the top 20 most-polluted cities.Still, things remain pretty grim: more...
'Mexico City’s water system goes against its own functional essence. The city is dehydrating itself. We’re mixing our water with poisonous waste and then pumping it out through a complex network of pipes. Just like what happens when a human is dehydrated, Mexico City has diarrhea.' — Elias Cattan — Quartz
"In a mega-metropolis with a deep history of corrupt leaders and state-sanctioned misinformation, [architect Elias Cattan of Taller 13] believes awareness is the first step. That’s why he’s part of a growing movement of environmental scientists, activists, designers and engineers determined to...
Beijing is stepping up measures to fight against smog and pollution by building a web of ventilation corridors as one of its plans to combat climate issues, according to municipal authorities.
“Ventilation corridors can improve wind flow through a city so that wind can blow away heat and pollutants, relieving urban heat island effect and air pollution,” Wang Fei, deputy head of Beijing’s urban planning committee, told Xinhua News Agency. — CCTV America
The planned "ventilation corridors" would range from less than 80 meters to more than 500 meters wide and – hopefully – do what their name suggests, providing a conduit for wind to blow away pollutants like particulate matter.Five major corridors are planned for the Chinese capital, running...
The number of premature deaths attributed to particulate pollution has risen, government figures show.
According to Public Health England, the percentage of premature deaths attributable to minute particles known as PM2.5s rose to 5.3% in 2013 in England from 5.1% in 2012. The death rate in London rose to 6.7% from 6.6%. The figures follow significant improvements in air quality across England in 2010 and 2011. — the Guardian
Related:New Delhi mandates odd-even car rationing to fight world's worst air pollutionReducing Turin's smog with free public transitBeijing's latest "airpocalypse" is bad enough for city to issue first ever red alertCar-free events significantly improve air quality
For the first two weeks of the year, private cars with even-numbered license plates are allowed on the roads only on even-numbered dates, and those with odd-numbered plates on odd dates. The restrictions have noticeably reduced traffic in a city with 9 million cars, more than double that of a decade ago.
In 2014, the World Health Organization found New Delhi’s air to be the dirtiest of 1,600 cities it studied. Scientists blame the high levels of pollutants [...] for thousands of deaths a year. — latimes.com
China has detailed its urban planning vision, which has been designed to make its sprawling cities more inclusive, safer and better places to live.
[...] policymakers pledged to transform urban development patterns and improve city management.
The last time China held such a high-level meeting was in 1978, when only 18 percent of the population lived in cities. By the end of 2011, in excess of 50 percent of the population called the city their home. — chinadaily.com.cn
Related news on Archinect:China considering drastic ban on coalDisastrous landslide burying dozens in Shenzhen likely caused by piled up soil from construction workBeijing's latest "airpocalypse" is bad enough for city to issue first ever red alertChina’s "most influential architect" is not...
Health warnings have been issued this week as atmospheric pollution is set to rise to dangerously high levels on Thursday and Friday, with levels of breathable toxic particles reaching 100 micrograms per cubic meter.
In a bid to stop pollution reaching dangerous levels, the council is making the city's buses and metro free on Thursday and Friday to reduce the emissions caused by Turin's heavy traffic. — thelocal.it
Other cities coping with mitigating air pollution:Beijing's latest "airpocalypse" is bad enough for city to issue first ever red alertCar-free events significantly improve air qualityDelhi’s air pollution is worse than Beijing's. A new app measures the air quality in real time.Giant bubbles...
Sadly, even the Grand Canyon, a symbolic landmark of America’s natural environment, unfortunately isn’t immune to the ravages of pollution.
Concentrations of mercury and selenium in canyon’s food webs — the interconnected food chains in the environment — regularly exceed levels considered risky for fish and wildlife. Those findings are from a study from the U.S. Geological Survey scientists published in the journal Environmental Toxicity and Chemistry. — Discovery
It's the kind of news that reads like Anthropocene poetry – both existentially dark and metaphorically potent. This vast fissure in the Earth's crust, which presents us with two billion years of geologic history and basically defines our image of the sublime, has been thoroughly contaminated...
Waikiki Beach closed on Monday after heavy rains caused by a tropical storm set off the spills.
Tropical Storm Kilo caused 500,00 gallons of wastewater to come gushing out of manholes, making the waterfront unsafe for beachgoers.
"Now's not the time to go swimming," said Lori Kahikina, Honolulu's director of environmental services.
The beachfront sees about 4.5m tourists annually.
It will be a few days before the ocean is safe for people to swim in again, Ms Kahikina said... — BBC
Even on a dry day, tens of millions of gallons of dirty water dumps into the ocean through the region’s vast storm drain system. The 3,500-mile network was designed and built to empty streets of rainwater, but tons of litter also flow into the ocean through the intricate system of curbside drainages, underground channels, pumps and creeks. Stormwater pollution puts beach swimmers at risk, particularly after it rains. Marine animals and plants can also get sick or die — LA Times
This is a really fascinating piece that attempts to trace how a cigarette butt flicked into a gutter in Bel Air could make its way across LA and end up in the ocean via Marina del Rey. Visualizations like this feel important because, while we may notice signs on the sides of the sidewalk saying...
Residents of the world’s most polluted city—New Delhi, in case you were still wondering—can now find out exactly how toxic the air in their neighbourhood is. [...]
“People are clueless about the air they are breathing. If there is fog, they think it might be pollution,” he said. “People will have this information on their fingertips now.” [...]
While the government figures out a way to bring pollution under control, this app could help people buy time. — qz.com
Russia’s northern cities are a triumph of will; grand settlements in the middle of snow and darkness where people are dwarfed by the outsized factories they’ve built and helpless next to the industrial waste those factories create. Photographer Alexander Gronsky’s images of Norilsk seem both close to reality and something out of a dream. [...] But at the same time it is a place of heart-wrenching almost Arcadian beauty. A place of pale skies and metallic rivers. — calvertjournal.com
For 70 years, Mr. Wu has ridden out the country’s political storms, including one that killed his mentor, to establish himself as the most influential architect, urban planner and éminence grise of China’s cities. But looking out the window of his apartment in this city’s northern suburbs, he can only shake his head at the dim building emerging from the haze.
“Our environment is unfit for daily life, and the responsibility is very heavy on our shoulders,” he said. — nytimes.com
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