Tag Archives: Sustainability

Committing to Reduce Emissions

9 Jun

A recent Smart Growth America article highlights the ways in which cities can commit to reducing emissions and steps mayors can take to achieve the Climate Actions Agenda goals.

Some of the steps highlighted in the article are investing in electric cars and clean energy and building walkable neighborhoods which are served by transit.  Compact, walkable neighborhoods are efficient because they reduce the need to use a car and reduce water and energy use.  And as Smart Growth America mentions, compact, walkable neighborhoods are in demand, which is good news for people worried about climate.

Other steps mayors can take:

  • Make walking and biking safer by adopting a Complete Streets approach
  • Make public transit a priority
  • Adopt policies that make it easier  to locate homes and businesses near transit
  • Allow mixed-use development
  • Rethink street networks so that they connect and not end in a cul-de-sac

In Mercer County, Princeton’s Mayor Liz Lempert signed the Climate Mayors open letter to adopt and uphold the climate goals. Some of the highlights are:

  • Adding a new electric vehicle charging station on the first level of the Spring Street Garage
  • Adding a new temporary parklet in front of jaZams along Palm Square which will serve as a playful environment to educate people about renewable energy sources
  • Committing to reducing the municipal environmental footprint by producing less waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • And a new solar project over the former River Road landfill.

So far, over 270 mayors have committed to uphold the climate goals. And all of us can also commit to taking small steps to support them and the Climate Action Agenda by changing the way we drive and how we drive, use less energy, take public transit, and being more aware of our environmental footprint.

 

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Millennials and Boomers Want Walkable Places

6 Mar

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Millennials and Baby Boomers… the two generations may not seem to have anything in common, but when it comes to preference for the type of community they want to live in they are in agreement – “give us walkable places!”

In a recent study published by the American Planning Association, “56% of millennials and 46% of boomers” said they would prefer to “one day live in a walkable community.”

When asked why would they prefer to change where they live, both millennials and boomers expressed a preference for places that offer good transportation options, with good  job prospects,  that are affordable,  diverse in kinds and ages of people,  offer community engagement opportunities,  have parks and trails, have safe streets, have hospitals, and healthy food options.

Among those interviewed by APA, “31% percent of Millennials and 21 percent of Active Boomers”say they want transportation options beyond a car: trains, light rail, buses, carpooling, car sharing, ride sharing, bicycling, and bike sharing or walking.  It didn’t matter if the respondents lived in the city, suburbia, or rural areas, they all wanted more transportation options.

Walkable places are increasingly important for and desired by people regardless of where they live.  Cities, suburbs and rural communities are all increasingly under pressure to provide these changes.  And having boomers and millennials both moving into the same communities would be good not only for the economic development of that place, but for the overall health of the community; it really begins to look like the classic American small town ideal that most of us wish for, but left behind long ago. Our evolution to our current car-centric design has stranded many older adults that are healthy enough to live in their own home, but who have had to give up driving, and thereby lost the option to live independently.  The walkable place would help return us to days when children walk and bike without having their parents worry as much about their safety; it might even eliminate the daily long line of SUVs lined up at the school bus stops!

It’s important to realize that this movement is taking root with people who have a car, but who want to either give up their car or supplement it with other options to live their daily lives. I think many of us are starting to look for places to live where we can find a sense of community; places with quality of life features and vitality. And this happens when people can get out of their cars and get to know their community. So here’s to the boomers and the millennials leading us toward more walkable communities!

 

Why is Bill Ford talking about the environment?

16 Jan

The answer: Ford (Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company) is looking for ways to keep our freedom to move around while we reduce the emissions of CO2 and spend less time in traffic.  An increase in population means having more cars on the streets and more traffic. And while people can switch to electric cars in an effort to cut the CO2 emissions, that alone does not help with the other issue – the traffic! In this TED talk, Bill Ford (yes, his great-grandfather was that Ford) talks about possible solutions like building smart streets, smart parking, smart cars and smart public transportation. We would like to add biking and walking as a way to reduce the number of cars on the road.

It’s a fascinating way to think about the future of our mobility while also thinking about sustainability!