Archive for the ‘environment’ category

2014 Midterm Elections, Get Out The Vote!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

If it’s not one thing, it’s another keeping me from sitting down and really ramping up this blogging thing. However, this was too important to pass up at least a quick reblog.

Environmental and sustainability issues are in many ways inherently political. While there is a lot that all of us can do to move things in the right direction, making sure we are represented by people who understand the need to debate the options and take action is vital. (Yes, I know many of us think that the whole system here in the USA is broken to at least some degree, but that’s a post for another day. Maybe.) I have seen a meme floating around that I think summarizes my thoughts on voting fairly succinctly: “Not voting is not a statement; it is surrender.” (I might not have that exactly right, but it’s close. If I can find an attribution for this, I’ll update this post with the information.) I’m preparing to vote, are you?

The WordPress.com Blog

i-voted-sticker

Since 2004, WordPress has set out with an ambitious goal in mind — to democratize publishing and put state-of-the-art tools in front of publishers both large and small across the planet. We believe strongly in this vision because when more people have access to powerful tools on the web, that in-turn empowers them to do great things and publish amazing content. We feel the same way when it comes to democratizing, well, democracy — and in just a few weeks, citizens across the United States will have a unique opportunity to flex their political muscle and vote in the 2014 Midterm Elections.

For our part, we want to provide our US-based users a set of resources to help them make a smart, informed decision when it comes to who they will vote for. We also want to provide a toolkit so that they can get more information on where to…

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Do Elevated Cycletracks Solve Problems or Just Create More?

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

An interesting look at some of the issues around the idea of elevated cycle tracks in urban areas. On one hand, I can see how the vertical separation might enhance safety. On the other hand, riders would be disconnected from the experience and the amenities of the city. As the article notes, there are no easy answers here, and I have a feeling the debate on this topic is only getting started. If you have any thoughts on this, let me know in the comments.

The Dirt

SkyCycle London’s proposed SkyCycle, from starchitect Lord Norman Foster / Foster + Partners

This year, two designs – one proposed and one built – for elevated cycletracks, which create bicycle highways above street level, have gained considerable media attention. They highlight questions at the heart of urban design: Should cities blend or separate transportation options? How can cities best mitigate the hazards created when cars, bikes, mass transit, and pedestrians mix? How can cities create low-cost transportation networks in increasingly dense urban cores?

In January, Exterior Architects and Foster + Partners unveiled their design proposal for the London SkyCycle, a 220 km (136 mile) network of elevated cycletracks following existing rail services with over 200 entry points (see image above). The design team claims that each route will be able to “accommodate 12,000 cyclists per hour and will improve journey times by up to 29 minutes.”

This vision even extends…

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Playas and Wetlands of the Southern Ogallala Aquifer Data Released

Monday, 1 September 2014

I haven’t had a chance to explore this myself, but it looks like it might be a good data resource for those working in this region. Check it out!

Spatial Reserves

A new web resource from Texas Tech University of playas and wetlands for the southern High Plains region of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico offers a wide variety of spatial data on this key resource and region.  The playa and wetlands GIS data are available for download here, including shapefile, geodatabase, and layer package formats.   The data include 64,726 wetland features, of which 21,893 are identified as playas and another 14,455 as unclassified wetlands; in other words, they appear to be a playa but have no evidence of a hydric soil.   The remaining features include impoundments, riparian features lakes, and other wetlands.

As we discuss in our book, (1) Many spatial data depositories seem to have been created without the GIS user in mind. Not this one.  Careful attention has been paid to the data analyst.  That’s good news!  (2)  Resources such as this don’t appear without…

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