Summer travel took me out of the US and back to Sweden for the first time in five years. While my initial reaction was that things seemed much the same, I quickly realized that the Swedes had quietly pushed forward a number of projects that, if located in the US, would be on the vanguard of sustainability. But over there it's just called urban planning.
The term Green Urbanism keeps showing up unexpectedly in newspaper articles, conference session titles, blog posts, and casual conversation. While there is an innate, intuitive sense of the meaning, green urbanism may also seem as elusive as it is evocative. Having given this topic a fair amount of thought over the past several years, I, and my colleague and collaborator Ted Bardacke, arrived at the following working definition:
green urbanism: the practice of creating communities mutually beneficial to humans and the environment
Last Tuesday was a big day for me and an even bigger Earth Day for the City of Los Angeles. After 18 months of meetings, focus groups, workshops, conference calls, briefings, and a lot of collective putting together of heads the City Council unanimously passed a landmark green building ordinance. Three hours later it was signed into law by the Mayor.