Energy Conservation

Underground parking garage full of parked cars.

An Untapped Energy Source: Underground Garages

A European study measured ambient air and groundwater temperatures in underground parking garages and found that the heat generated by these structures could potentially power thousands of households.

November 14, 2023 - Anthropocene Magazine

Solar array and wind turbines in California with mountains in background

How California Kept the Lights On

To stave off rolling blackouts during a record heat wave, California relied on dramatic conservation by households and a growing renewable energy sector.

September 21, 2022 - High Country News

Intercity Buses

The Road Forward: Cost-Effective Policy Measures To Decrease Emissions From Passenger Land Transport

This new 165-page book, available free, is a resource for identifying practical, cost-effective policies for reducing passenger transport emissions on land, and especially in urban areas.

February 24, 2022 - The Road Forward: Cost-effective Policy Measures To Decrease Emissions From Passenger Land Transport

Solar and Wind Energy

Report: U.S. Renewable Energy Production Rising Sharply

The proportion of energy produced by renewable sources in the United States has almost quadrupled in the last decade.

November 17, 2021 - The Washington Post

Gas Station 7-Eleven

Who's Advocating Rolling Back Fuel Economy Standards?

Conventional thinking is that the auto industry, wanting to sell more fuel-gulping SUVs, are pushing for weaker fuel economy standards, but Hiroko Tabuchi, climate reporter for The New York Times, exposes Big Oil's stealth campaign.

December 17, 2018 - The New York Times

Japan Shared Space

Resource-Efficient Urban Planning Helps Achieve Economic, Social, and Environmental Goals

A new report shows that low-carbon development policies can help to achieve numerous planning goals including job creation, improved safety and public health, social inclusion, and improved accessibility.

July 3, 2018 - The Economic and Social Benefits of Low-Carbon Cities: A Systematic Review of the Evidence

Electricity Pylon

A New Commitment to an Efficient, Smart Grid in Arizona

Arizona's largest electric utility is proposing a set of next-gen energy conservation tools for its customers, as well as an accompanying educational component.

September 13, 2017 - Smart Cities Dive

'Better Growth, Better Climate'—Guidance For Resource-Efficient Economic Development

New report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate describes specific actions which can strengthen economic performance and reduce climate change risks. A key strategy is to build better, more productive cities.

September 17, 2014 - Better Growth Better Climate

Responding to Smart Growth Criticism

Critics claim that smart growth policies are ineffective at reducing vehicle travel and achieving intended to objectives. This column critiques their arguments.

June 24, 2013 - Todd Litman

The Future of Vertical Urban Farming is Pink

Let's put aside those renderings of high-rise urban greenhouses with lush, vertical gardens. Vertical farming's future, instead, lies more practically in large, suburban "pinkhouses", says one expert.

May 26, 2013 - NPR

Making Energy Conservation a Local Prerogative

Coinciding with Earth Day, PBS is airing a series of programs highlighting the ways in which local communities are working to conserve energy in order to save money and save the environment.

April 22, 2012 - PBS

Yes, We Can Have a Healthy Environment and Economic Development: Reconciling Conflicting Planning Objectives

I am sorry to report that, Canada, my chosen country (I immigrated here in 1993), recently withdrew from the Kyoto Accord, which sets international climate change emission reduction targets. It’s worth noting that this decision was made...

December 30, 2011 - Todd Litman

New Understanding of Pricing Impacts on Travel

Bad planning simply extrapolates past trends: “We experienced 2% annual growth during the last decade, so we’ll assume that will continue into the future.” Good planning attempts to understand underlying factors that affect change.

December 4, 2011 - Todd Litman

New Study Builds Case for Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance

The more you drive, says a new study, the more you are at risk of getting in an accident. So if how much one pays for car insurance was linked to mileage, there would be a significant reduction in driving - and fender benders.

December 10, 2010 - Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance In Massachusetts: A Risk Assessment And Report On Consumer

Sacrificing Pelicans To Petroleum Gods: Deep Water Horizon Spill Forces Energy Policy Rethink

Many ancient religions required animal sacrifice to satisfy their gods’ desires. We now sacrifice pelicans, marine mammals and sea turtles to satisfy our desire for cheap oil.

June 30, 2010 - Todd Litman

New USDOT Report Identifies Win-Win Transportation Emission Reduction Strategies

On Earth Day the US Department of Transportation released an important new, 605-page report, Transportation's Role in Reducing U.S.

May 3, 2010 - Todd Litman

Socially Optimal Transportation Emission Reduction Strategies

The recently released report, Moving Cooler: Transportation Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, which recommends various VMT reduction strategies (also called mobility management, transportation demand management, TDM), has raised debate concerning the best way to reduce climate change emissions. Critics argue that that reducing vehicle travel is difficult and costly to consumers and the economy, and instead support strategies that change vehicle design (increased energy efficiency and alternative fuels).

August 20, 2009 - Todd Litman

$1/Gallon Gas Consumption Tax Proposal

In this Mercury News Op-Ed, San Jose State University Professor Larry Gerston proposes this bold tax for mass transit and alternative energy programs. It yields $175 billion annually and creates green jobs, enabling us to determine our destiny.

December 10, 2008 - Mercury News

Austin Aims For Greener Events and Festivals

Officials in Austin, Texas, are drafting what's believed to be the nation's most substantive sustainability policy for special events--including measures to reduce waste and conserve water and energy.

November 15, 2008 - Austin American-Statesman

Americans and Business Curb Energy Use

American businesses and consumers are changing their habits and finding ways to save energy.

August 13, 2008 - Wall St. Journal

Top Books

An annual review of books related to planning.

Top Websites

The best of the Internet—since 2002.

Top Apps

Planning apps for a brave new world.

Top Schools

The definitive ranking of graduate planning programs.

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.