Conservative blogger James Bacon makes the case for smart growth, largely founded on eliminating government subsidies for cars, and relaxing zoning restrictions so that homes and businesses aren’t so rigidly segregated. An example:

Many counties have imposed density limitations on new growth with the thought that they would limit the impact of development on roads and schools. But smearing 1,000 people over 1,000 acres of land is impossible to provide with roads, utilities and services as efficiently as if they were concentrated in 100 acres, or even 10 acres, of land. Fiscal conservatives should object to such inefficiency. And property rights advocates should object to the restrictions placed on what property owners can build on their land.

I don’t particularly think of myself as a conservative, but I found myself nodding my head throughout the essay. In theory, it seems, support for smart growth can reach across political divides. But in practice, it seems as if NIMBY-ism more typically unites folks of wildly different political stripes.

Looking for tips on how to live a green lifestyle? Check out Cooler Smarter: Practical steps for low-carbon living by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Of if you want the nickel version, here’s the once sentence summary from a YouTube interview with one of the authors,

[T]he key things that matter when it comes to global warming are: what you drive and how you drive it; how you heat and cool your home; the electricity you use in the appliances and electronics around the house; and what you eat.

Part of their message is that some things we do with the intention of helping the climate really aren’t particularly helpful—they’re not bad, just not as good as we hope. So if you have limited energy, money, and attention, focus on the really important choices: where you live, major appliances, cars, home heating, and the like.

  • Our work is made possible by the generosity of people like you!

    Thanks to You Have Our Trust Fund for supporting a sustainable Cascadia.

  • We’ve sung Walk Score’s praises more times than I can count.  Now, courtesy of sustainable design maven Jeremy Faludi, there’s Street Nature Score: a way of visualizing how green a neighborhood is.  There’s only data for Seattle and San Francisco – but it’s pretty interesting stuff, and a nice reminder that there are plenty of places where walkability and green infrastructure go hand in hand!

    And in case you didn’t catch it in Sightline Daily this week, here’s a mind-blowing visualization of population growth in 590 cities around the globe.


    On Tuesday, Pew Research Center released “The Rise of Asian Americans,” a report touting the virtues of the country’s fastest-growing racial group—highest achieving, best-educated, and happiest. I appreciated the Colorlines summary of the Asian American community’s response to the report. Swiftly debunking the “model minority” myth, “Asian Americans respond to Pew: We’re Not Your Model Minority” highlights the complexity of studying racial communities when there is great diversity within the group, and the dangers of casting broad generalizations.


    Is the idea that women can “have it all” a myth or just a really bad joke?  Here’s a provocative piece in The Atlantic by Anne-Marie Slaughter, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, mother of two teenage boys, and, formerly, director of policy planning at the State Department from 2009 to 2011. She writes about the systemic flaws and barriers that still exist for women in the workforce—and what it would take to really kiss them goodbye for good.

    Which baby foods contain the most pesticide residue? Here’s the hall of shame from Mother Jones.

    Here’s a peek at how the biggest big fellas (and women) got paid in 2011.

    From the NYT:

    Despite a lot of noise from shareholders and a few victories at big names like Citigroup and Hewlett-Packard, executive pay just keeps climbing… Because the list includes only the C.E.O.’s of public companies, it does not capture the many billions that have been earned by top hedge fund managers and private-equity dealmakers in recent years. But even in the more narrow universe of public companies, the complete Equilar study shows that there was not one, but two executives who had nine-figure paydays last year—the first time that has ever happened, according to Aaron Boyd, Equilar’s head of research.

    Recent research looks at the good side of gossip.

    Is your “digital shadow” more powerful than you are?


    The amount of tree cover in urban neighborhoods is related to income.


    What’s Your “Mobility Biography“‘?

    Maybe Toronto’s anti-transit, anti-bicycle mayor could have done better in his voluntary weight loss challenge if he had engaged in a bit of active transport.

    Eric H:

    Could fake sugar cause us to overeat? Eating something sweet without the calories distorts the brain’s learned relationship between sugary flavors and incoming energy. When sweet food no longer delivers calories, the brain doesn’t know what to make of it.

    North America accounts for just 6 percent of the global population, but nearly a third of the world’s obesity. This can’t be helping.

    Our love of bacon (see above) might also be responsible for the rising number of deaths due to heart disease. This illuminating chart shows how we died in 1900 vs. 2010.

    A spine-tingling tale of the battle over climate science. The interrogation and stress—including death threats—that climatologists live with.