Advice for ‘smart cities’ includes social equity, grid modernization and garbage

Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said any smart city plan needs to start with a modern electrical grid. Then the apps and gadgets can follow. By Benjamin Freed, 26 July 2018 on Statescoop.com Any local government that wants to become a “smart city” needs to ignore the buzzwords and identify the projects that actually improve its constituents’ lives. That was the advice …

Most families don’t use large areas of their homes — which means they’ve essentially wasted money on space they don’t need.” Our house design problem isn’t too many rooms, it’s too much stuff.

Lloyd Alter July 30, 2018 © J. Arnold Why do people want bigger houses? For more storage. There has been a lot of recent interest in a couple of old posts discussing the size of houses recently, including one titled Houses keep getting bigger, but the number to watch is the area per person in it and another, which includes the chart above, titled What …

Sinking land, poisoned water: the dark side of California’s mega farms

The floor of the Central Valley is slumping, and there is arsenic in the tap water. Now it seems the two problems are connected.  By Alissa Greenberg in Lanare, California, for The Guardian, Wed 18 Jul 2018    Farm fields along the path of the California aqueduct in the Central Valley, a region that produces a quarter of the nation’s food. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters …

A growing number of people invest in real estate they never intend to occupy and push up prices for the rest of us. Cities should make them pay.

Municipalities should move quickly to enact high-end real estate transfer taxes, requirements for the disclosure of beneficial ownership, and regulations aimed at the disruptive impact absentee owner-investors are having on our cities. And cities should act in concert to keep from being pitted against each other, forming compacts to defend themselves against rapacious global capital. The city of Vancouver has …

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on a Green New Deal and Why She Wants to Abolish ICE and Upend the Democratic Party

BY KATE ARONOFF In These Times, June 2018 On June 25, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez received the endorsement of New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. (Ocasio 2018) In an interview, the left primary challenger discusses everything from how Democrats have failed to protect working class interests to the need for a Marshall plan for Puerto Rico and why her democratic socialist message is catching …

America the Undertaxed

United States Economics U.S. Fiscal Policy in Perspective By Andrea Louise Campbell, in Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2012 The most important debates in U.S. politics today center on the cost and the role of government. Cutting taxes, limiting expenditures, and reducing debt have become the chief concerns of Republicans, whereas Democrats generally seek to preserve or even expand government spending and are willing to …

Global food production is sufficient to meet human nutritional needs in 2050 provided there is radical societal adaptation

Current crop yields could provide nutritious food for the projected 2050 global population, but only if we make radical changes to our dietary choices, a new study shows. Researchers from Lancaster University have analysed global and regional food supplies to reveal the flows of calories, protein and vital micro-nutrients from production through to human consumption, in a study published in Elementa, …

Local storage saving utility money during heatwaves

Using customer batteries as a power source saved Vt. utility $500K, July 2018 An innovative program in Vermont that uses batteries in customers’ homes as a “virtual power plant” paid off to the tune of almost half a million dollars during the recent heat wave, according to the utility running the project. “During that peak usage, peak hour, every megawatt …

The 5 most important questions about carbon taxes, answered: A carbon tax can lower emissions, but it needs to be high

By David Roberts@drvoxdavid@vox.com  Updated Jul 23, 2018 Carbon taxes are in the news these days. In recent months, not one but two conservative national carbon tax proposals have emerged, disrupting the usual partisan dynamic on climate policy. First there was the proposal from the Climate Leadership Council, a group of (mostly older, retired) Republicans and centrists, which was released last year but recently gained the backing of …