Weekly Reading: A Sustainability Smorgasbord

There have been a number of fascinating posts that have been lingering in the queue so today we're going to offer a Vegas-style buffet of readings. Biological Systems

The enthnologist of landscape esoterica, Alexander Trevi writing at Pruned, offers two posts about the mechanization, commodification and homogenization of the plant production process including mechanical pruners for perfectly shaped puff-ball boxwoods, conical conifers and robotic vision selection systems for seedlings. The videos are really something to behold.

Parks are well-loved all over the world, but, unfortunately, no one wants to pay for them. Next City explores why and discusses what Philadelphia is doing to overcome the challenge.

Atlantic Cities brings us what they're billing as "The Best Aerial Image of New York City You'll Ever See."

Community Systems

Sightline has a charming story about tiny houses that unpacks some of the assumptions around our discussions of class, density and the American dream.

New research shows that the built environment doesn't just affect climate, it also affects weather. Researchers have documented how temperatures are regionally impacted by cities.

For land use and data geeks, this article from Planetizen show some of the ways that Big Data is being deployed to improve, monitor and assess urban systems.

And at NRDC's Switchboard, Kaid Benfield makes the (strong) case that land use policies can, and should, help cities attract and retain young adults. A careful and deliberate writer, Benfield states his case bluntly: "20th-century land use won’t help your city attract and retain 21st-century people. It just won’t." Mobility Systems

Seattle Bike Blog brings us the most suspenseful street video of the week. Whoever doubts the cultural value of 24-hour news will be converted after watching this.

The Independent reports on the change from 86% of children walking to school in 1971, compared to just 25% today, and asks, "What went wrong?"

Writing at Better! Cities and Towns, Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns lays out his vision for The Next Generation DOT.

Finally, a classic video from Portland, below, where Streetfilms covers the neighborhood greenways movement. You can see on the people's faces what a new study from Portland State confirms: people who bike to work are the happiest commuters of all.

Portland's Bike Boulevards Become Neighborhood Greenways from Streetfilms on Vimeo.