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Now's the time to get down to it. White House.gov is hosting a live online event on July 15 to answer any questions you might have about sustainable communities and how to strengthen them. Today and tomorrow, submit your own questions and vote on others that have already been posted. The top voted seven to ten questions will be answered at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT. Planetizen describes the panel:

The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment in communities nationwide. Representatives of all three agencies will be on hand to answer your questions.

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In our Transportation Issue, we pinpointed the idea of a "livable street"—streets that are not suited primarily for automobiles, but for a harmonic relationship among cars, bikes, plants, pedestrians, and storefronts. In 2009, Long Beach began the first of a series of projects with this in mind. Michael Bohn, who works with Studio One Eleven, put the road at First Street and Linden Avenue on a diet of sorts, redistributing its girth to extend sidewalks.

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We've talked with some admiration about people who advocate the responsible shrinkage of sprawling cities (like this piece by Dan Kildee), but at Planetizen Roberta Brandes Gratz argues that demolition is the easy way out, but to truly rejuvenate a city, planners must invest in renovating and rebuilding:



Demolition money is easy to come by, often CDBG money provided by the federal government. Demolition contracts are simple, often big and, of course, given to the familiar cast of politically well-connected characters. Mayors get photo ops with local headlines about cleaning up blighted districts. Area residents are thrilled to see the rats and garbage gone, clueless of guaranteed continued decay unless something positive is added.

In contrast, one community rebuilder notes, "You are always penalized when you go to renovate. No one has to put up half the money for demolition." Money for stabilization and/or renovation has to be patched together from multiple sources. Lenders don't like the look of dilapidated old buildings, even if they are historic and architecturally beautiful. They do, however, understand demolition and formulaic building projects.

Read the full article here at Planetizen.

Photo, by Flickr user ChrisMRichard, via Planetizen.

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The Rise of the Cruiser

At Planetizen, they take note of the increase number of cruiser bikes around cities as a sign of the increased acceptance of bicycles. It's now...

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