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Would You Trade in Your Car for This App?

What would it take, other than an unfortunate evening at the blackjack table, for a Las Vegas resident to give up his car? For most residents of...

What would it take, other than an unfortunate evening at the blackjack table, for a Las Vegas resident to give up his car? For most residents of Vegas, a city with sprawling growth so dramatic you can actually see it from space, a car is a lifeline, and pretty much the only way to get from homes in far-flung, dislocated neighborhoods to work, stores, or school. Even taxis in Las Vegas are hard to come by outside the tourist zones.

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Can the Promise of No Electric Bills Sell Retirees on Green Living?

Rather than advertising energy-efficiency features, a leading home builder and solar installer are pitching the effect—no electric bill, ever.


An average American's greenhouse gas emissions begin to decrease around age 60. Retirees aren’t struck by a sudden commitment to the environment, but because they're not working full-time, they drive less. They might buy fewer clothes. They move into a smaller house. Now, two companies are betting that the promise of ditching electric bills for the rest of their lives will compel them to choose a net-zero energy house, too.

A partnership between Solar City, a leading solar installer, and Shea Homes, one of the country’s largest privately-owned home building companies, will install panels on homes in Shea’s communities targeted towards retirees. The houses are decked out with a whole slate of energy-efficiency features, but rather than selling those amenities, Shea is selling the effect, calling it "the no electric bill home." "Who doesn't want clean energy that's less expensive than buying from a utility?" says Walter Cuculic, Solar City’s national manager of home builder programs.

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Yet Another Reason Sprawl Sucks: Long Commutes Cause Divorce

Sprawl development isn't just bad for the environment, but also for relationships.

Here's another reason that our sprawled-out suburban development patterns suck. According to a new study out of Sweden, long distance commutes put a major strain on personal and social relationships, and increase the chances of couples splitting up.

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Winners of the Build a Better Burb Competition Reimagine Downtown

Long Island asked architects to kick 'burbs to the curb in this recent design competition.

This past week winners were announced for the Build a Better Burb competition. Architects, planners, designers and students were charged with re-imagining a better future for Long Island downtowns. Their ideas, some pedestrian (literally) included walkable neighborhoods and the seemingly simple but game-changing inclusion of accessory-dwelling units (aka granny flats) which increase density and enhance community; some old-fashioned, such as the reintroduction of agriculture to regions where it once reigned supreme; and others more cutting edge like those that propose utterly transforming Long Island's transportation systems. You can check out the winners here. In the spirit of community involvement, all entries were put up to a public vote and discussion of the pros and cons of each entry was strongly encouraged. Full disclosure: I was on the team of jurors, and reported on my experience earlier this summer for the New York Times.

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