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The 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities on the Planet: “With each edition, the Copenhagen­ize Design Company’s Index of the most bike-friendly cities in the world evolves. In 2011 we ranked 80 global cities; in 2013 we ranked 150. This year, we considered cities with a regional population over 600,000 (with a few exceptions because of their political and regional importance, and to keep things interesting). We ranked 122 cities. The top 20 are presented here.”

Understanding What Makes Plants Happy: “The big shift in horticulture in the next decade will be a shift from thinking about plants as individual objects to communities of interrelated species. We think it’s possible to create designed plant communities: stylized versions of naturally occurring ones, adapted to work in our gardens and landscapes. This is not ecological restoration, it’s a hybrid of ecology and horticulture.”

Construction to Begin On New Lincoln Heights Park After a Costly Environmental Cleanup: “The triangular shaped park will stretch from Spring Street on the north to nearly Main Street on the south, helping expand the existing Downey Recreation Center. The project will not only provide more green and recreation space to the area, it will also help improve water quality. Runoff from storm drains will be collected, filtered and treated using a variety of techniques before the water flows into the L.A. River and eventually the ocean, according to a project summary.”

The Future of Transportation is Already Here: “Builders and urban planners have learned to limit their thinking because existing regulations and clunky political processes have made it nearly impossible to innovate without years of negotiations. As a result, we’re laying the foundations for a transportation future that carries forward the problems of the past…But there can be another way forward, a new vision of transportation that upsets the four-wheel chariot mode.”

Young Architect Guide: 5 Ways to Tell Your Story Through Drawings Alone: “As all architects know, your project proposal is only as convincing as the drawings and models that you use to represent it, whether for your client, the planning committee of a town council or the judging panel of a design competition. While your ideas may be brilliant, they are only of value if you can communicate them convincingly to all of those different audiences, crafting an architectural narrative in a clear and compelling manner.”

Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities', Illustrated Isaura. Image © Karina Puente Frantzen

Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’, Illustrated – Image © Karina Puente Frantzen

Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’, Illustrated: Lima-based architect Karina Puente has a personal project: to illustrate each and every “invisible” city from Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel. The book, which imagines imaginary conversations between the (real-life) Venetian explorer Marco Polo and the aged Mongol ruler Kublai Khan has been instrumental in framing approaches to urban discourse and the form of the city.

Santa Monica Airport to become public park in 2029: “Marking an end to a years-long legal and political struggle, the Santa Monica City Council announced an agreement with the United States Federal Government last weekend that calls for the closing of Santa Monica Airport on December 31, 2028. Upon closing, the site will be converted into a public park.”

How much storm water is LA catching?: “I think this storm here has really demonstrated where the shortcomings are in our local water system. We’ve barely scratched the surface on what we can do in the eastern San Fernando Valley in trying to capture more of that precious rainfall from the sky and have it actually infiltrate into the ground and get into our groundwater supply.”

As Climate Change Accelerates, Floating Cities Look Like Less of a Pipe Dream: “An audacious plan to respond to climate change by building a city of floating islands in the South Pacific is moving forward, with the government of French Polynesia agreeing to consider hosting the islands in a tropical lagoon. The project is being put forward by a California nonprofit, the Seasteading Institute, which has raised about $2.5 million from more than 1,000 interested donors.”

Metro CEO hints at possible express train to LAX: “As construction continues on the Crenshaw/LAX Line and a long-sought rail connection to LAX gets closer to reality, Metro is already considering ways to speed up the trip from the airport to Downtown Los Angeles. During a panel discussion at Urban Land Institute’s Future Build conference, Metro CEO Phil Washington revealed the transit agency might explore adding an express train that would shuttle passengers between LAX and Union Station.”

Reimagined: Synthesized Soundscapes of California: “I visited the region from September through October 2014, on a soundscape ecology project purposed to create a sonic profile of California parks, their biophonies and geophonies.To my surprise, every park I visited was a ghost world. Many of the famous forests – Yosemite, Sequoia, Big Sur – were either scorched by wildfires or parched bone dry by the drought. I found no predominant biophonic activity. Throughout over 30 excursions into the wilderness, I was mostly only ever able to capture geophonic sounds – wind, small brooks, trees creaking, rain.

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7 ugly urban underpasses now functioning as public parks: “Elevated highways and rail lines were long overdue for a makeover. While freeway cap parks—or removing freeways entirely—have become increasingly popular to reunite cities fragmented by urban highways, capping isn’t always feasible. Instead, many cities are turning transit underpasses into public parks, replacing trash, overgrown weeds, and dark passageways with art installations, funky lights, and pedestrian thoroughfares.”

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"Artist Lauren Bon wants to create a new imaginative delta, where the wastewater that normally runs out to the Pacific Ocean will go back into the city, modeling a new way for L.A. to imagine managing its water more sustainably."

“Artist Lauren Bon wants to create a new imaginative delta, where the wastewater that normally runs out to the Pacific Ocean will go back into the city, modeling a new way for L.A. to imagine managing its water more sustainably.”

Artist Lauren Bon reimagines the L.A. Aqueduct: “Bon wants to ‘bend the river back into the city’ with La Noria, a grand piece of art that she sometimes calls ‘a device of wonder’ and at other times ‘avant-garde nostalgia.’ In the process, she has shaped her artistic practice to shake the foundation of L.A.’s relationship with the river and water by demystifying the Los Angeles Aqueduct, acquiring the first individual water right on the river in more than a century, and soon, penetrating the river’s concrete channel to reestablish a connection between the city and its source.”

Industrial scars: The environmental cost of consumption – in pictures: “Environmental artist J Henry Fair captures the beauty and destruction of industrial sites to illustrate the hidden impacts of the things we buy – the polluted air, destroyed habitats and the invisible carbon heating the planet.”

BIOVESSEL an Ecosystem Powered By Food Waste: “An indoor ecosystem that decomposes food waste the natural way. The significant elements to replicating a natural environment for decaying are earthworms and soil. The crawling creatures break down the food into miniature pieces which get mixed in the soil, dispersing the nutrients from the food waste.”

Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here: “Amazingly, Israel has more water than it needs. The turnaround started in 2007, when low-flow toilets and showerheads were installed nationwide and the national water authority built innovative water treatment systems that recapture 86 percent of the water that goes down the drain and use it for irrigation — vastly more than the second-most-efficient country in the world, Spain, which recycles 19 percent.”

2016 Los Angeles Voter Guide: Because we know we all need a little more information – “A breakdown of important neighborhood issues appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot”