Buildings & Design

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    Biden administration addresses the affordable housing crisis with new plan

    The plan proposes using federal grants to encourage cities to relax their zoning and land-use policies while providing new financing options for manufactured homes, accessory dwelling units and small-scale developments.

    By May 16, 2022
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    Win McNamee via Getty Images

    White House vows to speed up environmental review for federal infrastructure projects

    The new action plan will help streamline permitting and accelerate projects, Biden administration officials said earlier this week.

    By Julie Strupp • May 13, 2022
  • Washington, DC, is 'ideally poised for electrification,' Sierra Club finds. The city's gas utility disagrees.

    Renewable natural gas and green hydrogen could help the nation's capital avoid costly electric grid upgrades, according to Washington Gas.

    By Robert Walton • May 13, 2022
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    Mechelle Brooks via Getty Images

    Governments clear a path for tiny homes to address housing crisis in cities

    Accessory dwelling units and tiny homes that are constructed in factories off-site and installed in backyards are often subject to restrictive zoning rules, building codes and pushback from neighbors. That is starting to change. 

    By May 9, 2022
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    Courtesy of WSP

    Lessons from California: Tips to keep transit projects on time, on budget

    Local agencies tend to poorly plan infrastructure work and don’t have enough capacity to manage megaprojects, and common procurement methods create a management bottleneck, a new study from UC Berkeley found. 

    By Julie Strupp • April 28, 2022
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    carlballou via Getty Images

    Converting strip malls into mixed-use development could address California's housing crisis

    The transformation could alleviate the housing shortage while aiding storefronts amid the shift to online shopping. But it would require cities to change land-use policies, said housing experts during an Urban Land Institute meeting.

    By April 27, 2022
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    Permission granted by Cortland

    Housing economist: The industry has hit peak rent growth

    Although inflation could partially mute rent gains, the chief economist at an Atlanta-based real estate company says the supply-demand picture still looks good for multifamily housing.

    By Leslie Shaver • April 25, 2022
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    Sean M. Haffey via Getty Images

    San Diego housing density bonus is spurring affordable units: report

    Amid a crucial housing shortage in Southern California, developers have leveraged a city incentive program to build thousands of units since 2016.

    By April 21, 2022
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    Cole Rosengren/Smart Cities Dive

    Denver sees potential waste, recycling, compost policy overhauls on horizon

    "If you look at many of the large advancements that have occurred in environmental policy in Denver, it's come through the ballot initiative," said a leader of the push for services across multifamily buildings and businesses.

    By April 12, 2022
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    David McNew via Getty Images

    For the Building Performance Standards Coalition to be effective, the White House must think bigger

    The former head of the U.S. Green Building Council weighs in on how federal, state and local government partners can go beyond just reducing building emissions as they pursue decarbonization.  

    By Mahesh Ramanujam • April 8, 2022
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    Drew Angerer via Getty Images

    Latest UN climate change report shines new light on well-documented urban mitigation strategies

    Cities must push harder to decarbonize buildings and transform transportation norms, the report suggests, as the next three years are critical if the world is to change the course of global warming.

    By April 5, 2022
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    Permission granted by Chasen Cos.

    Baltimore company turns empty offices into apartments

    A real estate firm CEO explains the key challenges of converting old office buildings to apartments beyond the design limitations.  

    By Leslie Shaver • April 4, 2022
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    Courtesy of Sound Transit
    Deep Dive

    Transit-oriented development catches on as cities need to boost ridership and housing supply

    Cities are opting to build mixed-use developments near public transportation, but experts in Seattle, Atlanta and elsewhere say getting it right is a big challenge.

    By Adina Solomon • April 1, 2022
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    DianeBentleyRaymond via Getty Images

    IDC names 17 winners for its 2022 North America Smart City Awards

    From Schenectady, New York, to Santa Ana, California, the group recognized smart city accomplishments across 14 categories for its fifth annual awards.

    By March 30, 2022
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    Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

    Affordable housing funding would expand in Biden's FY23 budget

    With no path forward for housing provisions of last year's Build Back Better plan, the administration calls for $50 billion to increase the U.S. affordable housing supply and expand the federal Housing Choice Voucher program.

    By March 29, 2022
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    Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

    Nearly $45B for climate and clean energy included in Biden's proposed budget

    It calls for investments in zero-emission vehicles and related infrastructure so federal agencies can provide "immediate, clear, and stable" demand. There are also carveouts for electrifying low-income homes.

    By Ethan Howland • March 29, 2022
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    photosvit/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

    The country's least affordable cities for rent

    U.S. median rent jumped 17.1% in February, marking the seventh month in a row of double-digit increases.

    By Leslie Shaver • March 28, 2022
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    Permission granted by GAF

    Urban heat project to assess impact of scaling up cool pavements

    Following some cities' cool pavements pilots, a new research initiative in one LA neighborhood will aim to measure extreme heat's impacts and implement cooling tech in a 10-square-block area to see how benefits amplify.

    By March 25, 2022
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    cscott4 via Getty Images

    Bidding wars break out in NYC while San Francisco properties struggle

    The major coastal metros, which were the poster children for urban pandemic flight in 2020, are following different paths to recovery.

    By Leslie Shaver • March 23, 2022
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    Joe Raedle/Getty Images via Getty Images
    SXSW 2022

    Habitat for Humanity receives $436M donation to address global housing crisis

    But housing experts say the large donation from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and new advancements in home construction technology will not alone make housing affordable to families in U.S. cities.

    By March 23, 2022
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    David Dee Delgado/Getty Images via Getty Images

    How 'spongy' is your city? Report calls on cities to better assess how they absorb water

    With digital mapping tools, cities can determine their baseline ability to manage rainfall, and in turn work to reduce their reliance on less climate-resilient infrastructure, according to engineering and consulting firm Arup.

    By March 22, 2022
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    knowlesgallery via Getty Images

    Could Zoom towns go bust?

    Money is flowing into cities like Boise, Idaho, but some analysts wonder about the sustainability of their growth.

    By Leslie Shaver • March 22, 2022
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    Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine. (2015). "A pedestrian signal push button" [Photograph]. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.

    Toyota's Woven Planet, NYU create open-source dataset to improve VPR tech for accessibility, autonomy

    To test how visual place recognition technology can help visually impaired pedestrians, autonomous vehicles and delivery robots better navigate cities, the project captured over 200,000 images of part of an NYC neighborhood.

    By March 21, 2022
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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images via Getty Images

    6 cities set to add the highest percentage of new apartments in 2022

    Nashville, Phoenix and Austin, Texas, will build 6% new inventory this year, as apartment construction is projected to hit a 30-year high.

    By Leslie Shaver • March 8, 2022
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    Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

    Apartment sales jumped 128% last year, good luck finding one

    The pandemic widened the gap between apartments and other sectors, as apartments were flooded with applications from people moving to new areas. But are the industry's high prices here to stay?

    By Leslie Shaver • March 7, 2022