Buildings & Design

  • Buildings in downtown Boston at sunset.
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    Elijah-Lovkoff via Getty Images

    Boston aims to eliminate fossil fuels in new buildings

    The city’s chance to set new building standards comes from the climate bill the Massachusetts governor signed last week, which extends that opportunity to 10 municipalities in the state. 

    By Aug. 17, 2022
  • The United States Capitol in February 2020
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    Megan Quinn/Smart Cities Dive

    Support for housing efficiency upgrades, urban parks, drought resilience poised to become law

    With the House sending the Inflation Reduction Act to the president’s desk, some climate leaders say the onus will shift to local governments to execute on key initiatives.

    By Aug. 15, 2022
  • Gradient heat pump units showing on the exterior of a residential building.
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    Courtesy of Gradient

    New York public housing is poised for electric heating and cooling upgrades from a California startup

    Vince Romanin, the CEO of Gradient, discusses the market for heat pumps and a New York City Housing Authority contract to rethink HVAC for residents vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

    By Aug. 10, 2022
  • Buildings in Bethesda, Maryland.
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    DenisTangneyJr via Getty Images

    Building performance standards momentum slowly grows in the wake of White House efforts

    A Maryland county’s policy represents one of the only major updates so far, but more localities have said they’ll pursue standards. Funds in the Inflation Reduction Act could provide new incentives to decarbonize buildings.

    By Aug. 8, 2022
  • A series of tall office buildings.
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    franckreporter via Getty Images

    Yardi: Office-to-multifamily conversions pose cost, logistical challenges

    Despite predictions earlier in the pandemic, these conversions have proven to be a “slow, niche trend” that largely delivers high-end housing.

    By Mary Salmonsen • Aug. 8, 2022
  • An artist's rendering of a city streetscape. A high-tech car approaches a crosswalk as pedestrians pass by.
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    gremlin via Getty Images

    Together, EVs, AVs and multimodal transportation will create more vibrant cities

    Gas stations, subway stations, parking garages and roads are among the city features we can reimagine as new mobility technologies change how we get from point A to point B, writes a leading exec at Gensler.

    By Andy Cohen • Aug. 5, 2022
  • A modern, mid-rise apartment building with a wood and white panel facade.
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    Colleen Michaels via Getty Images

    To meet demand, US needs 4.3M more apartments by 2035

    The nation lost 4.7 million affordable units between 2015 and 2020, and now faces a 600,000-unit deficit, according to a new study.

    By Mary Salmonsen • Aug. 4, 2022
  • Concept rendering of the proposed City of Telosa.
    Image attribution tooltip
    Permission granted by BIG and Bucharest Studio

    For his new smart desert city, billionaire Marc Lore eyes Nevada, Utah and Arizona

    During a town hall in New York City, the founder and his team envisioned Telosa having dozens of “15-minute cities” and a resident-controlled endowment to help pay for government services.

    By Adina Solomon • July 29, 2022
  • Two construction workers in reflective vests and blue hard hats stand on scaffolding.
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    Scott Barbour via Getty Images

    The top 10 US metro areas for construction starts

    The value of the commercial and multifamily sectors rose in top metro areas in the first half of 2022, per a new report.

    By Julie Strupp • July 28, 2022
  • An engineer checks the installation of  heat pump on a model house.
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    Leon Neal/Getty Images via Getty Images

    Electric heat pumps will be the cheapest clean option to heat most US homes by 2030: ACEEE

    To advance the transition to carbon-free heating, a report calls for additional research and development, incentives and grants to support installation, minimum efficiency standards for heating equipment, and other policies.

    By Robert Walton • July 28, 2022
  • Wildfire smoke lingers over the city of Portland, Oregon, in August 2021.
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    Nathan Howard via Getty Images

    To address its climate emergency, Portland, Oregon, lays out a 43-step plan

    Creating resilience hubs and replacing petroleum diesel at the pump are among the top actions city officials intend to pursue in the coming years after declaring a climate emergency in 2020. 

    By July 26, 2022
  • Massachusetts passes 'landmark' climate bill to decarbonize buildings, transportation

    The bill in part requires annual energy usage reports from buildings 20,000 square feet or larger and creates a pilot for 10 municipalities to offer fossil fuel-free home renovations, targeting affordable housing and multifamily housing.

    By Iulia Gheorghiu • July 25, 2022
  • Traffic moves along Interstate 80 on November 27, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

    San Francisco ranked the world's most expensive city for construction

    The city overtakes Tokyo as inflation and supply chain snarls affect markets across the globe.

    By Matthew Thibault • July 8, 2022
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    Nathan Howard via Getty Images

    Switching to efficient electric heat pumps and appliances could save Oregon $1.1B through 2050, study finds

    In Portland, for instance, households that electrify could save $161 a year on energy compared to homes that burn gas. Meanwhile, the city of Eugene is pursuing a local policy to wean developers off natural gas in new construction.

    By Kavya Balaraman • July 6, 2022
  • Leica Geosystems' new second generation BLK360 device.
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    Permission granted by Leica Geosystems

    High-speed reality capture tool holds sustainability, preservation potential for cities

    Using quick scanning technology, the latest generation of Leica Geosystems’ BLK360 device can help cities create digital twins that can be used in sustainability initiatives and for maintaining existing infrastructure.

    By Melissa Goldin • June 29, 2022
  • Windmill farm in the desert at sunset in Palm Springs, California with power lines going to the city.
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    Gunther Fraulob via Getty Images

    California needs to triple historical decarbonization rates to meet 2030 carbon target, report finds

    “The key takeaway is that California is leaving beneficial, earlier action on the table,” said Chris Busch, research director with Energy Innovation and primary author of the report. 

    By Kavya Balaraman • June 17, 2022
  • Skyscrapers in Hong Kong.
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    CHUNYIP WONG via Getty Images

    All signs point to a 'growing appetite' for digital twins: report

    Implementation is expected to increase 36% over the next five years, according to a Capgemini Research Institute report. But one smart city expert cautions city leaders against falling for the technology's "hype.”

    By June 8, 2022
  • NOAA
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    "Imaging of Tropical Storm Ida on Aug. 30.". Retrieved from NOAA.

    As storm season begins, White House building code initiative aims to cut energy waste, build resilient homes

    Hazard-resistant building codes can reduce energy waste and make communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    By Robert Walton • June 7, 2022
  • New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner Jessica S. Tisch unveil the city’s first containerized waste bins in a New York City commercial district,
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    Permission granted by NYC Department of Sanitation

    NYC business improvement districts adapt to expansion of waste containerization pilot

    The Times Square Alliance, one early adopter, continues to install containers for garbage bags to improve aesthetics and decrease rodents and litter, but questions remain about barriers to participation for some groups.

    By June 6, 2022
  • A view of the Los Angeles skyline in early morning haze.
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    Dan Zukowski/Smart Cities Dive

    Los Angeles pilots digital twin project to aid building decarbonization

    Digital twin platform Cityzenith is teaming up with Los Angeles to help construct a virtual replica of a section of the city to help make its buildings more sustainable and reduce carbon emissions.

    By Melissa Goldin • June 3, 2022
  • Ithaca, NY welcome sign
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    Robert Walton/Smart Cities Dive
    Deep Dive

    Inside Ithaca's plan to electrify 6,000 buildings and grow a regional green workforce using private equity funds

    The city has mustered $105 million in private funds to support low-cost loans for businesses and residents to install heat pumps.

    By Robert Walton • June 3, 2022
  • An image of the proposed Bally casino in Chicago, Illinois.
    Image attribution tooltip
    Permission granted by Bally's Corporation

    US cities look to casinos for economic development

    Most projects promise revenue and jobs, while Chicago's newly approved casino development reflects an emerging focus on equity. Experts weigh in on how to set urban casinos up for success.

    By June 1, 2022
  • Panoramic aerial view of upscale suburbs in Atlanta during the golden hour.
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    Rajesh Pandit via Getty Images

    The 'time-honored tradition' of opposing affordable multifamily housing in US cities

    Shawnee, Kansas, city councilors recently passed a rule banning co-living groups. Similar policies and other opposition to local zoning reform are perpetuating the country's housing crisis, housing experts say. 

    By May 31, 2022
  • New homes construction site. Framed houses. Lumber. Building. - stock photo.
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    fstop123 via Getty Images

    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