Buildings & Design

  • Smoke rises from the skyscrapers along Chicago's lakefront.
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    Kamil Krzaczynski via Getty Images

    Chicago passes updated building energy code to support decarbonization

    Starting in November, new building designs must adhere to stronger energy-efficiency and electrification standards as the city seeks to mitigate one of its major sources of emissions.

    By Sept. 29, 2022
  • Los Angeles's downtown skyline enveloped in smog.
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    David McNew via Getty Images

    California could phase out gas heaters by 2030 to cut smog

    The home and building appliances are “an underappreciated driver of unhealthy air quality in California cities,” non-profit advocates say in a report Tuesday, as state regulators consider only allowing zero-emissions alternatives.

    By Sept. 20, 2022
  • XL Construction is erecting a mass timber office building for Google at Moffett Park in Sunnyvale, California
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    Courtesy of XL Construction

    150 years after the Great Chicago Fire, mass timber buildings are making a comeback

    Now equipped with fire-resistant technologies, a planned Chicago high-rise is among the latest building projects in the U.S. utilizing the carbon-sequestering building material.

    By Stephenie Overman • Sept. 16, 2022
  • An factory worker with an electric car motor on an assembly line.
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    Aranga87 via Getty Images

    Advanced mobility, mass timber projects chosen in $1B federal regional challenge

    The American Rescue Plan’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge will support joint efforts to use mass timber to accelerate affordable housing, spur American manufacturing for advanced mobility, and much more.

    By Sept. 9, 2022
  • Renderings of an alley that is part of Detroit's Arts Alleys initiative
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    Permission granted by Detroit Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship

    How 3 cities are using public art for neighborhood revitalization

    Community engagement, economic development and beautification are just some of the benefits of investing in local artists and public art, city and nonprofit leaders say.

    By Karen Kroll • Sept. 6, 2022
  • Modern tower buildings or skyscrapers in financial district with cloud on sunny day in Chicago, USA.
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    ASKA via Getty Images

    Arup, startup are building smart city modeling tools to maximize energy efficiency

    With Matidor, the partners seek to help civil engineers see the environmental impact and energy efficiency of what they’re developing in real time.

    By Sept. 2, 2022
  • A rendering of Denver's 16th Street Mall renovation project.
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    Permission granted by City and County of Denver

    Denver wants to return its downtown to pre-pandemic vibrancy

    The Mile High City is using federal COVID-19 recovery funds to aid its efforts in transforming the busy business district into a neighborhood. 

    By Sept. 1, 2022
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    Drew Angerer via Getty Images

    NYC’s most critical infrastructure now and for the next 100 years

    The New York Building Congress outlined which rail, road, bridge and other projects will grow the city's economy and help it adapt to climate change.

    By Sebastian Obando • Aug. 24, 2022
  • Modern tower buildings or skyscrapers in financial district with cloud on sunny day in Chicago, USA.
    Image attribution tooltip
    ASKA via Getty Images

    Growing building sector carbon emissions threaten 2050 net-zero goal, report warns

    U.S. economywide greenhouse gas emissions fell 12% from 2005 to 2019, but direct emissions from the building sector were higher, according to an Information Technology and Innovation Foundation report this week.

    By Robert Walton • Aug. 24, 2022
  • Miami Florida's downtown district shot from an altitude of about 1000 feet over the Biscayne Bay during a helicopter photo flight.
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    Art Wager via Getty Images

    Miami-Dade issues RFP for $10B downtown redevelopment

    County leaders liken the vision for the MetroCenter project to Hudson Yards in New York City and the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco.

    By Sebastian Obando • Aug. 22, 2022
  • President Biden signs the Inflation Reduction Act surrounded by members of congress and backed by American flags in the White House.
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    Drew Angerer via Getty Images

    How cities can prepare for the Inflation Reduction Act’s climate opportunities

    With billions of dollars for energy efficiency upgrades, urban park enhancements and more signed into law this week, experts share tips on how cities can start preparing for funding opportunities now.

    By Aug. 19, 2022
  • Construction workers work on an infrastructure project.
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    Construction workers work on an infrastructure project. via Getty Images

    ‘Boot camps’ open to help small cities compete for infrastructure grants

    Free technical assistance through the Local Infrastructure Hub aims to help leaders leverage data in grant requests and convey how grants would address federal priorities. Participants will also get one-on-one help, organizers say.

    By Charles Pekow • Updated Aug. 19, 2022
  • 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.
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    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