Planet earth vs. roads: The epic conflict that will define the future of the world – Salon.com

L.A. Road Network

The great age of road-building is only beginning. By 2050, we will have added 15 million miles of new road to the planet — a 60 percent increase in four decades over our current total, amassed over the past 5,000 years. Nine-tenths of that network will be built in the developing world – in the basins of the Amazon and Congo Rivers, and the jungles of South Asia and Oceania.

via Planet earth vs. roads: The epic conflict that will define the future of the world – Salon.com.

Phonehenge West creator jailed: When folk art and building codes collide – CSMonitor.com

The builder of a fantastical fortress in the Mojave Desert has been sentenced to jail for failing to pay for the demolition of his lifes work. Why art isnt sacred in the eyes of code enforcers.

via Phonehenge West creator jailed: When folk art and building codes collide – CSMonitor.com.

New Urbanism: Same Old Social Engineering : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education

New Urbanism’s tenets are simple: Suburban life undermines a sense of community. People spend too much time in their own private space and in their automobiles. Communities should be built at much higher densities. People should be able to walk from their homes to stores.They should be able to hop on a bus or a rail line rather than take their car. Every town should have a vibrant and hip central area, and there should be open space between towns. Cities should grow mostly within existing urban boundaries. Each urban area would have a core, with growth occurring in an orderly diameter around it. Neighborhoods should be diverse, ethnically and economically.

via New Urbanism: Same Old Social Engineering : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education.

Fmr. Thatcher advisor Lord Monckton evicted from UN climate summit after challenging global warming — ‘Escorted from the hall and security officers stripped him of his UN credentials’ | Climate Depot

After the news conference, and as diplomats gathered for the climate conference president’s assessment of how close countries are to agreement, Monckton quietly slipped into the seat reserved for the delegation of Myanmar and clicked the button to speak.

“In the 16 years we have been coming to these conferences, there has been no global warming,” Monckton said as confused murmurs filled the hall and then turned into a chorus of boos.

via Fmr. Thatcher advisor Lord Monckton evicted from UN climate summit after challenging global warming — 'Escorted from the hall and security officers stripped him of his UN credentials' | Climate Depot.

New York Failed to Heed Advice from Local Storm Experts: Build Sea Walls to Avoid Floods – NYTimes.com

This article appeared on September 10, 2011 in the New York Times, calling for swift action on building disaster-mitigating infrastructure such as “sea walls” around New York City, to prevent Sandy-force hurricane damage post-Irene one year before. As this article shows, one year and almost two months before Superstorm Sandy hit, storm experts were already worried about how vulnerable New York and its environs were to increasingly-violent coastal storm events, now rendered even more so in Sandy’s wake. While some planning experts are calling for 100-year planning horizons, the city had been in the process of spending more than $2 billion over the course of 18 years, clearly a drop in the needs bucket, and too late for Sandy and its aftermath just one year later.

In this Aug. 28, 2011, file photo, a biker makes his way around a taxi stranded in floodwaters of Hurricane Irene, downgraded to a tropical storm, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

Only a year ago, [city officials] point out, the city shut down the subway system and ordered the evacuation of 370,000 people as Hurricane Irene barreled up the Atlantic coast. Ultimately, the hurricane weakened to a tropical storm and spared the city, but it exposed how New York is years away from — and billions of dollars short of — armoring itself. “They lack a sense of urgency about this,” said Douglas Hill, an engineer with the Storm Surge Research Group at Stony Brook University, on Long Island. Instead of “planning to be flooded,” as he put it, city, state and federal agencies should be investing in protection like sea gates that could close during a storm and block a surge from Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean into the East River and New York Harbor.

via New York Faces Rising Seas and Slow City Action – NYTimes.com.

Sadly, Hill’s words have been proven true.

New Jersey agonizes over whether to rebuild shore – Salon.com

The phrase “Jersey Shore” is taking on a new meaning, emblematic of disaster recovery.

…environmentalists and shoreline planners urged the state to think about how – and if – to redevelop the shoreline as it faces an even greater threat of extreme weather.

“The next 50 to 100 years are going to be very different than what we’ve seen in the past 50 years,” said S. Jeffress Williams, a scientist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Woods Hole Science Center in Massachusetts.

The sea level is rising fast, and destructive storms are occurring more frequently, said Williams, who expects things to get even worse.

He and other shoreline advocates say the state should consider how to protect coastal areas from furious storms when they rebuild it, such as relocating homes and businesses farther from the shore, building more seawalls and keeping sand dunes high.

How to rebuild after the disaster is becoming an issue even as New Jersey assesses its damage.

via New Jersey agonizes over whether to rebuild shore – Salon.com.

Commuters Snatch Up Bicycles in Storm’s Wake – US Business News – CNBC

In New York’s transportation woes, there is finally a silver lining. New Yorkers are biking and carpooling in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on all modes of motorized transportation.

In the midst of congested transit left in Super Storm Sandy’s wake, more New Yorkers are opting to ride bicycles.

“Yesterday we outsold our busiest summer Saturday,” said Emily Samstag, manager of Bicycle Habitat in Brooklyn, speaking to a surge in bike-related sales just one day after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast. “Our first customer walked in and said: ‘The subways are down so I have to buy a bike’. That was standard all morning.”

via Commuters Snatch Up Bicycles in Storm's Wake – US Business News – CNBC.

Gasoline Runs Short, Adding Woes to Storm Recovery – NYTimes.com

Gasoline shortages point to another good reason to develop towns where employment centers, park and recreation facilities, grocery stores and housing are within walking distance. Community gardens are also important in this regard, although the flooding would have destroyed these. In any event, communities need to meet their needs without requiring an automobile trip to do so. Bicycle lanes and bicycle ownership by every family member are another good idea.

Four days after Hurricane Sandy, the effort to secure enough gas for the region moved to the forefront of recovery work. The problems affected even New York City, where the Taxi Commission warned that the suddenly indispensable fleet of yellow cabs would thin significantly Friday because of the fuel shortage.</p>

via Gasoline Runs Short, Adding Woes to Storm Recovery – NYTimes.com.

Sandy: Coastal City Disasters Increasingly Costly

We need a paradigm shift away from city building within shouting distance of the ocean as well as interconnected power grids, especially in the case of a megalopolis like New York and even large cities like New Orleans. Can you think of other ones that are at risk?

So what will this storm ultimately cost the U.S. economy?  Well, Fox News is reporting that the total cost could reach 45 billion dollars.  Others estimate that the economic toll may be even higher than that.

via 18 Startling Quotes About The Incredible Destruction Caused By Hurricane Sandy.