As they say, you’re either a part of the problem, or a part of the solution.

A recent Grist post illustrates a troubling trend in the 4th estate, where new research indicates the science behind sustainability may be getting short shrift.

According to a new analysis of data released last year, American newspapers are far more likely to publish uncontested claims from climate deniers, many of whom challenge whether the planet is warming at all and are “almost exclusively found” in the U.S. media.

Ambitious projects move forward, however, to literally change the way our modern world is built around us, and transform the fundamentals of future development.

Sustainable Cities Collective pays a visit to London’s newest landmark, a ₤30 million building created to encourage discourse on sustainability issues and to showcase potential solutions.

“’The Crystal’ is a new initiative funded by Siemens and built on former industrial wasteland in London’s Royal Docks, at the heart of the city’s Green Enterprise Zone.  Comprising of a state of the art conference centre, flexible working space, meeting rooms, and a public exhibition surrounding the environmental issues faced by modern cities, the venue is being touted as the first of its kind.  Opening to the public in October, the exhibition uses interactive displays and multi-media information panels to highlight some of the problems global cities are facing; from managing fresh water supplies, to how cities are built and how we get around them.  And whilst promoting some of the engineering solutions being dreamt up in Siemens laboratories, the venue is not afraid to shy away from the facts of burgeoning urban population growth and the competing demands being placed on our increasingly fragile eco-system.  An immersive cinema display that focuses on the accelerating global population in which the participants stand inside – and become part of – the screen is particularly hard hitting.

Closer to home, a recent student-authored Capitol Hill Seattle post takes a look at what has gone into the making of the $30 million Bullitt Center, “an investment that the developers believe will pay for itself over the course of the building’s estimated 250-year life span, a dramatic increase over the 40-year life span of buildings constructed today.”

Here’s hoping that the advancements reflected in these new buildings become commonplace in the next generation of our built environment.
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For Nate it was a summer in New York City that sparked a passion for urban planning, livability, development and transportation issues. He has worked for housing and health care non-profits, mortgage and commercial real estate companies, hospitality and aviation brands as well as transit lines and other government agencies. Nate is a Great City board member.

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