A Desert City's Sustainability Turnaround

From a sustainable city perspective, historians may someday note November 2011 as a pivotal point in Phoenix's history. It marked the publication of the book Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World's Least Sustainable City, Andrew Ross's scathing narrative disparaging Phoenix's public- and private-sector leadership for fast-growth/low-density policies that created an unsustainable urban environment.

That same month, former city council member Greg Stanton won election as Phoenix's mayor. Among the many challenges he accepted when taking office was repairing the city's environmental-sustainability image. "My personal conviction led me to only one course of action," Stanton explained, "and that was to change our direction." READ MORE

Are We on the Way to 100 Percent Renewable Energy?

Americans may be divided on partisan and ideological lines, but on at least one issue they agree: Support for clean renewable energy just keeps growing. In a March 2015 Gallup Poll, for example, 79 percent said they wanted the nation to use more solar energy, while 70 percent wanted to see more of the energy we use come from wind.


Gender Parity’s Untapped Economic Potential

Every revolution begins with a desire for fundamental change. Ideas are debated, options narrowed, strategy planned and a blueprint for action developed. Supporters are enlisted. A storyline created. Resources are mobilized. And the revolution begins.

A report published by McKinsey Global International in April imagines a workforce revolution with gender parity as the outcome. "The Power of Parity: Advancing Women's Equality in the United States" estimates that realizing the full potential of women in the workforce could boost GDP in the United States by 0.8 percent in just nine years. That amounts to $2.1 trillion, and it's a conservative estimate. Every state and local government has the opportunity to add at least 5 percent to its economic output, and half of the states could increase their GDP by 10 percent, McKinsey's researchers conclude. READ MORE

Getting Smart About Waste

With the advent of the Internet of Things, it may seem that technology can make virtually anything "smart." We hear regularly about intelligent transportation systems, electrical grids and vehicles. But what about waste? Can technology make waste smart?


The Unsettled World of the Automobile

Planning for transportation and other infrastructure needs isn't easy under the best of circumstances. When you add in the escalating influence of smart technologies, it becomes even harder, so it's no surprise that 78 cities vied for funding in the federal government's transportation-focused "Smart City Challenge." For transportation planners, an increasingly important piece of the long-range-planning puzzle is the impact of ride-sharing and car-sharing services.