Rethinking Urban Sprawl: Moving Towards Sustainable Cities

Download the publication.

This report provides a new perspective to the nature of urban sprawl and its causes and environmental, social and economic consequences. This perspective, which is based on the multi-dimensionality of urban sprawl, sets the foundations for the construction of new indicators to measure the various facets of urban sprawl.

The report uses new datasets to compute these indicators for more than 1100 urban areas in 29 OECD countries over the period 1990-2014. It then relies on cross-city, country-level and cross-country analyses of these indicators to provide insights into the current situation and evolution of urban sprawl in OECD cities.

In addition, the report offers a critical assessment of the causes and consequences of urban sprawl and discusses policy options to steer urban development to more environmentally sustainable forms.


Rooftop Farming Is More Than a Green Thumb’s Urban Fantasy

Read the full story at the Daily Beast.

Gardens and farms on city roofs are a locavore’s dream—and they do everything from cool buildings to help prevent flooding.

A chemical breakthrough could eat the plastic pollution crisis

Read the full story in Wired.

A new chemical process can liquify plastic. The next challenge? Creating a machine that can recycle the sludge on an industrial scale



SmarterHouse,  a project of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, is a complete and up-to-date guide available on energy savings in the home.

Following a review of measures to tighten up the building shell itself, the site focuses on the things you put in it your home—including major appliances, heating equipment, air conditioning, lighting, and electronics—and how the energy use of those products can be reduced.

If you’re about to buy a new appliance or heating system, you’ll be most interested in the tips on what to look for when buying new equipment. Otherwise, look for guidance on how to get the best energy performance through operation and maintenance of the products you already own.

For further information and updates, they’ve included links directing you to valuable resources provided by the government, trade associations, and other sources.

Industry Builds the Future of Recycling Amid China Ban Woes

Read the full story at Waste360.

SWANA, Waste Management and the city of Fort Worth, Texas, discussed the impact of China’s waste import ban and contamination standard in a recent webinar.

Problem Solving Desperately Needs Systems Thinking

Read the full story from Disruptive Design.

If we want to overcome the systemic issues behind today’s problems, then we need to change the thinking that led to them to begin with. The status quo of how we are taught to think is linear and often reductionist. We learn to break the world down into manageable chunks and see issues in isolation of their systemic roots.

What if U.S. fuel economy standards went away?

Read the full story from Ensia.

As the federal government eases targets, a look at what gas mileage requirements really mean for vehicle mix, greenhouse gas emissions, jobs and more

These tiny little bugs are a harbinger of wetland health — and they’re disappearing

Read the full story from Minnesota Public Radio.

A crustacean that’s a key food source in Minnesota’s wetlands is in trouble — and scientists are intensely studying them in the western half of the state, in an effort to save them.

Oil and Gas Fields Leak Far More Methane than EPA Reports, Study Finds

Read the full story at Inside Climate News.

Higher than expected levels of the potent short-lived climate pollutant raise questions about whether natural gas can be an effective bridge to lower emissions.

Web resources could assist chemical risk management

Read the full story in Environmental Factor.

Two new papers describe publicly accessible web-based tools for exploring environmental chemicals and predicting their risk. These resources will help health policymakers to make faster and more accurate decisions about chemical safety and the need for remediation efforts.

The Conditional Toxicity Value (CTV) Predictor, was described in the May issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. The tool’s web portal allows users to rapidly obtain chemical toxicity values, which are predicted using a collection of statistical models.

The second tool was reported May 22 in the journal Bioinformatics. The ChemMaps.comwebserver allows users to easily browse, navigate, and mine chemical space. includes DrugMap, which lists more than 8,000 drugs, and EnvMap, which lists more than 47,000 chemicals of relevance to NIEHS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).