Inside Trump’s Cruel Campaign Against USDA’s Scientists

Read the full article by Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair.

The folks at the Department of Agriculture laid on a friendly welcome for the Trump transition team, but they soon discovered that most of his appointees were stunningly unqualified. With key U.S.D.A. programs—from food stamps to meat inspection, to grants and loans for rural development, to school lunches—under siege, the agency’s greatest problem is that even the people it helps most don’t know what it does.

A Framework for Local Action on Climate Change

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While climate change affects us all, it hits families living paycheck to paycheck the hardest. In a world of growing inequities, it is not mere coincidence that the poorest among us not only live and work in areas most prone to flooding, heat waves, and other climate change effects but are also least resourced to prepare adequately for and withstand those impacts. Fortunately, city officials and community leaders across the country are taking steps to improve climate change resilience, along with addressing associated economic, racial, and social equity issues. Progress is most notable in the following cities, each of which is featured in this report: Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland; Berkeley, California; Boston, Massachusetts; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; New Bedford, Massachusetts; New York City, New York; Newark, New Jersey; Oakland, California; Portland, Oregon; San Jose, California; Seattle, Washington; Spartanburg, South Carolina; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Toledo, Ohio; and Washington, D.C.

Along with those examples, this report offers recommendations for mayors on designing and implementing strategies to build just and resilient cities and to create new economic opportunities for many of the people left behind by recent economic booms. The report findings reveal that climate change policies and preparedness strategies are most effective, and draw the most support from residents and community groups, if they are designed through inclusive processes and address the intersecting problems of racial, income, and environmental inequalities. In addition, climate solutions are the most successful when city leaders partner with community groups to set priorities and shape those solutions. By embracing strategies that support pathways to a just economy while reducing extreme weather, flooding, and other climate change risks, city officials can expand access to living wages and safe jobs, quality schools and affordable housing, and safe and sustainable neighborhoods.

Saving Coney Island from the roller coaster of climate change

Read the full story from Cornell University.

Through the lens of natural history, Coney Island features marshes, wetlands, creeks and a sandy shore. Today, it’s famous for hot dogs, crowded beaches, Mermaid Avenue and Luna Park.

As sea levels rise, the Coney Island peninsula is in danger of becoming uninhabitable.

Cornell landscape architecture graduate students are wrestling with the island’s tenable, livable resilience in the face of nature aiming to reclaim it.

How cities can fight climate change most effectively

Read the full story from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

What are the best ways for U.S. cities to combat climate change? A new study co-authored by an MIT professor indicates it will be easier for cities to reduce emissions coming from residential energy use rather than from local transportation — and this reduction will happen mostly thanks to better building practices, not greater housing density.

Opinion: As communities rebuild after disaster, we must keep nature in mind

Read the full story from Ensia.

To minimize future harm, protecting nature and the services it provides should be at the top of our post-disaster to-do list.

9 projects that reimagine old buildings, from factories to firehouses

Read the full story at Curbed.

Adaptive reuse can mean a lot of different things, from reinventing an old school building to repurposing shipping containers as homes. At its core, the concept is about repurposing an old building into something new.

But adaptive reuse differs from renovation in one important way: Not only are buildings transformed, but this second life is drastically different in purpose from the first. Factories are converted into offices, warehouses into shopping markets. And in famous examples like the High Line, old, dilapidated railroads became linear parks that spark a newly revitalized neighborhood.

Adaptive reuse allows cities to take a second look at old spaces, especially those that are abandoned or located along struggling, industrial waterfronts. It can also be a key way to preserve historic spaces and reduce urban sprawl; why build a new office space or hotel in the suburbs when you could breathe new life into an old structure?

To see how different spaces are being repurposed in cities across the U.S., we’ve rounded up nine creative adaptive reuse projects. While in no way comprehensive, this list shows the diversity and architectural possibilities that come from repurposing things like old factories, wharfs, and power plants in new ways.


Buyouts Won’t Be the Answer for Many Frequent Flooding Victims

Read the full story from ProPublica.

Even after Hurricane Harvey, the best efforts by Harris County officials to purchase the most flood-prone homes won’t make a dent in the larger problem — worsening flooding, and a buyout program that can’t keep up.