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vertical-forest-nanjing

The rise of the forest city

Here’s a nice update on a previous building of the week – Bosco Verticale, the residential tower blocks in Milan that were designed to create a ‘vertical forest’. After the success of that project, architect Stefano Boeri has had a lot of interest in the idea and a number of other projects have been suggested. Unsurprising, […]

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small-trump1

Patriots pay tax

Last year my friend and fellow Lutonian Andy Flanagan hatched the #PatriotsPayTax campaign with the team at Christians on the Left. This week they’ve launched a campaign video and a petition calling for a dedicated business unit within HMRC, Britain’s tax authority. The department is currently under-resourced, making it impossible to effectively chase up corporations […]

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empire-of-things

Book review: Empire of Things, by Frank Trentmann

I’ve read a lot of books on consumerism, some I would recommend and many I wouldn’t. I thought I had a pretty good handle on the subject until I read Empire of Things: How we became a world of consumers, from the fifteenth century to the 21st. Frank Trentmann rightly points out that the historical […]

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ethiopia-street

Guest post: Leapfrogging in Ethiopia – myth or reality?

A couple of weeks ago I heard Steve Baines present some findings from his MA on low carbon development in Ethiopia. That’s a country I’ve had my eye on, and I asked Steve if he’d share his work in a guest post. It addresses one of the most pressing questions in development: Leapfrogging – Myth […]

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addis-light-rail

Addis Ababa’s light rail

A couple of years ago there was a viral video doing the rounds that showed a traffic junction in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Several lanes of traffic converge with no traffic lights, and then negotiate their way as best they can. It’s presented as comedy, but it’s hard not to wince at the danger, especially when […]

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learned-this-week

What we learned this week

The New Weather Institute has been doing the kind of listening exercise the government has failed to do since Brexit, and written it up in a new report. Well worth a read. As Britain continues to push for fracking, what can we learn from the campaign to stop coal seam gas in Australia? Can you […]

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9foundations

The 9 foundations of a healthy building

This week I was talking to a family member about ‘sick building syndrome‘, a vague but nonetheless real phenomenon where a building makes people feel uncomfortable or unwell. There was a famous example in Stoke-on-Trent when I lived there. Unity House was built in 1973 as a new home for the council, but from the […]

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phone

How mobile phones reduce carbon emissions

Most of us in Britain have a smartphone these days, and that’s increasingly true internationally. There are 2.6 billion mobile subscriptions in the world, and while not everyone owns one, an estimated 6 billion people have access to a phone. As the UN noted a couple of years ago, more people have access to a […]

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china-air-pollution

Under the dome – China’s air pollution

There’s quite a lot of attention on air pollution at the moment in Britain, which is a good thing – the problem has been largely ignored for a long time. The other day I had an email from a campaigning organisation. It was asking for funds to help fight the air pollution ‘crisis’, which made […]

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sweden-forest

Sweden joins the race for carbon neutrality

The race to be the world’s first zero carbon country kicked off a few years ago now. For a while the Maldives looked like a good bet, then there was a political coup. Costa Rica was in the lead before changes in government watered down targets, while New Zealand turned out to be all talk. […]

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