Discover “50 Ways to Help the Planet”

Wire and Twine, a company that makes cute, eco-friendly clothing, has brought out a well-designed list of “50 Ways to Help the Planet.” Sure, there are plenty of lists of “green” activities and strategies out there, but these are both fun and friendly. Send them on to your ecologically-incorrect friends and family and feel good about yourself. The Dirt’s favorite? “Number 21: Second-hand doesn’t mean second-best.”

Gas Prices Surge, So Does Mass Transit Ridership

Here’s some not-so-surprising news for the smart growth crowd: mass transit systems around the country have seen strong ridership growth in the past few months. The likely culprit? Historically high gas prices. From the NY Times:

“Some cities with long-established public transit systems, like New York and Boston, have seen increases in ridership of 5 percent or more so far this year. But the biggest surges — of 10 to 15 percent or more over last year — are occurring in many metropolitan areas in the South and West where the driving culture is strongest and bus and rail lines are more limited.”

With gas prices high and no expectation of them coming back down, is it time for a serious discussion about transit planning?

Also: check out interactive “Crude Oil Prices: 1861-2008” chart. It’s incredible.

Cooper-Hewitt Announces Winners of Ninth Annual National Design Awards

The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum announced the winners and finalists of the 2008 National Design Awards, which recognize excellence across a variety of disciplines, including landscape architecture.  Their Landscape Design Award is given to an individual or firm for exceptional and exemplary work in urban planning or park and garden design. This year’s winner is Olin Partnership. The two finalists were Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and Stoss Landscape Urbanism. Check out all the winners in all the categories here.

National Bike-to-Work Week, May 12-16

The Dirt
admits that his much-loved mountain bike has languished in a shed for many, many years, but he is planning to dig it out from behind the lawn mower in order to participate in this year’s National Bike-To-Work Week. Organized by the League of American Bicyclists, the week advocates for people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes for their work commutes. Check out the 50 ways to celebrate the week here [pdf link].

So, Dirt readers, do any of you currently bike to work? If so, let us know in the comments!

Metropolis Asks “What To Do with a Shrinking City?”

Here’s a fascinating problem for the urban design crowd: Youngstown, Ohio, has lost nearly 100,000 of its citizens since the 1970s. The current city is plagued with an excess of infrastructure and does not have the tax base to pay for its upkeep. Now the city has pinned its hopes on “Youngstown 2010” a “comprehensive plan to reduce nonessential infrastructure, attract new businesses, and rehab deteriorated and abandoned spaces.” Metropolis magazine covered the plan in late 2006 in “The Incredible Shrinking City.” Anyone been to Youngstown recently and want to report on how the town is doing? Sound off in the comments!