Top Five New Posts on Pollution Free Cities in 2013


  1. The Significant Role of Public Participation in Urban Sustainability Issues

Who Governs in Cities: Business Interests or Public Advocacy for Sustainability?(21 page pdf, Jeffrey M. Berry and Kent E. Portney, Sustainability, May7, 2013)

Today we review an analysis of the way that 50 cities in the USA performs in terms of economic growth and sustainability and the role of public advocacy and business groups in their governance. It concludes that economic growth is a necessary condition to allow for the inclusion of the public input in developing sustainable urban policies in cities such as Portland or Seattle. As a side note, the article points out the striking difference in the roles of public and business advocacy at the national vs. the local level- and the difference this makes in how cities are governed.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

2. Monitoring Roadside Air Pollution and Urban Health Impacts

Evolution of Air Pollution Monitoring in Ottawa (60 slide ppt, Natty Urquizo and Martha Robinson, Upwind Downwind Conference 2012, Hamilton, ON, Feb. 27, 2012)

Also discussed here: Ottawa Air Quality Information System(10 page pdf, Natividad Urquizo, Daniel Spitzer, William Pugsley and Martha Robinson, 44th Annual Congress of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, Ottawa, ON, May 29-June 4, 2010)

And here: Mapping Small Scale Air Pollution Distribution using Satellite Observations an a Large Canadian City(6 page pdf, Natividad Urquizo; D. Spitzer; W. Pugsley and M. Robinson, 11th Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry of the annual conference of the American Meteorological Society at Phoenix AZ, Jan. 12, 2009)

And here: Is Air Quality Affecting Your Health?(John Lorinc, UofT Magazine, Jan. 11, 2013)

Today we review a paper presented at the biannual Upwind-Downwind Conference in Hamilton that describes the development of a fairly unique urban air quality program. The program was given a boost in 2007 by a project that combined satellite air quality data  from space with observations from a dozen ground stations to produce maps at 10 km resolution at 10 minute intervals for a year over the national capital area (which includes the twin cities of Ottawa and Gatineau). Further applications of these data with real-time traffic flow data allowed for mapping down to the street level in downtown Ottawa and assessments of health impacts near these roads which showed that over 50% of schools and old age homes are located within 50 m of heavy traffic, placing the most vulnerable residents at risk from vehicle emissions. A new program has just been announced by the University of Toronto to examine similar applications of roadside emissions and health impacts in Canada’s largest city.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

3. How Can the World deal with Climate Change and Overpopulation?

Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?(10 page pdf, Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Jan. 8, 2013)

Today we review a paper written by ecologist Paul Ehrlich on his election to the Royal Society in 2012. He assesses the prospects for survival of human civilization as we know it, faced with overpopulation, increasing consumption of natural resources and a growing set of interacting and serious challenges that slowly but persistently threaten to overwhelm society’s ability to cope. One apt observation about this state of affairs is the difficulty in dealing with slow, almost imperceptible, changes, given that the magnitude of the responses needed become greater with time- something that many short term political thinkers have difficulty with.

This leads to the suggestion for “foresight intelligence”- an approach that looks at the various scenarios possible or likely and where these lead so that the re4sults of various policies can be evaluated in advance. It strikes this reviewer that thinking about change is needed from the bottom-up rather than leaving it all to action and policy at the global level because it is in urban centres where most people live and where the impacts of inaction are so often first felt and where a change in energy use and consumption can probably best be achieved.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

4. Vehicle Emissions and Water Quality

Understanding Atmospheric Deposition in Tampa Bay(3 page pdf, Bay Region Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (BRACE))

Also discussed here: From the Tailpipe to Tampa Bay: Air Pollution Research Reveals Impact of Cars(Bradenton Times, Dec. 17, 2012)

Vehicle emissions not only cause harmful health impacts for people near them but they also affect the quality of the water near urban areas by adding nitrogen dioxides to the water off the coast which promotes algae growth, starving the fish of oxygen. Today we review a report from Tampa on the amount of nitrogen oxides reaching the water from the atmosphere, mainly from vehicle emissions that pollute Tampa Bay. Many of the same strategies for improving urban air quality on land apply here as well for water quality: more low emission vehicles, more monitoring of dry deposition and reestablish atmospheric monitoring stations. As EPA notes: “driving a car is a typical citizen’s most polluting daily activity.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

5. How Does Urban Population Growth Affect Health in China and Elsewhere?

Urbanisation and health in China (10 page pdf, Peng Gong, Song Liang, Elizabeth J Carlton, Qingwu Jiang, Jianyong Wu, Lei Wang, Justin V Remais, The Lancet, Mar. 3, 2012)

Today we review the state of the environment and health in the most quickly growing (and largest) cities in the world that have come about because of a massive shift from rural  to urban areas where migrants make up 40% of  the population. A major health threat comes from the parallel increase in industry and increase in the use of vehicles which affect outdoor air quality and is the cause of 400,000 premature deaths each year which becomes even more critical in a society that is aging faster (and is older) than the global average (by 2050, median age expected to be 50 vs 38 years). The paper under review calls for more stringent regulation of industrial and vehicle emissions.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

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