Ideas for Sustainable Cities: The Ten Most Popular Blog Posts of 2012


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2012 has been another great year here at This Big City. We picked up our 100,000th follower over on Tumblr, saw a 100% increase in website traffic, and published over 250 new articles. Of those 250, the following ten posts proved the most popular. From small-scale placemaking to high-tech ideas, historic buildings to modern architecture so crazy it has to be fictional (but isn’t), these ten posts cover a range of issues associated with sustainable cities. Which is pretty much what we try to do all year round. Here’s the rundown:

10: New Technology Pipes Daylight into Windowless Rooms by Alan Fookes

Innovative technology promises to deliver natural daylight to windowless spaces through a series of high-tech pipes. A mirror tracks the sun throughout the day, reflecting its rays onto a parabolic dish, which then focuses the reflected daylight into a small ‘light pipe’ aperture. The concentrated light then travels through a series of relay lenses over any distance and in any direction. More here.

9: Seven Ideas From Tokyo for Child-Friendly Spaces by Chris Berthelsen


If we want to begin to understand how children live in their environment, and what they do (and can do) we must (at least sometimes) stop giving them things and instead give them the opportunity to show us the spaces in which they move around. More here.

8: The Future of the City: Crowdsourcing and Gamification for City 2.0 by Kyle Rogler

The current SimCity video game represents the traditional top-down mentality toward urban planning where a single player influences every decision in the design of a city. But by combining gaming and crowdsourcing, a new kind of Simulated City could exist. One where citizens can actively participate in fulfilling the potential of their own city. More here.

7: How Ancient Persian Architecture Captured Wind Energy Underground to Green Buildings by Elyana Javaheri

Environmentally conscious buildings have been around for much longer than the public debut of our modern environmental crisis. Since the early 19th century, residents of Yazd, Iran, have been using wind as an alternative energy source to cool their homes on warm summer days. More here.

6: How Citizen Mapmakers are Changing the Story of our Cities by Christine McLaren

From people’s kisses in Toronto, to the concentration of pizza joints in New York, to the number of women who ride bikes, to the likelihood of being killed by a car in any given American city, the list of lenses through which we can now view our cities and neighborhoods goes on, thanks to data-mapping geeks. More here.

5: Ten of the Best Urbanism Facebook Pages by Joe Peach


Want to use Facebook for more than just keeping up with your friends? Easy! There’s plenty of pages worth giving your valuable like to – including This Big City! Go on, you know you want to: . Here’s ten more of our favourites.

4: Ten of the Best Urbanism Blogs on Tumblr by Joe Peach


There’s a great community of urbanism bloggers on Tumblr, and choosing our ten favourites was no easy task, especially after we asked our followers to nominate themselves for an extra look-in. But we did it. Here’s ten of our favourite urbanism Tumblogs.

3: Five of the World’s Biggest Cities by Joe Peach

As the world urbanises and our lifestyles evolve, cities are getting bigger. And I’m not just talking about population sizes. We kicked off a fortnight of themed posts on Megacities and Microcities by taking a look at five of the world’s ‘biggest’ cities. More here.

2: Five of the World’s Smallest Cities by Joe Peach

For the first time ever, the majority of the world’s population live in cities. But whilst Asian megacities get most of the column inches, what makes a city varies wildly. This could be considered the antidote to our third most-popular post. It’s five of the world’s ‘smallest’ cities. More here.

1: World’s First Vertical Forest Under Construction in Milan by Catherine de Lange

In Milan, a forest will soon be planted in the sky. Building works for a pair of skyscrapers that will become home to the world’s first vertical forest is underway. When complete, the skyscrapers will contain luxury apartments, each one equipped with a copious balcony specially designed to hold around 900 small trees and other plants. If planted on the ground the total vegetation would cover an area of 10,000 square metres. More here.

Image via yoppy