The New American Dream Towns

Smart Urban Ideas, PT III: Tucson, AZ, and NYC

Aug 1, 2005
Outside Magazine
Tucson, Arizona

Sterling motivation to conserve: A mountainside spring in Tucson    Photo: Eddie Goldbaum Rios/courtesy, Metro Tucson Convetion & Visitors Bureau

Smart Idea #8
• Tucson, Arizona
In this Sonoran Desert city of 528,000, WATER CONSERVATION is considered a civic duty. Thanks to creative incentives (like increased rates for overconsumption and PR campaigns to encourage wise use), the average Tucson resident uses 120 gallons of water per day—slightly more than half what Phoenix locals use. And residents of the nonprofit Milagro Cohousing, a neighborhood of 28 sustainable adobe homes built around a common space, are going one step further: harvesting storm water in basins to irrigate their landscaping and treating wastewater to irrigate fruit trees and a hummingbird garden.
—M. M.

Smart Idea #9
• New York, New York
New York City has always been a model for mass transit—seven million use the system per day—but now it has even more reason to brag. This fall, construction begins in Manhattan on an estimated $65-million-to-$100-million project to convert a weedy 22-block stretch of elevated railway into an URBAN OASIS of native grasses, wildflowers, and shade trees. Dubbed the High Line, the public garden has already generated plenty of buzz, thanks to a MoMA exhibit of design plans and photographs that runs through October, as well as celebrity hype from actors Edward Norton and Kevin Bacon.
—M. M.

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