Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category


Kaid Benfield at NRDC highlights EPA’s Community Sustainability Awards

Today, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced seven winners of its 2012 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement.  As I have noted in the past, the smart growth awards are given for creative, outstanding initiatives that protect the health and the environment of our communities while also strengthening local economies.  One of this year’s winners is a personal favorite, Denver’s Mariposa (South Lincoln) revitalization.

EPA honors seven outstanding community sustainability projects | Kaid Benfield’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.


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Plain Dealer’s Steve Litt article in Architectural Record on Cleveland Regaining its Urbanity

Though its population has shrunk to just below 400,000 from nearly 1 million in the 1950s, Cleveland is experiencing a $6 billion burst of development that includes everything from big downtown projects to the fine-grained revival of a half-dozen neighborhoods. An influx of young professionals, drawn by jobs in tech, digital media, marketing, and biomedical companies, has led to a tight downtown rental market with a residential population of about 10,000 and growing, and an occupancy rate of nearly 96 percent.

Cleveland, Ohio | American City | Features | Architectural Record.

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A few more suggestions:

Clean Energy Solutions for America’s Cities, The United States Conference of Mayors

Show Me the Money: Energy Efficiency Financing Barriers and Opportunities, Environmental Defense Fund (via greenbiz.com)

Environmental Leader’s 2011 Insider Knowledge Report, Lessons Learned from Corporate Environmental, Sustainability and Energy Decision-Makers, Environmental Leader and Sponsor: Pew Center on Global Climate Change






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As sustainable building becomes more accepted on a variety of levels across cities and states, the next question becomes how do we scale these efforts to a neighborhood, city and/or regional planning level?  Bert Gregory explains why  Moving From Green Buildings to Green Neighborhoods (from Design Intelligence) is the natural next step…

In the early days of the green building movement, the thinking was often focused around reducing the environmental footprint (energy, water, or materials) of an individual structure while minimizing toxins that would degrade human health. The design effort centered around the building as an individual object. Considerations of off-site issues were certainly integrated into the thinking, but in fact, social, economic, location, and transportation implications were often overlooked. That movement transformed design at the building scale to improve environmental performance and human well-being. This has become a standard in the industry and is moving increasingly to becoming a code requirement.

There are still opportunities for designing more efficiently and more sustainably within the unit of the building itself. Advances in computer modeling at the conceptual level and green building rating systems (such as BREEAM, LEED, and Green Globes) offer metrics that promote it. One such rating system, the Living Building Challenge (LBC) is an inspirational metric that demands innovative integrated design solutions with only one level of achievement — for the building to act as a living organism. LBC metrics include site, water, energy, health, materials, equity, and beauty. They include the requirement for on-site net zero energy and water. LBC is easier to achieve for a small building in a low-density area than it is for a multi-story building on a dense urban site.

However, in the next two decades, we must look beyond individual buildings to reach our broader societal goals while optimizing human well-being, costs, and resources. Moving beyond the building scale to create efficient, walkable, mixed-use districts linked by low-carbon mass transportation is fundamental. We must also include the opportunities of the site and district-level integration of water, waste, and energy strategies as we move to implement the goals of Architecture 2030 and the AIA 2030 Commitment and are faced with increasing stress on regional energy and water systems. A district, campus, or neighborhood is also an important unit of identity and community. Broader civic goals around economic development, public health, and knowledge can be imbued at this scale.

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