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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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University Masterplan First to Receive 5 Green Star-Communities Rating in Australia

University Masterplan First to Receive 5 Green Star-Communities Rating in Australia | green streets | Scoop.it

The Curtin University Master Plan has become the first project to receive a 5 Star Green Star-Communities Rating by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). The plan sets forth a strategy for the renewal of the University’s main campus in Bentley, Perth, aiming to create a “vibrant urban community” that combines commercial, retail, residential, educational, and transport infrastructure. Sustainability is a cornerstone of the project, which seeks to be adaptable to, and respectful of, its site and heritage.

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Rural Urban Framework: Designing Projects that Help Communities Come Together

Rural Urban Framework: Designing Projects that Help Communities Come Together | green streets | Scoop.it

Often lost among the headlines about China's astonishing development has been a growing interest in the corresponding transformation of the Chinese countryside. At the forefront of architectural research and experimentation in this area is Rural Urban Framework (RUF), a studio headed by University of Hong Kong professors Joshua Bolchover and John Lin.


Since 2006, Bolchover and Lin, who originally hail from England and Taiwan, respectively, have been working with nonprofit organizations, private donors, and local governments on projects in villages throughout China. In Qinmo, in southern Guangdong province, they converted a disused school building into a community center, complete with a demonstration farm. In northern Shaanxi province, their Lingzidi bridge spans a small river to better connect local residents with agricultural fields, while accommodating washing, fishing, and small-truck access.

“Nowadays, 50 percent of the world lives in cities,” says Lin. “But we're interested in the other 50 percent—especially in China, one of the most intensively urban and intensively rural places in the world.”

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9 Essential Green Elements for the Development of Sustainable Cities

9 Essential Green Elements for the Development of Sustainable Cities | green streets | Scoop.it

Many cities are coming to the realization that creating a smart and sustainable city means ultimately attaining a high level of economic efficiency, a high quality of life, a highly desirable place in which to live and do business, and a meaningful commitment to environmental responsibility.

But what really makes for a green or sustainable city?  And how can sometimes highly diverse urban areas attain it?


LEED buildings and even LEED neighborhoods are surely a good thing, but they are not a sufficient thing to declare a municipality sustainable.  This is an overview of the essential elements (there are many more, but these are the most basic):

  • Committing to green
  • Building green
  • Buying green
  • Powering green
  • Conserving nearby (and creating internal) green landscapes
  • Protecting green:  both water quality and water quantity
  • Locating green:  creating a compact, walkable, interconnected, mixed-use community
  • Moving green:  diversifying transportation and increasing accessibility
  • (Not) wasting green:  getting to zero on the production of waste


Read the complete article for more on the green elements listed above...

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Noor Fatima's curator insight, April 12, 2013 1:05 PM

Exactly :)

Daniel LaLiberte's curator insight, April 12, 2013 7:12 PM

100% Green is not fooling around.

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12 Fresh Ideas for Transforming the Places We Live With Open Data

12 Fresh Ideas for Transforming the Places We Live With Open Data | green streets | Scoop.it

A few of the 886 proposals from the Knight Foundation's latest open government news challenge.


This year, the Knight News Challenge has been soliciting project proposals to open and leverage government data anywhere at the national, state and local levels (in the U.S. and abroad). As of last week, 886 projects are vying for a share of the $5 million in funding, all in response to this question: "How can we make the places we live more awesome through data and technology?"


Amid all of the submissions are innovations we've already encountered at Atlantic Cities: a favorite guerrilla wayfinding campaign from Raleigh, North Carolina; Code for America's playful StreetMix web app; the San Francisco-based Urban Prototyping Festival; and a community-driven transportation planning project based on the kind of data analytics we wrote about here. But that's barely scratching the surface of all the proposals that Knight has corralled.

Visit the article link for a list of 12 ideas from the competition that are new and worth developing (with the applicants' description of their programs). On the 29th, Knight plans to announce a set of semifinalists, who will be invited to complete more detailed proposals. The final winners (there's no predetermined number of them) will then be announced in June...

Lauren Moss's insight:

Innovative ideas on how to utilize open data and communication technology to enhance communities, engage citizens and empower local governments in a variety of ways...

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10 Ways to Improve High-Density Cities

10 Ways to Improve High-Density Cities | green streets | Scoop.it

Getting the right city density – generally expressed in the US as people per square mile or homes per acre – to support sustainable and pleasant living is one of the trickiest problems we face as we address the future of our communities. 

The typically low densities of suburban sprawl built in the last half of the 20th century, despite their popularity at the time with a considerable share of the market, have been shown by a voluminous body of research to produce unsustainable rates of driving, carbon emissions, pollution. stormwater runoff, and adverse health impacts. ..

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America's Most Diverse Neighborhoods

America's Most Diverse Neighborhoods | green streets | Scoop.it

Which neighborhoods best reflect American diversity?


To answer this question, the country’s most diverse neighborhoods and metros were identified using Census data on race and ethnicity and diversity was measured as the share of a metro area’s or ZIP code’s population in its largest racial or ethnic group: the smaller the share of the largest group, the more diverse the neighborhood is...

With maps, charts and statistics, the analysis provides an interesting look at the diversity of communities and counties across the country, with it being highest in California and Hawaii, and much of the South.


Learn more about diversity in America's communities at the article link...

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Communities Aren't Just Places, They're Social Networks

Communities Aren't Just Places, They're Social Networks | green streets | Scoop.it
A conversation with urban sociologist Zachary Neal on his new book, The Connected City.


Cities are obviously more than just the sum of their physical assets — roads and bridges, offices, factories, shopping centers, and homes — working more like living organisms than jumbles of concrete. Their inner workings even transcend their ability to cluster and concentrate people and economic activity.

As sociologist Zachary Neal of Michigan State University argues in his new book, The Connected City, cities are made up of human social networks.

Neal took time to discuss his book and research with Atlantic Cities, explaining how cities work as living organisms and why what happens in Las Vegas cannot stay in Las Vegas.

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Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Arboleda Urban Village in Monterrey, Mexico Integrates Smart Growth & Green Design

Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Arboleda Urban Village in Monterrey, Mexico Integrates Smart Growth & Green Design | green streets | Scoop.it
Arboleda, an urban mixed-use community now under development in Monterrey, Mexico, is designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects of New Haven, Conn., in collaboration with landscape design firm Office of James Burnett.

The project incorporates principles of sustainable design and green building and will be compliant with the LEED for Neighborhood Development standard. The development is designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects in collaboration with landscape design firm Office of James Burnett on behalf of Mexican developer One Development Group (ODG).

According to Pelli Clarke Pelli, the 26-acre Arboleda site will include residential and commercial development centered around a large central park and incorporating generous green space and native plantings, and all buildings will be LEED certified...

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City Bountiful: The Rise of Urban Agriculture

City Bountiful: The Rise of Urban Agriculture | green streets | Scoop.it

At the Greater & Greener: Reimagining Parks for 21st Century Cities conference in New York City, Laura Lawson, ASLA, Professor and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Rutgers University, described how urban agriculture has experienced explosive growth in recent years.

According to a survey produced by the American Community Gardening Association and Rutgers University, community gardens are now found in all 50 states. Some 445 organizations responded to the survey, listing a total of 9,030 gardens. Of these organizations, 90 percent have seen increased demand over the past five years. Also, some 39 percent of the gardens listed were built just in the past five years. These organizations have a variety of goals, including food production and access, social engagement, nutrition, education, and neighborhood revitalization...

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Green Infrastructure: Here's To Your Health!

Green Infrastructure: Here's To Your Health! | green streets | Scoop.it
Design teams are capitalizing on evidence that links the built environment and wellness to make better places for living, healing, and working.

Green infrastructure serving walkable, mixed-use communiities; benign construction materials; durable, day-lit buildings; renewable energy. These are ingrediencts in a familiar prescription for a more sustainable built environment. What the design community now realizes is that it's also a prescription for better public health...

 

As synergies between green building and public health become more widely understood, the pace of change may quicken. Back in New York, Chris Garvin, a sustainable design consultant with Terrapin Bright Green, serves on numerous advisory boards, including the Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. In Garvin's experience, "the health issue drives implementation faster than the energy issue." Hayes concurs: "Public health may be the largest motivator there is."

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How Urban Farming can Transform our Cities & our Agricultural System

How Urban Farming can Transform our Cities & our Agricultural System | green streets | Scoop.it

As concerns mount over the accessibility and quality of meals in cities, urban agriculture is becoming a practical solution to give communities more choice—all while helping address greenhouse gas emissions from centralized agriculture.
With more than 80 percent of the American population living in metropolitan centers, urban farming has the ability to dramatically enhance economic growth, increase food quality and build healthier communities.

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Facebook for cities: A social network for building better neighborhoods

Facebook for cities: A social network for building better neighborhoods | green streets | Scoop.it
Neighborland, an online platform born from an experiment in street art, helps residents cook up smart ideas for improving their communities, then gives those ideas wings.

FB for cities?

What would you do if you had a million bucks to make your neighborhood better? Turn the vacant building up the street into a healthy corner store with cross-cultural appeal? Fund 24-hour bus service? Paint giant flowers on the asphalt in every intersection?

What if there was a tool that made it easy for you share your idea with neighbors, community groups, city planners — people who could pitch in to make it a reality?

That’s the idea behind Neighborland, a sort of collective online urban planning platform that grew from a project started by artist Candy Chang in 2010. Chang slapped nametag-style stickers reading “I WISH THIS WAS ___” on abandoned buildings around New Orleans. People answered by filling in the blanks with all sorts of things they’d like to see in their neighborhoods: a grocery store, a row of trees, a bakery — to which someone else responded, “If you can get the financing, I will do the baking!”

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Senator Renzo Piano's G124 Team Is Poised to Transform Italy's Cities, One Shipping Container at a Time

Senator Renzo Piano's G124 Team Is Poised to Transform Italy's Cities, One Shipping Container at a Time | green streets | Scoop.it

“The unhappy city contains a happy city unaware of its own existence,” wrote Italo Calvino in his masterpiece Invisible Cities. Beyond designing the Ecole Normale Supérieure Cachan in Paris and the Columbia University Campus Plan in New York City, architect Renzo Piano has spent last year looking for fragments of happy cities around Italian suburbs with a team of six young architects.

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Affordable Solar-Powered Floating Village Planned for Edinburgh

Affordable Solar-Powered Floating Village Planned for Edinburgh | green streets | Scoop.it

While floating homes have been the norm in the Netherlands for many years, they're just starting to gain in popularity in the UK.


Houseboats are increasingly dotting the Thames in London, and waterborne developments are currently in the works for post-industrial areas of Glasgow and Liverpool. Now one company—SRT EcoBuild—is looking to establish a village of floating homes in the waterways of Leith, Edinburgh.

The proposed homes are to be powered largely by powered by solar, with heat provided by air-source heat pumps and will also utilize rainwater harvesting to help bring them close to self-sufficiency. To minimize impact on and disruption to the local environment, they will be constructed offsite.

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Zero-Energy Districts: Energy Strategies and Sustainable Opportunities

Zero-Energy Districts: Energy Strategies and Sustainable Opportunities | green streets | Scoop.it

An ambitious experiment in sustainable Fort Collins, Colorado, supporting development of the nation’s first major urban zero-energy district (ZED) is already hinting at important lessons for future implementation possibilities.


Along the Colorado Front Range, the resulting data illustrates how the strategic integration of energy generation, storage, and conservation activities can reduce an electricity grid’s overall energy load at critical peak-demand periods. As workplaces become increasingly energy-efficient, they will also have to generate and store more energy on site. With distributed generation, electricity will ultimately be delivered in a far cleaner fashion than is generally the case with the mostly coal-powered mega–power plants that now feed American power grids.


Working with the city-owned electricity supplier Fort Collins Utilities (FCU) and several locally based clean-energy specialists, participating employers were able to collectively reduce peak-load demand on a designated microgrid within the ZED’s boundaries by more than 20 percent during test periods that lasted more than four weeks...

Lauren Moss's insight:

An interesting case study on Zero Energy Districts, in practice... 

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All Placemaking is Creative: How a Shared Focus on Place Builds Vibrant Destinations

All Placemaking is Creative: How a Shared Focus on Place Builds Vibrant Destinations | green streets | Scoop.it

Placemaking is a process, accessible to anyone, that allows peoples’ creativity to emerge. When open and inclusive, this process can be extraordinarily effective in making people feel attached to the places where they live. That makes people more likely to get involved and build shared wealth in their communities.


“Placemaking, applied correctly, can show us new ways to help cultures emerge where openness is not so scary,” notes Dr. Katherine Loflin, the lead project consultant for the Knight Foundation’s groundbreaking study, which showed a significant correlation between community attachment and economic growth. “We could find with consistency over time that it was the softer side of place—social offerings, openness, and aesthetics—that really seem to drive peoples’ attachment to their place. It wasn’t necessarily basic services: how well potholes got paved over. It wasn’t even necessarily for peoples’ personal economic circumstances.”

The study’s other key finding was that there is an empirical relationship between higher levels of attachment and cities’ GDP growth.

Placemaking, in other words, is a vital part of economic development. And yet, there has long been criticism that calls into question whether or not this process is actually helping communities to develop their local economies, or merely accelerating the process of gentrification in formerly-maligned urban core neighborhoods. We believe that this is largely due to confusion over what Placemaking is, and who “gets” to be involved. If Placemaking is project-led, development-led, design-led or artist-led, then it does likely lead to gentrification and a more limited set of community outcomes.


Read the complete article for more on the process of placemaking and the roles community members play in creating vibrant spaces...

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Katharine Norman's curator insight, March 15, 2013 3:16 AM

Positive aspects from being connected to your community.

 

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Opportunity is Local (or: You Can’t Buy a New Economy)

Opportunity is Local (or: You Can’t Buy a New Economy) | green streets | Scoop.it

Truly great places are not built from scratch to attract people from elsewhere; the best places have evolved into dynamic, multi-use destinations over time: years, decades, centuries. These places are reflective of the communities that surround them, not the other way around. Placemaking is, ultimately, more about the identification and development of local talent, not the attraction of talent from afar.


Places aren’t about the 21st century economy. They are about the people who inhabit and develop them. They are the physical manifestations of the social networks upon which our global economy is built. Likewise, Place-making is not about making existing places palatable to a certain class of people. It is a process by which each community can develop place capital by bringing people together to figure out what competitive edge their community might have and improve local economic prospects in-place.

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Peter Jasperse's curator insight, February 6, 2013 1:16 AM

"If your strategy for improving local economic prospects is to drink some other city’s milkshake, you won’t get very far. It’s economic cannibalization. To really grow an economy, opportunity has to be developed organically within each community, and that requires that people dig in and improve their neighborhoods, together, for the sake of doing so–not convincing Google to open a new office down the road."

Pedro Barbosa's curator insight, February 6, 2013 4:20 AM

Trend: Opportunity is Local

 

Pedro Barbosa | www.pbarbosa.com | www.harvardtrends.com

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Place Capital: Re-connecting Economy With Community

Place Capital: Re-connecting Economy With Community | green streets | Scoop.it

Reform—of transportation, food systems, and so many aspects of the way we live—is no longer about adding bike lanes or buying veggies from a local farmer; the time has come to re-focus on large-scale culture change.

Advocates from different movements are reaching across aisles to form broader coalitions. While we all fight for different causes that stir our individual passions, many change agents are recognizing that it is the common ground we share—both physically and philosophically—that brings us together, reinforces the basic truths of our human rights, and engenders the sense of belonging and community that leads to true solidarity.

Even when we disagree with our neighbors, we still share at least one thing with them: place. Our public spaces—from our parks to our markets to our streets—are where we learn about each other, and take part in the interactions, exchanges, and rituals that together comprise local culture.


Read the complete article for more on the ideas and strategies that positively contribute to our public spaces and enhance interpersonal connections, economic opportunity and placemaking.

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From relic to revolutionary: streetcars revitalize city transit | SmartPlanet

From relic to revolutionary: streetcars revitalize city transit | SmartPlanet | green streets | Scoop.it
More than a half-century after streetcars were abandoned and burned, at least a dozen U.S. cities are working to revive them.


The revitalization of Portland, Ore.’s Pearl District, where empty warehouses were replaced with art galleries and abandoned rail yards gave way to multi-family housing, truly began for some when a streetcar line opened there in 2001. As the streetcar shuttled passengers around the once-decrepit neighborhood, it also swept billions of dollars of investments into the revived community.

What’s more, streetcars can protect the environment. “If you have clean electrical energy sources and feed them into the tram system,” said

Patrick Condon, a professor at the University of British Columbia and author of Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities- “it is greenhouse gas zero.” That combination of smart urban development and eco-friendly transit, he said, means more sustainable cities by 2050. “The real benefit of thinking about trams is not the vehicle itself,” Condon said, “but rather how the whole city works and how you move from place to place in a way that’s elegant, comfortable and greenhouse gas zero.”


Read on for details and examples that feature the potential positive benefits of reviving the streetcar- a 'clean alternative to cars'.

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Designing Water-Efficient Communities

Designing Water-Efficient Communities | green streets | Scoop.it
Harold Smethills explains why—and how—we can design future communities around water conservation.

As managing director of Sterling Ranch, one of Colorado’s most anticipated community developments, Harold Smethills is setting the standard of what it means to build a sustainable community. From wildlife conservation and open space planning to alternative energy sources and community-supported agriculture, Smethills and his development team have one goal for the 3,400-acre proposed community in the Chatfield Basin—to use sustainability as its overriding design principle.

But if you ask him what the critical issue is for his development—not to mention the building industry as a whole—his answer may surprise you. “As we look out to 2020 and far beyond, the very critical issue is water,” Smethills says. “Potable, reliable water is probably is the defining issue for this coming millennia.”

In fact, water conservation has been one of the defining features of Sterling Ranch. The development, which aims to use one-third the water traditionally required in Douglas County, has been recognized by the Colorado Water Conservation Board for it ambitious approach and is being lauded by many as the “blueprint” for designing future water-efficient communities...

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Make Way for Public Space...

Make Way for Public Space... | green streets | Scoop.it

Chicago says four-part plan to expand the pedestrian realm will boost local economy, prompt physical activity.

 Mayor Rahm Emanuel will likely say he’s continuing to make good on commitments to public health and expanded outdoor space if a four-part plan to tackle both becomes a reality. Emanuel introduced an ordinance this month backing the Chicago Department of Transportation’s “Make Way for People” program, which is made up of four initiatives that the city and its partners claim will spark neighborhood economies and increase physical activity, citywide.

 

This is particularly important to communities on the South Side, which don’t have as much public space as the North Side, and could use an economic jolt, according to Bernita Johnson Gabriel, executive director of Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC). QCDC is a Bronzeville-based non-profit that is partnering with the city to pilot a portion of Make Way for People known as People Spots. People Spots essentially expand sidewalk seating onto portions of the street sometimes referred to as "parklets."

Read the entire article for other strategies planned to boost local economies...

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Why a Good Bar Is Essential to Sustainable Communities

Why a Good Bar Is Essential to Sustainable Communities | green streets | Scoop.it
A "third space" that encourages socialization, its easy access reduces emissions as well as drunk driving.

My friend Eliot Allen first introduced me to the concept of neighborhood completeness: that the quality of a place is defined in part by how many different functions it has in close proximity to homes and to each other. Eliot was closely involved in the creation of the LEED for Neighborhood Development green rating system, and the concept made it into the system. LEED-ND gives credit toward certification for a development that contains, or locates near, certain categories of diverse uses: supermarket, pharmacy, restaurant, child care facility, library, and so on.

I was part of the LEED-ND team as well, and I note that we did not list “bar” or “pub” as a credit-worthy neighborhood asset. But Michael Hickey, a community development consultant, makes a good case for their inclusion as “third spaces,” or community hangouts.

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New Report: Livability and Placemaking for All Communities ...

New Report: Livability and Placemaking for All Communities ... | green streets | Scoop.it
I had the unique opportunity to participate in a “Smart Growth” bus tour of communities in North Carolina, organized last year by the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute and the Local Government Commission. We visited a variety of neighborhoods, from low-density to high, pre-car to newly developed, to learn how livable and sustainable principles can help a wide range of communities to adapt to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Important lessons can be learned from each of the communities we visited. None were perfect, but as Joel Garreau pointed out in Edge City: Life on the New Frontier, now-revered places like Venice and London were pieced together over centuries; flaws were frequently pointed out by critics, and fixed over time. Flaws in these places will be addressed over time as well. What is critical about each location is that they are testing out new ideas of what a sustainable future could look like. The neighborhoods that had the best sense of place were those that were created over a hundred years, and they serve as great models for how to take Traditional Neighborhood Development, Form Based Codes and other contemporary planning strategies to the next level...

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Turn This Parking Lot Into a Village

Turn This Parking Lot Into a Village | green streets | Scoop.it

If we built village of small streets today, where would we locate it?

One great candidate would be a park-and-ride lot, which is parking located next to a subway or commuter rail station. Such parking gets some to use public transit who wouldn’t ordinarily...

But that’s just the problem: the people who use park-and-ride lots don’t ordinarily take transit. The reason they have to drive to a train station is that they don’t live near it. That’s why building new neighborhoods next to transit (called transit oriented development in planner lingo) has become popular in the last 10 years.

If we built a small streets village next to transit station, then we’d have a whole village of people who could use transit for all of their trips longer than a walk or bicycle ride away.
There are countless park-and-ride lots to consider, but we’ll look at just a couple. Greenbelt Station is located in Maryland at one end of Metro’s Green Line, which goes through Washington, DC and back out to Maryland. If you’ve ever hopped a ride on the Bolt Bus from New York City or the bus from BWI Airport, you may have visited this station...

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