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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Protecting Ecosystems + Providing for A New Urban Community: Qunli Stormwater Wetland Park

Protecting Ecosystems + Providing for A New Urban Community: Qunli Stormwater Wetland Park | green streets | Scoop.it

From the architect. Turenscape was commissioned to design a wetland park of 34.2 hectares in the middle of a new town, which is listed as a protected regional wetland. The site is surrounded on four sides by roads and dense development. As such, water sources into this former wetland were being cut, and the wetland was under the threat. Turenscape’s strategy was to transform the dying wetland into a ‘green sponge’ – an urban stormwater park, which will not only rescue the disappearing wetland, but will also provide multiple ecosystems services for the new urban community.


The challenges are obvious: How can a disappearing wetland be preserved when its ecological and biological processes have been cut off by the urban context? How can such a wetland ecosystem be designed to provide multiple ecosystems for the city? And what is the economic way to deal with such a landscape? The solution was to transform the wetland into a multi-functional stormwater park that will collect, filtrate, store stormwater and infiltrate to the aquifer, whilst being productive and life supporting, providing new recreational and aesthetic experiences for the city.

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SANAA Meanders Through What Could Have Been a Subdivision

SANAA Meanders Through What Could Have Been a Subdivision | green streets | Scoop.it

Tokyo-based SANAA has unveiled its next U.S. project, a meandering structure called The River for the Grace Farms Foundation a non-profit in New Canaan, CT. Situated on an acre of the 75-acre Grace Farms, the building is defined by its flowing roof that hovers ten feet above the landscape on slender metal posts. Interior spaces are formed by increasing the building’s width and enclosing spaces in floor-to-ceiling glass, creating a seamless transition between interior spaces and a landscape designed by Philadelphia-based OLIN.

 

The River descends from a sanctuary space for the Community Church atop a hill and includes a library, meeting space, dining room, gymnasium, and children’s spaces along its route.

“Our goal with the River is to make the architecture become part of the landscape without drawing attention to itself, or even feeling like a building,” said Kazuyo Sejima, principal at SANAA, in a statement. “We hope that those who are on the property will have a greater enjoyment of the beautiful environment and changing seasons through the spaces and experience created by the River.”

 

The landscape of meadows, wetlands, lakes, and woods at Grace Farms was preserved from development in 2008 when a 10-house subdivision was once proposed.

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Scaling the Urban Future by Blending the Urban Past | Sustainable Cities Collective

Scaling the Urban Future by Blending the Urban Past | Sustainable Cities Collective | green streets | Scoop.it

Recently, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Seattle-based Preservation Green Lab made urbanist media headlines (including Emily Badger’s January 25 Atlantic Cities story) with a report stating the environmental benefits of green retrofits of historic buildings, as compared to new, state-of-the-art, energy-efficient construction. In addition, a local church restored as townhouses joined the list of intriguing Seattle adaptive reuse projects typical of national trends.

 

As our surroundings evolve, can we create incentives and inspiration for transformational places that are sustainable in form, function and attention to the past? I have touched on these questions before, when highlighting hill towns as placemaking icons and profiling Italy’s re-emerging Matera, the UNESCO World Heritage site also termed “the sustainable city of stone” (in The Atlantic last year)...

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In Harmony with History

In Harmony with History | green streets | Scoop.it

You might not even notice, walking or driving, the new apartment building at 691 Massachusetts Ave. in the South End. That’s because it fits so beautifully into its historic neighborhood. This building isn’t just deferential to its surroundings. It’s also fresh, inventive & contemporary.

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Turning Power Plants Into Green Neighborhood Development

Turning Power Plants Into Green Neighborhood Development | green streets | Scoop.it

Industry analysts predict that environmental and economic factors will lead to the retirement of dozens of aging coal-fired power plants in the coming decade. Many of these occupy important locations in cities, often with valuable access to waterfronts. According to a new report, these sites present tremendous opportunities for new civic and private uses such as riverfront housing, shops, and offices -- as well as museums, parks, and other community amenities.

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Softening Modernism's Hard Edge: contemporary landscape interventions

Softening Modernism's Hard Edge: contemporary landscape interventions | green streets | Scoop.it

Contemporary landscape interventions are transforming midcentury buildings and plazas to address their urbanistic failings.

Inserting a work of contemporary landscape architecture into the context of a mid-century modernist complex is a challenging proposition. Many of the most prominent plazas, pocket parks, and courtyards from the modernist era feature stark, austere designs, intended to complement the buildings they served.

Some renowned modernist spaces such as the plaza in front of Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building were not designed with the intention that people would linger. “When Mies van der Rohe saw people sitting on the ledges, he was surprised,” Phillip Johnson is said to have commented. “He never dreamed they would.”

Certainly the sensibility of the typical mid-century modernist urban landscape is at odds with contemporary tastes and activities. Now, urban open spaces are designed for populated plazas, with a variety of seating options, shade trees and open space...

Indeed, many public plazas from the modernist era have been redesigned to conform to the contemporary program.


Read the full article for more in-depth case studies, preservation inititives, and issues related to preserving modernist architecture- in balance with the needs of today's urban spaces.

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America's Greatest Main Streets...

America's Greatest Main Streets... | green streets | Scoop.it

Cheers to these small towns for great Main Streets, where you can admire architecture, sample the local flavor, and find a lost America.

Driving across America, it’s all too easy to lose your mooring amid the commercial thicket of the same old fast-food outlets and big-box stores.

But push on a mile or two beyond the interstate exit, and you may discover a town that’s anchored by a distinctive Main Street—one with grand architecture, eclectic small businesses, and community-oriented features like a park or theater. Often it thrives thanks to locals who have made a conscientious effort to fight the general decline of Main Street...

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Café vs Castle: How Contemporary Buildings can Impact Historic Urban Areas

Café vs Castle: How Contemporary Buildings can Impact Historic Urban Areas | green streets | Scoop.it
You only have to look at the queue for the latest iPhone to see that ‘new’ means a positive and desirable change for many people. But 'new' doesn't always bring positive change when modern buildings are developed in historic urban settings.

 

Case Study: Modern developments tend to either add to the socio-economic importance of the urban fabric, or reduce its historical characteristics. In the case of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, it is widely agreed that this new structure adds to the overall quality of the city, however, extravagant structures and materials can contradict the historical characteristics of an urban setting...

 

A modern development in an historic urban area can be enormously beneficial, without reducing the significance of its surroundings. But due to the importance of historical preservation, it is crucial to carefully design contemporary pieces.

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A Farm-Based Neighborhood Grows in Illinois

A Farm-Based Neighborhood Grows in Illinois | green streets | Scoop.it
Many communities complain about suburban sprawl, but not many really do anything about it. One developer, however, has found a way to contain sprawl and conserve working farms at the same time.

Developer John DeWald & Associates recently broke ground on Serosun Farms, an innovative conservation community situated over 400 acres of countryside.

“The vision of Serosun Farms is to protect and preserve our land from future development and suburban sprawl,” says John DeWald, one of the principals in the firm. The company hopes to blend agricultural preservation and sustainable living in one neighborhood where much of the needed energy will be produced on site and all the homes will be high-performance buildings.

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polis: Strelka Institute: Urban Design vs. Dystopia

polis: Strelka Institute: Urban Design vs. Dystopia | green streets | Scoop.it

Strelka, located on the Moscow River, is perhaps excessively branded and hip (which is derivative by definition), but its human-scale, functional, ecologically concerned, preservation-sensitive, walker/biker-friendly, and public-oriented values are a welcome departure from the urban development process in Moscow over the past twenty years...

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