Pavement or Parks?

parklet image; Pavement or Parks?

Cities such as Vancouver, B.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco, now allow conversion of parking spaces to parklets.

Pavement or Parks?

In some overpaved cities, people are turning parking spaces and underused streets into useful places for people such as parklets, plazas, and bicycle parking.

Getting official approval to do so, however, has often been a slog through the bureaucratic mud. Interested groups or individuals might have to navigate the byzantine processes in departments of planning, transportation, public works, and so on.

To help expedite the creation of more people-friendly places, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s People St program has streamlined the process by assembling a “kit of parts” for pre-approved projects. The People St program requires a community partner to spearhead each project in order to identify needed projects, build community support, raise funds, install the infrastructure, and maintain the project. Community partners may include non-profits, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), Community Benefit Districts (CBDs), or other organizations that will oversee the management, maintenance, and operation of each project.

Read more here.

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Evolving Green Building Standards Improve Performance

Evolving Green Building Standards Improve Performance

LEED, Green Globes, Green Star are evolving with each update.

Evolving Green Building Standards Improve Performance

Green Star, LEED, and Passive House U.S. standards are undergoing – or have recently undergone – substantial revisions and are racking up more evidence of their efficacy.

The Green Star – Design & As Built rating tool draft credits, for example, were recently released by the Green Building Council of Australia for industry and public comment. According to GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew, the draft credits are a major milestone in the evolution of the Green Star program.

A major goal for this revision, Madew explained, was to “reduce the cost of compliance and certification and encourage innovation and world leadership in the delivery of buildings that are more sustainable and better for people too.”

Read more here.

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Green Globes Now Handed Out for Sustainable Interiors

sustainable interiors; http://sourceable.net/green-globes-now-handed-sustainable-interiors/

Green Globes now offers a rating tool for sustainable interiors.

Green Globes now Handed Out for Sustainable Interiors

The Green Building Initiative (GBI) has unveiled an addition to the Green Globes rating system called Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors.

The rating tool is designed for non-residential buildings and aims to give both building owners and individual tenants the flexibility to choose design improvements for their space only, without needing to address an entire building.

Read more here.

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Climate Change, Urbanization Put the Squeeze On Housing

photo of floating apartment complex; Climate Change, Urbanization Put the Squeeze On Housing

Dutch architect Koen Olthuis’ floating apartment complex.

Climate Change, Urbanization Put the Squeeze On Housing

Climate change and urbanization are challenging cities in much of the world to find room for responsible housing for residents.

Rising sea levels repeatedly flood rapidly-growing slum areas, but residents have few options for homes further from coastlines. Floating cities, Dutch architect Koen Olthuis said in his recent TED Talk, could help cities and residents adapt to climate change and urbanization while they alleviate a host of urban ills.

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Granny Flats Offer Flexible Alternative to High Housing Costs

ADU photo: Granny Flats Offer Flexible Alternative to High Housing Costs

Granny flats, or accessory dwelling units, offer an affordable option in expensive cities like Vancouver, B.C.

Granny Flats Offer Flexible Alternative to High Housing Costs

With high home prices and increasing urbanization, Australian cities are now accepting a dwelling type that could provide affordable housing in established neighbourhoods in dense cities.

Granny flats, also known as laneway homes or Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), are finding increased acceptance from governments in many competitive real estate markets. As home prices rise in cities such as Melbourne, granny flats can provide an affordable, adaptable alternative.

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Metal Box Used as a Comfortable, Inexpensive Home

container home photo; Metal Box Used as a Comfortable, Inexpensive Home

Shipping containers can be used a number of times before they’re “retired” from carrying cargo, after which they can be made available for a variety of creative and utilitarian uses, such as housing.

Metal Box Used as a Comfortable, Inexpensive Home

Though usually cheap to buy used, they’re strong, durable, and adaptable. People modify them for all types of housing, from basic to high end.

Inspired by a friend in San Francisco who moved frequently due to her rent rising, Salt Lake City real estate broker Jeff White spent two years working in his driveway on a prototype home that could help low-income people like his friend Sarah. He then moved on to building this more refined version, called the Sarah House, on a vacant city lot.

Read more here.

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Paolo Soleri’s Vision of Sustainable Cities

Arcosanti photo: Paolo Soleri’s Vision of Sustainable Cities

Paolo’s Soleri’s vision of a sustainable city, Arcosanti.

Paolo Soleri’s Vision of Sustainable Cities

In the view of the late Paolo Soleri, “the city is the necessary instrument for the evolution of humankind.”

The visionary architect anticipated the ecological/environmental revolution as well as the need for its application to the urban environment. His vision included many of factors society has had to rediscover over the past few decades, such as local food production, increased walkability in the built environment, and passive heating and cooling systems.

More here.

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Green Roofs Gaining Ground

green roof photo: Green Roofs Gaining Ground

The surface area of green roofs installed in 2013 grew by 10 per cent over 2012, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) reports.

Green Roofs Gaining Ground

GRHC, a member-based nonprofit industry association for green roof and wall professionals in North America, conducts an annual survey of its members.

According to its survey, GRHC members installed 596,580 square metres in 2013 on 950 projects, up from 519,151 square metres installed in 2012 on 982 projects. The area installed on public projects grew compared to that on private projects, whereas in past years the public/private balance had been more equal. The number of private projects installed was far higher, indicating that the public projects were much larger than the private projects.

More here.

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How to Make Cities Safe for People On Bikes

 

Here’s an explanation of Dutch-style multi-modal intersections that prioritize cyclists and pedestrians and safety. This video explains how to make cities safe for people on bikes.

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Restoring and Reusing Degraded Landscapes

High Line Restoring and Reusing Degraded Landscapes

New York City’s High Line is an elevated greenbelt.

 Restoring and Reusing Degraded Landscapes

In 1992, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson wrote: “Here is the means to end the great extinction spasm. The next century will, I believe, be the era of restoration in ecology.”

Check out this Sourceable article about restoring degraded landscapes with ecological restoration. New York City’s High Line park, China’s Loess Hills, and Minneapolis’ riverfront have all been reclaimed and are now useable and beautiful.

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