Increased Density could mean reduced emissions

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Last week the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL released a report titled DRIVING AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: THE EFFECTS OF COMPACT DEVELOPMENT ON MOTORIZED TRAVEL, ENERGY USE, AND CO2 EMISSIONS stating that

Increasing population and employment density in metropolitan areas could reduce vehicle travel, energy use, and CO2 emissions from less than 1 percent up to 11 percent by 2050 compared to a base case for household vehicle usage……

The report continues to give examples of if 75% of all new and replacement housing units were developed at twice the density and people drive 25% less then then CO2 emissions would be reduced by 7-8% by 2030, 8-11% by 2050. However if only 25% of housing was developed at twice the density and drove 12% less then the reduction in CO2 would only be 1% by 2030 and 1.7% by 2050.

The report also outlined the obstacles with trying achieve 75% dwellings at twice the denisty including local growth, local zoning regulations, concerns about congestion and home values.

The report also stated that

Government policies to support more compact, mixed-use development should be encouraged, the report says. The nation is likely to set ambitious goals to address climate change and, given the large contribution of the transportation sector to greenhouse gas emissions, changes in land use may have to be part of the effort.  If so, land use changes should be implemented soon, because current development patterns will take decades to reverse

For more information about the report go to the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL website.

SOURCE: NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

IMAGE SOURCE: Flickr austrini (suburbia)  Flickr DrPleishner (city)

2009 Open Architecture Competition winners announced

Teton School

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2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Challenge Winner

Teton Valley Community School Location: Victor, Idaho, USA Designed by: Section Eight [design]

The 2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom invited the global design and construction community to collaborate with primary and secondary school teachers and students to create smarter, safer, and more sustainable learning environments.

The Teton Valley Community School (TVCS) is a non-profit independent school located in Victor, Idaho. At the base of the Teton Mountain range, Victor is 6,200 feet above sea level and is a quickly developing alpine area. The town’s eclectic mix of pioneer families and new residents from around the globe exemplify Victor’s unique history and diversity.

TVCS’s master plan is to eventually build five of the proposed classroom buildings. The design allows for flexibility in their spacing and construction. The classroom buildings can be either site built or prefabricated in two modules that can be shipped to the site. The design objectives were to create flexible spatial configurations, reduce the school’s ecological footprint, and create a strong connection to the outdoors in response to the mountain climate.

Excepting the vegetable garden areas, the landscaping will incorporate native, drought resistant vegetation to reduce required irrigation. Zen rock gardens will be created using stones removed from the building sites during excavation. Perviousness will be promoted on the site by the use of pavers with grass and sand infill for the parking and pathway areas. Play areas will utilize the natural site features like trees, rocks, and berms.

Continue reading 2009 Open Architecture Competition winners announced

Waynesboro to host Urban Tree Workshop

The News Leader reports

On Thursday, hundreds of arborists and other agricultural workers will flock to Waynesboro’s Ridgeview Park for a workshop about growing and maintaining healthy trees in a crowded urban environment.

The Virginia Department of Forestry and the Virginia Urban Forest Council sponsor various workshops around the state, but this is the 14th year Waynesboro will host the Plant Health Care for Urban Trees program.

SOURCE: The News Leader

Download the Registration PDF from Virginia Urban Forest Council

Buchanan Courtyard under renovations

The University of British Columbia(UBC) is developing the final plans for Buchanan Courtyard which is to be implemented through the Public Realm Plan ($26 million initiative to rejuvenate open spaces over 15 years). $1.5 million is earmarked for the project with a further $1 million hoped to be raised for the project.

The project is expected to take 2 years with the west courtyard finished in June 2010 and east courtyard in 2011. The project was inspired by landscape architecture and architecture students at UBC and plans were developed during a consultation process with staff, students in a series of workshops with Co-Design group and landscape architects space2place.

The final stages of the project have been contracted to Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg (PFS).

Information SOURCE: The Ubyssey

Barriers to mixed use development in Scotland

Recently, the Scottish Government released a report completed by Douglas Wheeler Associates With Ann Flint Associates, Austin-Smith: Lord Edinburgh College of Art (School of Architecture-ScotMark). The report was commissioned to investigate the barriers to mixed use development in Scotland.

The report developed several recommendations with numerous suggestions on how they could be achieved. The recommendations included

  1. clearer definition of mixed use development;
  2. government to be proactive in promoting mixed use development;
  3. training of local government officers and giving the public and officers good resources and tools including a series of good case studies;
  4. Government to encourage new pilot schemes and use the Scottish Sustainable Communities for as an intervention for pilot schemes between local planning authorities and developers.

The report also stated

Planning reform in Scotland presents an ideal opportunity to put in place appropriate interventions to deliver more and better quality mixed use development and this will require appropriate skills. In the current economic downturn there are likely to be very significant opportunities to stimulate and deliver appropriate mixed use development using new kinds of ‘delivery models’. Local planning authorities in Scotland could adopt a more proactive role to sponsor, pilot, promote and deliver mixed use development projects.

Download  Barriers to Delivering Mixed Use Development: Final Report

SOURCE: Scottish Government via Architecture & Design Scotland

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