Critics say new green rating hurts affordable housing – Mlive.com

The U.S. Green Building Council’s new rating system for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design in neighborhood development, known as LEED-ND, is coming under fire for not putting a greater emphasis on affordable housing.

Critics say LEED-ND, in its current draft, discourages participating developers from alloting dollars into expensive energy-efficient affordable housing if their payback is, at most, four points out of a possible 106. They worry the point system, and any resulting developer disincentives, will get ingrained in municipal law books if local governments continue to adopt LEED standards at unprecedented rates — all at a time, they add, when the growing gap between wages and mortgages is creating an affordable housing crisis regionally and nationally. 

In a recent study by Cambridge, Mass.-based New Ecology Inc., the cost of building green affordable housing held a nearly 3 percent premium, ranging up to 9 percent on some projects.

read more @ the SOURCE: Mlive.com – Critics say new green rating hurts affordable housing.

Ed: Although an interesting article however the article doesn’t mention the savings that low-income families will gain with lower energy bills.
More education of the public in relation to LEED is needed (eg initial construction cost vs long-term running costs and reduced environmental costs). Urban Planning also becomes more important including density of housing.

Inhabitat » Calgary’s new green skyscraper by Foster + Partners

What does one of the largest independently owned oil and gas companies do to turn over a more sustainable leaf? Well, in this case, EnCana hired green-tech architecture firm du jour Foster + Partners to design their new, environmentally sustainable headquarters in Calgary, Canada. Dubbed The Bow, the new tower’s namesake comes from its overall shape, as well as the breathtaking views it offers inhabitants of the Bow River. As expected from a Foster + Partners design, the form of this sustainable skyscraper follows some very green function.

SOURCE: Inhabitat » Calgary’s new green skyscraper by Foster + Partners.

City veggie gardens flourish

Forget budget furniture or do-it-yourself interior design – New Yorkers are switching to homegrown dining in an effort to cut costs as the economy flounders.

The number of green-thumbed residents using the city’s vegetable gardens has increased by the bushel in recent months because of soaring prices in the food aisles.

“We have had a huge increase in our participation this year,” said Jennifer Plewka, who manages Drew Gardens in the Bronx, where membership doubled from 25 to 50 in the last year.

Read more @ the SOURCE: NYDailynews.com – City veggie gardens flourish.

Landscaping wait grows – Leader Post

Reginans who want their yards landscaped can thank the current boom in the housing industry for longer-than-normal wait times.

Landscaping architects and contractors alike are struggling to keep up with a higher-than-normal demand for their services.

“Like all the other aspects of the construction industry, the landscape side is certainly booming,” agreed Cam Patterson, senior landscape architect for Stantec Consulting Ltd. and past-president of the Saskatchewan Association of Landscape Architects.

The increase in demand for landscaping services is translating into longer wait times for customers. “Projects are definitely taking longer to get built,” Patterson said. “Our biggest problem is finding people to do the work from the design side. We’re looking to hire,” Patterson said.

SOURCE: LeaderPost – easier.com – Landscaping wait grows 

Outdoor living areas all the rage : Home & Garden : The Rocky Mountain News

The days of spending six digits to remodel that kitchen are over.

Landscape architects are seeing a change in the way people are using their hard-earned money: In the coming decade, they’ll spend their cash (and their time) on the outdoor “great room.”

Erase the image of a simple patio with a few potted plants scattered around. Today, outdoor living is less about communing with nature and more about cooking, entertaining and relaxing outside with family and friends.

Read more @ the SOURCE: The Rocky Mountain NewsOutdoor living areas all the rage : Home & Garden :

M.T.A. Approves a New Deal to Build at West Side Yards – NYTimes.com

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority unanimously approved a tentative billion-dollar deal with the Related Companies on Thursday to build a 26-acre, $15 billion enclave of office towers, residential buildings and parks over the West Side railyards.

As a result, the transportation authority will negotiate a formal contract with Related, and its partner, Goldman Sachs, over the next five months and deposit an $11 million check from the developer for fees related to the massive project. The yards sit on both sides of 11th Avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets, near the city’s convention center.

The deal sets the stage for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s long-running campaign to transform the once-industrial neighborhood into the city’s next major business district. Still, it could be years before the first building is erected over the windswept yards and the transportation authority begins to get a steady rent stream from the developer.

Read more @ the SOURCE: NYTimes.com – M.T.A. Approves a New Deal to Build at West Side Yards

Design Team includes:

Murphy/Jahn Architects
Master Plan Architect

PWP Landscape Architecture
Landscape Architect

Cooper-Robertson
Master Planner

.

A New Manhattan Park Teaches Children About Plants – New York Times

Michael Van Valkenburgh, a landscape architect making his mark in New York with ambitious projects like Brooklyn Bridge Park, has created a more modest bit of greenery: the Toyota Children’s Learning Garden, a pocket park at 603 East 11th Street, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Created under the auspices of the New York Restoration Project, the park, which opened Monday, is not the sort of place where children can run around and ostracize one another from their little games in preparation for adult life.

Read more @ the SOURCE:  New York Times – A New Manhattan Park Teaches Children About Plants

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