This article was originally published on Streetsblog LA. There is a tug of war going on between fans of Measure S, which is threatening to stop L.A.’s urban evolution in March; and growth proponents who all too readily embrace tower construction wherever a spot of land exists to build them. But Angelinos, meanwhile, are uneasy…
In support of Seattle’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2050, the City implemented an Energy Benchmarking and Reporting law in 2010. Since then, the City has led by example, producing annual reports on their progress towards energy reduction. GGLO, using this data, has created a map of civic buildings, that allows you to explore energy performance (and 4 years’ of aggregated data) in the context of the neighborhoods where you live, work, and play.
In Seattle, three independent yet interrelated outcome-based planning efforts – the Seattle Climate Action Plan (CAP), the Seattle 2030 District, and the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict – are prioritizing direct, tactical engagement with the connective networks between people and organizations to bridge the distance between planning and action. The goal is to affect rapid progress toward deeply sustainable urbanism.
Despite each effort’s unique physical boundaries, assets and points of leverage, and actors and audiences, three common themes are contributing to project uptake: an acute understanding of the needs of constituents, direct contact with decision makers, and an ability to continuously adapt both process and outcomes to project goals.
Green infrastructure, such as green roofs, green walls, and rain gardens, are excellent strategies to increase habitat and biodiversity on and around buildings, manage stormwater flows on site, treat greywater, lower surface air temperatures, and provide public amenities like community open space or educational experiences.
In December 2009, GGLO became a founding member of the Seattle 2030 District, an interdisciplinary public-private collaborative working to create a ground breaking high-performance building district in downtown Seattle. Participants of the District include major property owners and management companies, utilities, engineering and architecture firms, and community stakeholders like Architecture 2030, Cascadia Green Building Council, the City of Seattle and BetterBricks.
GGLO is part of a team comprised of some of the Seattle area’s leading green building professionals that formed The Restorative Design Collective to build a cutting-edge green science building for the Bertschi School, an independent elementary school on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Working pro bono, the team designed and built the new science building to meet the standards of the Living Building Challenge, a “deep-green” building program that encourages projects to achieve self-sufficiency by generating all of their own energy with renewable resources, harvesting and treating all of their own water on site, and operating at maximum levels of efficiency with a healthy indoor environment.
GGLO is proud to support Seattle’s world-leading goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 through its work with the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) on the 2013 Seattle Climate Action Plan (CAP), climate-friendly neighborhoods visualizations outreach project, and Green Ribbon Commission (GRC) Recommendations report. The City actions in the 2013 CAP focus on those sources of emissions where City action and local community action will have the greatest impact: road transportation, building energy, and waste, which comprise the majority of local greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and actions to increase local resilience to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
Communities around the world and locally face pressing health challenges associated with the intersection of health and the built environment. While our genetics and access to quality health care are important factors for our health, our environment and behavior choices significantly affect our health. Aside from our personal transportation and food choices, our built environment and land use choices directly influence the health of our families and communities.
Health and well-being have long been pillars of sustainable design at a variety of scales: material selection; design elements to promote active transportation; and connectivity at the neighborhood & infrastructure scale. As we strive to create high performance projects that strengthen the local economy, enhance the quality of life in all our communities, and protect the environment, health is increasingly the lens through which we are evaluating neighborhood investments.