April 28, 2010 at 4:52 pm #169863Anh PhamParticipant
What elements, special features and design considerations make a sustainable urban redevelopment successful? In another words, what make it sustainable?What I found was: Mixed use, native vegetation, water conservation, energy conservation, gray water for irrigation, use of less hazardous materials, bioswale, greening up the building as well as outdoor spaces, and 20%-25% of affordable housing in mixed use development.April 28, 2010 at 10:49 pm #169873Bob LutherParticipant
We just finished a conceptual design for an infill low income housing project were we proposed that the landscape be 85% edible, friut trees, berry bushes, herbs in pots, medicinal shrubs… not many people think of eating your landscape but it should be considered if you truely are looking at suistainability. The site also features a roof top courtyard that we landscaped with herbs and edibles.April 28, 2010 at 11:37 pm #169872Lori MolitorParticipant
What is your rationale for making successful = sustainable instead of profitable or sellable? And what definition of sustainable are you using? It seems that your answers mix up a variety of values that may or may not contribute to profitablity or sustainablility. Maybe is my question relates to what perspective success is judged from: the developer, the community, the residents?April 29, 2010 at 6:32 am #169871Bob LutherParticipant
Excellent point Lori! What is the goal of the project and let that answer your questions rather than just throwing words around, a refreshing idea.April 29, 2010 at 7:03 am #169870
“Sustainable” is subjective. It’s an overused buzz-word that actually has little meaning anymore. I agree with the other posters that the description of the project would be more beneficial. It is better to have quantification such as a LEED objective (or other reputable measurement system). I try for realist wording, such as low-impact, low-maintenance, low-resource consuming to give an accurate idea of the objective. Nothing man touches is sustainable, it always requires some input or meddling from man to maintain, install, or regulate natural functions. Unfortunately, it has become a “pick from a catalog” process.April 29, 2010 at 11:17 am #169869Trace OneParticipant
sustainable is quite real, the difference between sustainable and traditional design is thousands of gallons of water, kilowatts of electricity, non-poisonous building products, porous landscape that infiltrates instead of adding to stormwater – I can’t relate to your cycnicism, Jason.
My only problem with sustainable is that to me the ‘no-build’ alternative has got to be the most ‘sustainable.’..There IS conceptuallythe zero growth economy, Paul Ehrlich is still out there talking about it. .I think on a per-project basis, one can calculate the difference in energy use between no-build and build.. I have gone for the no-build with vehicle choice – I have an old car, and despite it’s V-8 engine, it is more stustainable to forgo the new car, as far as I have read, in favor of not paying for the production and transportation of a new car, and that includes the pollution from old cars.
You list. Ahn, looks pretty good, there is no aspect of construction not addressed in building a sustainable landscape..But as far as I am concerned, re-use, the no-build, is way better than taking more land and more resources..
( the old-car example is meant to be amusing..But still true..)April 29, 2010 at 5:43 pm #169868Roland BeinertParticipant
I agree. It always concerns me when people say something like “Nothing man touches is sustainable.” It implies the situation is hopeless and we should resign ourselves to having a negative impact on the environment. I think permaculturists make a pretty strong case that you can change your environment and manitain those changes without having a negative effect. All animals have some effect on the world around them. Only humans slaughter everything with pesticides and herbicides and wipe out entire species. Changing the environment is not necessarily bad. HOW we currently change it is what’s bad.
I just hope people don’t really think its all hopeless simply because we have to build stuff sometimes. We can go way beyond low impact. We are perfectly capable of building in a way that has no negative impact.April 29, 2010 at 6:41 pm #169867
I’m not objecting to to the practice. In fact, I’m very much for adaptive-reuse (been there, done that), brownfield redevelopment (been there, done that), and low impact, low resource development. I’ve pioneered the use of alternative planting materials in commercial applications in my region. My objection is to the terminology.
The word ‘sustainable’ is overused, and has been used to greenwash developments that aren’t t really sustainable. Ask any 10 people what sustainable development is and the definition will vary greatly. Many well know LAs have given up on the word as well for this very reason. The other reason is that it is an inaccurate word. It’s kind of like saying that something is better for you because it has ‘diet’ or ‘organic’ on the label.April 29, 2010 at 7:03 pm #169866
I actually prefer the term ‘green’, as it has become more of a brand. Such as in the USGBC, it’s not the USSBC. The connotation is that you are trying to make the project as environmentally and socially responsible as possible, beyond “sustainable,” and without having to use the ‘s’ word.April 29, 2010 at 8:05 pm #169865Trace OneParticipant
I’m glad you are running into ‘sustainable’ so much, Jason – I’m not..I have trouble getting low-water projects to fly, much less sustainable..For me, the word is descriptive of a goal, much more so than ‘green.’ People give it many definitions because it involves the vast array of human experience. I see it as a goal, for just about everything. For me, sustainable is much more specific than just green..
To each his own..
But I am glad you see it as overused. Where do you live, Denmark? It is not overused in my neck of the woods..April 29, 2010 at 9:30 pm #169864
I’m in the Mid-Atlantic of the US. It’s code here to put in rain gardens and stormwater controls to protect the Chesapeake Bay. People put those in (because they have to) and call it sustainable. They put up a few signs and call it a day. Most are not done well, and the rest of the site leaves lots of room for improvement. LEED is code in some commecial buildings in certain county’s here as well. You can understand my point constantly seeing and hearing “sustianable this and sustainable that”, and really, none of it is sutainable all. It’s all marketing, and thats why it loses credibility with me.
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