When we first published news that Dallas was planning the nation’s first sustainable city block, the exact location hadn’t been named. In anticipation of the location, I guessed south downtown, and it turns out, hit the proverbial nail smack dab on the head. The sustainable city block is right by the convention center and Dallas City Hall (designed by I.M. Pei and featured shortly in Terminator I believe). It’s also in the general vicinity of another green project we featured previously called Buzz Lofts. So the location is spot on and prime for some serious green innovation.
Dean Kamen is a well-known entrepreneur and inventor of various technologies, including the Segway, Project Slingshot, and a hybrid electrical car with a Stirling engine. He’s also trying to establish an independent, net-zero energy island off the coast of Connecticut. The three-acre private island is called North Dumpling, and if granted his wishes, it would have its own constitution, flag, and national anthem. Kamen’s attempts at secession haven’t been successful yet, but that’s no surprise given the South wasn’t able to do it either. He has found success installing LEDs and saving energy, though.
What would it take to create a fully sustainable city block in downtown Dallas? That’s the question and discussion that will begin this Friday, December 5, 2008, at Dallas City Hall. The City of Dallas, in collaboration with Urban Re:Vision and Building Community Workshop, is hosting a Design Charrette to examine the framework and community impact of a sustainable, urban square block. And by sustainable, the vision is to create a place that is healthy in social, economic, and environmental terms.
Mesa Del Sol will be located just outside of downtown Albuquerque and is comprised of twenty square miles of land, 3,200 acres of which are said to remain as open space. Albuquerque is famed for it’s 300 days a year of sunshine, was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the best places for businesses and careers in the U.S., is just under a three hours drive from world class skiing in Taos, and is a short two hour flight from L.A. Mesa Del Sol’s New Urbanism approach means that virtually everything you need will be within walking distance — stores, work, schools, homes, and parks etc.
The other day I was able to tour Swaner EcoCenter with the Salt Lake City Professional Chapter of Net Impact. I took several pictures in an attempt to let you see everything I saw, so scroll down and make sure to visit the Swaner EcoCenter flickr set for more views. Although I’m an amateur when it comes to taking photos, I hope you get the idea how impressive this building is. It has beautiful woodwork, artful touches of 3form, and incredible views. The folks behind Swaner are seeking to obtain the first LEED Platinum certification in Utah, but nonetheless, the building is the greenest in Utah.