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.
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.
Over the last month, I’ve seen several reports on green building, and we’ll try to address them all in due time. With reports like this, though, we have to spread it out – this is geeky stuff, it’s not leisurely eye candy or anything like that. But we like to follow the numbers in anticipation of future trends. In that regard, the Green Outlook 2009: Trends Driving Change report by McGraw-Hill Construction has some interesting information. According to the report, the value of green building construction starts was up five times from 2005 to 2008, with values escalating from $10 billion to $36-$49 billion. Also, by analysis, the report estimates that construction starts could triple over the next five years and reach $96-$140 billion.
Developer Tameer Holding has another iconic tower in the works for Dubai called Anara Tower. Designed by Atkins, the 600 meter (~1969 feet) tower won’t be as tall as the world’s tallest tower, Burj Dubai, which is ~707 meter (~2,320 feet), but it’s not too far behind. With 125 stories, Anara will have office space, 300 residential apartments, 250 hotel keys, and all sorts of other luxury amenities, such as pools, shops, and sky gardens every 27 floors. The design was inspired by the minaret, tall spires near Muslim mosques, with a purpose of being instantly recognizable worldwide.
This article was written by Charles Lockwood, a green real estate authority and consultant based in southern California and New York City. His articles have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Barron’s.
California—the state that invented freeways and suburban sprawl—has become a trendsetter again, and not a moment too soon in our new age of global climate change. In October 2008, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law SB375, which was supported by environmentalists, homebuilders, and cities and counties. SB375 will limit the state’s CO2 emissions by curbing suburban sprawl and increasing transit-based development through various incentives.
If a community plans walkable, mixed-use, transit-oriented growth that reduces automobile use and greenhouse gas emissions, for example, it gets moved to the front of the line for state and federal transportation funds. If a proposed building is located near a transit line, it will have an easier environmental review process. Why is SB375 important?