Decades in the making, high-speed rail is finally coming to California. In 2008, the state passed a $10 billion bond initiative to build the first leg of its ambitious state-spanning high-speed rail network.
These nation-leading plans were rewarded in January with a $2.25 billion federal infusion, part of an $8 billion high-speed rail grant program made possible by the 2009 stimulus bill. When the California network is completed in 2025—with a projected overall tab of $45 billion—the state will have more than 700 miles (1,100 km) of track that will take passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than three hours, with trains achieving top speeds of 220 miles per hour (354 kmph). What will it mean for land use?
In a city more often characterized by hardship than success, Campus Martius Park in Detroit has received national recognition as the first winner of the ULI Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award, which recognizes an outstanding example of a public open space that has catalyzed the transformation of the surrounding community.
A team of students representing North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) won the $50,000 top prize in the 2010 Urban Land Institute Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition with a redevelopment plan for a San Diego neighborhood that emphasizes neighborhood diversity, affordability to families of mixed incomes, and walkability.
Nearly 660 students making up 132 teams from 48 universities in the United States and Canada were among those in the 2010 competition who were challenged to create a design and development proposal for a 73.5-acre (29.7-ha) site in East Village in downtown San Diego. East Village, one of eight neighborhoods in the city’s downtown area, spans a total of 1,450 acres (587 ha) bounded by Interstate 5 and the San Diego Bay. The teams had to develop a transformative vision for East Village, incorporating the highest and best sustainable use, new economic development activities, and evidence of market support for their development activities—all fused with financial justification for their design decisions.
The retail industry has lagged behind the sustainability curve for some time, but is now quickly catching up as developers, landlords, and tenants seek to “green” their retail facilities to realize operational gains, demonstrate environmental stewardship, and capture increasingly conscientious consumers. However, because little information is available on the best leasing structure to benefit both landlords and tenants, many opportunities in retail real estate and store planning remain on the shelf.
Later this year, the U.S. Green Building Council will launch Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings for retail facilities to help illuminate best practices in the retail real estate market. Contrary to common belief, greening the retail building market involves much more than buildout; for example, it encompasses site selection, structuring of a green lease, tenant-space buildout, operations and maintenance, and communication strategies.
The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen may have ended without an international commitment to specific greenhouse gas reduction targets, but the development community still needs to prepare to meet stringent targets in the next five to ten years. Both California and the U.K., among others, have already started down the path that the rest of the world is likely to soon follow.
As cities embrace promising new technologies, innovative ideas have prompted an exploration of the potential of virtual architecture.
The Clinton Climate Initiative’s Climate Positive Development Program intends to demonstrate workable solutions for sustainable urban growth through pilot projects in ten countries on six continents.
Ten renovation and retrofit projects make over structure to meet the needs of the contemporary hospitality industry and tap the place-specific power of older buildings.
Developers are applying novel conservation strategies to prevent water shortages from triggering building moratoriums.
As the concept of sustainable design spreads, and tools like the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system expand in acceptance and application, a movement is taking shape that is driving sustainable design toward a more holistic and systemic approach: ecodistricts—neighborhoods that generate all their energy from on-site renewables.