CNU News Briefing
A groundbreaking report on the transportation efficiency of buildings, Ellen Dunham-Jones on suburban retrofits, new urban inill & moreSubmitted on 10/19/2007. Tags for this image:
A roundup of not-to-miss recent news from the world of urbanism and CNU.
Importance of Green Contexts and Green Commutes: Groundbreaking EBN report
says transportation to and from buildings uses 30 percent more energy
than the buildings themselves
Environmental Building News has published a ground-breaking piece about
the need to rethink and expand some basic conceptions of green building.
In a September article entitled “Driving to Green Buildings: The
Transportation Energy Intensity of Buildings,” EBN introduces some
eye-opening data, revealing that green buildings cannot ignore the effect
of their location on their environmental impact. While promoters of green
building design like Ed Mazria at Architecture 2030 have long focused
attention on the energy consumption of buildings themselves (Mazria claims
that buildings consume nearly half of all of America’s energy resources),
the EBN report calls for a paradigm shift, urging us to hold developers
far more responsible for the energy that will be consumed in transporting
people and goods to their buildings.
As Molly Mackean observes in the online CNU Salons, "EBN’s
innovation in this report is to apply transportation energy intensity,
a measure more commonly used to measure the efficiency of freight transport,
to measure the energy used to move people to and from buildings. As revealed
in their report, for an average office building, the energy associated
with transportation to and from the average building is 30 percent more
than the energy use of the building itself. For an energy-efficient building,
the gap is even more startling, with transportation energy use exceeding
building energy use by 140 percent."
This kind of holistic thinking about environmental impact that EBN calls
for has long been the focus of the CNU’s attention, particularly
through its partnership with the United States Green Building Council
and Natural Resources Defense Council to create the first certification
system for neighborhood-scale green development, LEED for Neighborhood
Development. Accordingly, the article makes reference to the influence
of new urbanism in shaping the kind of energy-efficient environments EBN’s
Audio and Slideshow: A scholarly and engaging look at state-of-the-art
suburban retrofit from Prof. Ellen Dunham Jones
Speaking at the annual meeting of CNU Illinois, Ellen Dunham-Jones, the
Director of the Architecture Program at Georgia Tech University, previewed
her upcoming book on Retrofitting Suburbia. Combining academic
analysis with impressive on-the-pavement observations from the real estate
market, Dunham-Jones offered refreshing insights on the state of “greyfield
development,” including how developers in built-out suburbs thirsty
to improve return on their “underperforming asphalt” are reshaping
sprawl into a more urban form.
CNU has the audio and slideshow so you can experience Dunham-Jones' lecture
Cato: Why Planning in Portland Works Better
Than the Analysis of Its Chief Neo-Libertarian Critic
When the Cato Institute published a report by Randal O'Toole this summer
"debunking" planning efforts in Portland designed to promote
compact, transit-oriented development and reduce sprawl and automobile
dependency, CNU decided to take a closer look. Michael Lewyn, an assistant
professor at Florida Coastal School of Law and veteran urbanist, agreed
to check O'Toole's facts and analysis.
projects now for CNU's Charter Awards: the highest honor in urbanism and
Now in its eighth year, CNU’s Charter Awards program has honored
more than 125 projects, a body of work chosen by a distinguished group
of jurors for best exemplifying and advancing the Charter of the New Urbanism.
CNU continues that tradition in 2008, inviting submissions of work at
all scales of the Charter for consideration.
future of Buffalo's waterfront threatened by state plans to expand freeway
infrastructure: Momentum builds for boulevard alternative
From the Buffalo News, 9-8-07: John Norquist stood on the Lake Erie shoreline
Friday and issued a warning: Buffalo is on the verge of making yet another
The former Milwaukee mayor, a politician known for remaking his city’s
said New York State is about to build a freeway that hinders development
of Buffalo’s valuable outer harbor.
From the Buffalo News, 10-19-07: The Common Council unanimously implored
the state Tuesday to delay awarding contracts for the $50 million Southtowns
Connector project, saying that a redesigned Route 5 would be an impediment
to waterfront development.
The bill’s key sponsor said opponents are so convinced the project
will be another transportation blunder for the region that he’s
not ruling out a court fight.
Peek: A storehouse of new urbanist infill development from cities big
This summer, CNU asked members to forward examples of significant in-city
new urbanist projects so that CNU could help identify and highlight this
The result was the submission of more than 250 projects, with 49 coming
from California alone, 25 from Florida and 12 from New York State. Even
though the list isn't comprehensive, just a voluntary sampling, says Norquist,
"it reveals just how active new urbanists have been inside cities.
For many members of CNU, creating new development that reinforces the
existing and often degraded fabric of existing cities is one of the most
stimulating and rewarding challenges in their careers."
Although CNU plans more analysis of the results, the
project already offers state-by-state listings and descriptions of
these projects with links to the CNU online project databse for illustrated
profiles of some of them. Thumbnail images from this database are shown
at the top of this page.
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