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PlaNYC

August 25th, 2010

(image: http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/includes/site_images/features/downloads/the_plan_cover.gif)

On Earth Day, 2007, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced PlaNYC, a comprehensive plan to implement sustainable development practices throughout the city over the next two decades. Some of the goals of PlaNYC include:

i) Implement a water conservation program to reduce citywide consumption by 60 million gallons per day

ii) Open 90% of waterways to recreation by preserving natural areas and reducing pollution

iii) Add 245 million gallons per day to the public water supply by maximizing efficiency at existing facilities

Each of the goals listed above contains a metric. Quantifiable metrics like “gallons of water saved” or “acres of wetland restored” help us gauge the impacts of our activities. Metrics are also especially useful to change public policy; when a project can demonstrate potential in a concrete way, it is more easily accepted. Check out some of the reports at PlaNYC to see examples of metrics.

John Leys, lead reviewer
Bry Sarté, peer review
Nick Lee, research


Materials Red List

August 25th, 2010

A materials “Red List” is a list of construction materials you are discouraged or forbidden from using within a project. The materials listed are typically poisonous to humans, harmful to the environment, and/or deemed unsustainable by the organization administering the list.

The Cascadia Region Green Building Council created a materials Red List for its “Living Building Challenge,” a program that aims to push buildings beyond LEED into higher levels of sustainability. Found on page 12 of the Living Building Challenge, the Cascadia Red List includes materials like cadmium, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halogenated flame retardants, and mercury. Many other organizations, such as The Los Angeles Community College District, have also created Red Lists to guide materials selection on future projects.

John Leys, lead reviewer
Bry Sarté, peer review
Nick Lee, research


San Mateo Green Streets

August 25th, 2010

In January 2009, San Mateo County published its “Sustainable Green Streets and Parking Lots Design Guidebook” to encourage use of low-impact development for stormwater management. This guidebook is packed with pictures and visual aids that demonstrate the structure and function of natural stormwater treatment systems in urban and suburban settings.

image: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/landuse/PublishingImages/greenstreets.jpg

San Mateo County received both the 2009 Award of Excellence and the 2009 Outstanding Planning Award from the American Planning Association (California chapter) for its 174-page Green Streets guidebook. The guidebook includes design strategies, street and parking lot case studies, design examples in San Mateo County, design and construction details, and other strategies to implement green street and green parking lot projects. Click here to visit the San Mateo Water Pollution Prevention Program homepage.

John Leys, lead reviewer
Bry Sarté, peer review
Nick Lee, research

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