Session 1A: Recycling Urban Land and Buildings/Suburban Infill and Retrofit Examples:
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
9 a.m. - 1 p.m. EDT
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Session 1A: Recycling Urban Land and Buildings/Suburban Infill and Retrofit Examples: Can we recycle developed land and structures that have grown obsolete or are underused? The answer is yes. It’s not usually called “recycling,” but urban land and structures can be reused, or used more intensively, such as through infill, redevelopment, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation. Infill is the process of developing vacant or underused urban sites that, because of their size, shape, or other factors, sit empty or unproductive. Infill involves the construction of new buildings. Redevelopment of urban land typically calls for a more intense use of vacant, blighted, or underused urban land as well as for the rehabilitation of older structures that have deteriorated or outlived their usefulness. Redevelopment may also involve the removal of derelict buildings and their replacement with new, often larger structures. Many urban projects involve adaptive reuse, the conversion of an older building to a new use – a school to senior housing, for example. Studies have emphasized the importance of these strategies to the reduction of VMT and GHG emissions. They are seen as “one of the most effective transportation and emission reduction investments regions can pursue,” according to an EPA study. Integrating Green Building Practices: Land-use planning, transportation planning, and architecture traditionally have been considered three separate fields. Complex problems such as climate change, however, pay no respect to such traditions. Solutions to such problems therefore require a more holistic approach – an approach that gets planners, engineers, and architects working together and designing sites and buildings to take advantage of solar access and environmental conditions. Through orientation of buildings and use of more efficient systems and materials, green building maximizes energy conservation and reduces impacts to the environment. Partly in response to global warming and other climate change phenomena, this type of architecture and design has grown dramatically in recent years. Many public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and businesses have developed programs or taken measures to advance green building. Travel habits and trip generator models: One of the most important tools available to reduce carbon emissions is TDM: transportation demand management. The term is cumbersome, but the idea behind it is simple. TDM is simply the process of shaping or directing ways in which people travel and use transportation systems. There are two options: System management consists of making changes to the system itself. Demand management consists of shaping the behavior of those who use the system. Some land uses generate so many trips that they warrant special attention. Schools and big-box stores are two examples. According to some studies, school-related trips can increase morning rush-hour traffic by as much as 30 percent,125 while big-box stores can generate as many as 10,000 car trips a day. 126 So many motor vehicle trips mean big carbon footprints. These land uses also have indirect effects on greenhouse gas emissions through what might be called their “gravitational pull.” That is, they are big land uses that attract people and other development that want ready access to them. For example, schools strongly influence home-buying decisions, often attracting homeowners away from closer-in, walkable neighborhoods to auto-dependent subdivisions in outlying areas. Big-box stores can, and often do, shift local retail centers of gravity and draw merchants away from compact, pedestrian-friendly downtowns to car-reliant exurbs.