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Thoughtful Action is needed NOW: Chicago Carbon-Reduction FTW


While I have less than heartfelt concern for Chicago as a metropolis in general, I definitely applaud Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill for coming up with this remarkable (and hopefully very marketable) plan to reduce the carbon-usage of Chicago in a rather short time-frame.

Let me be clear.  I really dig buildings.  So much that I’ve often thought I should pursue a career as an architect, though I doubt I could toil away in a craft where I win awards and no products are ever made for decades at a time.

That said, it should be apparent to anyone who can tilt their head vertically and left-to-right at the same time, that every major city has buildings that poorly planned, under-used and over-powered.  Spaciousness is great, opulence for the sake of grandeur is fantastic.  Better, however, is useful design and the promotion of livable space over sell-able space.

There’s a few things I believe here:
– Walkable neighborhoods can also be veritical
– Street-level retail and dining does not detract from the cubicle farms on the 12th floor
– Parking lots are some of the worst things ever invented.  Especially in Phoenix.  Basement garage FTW
– Why not take every opportunity to incorporate nature into our urban areas?  Does anyone WANT to live/work in a place that’s gray and not blue or green or earthy?

So when I see a plan like this, one that calls for a Stop Order on new buildings until the current ones can be used adequately, I have to applaud.  In America, we have such little History, there’s no reason we cannot conserve what’s here and still create a “city on a hill”.

Hey, if they could pull this off, I’d have to change my whole opinion of Chicago.

From Inhabitat:

The breadth of the initial phase of the Chicago Central Area DeCarbonization Plan proposes eight key strategies to meet the city’s carbon reduction goals. The first, “Buildings,” discourages new construction, and focuses on retrofitting existing structures to increase their energy efficiency, raising the value of aging building stock and tapping into the potential to transfer excess energy loads back to the grid. “Urban Matrix,” promotes residential use of the Loop area by convert outdated office buildings into homes, schools and other services. Their “Smart Infrastructure” strategy explores energy generation, storage and distribution. “Mobility” assesses public transit and connectivity. “Water,” examines resource conservation, “Energy” highlights new and existing sources of power, and “Waste,” looks at the city’s system for processing, reducing, recycling, and disposing of garbage. Lastly, “Community Engagement” outlines ideas for involving the city’s inhabitants in the greening process.

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