1 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab: Designing the Innovation Economy The American Institute of Architects
2 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Table of Contents Credits 5 Introduction A synergistic symphony of urban design and development is commencing, harnessing creativity, lowering economic barriers, and generating productive energy with healthy, inspiring environments. Cities have the ability to adapt, innovate, and lead the way. Learning from Others Innovation Across the Globe Leading cities across the world are innovating, and there are a range of practices worth highlighting to demonstrate what s possible now and in the future, given the right choices. 16 Innovation Districts: Building the Relationship Infrastructure Innovation Districts are creative, energyladen ecosystems where innovative design and development patterns can help entrepreneurs, established companies, and leaders in all walks of life build unexpected relationships and find transformative solutions. The Boston Innovation District A productive design community helped to foster innovation between fields, rapid prototyping, and a resurgent manufacturing community, along with a strong focus on sustainability. Research Triangle RTP must evolve from a suburban office park into a new hub for creativity and economic growth. Proximity will strengthen the bonds between companies and facilitates commercialization. Centennial Campus at NC State is also growing as a value added regional urban innovation district offering up additional opportunity and proximity. Downtown Project An urban experiment in testing how strengthening the community, accelerating learning, and increasing meaningful chance encounters among residents and visitors can accelerate happiness, innovation, and productivity. 42 Co-Location: Creating Relationship Eco-systems Places that enable such bump-andspark may be built from scratch, but they can also be creatively re-designed from existing buildings for uses that original builders would have never envisioned. 5M Project 5M turns the typical real estate development process on its head: instead of proposing a campus of buildings and then looking for tenants, 5M is creating an innovative ecosystem from the ground up, and for the existing community. Made in Midtown Fashion s relentless demand for innovation can only be fed through networks of small, nimble firms that recombine to develop new products. TechShop America is experiencing resurgence in innovation and light manufacturing. The explosion of 3D printers and microcontrollers for manufacturing equipment has spelled the end to the near-monopoly on the design prototyping of physical products by larger companies. The Plant This urban farm aims not only to grow delicious fresh greens in January, but to do so without sending out any garbage or taking in any grid energy, and by absorbing 27 tons of trash a day from the city around it. 60 Future Workspaces: Building for Collaboration The 21st century economy requires new methods of education both in school and at work. New ideas flow more freely and have greater impact when they re not confined behind cubicle walls or classroom doors. Learning The traditional settings of lecture halls and reading rooms are becoming an obsolete representation of the past as learning morphs into a new phase with more dynamic, experiential spaces that blend learning with doing. Flexible Offices Architects are designing more collaborative office spaces with impressive results. Innovative floor plans offer employees choices from a wide variety of spaces for equally varied tasks. 80 Innovation Housing: Buildings for a Life Within Reach Changing ways of life go far beyond demographics, of course. In an era of austerity, simplicity sells, and architects have responded with new designs that make every cubic foot count. 90 Public Spaces: Fostering Connections Better design creates more value: from new public gathering spaces, from stronger community identity, from safer and better transportation alternatives, from better environmental outcomes, and from better business. City Streets New attention to street design has given many more architects a new canvas for creative, small-scale placemaking just outside the front doors of their buildings. Temporary Architecture Temporary structures not only offer more flexibility and lower cost, but offer a chance to fill voids in the urban fabric with experiments in new forms, uses, and ideas. 106 EcoDistricts: Enabling Vibrancy, Ensuring High- Performance At the core of this new urban design movement is the notion that districts are the best scale to accelerate progress: small enough to innovate more quickly, large enough to have significant impact without delaying implementation. 118 Resilient Design: Preparing for an Uncertain Future Long-term planning, land use, zoning, building code enforcement, and even much of the physical infrastructure that collectively factors into the equation of resilience are all controlled by cities 128 Conclusion As design thinking becomes more and more engrained in the way we make decisions at the municipal level we will live in communities where buildings, neighborhoods, districts, and cities can perform at their highest level of capacity. 130 Takeaways 136 Endnotes 146 Photo Credits
3 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Introduction 4 5 Brooks Rainwater Director of Public Policy Tatyana Brown Manager of Public Policy Payton Chung Public Policy Consultant Cooper Martin Director of Resilient Communities Russell Fortmeyer Consulting Editor Chad Ress Cover Image Plural Design Cities as a Lab: Designing the Innovation Economy is the eighth in a series of AIA reports on innovative, healthy, sustainable, and livable communities. About The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Founded in 1857, the AIA is the leading professional membership association for licensed architects, emerging professionals, and licensed partners. The AIA has more than 80,000 members and nearly 300 state and local chapters. The AIA serves as the voice of the architecture profession and a resource for its members in service to society; it carries out its goal through advocacy, information, and community. Through various programs and initiatives, the AIA brings together architects and other professionals from across the country to provide direction for communities seeking to improve their sustainability. The American Institute of Architects drives positive change through the power of design. Cities have long played a central role in the development of national economies. The fabric of the city, with its people, buildings, commerce, and transportation networks, promotes relationship formation, business creation, and game-changing ideas. The web of interconnectedness created and reinforced by urban development patterns is a critical asset because if cities are to thrive, they need to be great places. As political and economic power increasingly finds its greatest expression through municipal governments, cities have become the laboratory for innovation and change. The American Institute of Architects Cities as a Lab initiative aims to identify and instrumentalize how design can foster innovation to meet American cities changing needs. Cities as a Lab grew from the realization that policy experimentation and implementation has migrated downward from states to regions and municipalities that have stepped in to become more nimble proponents for democracy and experimentation. This project aims to demonstrate the power and importance of urban areas in a fully functioning polity. The melding of innovative design with the increasing power of technological solutions to the problems addressed by these policies is a core focus area for this endeavor. Successful cities are increasingly faster, cleaner, broader, and smarter, mainly because they have to fill the policy voids left either by state governments or through the lack of funding from well-meaning federal government programs. Cities everywhere are entering a new era of unprecedented collaboration as well as competition. Knowing this, local governments are working with architects, urban thinkers, engineers and technology mavens, developers, and other key players across all sectors to design and construct sustainable buildings and districts as platforms for the future. A synergistic symphony of urban design and development
4 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Introduction 6 7 A synergistic symphony of urban design and development is commencing, harnessing creativity, lowering economic barriers, and generating productive energy with healthy, inspiring environments. is commencing, harnessing creativity, lowering economic barriers, and generating productive energy with healthy, inspiring environments. Cities have the ability to adapt, innovate, and lead the way. Innovative cities welcome and anticipate the social and technological shifts that have reshaped how people interact in the 21st century. These cities are reconfiguring urban spaces to fit these new patterns. These shifts are already transforming cities in numerous ways: Economy. The faster pace and more distributed nature of invention relies on knowledge networks to both generate new ideas and bring them to scale. Education. Rapid technological change requires learners to exchange skills and tools, both in school and through life-long education. Health. Active living instigated through design interventions can encourage healthier behavior and improve well-being. Technology. Ubiquitous mobile data access can unlock the secrets of the city, increasing its livability and user-friendliness. Sustainability. District scale solutions connect buildings and people to shared services and spaces, cutting distances and minimizing wasteful duplication. Design. Lively spaces, ideas, and energy are elevated when design serves as the key connector integrating urban assets and amenities into great places. Economic Power of Urban Areas The concentration of people and the supporting built environment plays an important role in creating the foundations for economic strength in cities. According to Gerry Carlino of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve, patents per capita grow approximately 20 to 30 percent when employment density is doubled. 1 In fact, when companies move more than a mile apart, research by Stuart Rosenthal of Syracuse University and William Strange of the University of Toronto shows that intellectual spillovers that often drive innovation fall off precipitously. 2 Fostering this type of economic competitiveness is at the top of many city agendas. Cities increasingly realize that in order to thrive they must expand beyond merely providing exceptional basic services, by also placing a strong focus on resource efficiency and start-up business creation, with plans to capture and spread the resurgent manufacturing industry and respond to the challenges of an aging society. Increasingly city leaders are realizing the design of place is a key asset that can be leveraged for growth in their community. The economic power of cities is a key source of wealth for national economies and a leading indicator on the importance of cities. U.S. metropolitan areas comprise more than one-third of the 100 largest economies in the world. Furthermore, in 2012 the gross domestic product of U.S. metro regions reached $13 trillion, or nearly one-quarter of the economic output of the 200 largest countries combined. 3 With this type of economic significance, successful policies implemented at the scale of the city can play a strategic role in realizing a full economic recovery for the country. Thus, it is imperative to learn how to duplicate best practices found in the most innovative and productive places. The National League of Cities 2013 Local Economic Conditions Survey finds that 75 percent of city officials are increasing their focus on business attraction and recruitment, with 73 percent of these same officials keyed in on downtown/commercial redevelopment. 4 At the same time, an abundance of small, entrepreneurial firms is highly correlated with economic growth. Cities that are best able to attract these types of businesses create more opportunity for the people already living there and draw new people in search of jobs. Increasingly city leaders are realizing the design of place is a key asset that can be leveraged for growth in their community. In order to draw in these businesses and recruit the best people, cities need to be well-designed lively places that inspire, promote social interaction, and increase engagement. Economic development plans in cities throughout the country largely reflect this reality, or at least aspire to its realization. Design and the City The intertwined physical, political, technological, and social nature of cities provides a full spectrum of economic, social, and environmental criteria with which to consider potential opportunities for urban innovation. Through a laboratory of design, this diverse mix of influences can find a multitude of recombinant expressions for considering alternative urban futures addressing a myriad of challenges emerging every day. Powerful design can more fully engage our 21st-century public and create the communities that meet people s needs. Great design has played an instrumental role in cementing the importance of cities throughout time. This design prominence can be seen in a great many types of building projects the world over that have catalyzed development and helped create communities, as well as physically represented a diversity of political and economic structures. One key example of this is Europe s great medieval churches, which formed highly visible manifestations of political and economic influence through the urbanization of an otherwise dispersed, agrarian population.
5 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Introduction 8 9 The awe-inspiring architecture captures people s imagination to this day with flying buttresses and soaring cathedral ceilings. Surrounding these great buildings markets were formed, buildings were built, and cities grew. Today, we might call such a critical linchpin building something like an attractor or generator, in that when done well they multiply the effects of positive urban development that many cities are encouraging. Walking by Strasbourg Cathedral in France, once the tallest building in the world and still the highest structure completed in the Middle Ages, the multiplication of urban effects is visible to this day. Its poignant Gothic architecture is a well-known attraction, supporting an economy evidenced not only by a ring of market stalls during the holiday season, but as the focal point of a dense urban fabric consisting of stores, restaurants, and homes. The design of the Cathedral sets the scale of the city and fashions a network of not only physical infrastructure in streets and pedestrian areas, but one of economic and social density. Both Cathedral and city mutually reinforce one another. The historical role that cities have played as power centers cannot be overlooked within this examination. The complex economic, social, and environmental systems that undergird cities and make them possible create a web of interconnectedness in the physical sphere. When done well, the design of this physical sphere can allow a unique systems-wide interconnectedness to grow among the people who live, work, and recreate in these places. On some level, we can call this old-fashioned civic pride, but given the greater mobility of urban populations and expanded susceptibility to global influences, such a term needs some redefinition. People are central to any discussion of the complex systems that make a city function. Economic growth is all about the products and services we need and enjoy, as well as the continual improvement of social metrics like health, education, and other quality of life indicators. The relationships people form with one another make economic growth happen. The surrounding buildings, streetscapes, and overall vitality of city space can enable this growth and change to take place. Many of our cities have evolved over time, with urban spaces that have been adapted to changing needs. A newly revitalized waterfront can create a social space where new networks can emerge, drawing creative industries into an infrastructure that may have been developed for a late 19th-century demand for industrial manufacturing and shipping. The underlying infrastructure of the port could be adapted and filled in with street furniture where you can rest after a walk, wide sidewalks so you can walk in the first place, and streetside cafés where you can stop to share a drink or some dinner with a friend. The inherent messiness of a city that has grown over the years provides a vital and architecturally interesting space, with remnants of a shipping yard reflecting off new construction in the form of glass buildings. In this general case, the design of the waterfront did not originally anticipate this, but good design could unlock the potential that was always there. Cities are in a unique position to take advantage of adaptable spaces where such crossover is possible, In all of this good design is not an afterthought, but it is instead the glue that creates great places. especially when compared to suburban communities with infrastructure that often divides systems so completely as if to nearly eliminate any potential for combining them in new ways for the unknown demands of the future. Cities are about families too. Park space and other outside amenities interspersed throughout the urban environment provide opportunities for kids to play, exercise, and socialize. Large cranes are often in the foreground and background of vibrant cities, leading to the creative churn of urban change. One can often observe parents with their children as they gaze on in amazement at the new buildings going up, creating increased linkages between place and space, as one generation shares ideas with the next, who will build upon them and create the great ideas of the future. Change is in abundant evidence in our cities and that becomes a part of the language of the people who live in them. In all of this good design is not an afterthought, but it is instead the glue that creates great places. Innovation for economic growth is the impetus for change, but this change doesn t come about in a vacuum. It is a part of a holistic, systems-level thinking about our buildings and streetscapes, and the complex relationship between them and us that are put first throughout a design process. Creativity in the New Innovation Age We are at the dawn of a new innovation age in so many ways. Our technological understanding is growing by leaps and bounds and the ability to overlay data measurement systems into the built environment is changing our relationships with physical space. These changes, as well as the ongoing challenges faced by diminishing economic resources, public health challenges, and political gridlock, provide those cities that seize the moment with a unique opportunity to shape the future. Creativity is a key factor in successful and thriving cities, with earlier concepts of industrial or economic clusters making way for the idea of creative clusters. Unlike previous models, which measured success based on dominant regional industries, a knowledge-based, global economy relies on a diversity of indicators from creative product and service industries. Traditionally, people have also looked at the number of patents in order to measure innovation whereas now we are steadily moving toward tracking the number of start-up companies and amount of venture capital drawn to an area. We can think of these places through the concept of the Innovation City.
6 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Introduction The Innovation City, whether big or small, is intelligently designed to take advantage of its own unique strengths. It fosters connections, creates energy, and inspires creativity. In an emerging era of neighborhood-centric cities, successful urban areas may actually be a mosaic of smaller towns. These are communities with distinctive urban landscapes, cultures, and economic markets, all connected to one another and to the world beyond, while residing within the framework of a larger metropolitan area. This is not urban branding, per se, in the way it s traditionally understood, but rather recognizing that proximity to likeminded people and commercial practices, as well as urban infrastructure is now a key factor in the success of cities. The Innovation City learns from the great cities of the past. Its adaptive reuse and revitalization of older mixed-use neighborhoods attracts millennial entrepreneurs and technology-based companies. At the same time it harnesses the economic potential of the aging population. With livable, less car-centric communities, the Innovation City enables citizens to age in place, create new businesses, and serve as experienced mentors to emerging entrepreneurs. Its flexible ordinances and codes enable communities to create temporary amenities and build adaptable, productive new spaces that promote the exchange of ideas and resources. Innovation has become the watchword for cities worldwide. What does this mean? How does a city become innovative? What can we learn from those cities that have a long history of innovation and success? The goal of Cities as a Lab is to provide insights, case studies, and ideas that offer policy and design solutions for buildings and neighborhoods that help to grow jobs, attract investment, and build next-generation economies. Learning from Others Innovation Across the Globe In order to grow the innovation portent of U.S. cities, so they can compete and collaborate with international cities, it is necessary for American cities to learn from practices taking place worldwide. City leaders have long sought best practices from overseas on everything from sustainability to transportation policy. Leading cities across the world are innovating and there are a range of practices worth highlighting to demonstrate what s possible now and in the future, given the right choices. These global innovation cities include places like Vancouver, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Singapore, and Medellin. Architects are on the cutting edge of this innovation transformation fusing design thinking with high-tech practices. What s better is that many of the architecture firms within this space are global in scope, which cuts short the time needed to translate best practices learned globally down to the local scale. The city of Vancouver, Canada, is one such place innovating on multiple fronts. As EcoDistricts and 2030 Districts gain steam as transformative ways to focus on the built environment beyond the building, districtscale projects like the Vancouver Olympic Village and its Southeast False Creek Neighborhood Energy Utility (district energy system) are leading the way. This district is achieving a 55 percent greenhouse gas reduction over conventional HVAC systems by using excess sewage heat. The city is currently planning for a long-term move toward zero-carbon, zero-waste One Planet Living. In order to meet this ambitious endpoint they are putting in place strong planning tools now with the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, 5 which has already resulted in great strides toward the city s goals. One of the most far-reaching parts of this plan is to require carbon-neutral operations for buildings built after If any city can meet this goal it is Vancouver, which already has the smallest carbon footprint per capita in North America.
7 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Introduction When thinking about the changing environment and the need to design resilient places with climate adaptation in mind, there are few cities more familiar with this reality than Amsterdam, which has no choice but to innovate owing to its topographical realities. Being a city located below sea level created inherent physical conditions that transmorphed themselves into the culture of the city itself. The people of the city understand climate change because they are experiencing it firsthand. For centuries, the residents of Amsterdam have been reclaiming land and developing protective barriers from the sea. This historical innovation and resilience to natural forces, couples with the economic need to live on water, and have spawned impressive urban models relevant to the modern day. Ijburg is a development for 18,000 residents, 12,000 of whom are working within the boundaries of a city developed based on McDonough Partners Cradle to Cradle sustainability concept. 6 This model has been built on eight islands, all with a different character, and since they are floating homes they are able to use 15-percent less energy as a result of energy storage embedded in the water. Not content to just focus on what is necessary for growth, Amsterdam is also wiring itself for the future with smart city technology through their own version of an EcoDistrict, the Amsterdam: Smart City project. This effort, started in 2009, seeks to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions by focusing on four key areas: Sustainable Public Space, Sustainable Mobility, Sustainable Living, and Sustainable Working. 7 San Francisco has long been known as America s innovation hub. With its storied history, focus on entrepreneurship, and proximity to Silicon Valley, it is innovation writ large. From open data to being at the forefront of social media, the city is a place where tech meets place. San Francisco is at the leading edge of integrating design, art, technology, and city programs. There are constant festivals where ideas are unveiled for integrating data and space that address ongoing urban problems. Two such events that are particularly illustrative of this include AIA San Francisco and GOOD Magazine s Design Challenge 8 as well as the Architecture and the City Annual Festival, 9 both of which provide creative outlets for forward-leaning design to be ideated and brought to the forefront to potentially solve citywide challenges. The maker movement gained steam here with companies like TechShop providing space for people to 3-d print and build fantastical creations that can go from idea to production within hours. As if this wasn t Two such events that are particularly illustrative of this include AIA San Francisco and GOOD Magazine s Design Challenge as well as the Architecture and the City Annual Festival, both of which provide creative outlets for forward-leaning design to be ideated and brought to the forefront to potentially solve citywide challenges. enough, co-location has taken off in the city with shared spaces throughout San Francisco and a preponderance of these locations in the South of Market (SoMa) and Mid-Market neighborhoods of the city. The innovative notion of the sharing economy has germinated and expanded in a number of ways here, with the co-sharing of buildings to automobiles to housing. This is a city that is on the cutting edge in a wide array of areas including design, technology, and, most importantly, ideas. Singapore is a city-state renowned for efficiency with a government that is always incorporating best practices in urban development, such as congestion pricing and historic preservation. Innovation has been strewn throughout the city, with district-wide solutions, effective policy changes, and a strong integration of design and technology. The city has consistently been in the top ten of the Global Innovation Index 10 and is continuously looking for opportunities to bring new innovative ideas to Singapore, especially critical given the city s lack of natural resources or other traditional indicators of economic development. With its strong focus on data-driven solutions, MIT s SENSEable City Lab was recruited to work collaboratively with the city and has created a series of real-time information data solutions for the residents of Singapore. The LIVE Singapore! project integrates the information collected on the people moving about the city with digital real-time data brought in through multiple network solutions. 11 The end result is a digital overlay to everyday life through ongoing application development that enables people to make decisions more in sync with the wider environment surrounding them. These types of innovative technology solutions, tied together with the entrepreneurial environment fostered by the central government with its famously business-friendly policies, have created a city where ideas can germinate, serendipitous collisions can happen, and inspired solutions can flourish.
8 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Introduction Medellin, Colombia is a South American city that is leading the way through innovative efforts on placemaking and public space creation. A fresh look at the urban environment of Medellin led to a greater understanding of the true value of public spaces between buildings and the need to bring together people within those places. Medellin is a city that used to be one of the most dangerous in the world due to its central role in the international drug trade, which at its height recorded more than 3,000 murders a year. While all of its problems have certainly not been solved, it has gone through a transformation that has taken it from a decidedly difficult urban past to recently winning the Wall Street Journal/ULI/CITI City of the Year award for most innovative city. 12 The city focused on revitalizing its poorest areas and instituted policy solutions to support this goal. New transit links were brought in to connect the slums on hillsides to the formal jobs below. With the hills being too steep for bus rapid transit, gondolas and escalators were installed to provide creative mobility solutions for the residents. Creativity in the face of challenges can often lead to these types of innovative solutions that make life better for city residents. The city s former mayor, Sergio Fajardo, championed these and many other programs, some of which used striking architectural design, primarily created by local architecture firms, to create a strong sense of place for the city. Transit terminals, libraries, and sports centers were upgraded and built with forward-looking design a central tenet to the revitalization. Mayor Fajardo s agenda, architecture as social program, captured the overall goal of creating transformative architecture for the residents of the city. Medellin shows that innovative policies and design solutions can create cities that work for all people, while also creating strong economic growth. These cities provide a snapshot of the global innovation movement working. This is a global competition of interconnectedness that more closely resembles the once dominant city-state model, only now expanded to the world-wide stage. Cities are the laboratories for change and this is the environment in which America s cities are currently working. In authoring this report, we believe this country s cities are ready for the challenge. Does your city have an innovation strategy?
9 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts Innovation Districts: Building the Relationship Infrastructure The Boston Innovation District Research Triangle Downtown Project
10 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts Innovation Districts are beginning to emerge worldwide as our cities enter an era of unprecedented competition in a global, knowledge-based economy. They are growing because our ever-more complex world demands increased collaboration to understand the latest trends, let alone address problems with solutions that are more and more frequently found at the boundaries between different fields. In short, Innovation Districts are creative, energy-laden ecosystems where innovative design and development patterns can help entrepreneurs, established companies, and leaders in all walks of life build unexpected relationships and find transformative solutions. They re places designed to bridge gaps between fields and make unusual collaboration more likely to happen. The Boston Innovation District Unlike enterprise zone programs or university research or technology park models, the Boston Innovation District is based on the premise that contemporary economic activity is the result of a complex organically evolving system, which can be helped along but not directed top-down, explains Daniel Isenberg, Professor of Entrepreneurship Practice at Babson Executive Education and founding Executive Director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project, which helps leaders around the world create the policies, structures, programs and cultures that foster entrepreneurship. Amid America s economic recovery, Boston s Mayor Thomas Menino launched the Boston Innovation District (I/D) with his 2010 inaugural address. Three years later, his vision is quickly transforming 1,000 acres of the South Boston waterfront into a unique live-work-play innovation community. Ten million square feet has already been developed in the district and there is still 20 million more square feet planned. Mayor Menino s vision for promoting economic growth was both deliberate and experimental. It supported a productive design community, helped foster innovation between fields, encouraged rapid prototyping and a resurgent manufacturing community, and included a strong focus on sustainability. By creating a compelling vision and asking developers to set aside percent of permitted space for
11 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts innovative use, the Mayor s Office has enabled the development of environments that support innovation. It includes numerous accelerators and co-working facilities, new types of housing, and America s first public innovation center in a connected urban community. 1 Cities first brought water, then electricity, then broadband service. Municipal infrastructure services are about sharing resources and now Boston is building relationship infrastructure. This is why we re looking at innovative housing models that connect people. We re not just designing spaces for brilliant people to come home and stick to themselves. Nicole Fichera, Manager, Boston Innovation District 2 Business Accelerators Since its launch, the District has gained over 200 new companies and more than 4,000 jobs, with another 2,500 future jobs announced. The growth spans a diverse range of small, mid-scale, and large companies. 3 Among these companies: 40% share offices in co-working spaces and incubators; 25% have 10 employees or less; 11% are in the education and nonprofit sectors. Of the jobs created: 30% are at technology companies; 21% are in creative industries like design and advertising; 16% come from green technology and life sciences. District Hall A flagship, anchor, and a natural gathering place in the developing Innovation District, District Hall is the first free-standing city-sponsored innovation center of its kind in the United States. MassChallenge World s largest startup accelerator and on-going competition. Babson Boston The new Hatchery near MassChallenge provides student startups with space and access to faculty, executives-in-residence, and visiting entrepreneurs. Another new facility hosts MBA classes and public lectures. Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems Demonstrates innovative energy systems and supports the development, testing, evaluation, and marketing of new technologies. Provides funded R&D and incubates clean technologies and early-stage companies. Our mandate to all will be to invent a 21st Century district that meets the needs of the innovators who live and work in Boston to create a job magnet, an urban lab on our shore, and to harvest its lessons for the city. Mayor Menino, Fifth Inaugural Address, January 4, Co-Working and Co-Location Headquarters Boston Shared flexible space of 25,000 sq. ft. for companies, non-profits, and artists that make and fix stuff anything from small hand-crafted shops to medium-scale semi-industrial facilities. Space with a Soul Provides space, services, and infrastructure to give small nonprofits the organizational capacity of large corporations. T3 s Innovation Studio 5,000 sq. ft. of transitory incubator and co-working space housed within a real estate company s headquarters. Supports five to 10 entrepreneurs, lawyers, consultants, and other tech ecosystem workers visiting for a few hours or months. Bocoup Loft and WorkBar Boston Co-working spaces, one for technologists and hackers with a passion for Open Web solutions and another that crosses all industries.
12 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts Design Museum Boston s Street Seats Design Challenge sets the stage for serendipitous encounters and community connections around the Innovation District s Fort Point Channel. The Challenge is part of the Design Innovation Gallery, an ongoing speaker and event series showcasing creativity in and around the Innovation District. America s First Public Innovation Center Who s Next? The City of Boston collaborated with architects at Hacin + Associates, Boston Global Investors, and the Cambridge Innovation Center to envision the strategy and design for District Hall. This 12,000-square-foot, 10-year experimental community hub will support events, exhibitions, and meetings that have no niche elsewhere in the innovation market. District Hall A flagship, anchor, and a natural gathering place in the developing Innovation District, District Hall is the first free-standing city-sponsored innovation center of its kind in the United States. How can this building stimulate innovation and how can you create your own? What makes Boston s innovation center so flexible, and how will it meet the city s future needs? District Hall: Designing for Innovation Like others in the Innovation District, the online media company Brightcove underscores the importance of community and collaboration. Since moving to the I/D in 2012, the firm has been hosting members of the local tech community at a number of networking, training, and social events. Creating a true collaborative environment was at the core of designing its new headquarters in the I/D: from semi-private meeting spaces to positioning furniture to facilitate passing conversations among employees in different departments. District Hall at a Glance 5 3,000-square-foot restaurant to cover the costs of managing District Hall; Flexible event space for up to 250 people, a size more manageable for small groups and entrepreneurs than elsewhere in the neighborhood; Gathering space with lounge seating and worktables for promising companies, organizations, and executives to meet and share ideas; Pedestrian sidewalk-facing pods with doors to the street for supporting a variety of uses including meetings, classes, pop-up exhibits, and prototyping.
13 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts Innovation Housing To help Innovation District companies retain top talent, the city s program in the district allowed experimental units be built below the current minimum size of 450 sq. ft. 6 (see pg. 85). While planning the District in 2010, Mayor Menino invited the crowd-sourcing, open-source architecture and design firm ADD Inc. and four others to speak with his staff and developers about what innovative housing could look like. Architects recommended smaller units that could be customized by tenants, a strong focus on shared common spaces, replacing cars with bikes, and more opportunities and incentives for developers to experiment. The city then required all residential proposals in the I/D to include an Innovation Component. Do you know your citizens? About one in three people in Boston are between the age of 21 and 34. If we don t accommodate their needs, they will pick up and go elsewhere. Nicole Fichera, Manager, Boston Innovation District In 2011, the city asked ADD to complete full market research and identify an implementation strategy for apartments that would enable District residents to live close to work, each other, and vibrant urban amenities. As part of its annual research and policy development process, ADD led the What s In? task force in partnership with young designers from Silverman Trykowski Associates, Artaic, and Suffolk Construction to understand what the city s large year-old demographic wanted in urban living. The team then created a 300 sq. ft. prototype unit in a building that would enable tenants to mingle in common spaces interspersed throughout the floors. In line with ADD s recommendations and design, about 300 innovation units of sq. ft. are being built at the four residential projects on which construction has begun inside the Innovation District. City officials have also successfully encouraged developers to include within residential buildings offices for start-ups and other entrepreneurial activity. The What s In? task force is now studying social spaces outside the unit, as well as how the units are understood by the community at large, and is collaborating with others to study the potential for building more micro-units in Boston. The City is also working with Harvard University to examine whether these units increase collaboration and entrepreneurial activity.
14 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts The 27 Innovation Units at Gerding Edlen s Factory 63 are more than their inside comforts: they re close to ventures, adventures, and everything in between. Part of a thriving community, they offer shared work space and conference rooms, a common kitchen, lounge, and deck with grill, as well as online networking and local retail partners. The Innovation District s new residential development Factory 63 is redefining urban living as an inspiring connection hub for the creative and motivated. The development s innovative design helps Factory 63 host the Design Innovation Gallery and advance conversations in partnership with the District s leading organizations: Design Museum Boston, IDEO, Greentown Labs, the interdisciplinary goodgood design studio, Street Seats, Geekhouse Bikes, and the city s innovative Office of New Urban Mechanics. 7 INNOVATION LOFT D 10 FEET 63 MELCHER ST, BOSTON, MA FACTORY63.COM The talent war that we all talk about is a very real thing, says Michael Glass, head of learning and organizational development at Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., which risks losing young scientists if they cannot find housing near its offices in the Innovation District. We think [innovative] housing is a big part of the solution for us. 8
15 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts The Takeaway The American Institute of Architects interviewed Daniel Isenberg, Professor of Entrepreneurship Practice at Babson Executive Education and founding Executive Director at the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project, where he coaches local governments on fostering entrepreneurship. Dr. Isenberg considers innovation districts from his viewpoint as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and preeminent scholar in the field. 1 Build to attract talent: The aesthetics and user-friendliness of urban spaces whether public or private are part of the attraction and retention of the extraordinary talent that you need for entrepreneurship to flourish. When an architect designs a building or a space that way, those things all added together have a very important impact on entrepreneurship. First of all, entrepreneurship is in part about creativity, and this stimulates creativity. At the same time, entrepreneurship flourishes in places where people want to live. You see this in places that have been through tough times. New York City went through an almost unprecedented economic crisis five years ago. It was a place where people wanted to stay, so when they were laid off or unemployed, they turned to creating their own ventures. Boulder, Colorado, also has a high concentration of start-ups. It s a very pleasant environment and entrepreneurship was stimulated in that area when big companies contracted. When IBM (and other local research institutions and technology businesses) laid off people in the last 30 years, they stayed and created their own ventures. Entrepreneurs complain first about raising money, but money as often as not follows talent as the other way around. 3 Spend time, not money: One of the interesting characteristics of the Boston Innovation District is, for all intents and purposes, there were no financial incentives for companies to locate there. Many leaders give companies special privileges but, ironically, that can inhibit innovation from spreading. As Boston s Innovation District succeeds, rents increase naturally, but this is part of the expected dynamic. Some of the successful ventures will naturally look for other places where the rent may be lower. By not providing financial incentives, you let the market forces take over, which allows innovative companies to collaborate across sectors and spread beyond innovation districts. Dr. Isenberg advises that many factors affect entrepreneurhip. Local leaders must think holistically about their policies within and beyond innovation zones. 4 Don t play sector favorites, emphasizes Nicole Fichera, Manager for the Innovation District. If the recession and sluggish recovery taught us anything, it s that government isn t great at picking winners. In Boston, we resisted the temptation to attract a specific sector, and it s paying off. Designers, software programmers, marketers, lawyers, bio-engineers, and more have all found a supportive place to grow in the Innovation District. 2 Think beyond physical boundaries: In the future the really successful innovation districts will spill over. They will not be strict geographic districts anymore. Part of what s relevant about Boston s Innovation District is the impact that it s going to have on the rest of the city. To start a hotbed of entrepreneurship, you need a certain physical concentration, but this only generates a lot of heat if it starts to spread.
16 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts Research Triangle How much space do you really need for a new idea? 400 acres for an IBM laboratory? Or 25 square feet in the Smoffice? The Research Triangle reinvented itself 50 years ago as one of the world s leading hubs for innovation. Now, its leaders are cultivating a new generation of collaborative workplaces that break the boundaries of the suburban office park. Yesterday s future Glimpsed from the interstate, the stacked hexagons in the Elion-Hitchings Building, designed by Paul Rudolph, FAIA, 1 look eerily like a spaceship had landed amidst a grove of scrubby pines. It was here that Christopher Walken played a mad scientist in the 1983 movie Brainstorm, and where a few years later real scientists developed AZT, the first drug able to treat HIV/AIDS. Laboratories around the corner have borne other path-breaking inventions including UPC bar code scanners and the Ctrl-Alt-Del computer function. Here at Research Triangle Park (RTP) nearly 50,000 employees and contractors work at 170 firms. At least 82 percent of them are in science and engineering, with one of the world s largest bioscience clusters using $2 billion in annual research funding to bring the future to life. 2 The emergence of RTP in 1959 propelled the surrounding Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area into the realm of economic development legend. Recruiting industry and government laboratories, then flowering in other locations like California and New Jersey, to locate in the midst of the area s numerous universities stanched the state s brain drain. Doing so transformed the fading Tobacco Road, capital of the second-poorest state, into the best-educated and highest-earning metro in the South. RTP became the fastest-growing metro in the East and the crown atop Site Selection s best-cities list for nine of the past ten years. Yet after a 50-year run, the vision of the future embodied in the Park now seems as dated as the once-futuristic but now-vacant Elion-Hitchings Building, its employees consolidated into more efficient space next door. RTP now finds that it needs a fresh start a Ctrl-Alt-Del in order to keep itself cutting edge. As economic development consultant Bill Fulton writes, 3 RTP is in danger of becoming a dinosaur, a monument to an earlier age when research and innovation occurred in closed corporate research labs behind locked gates. Many of its employees would rather work at home than fight I-40 traffic just to look at trees and eat canteen lunches. The hundred-acre estates sold to multinationals decades ago have been haphazardly subdivided, as corporate reorganization broke up sprawling conglomerates into smaller and better-focused firms. A castle of proprietary technology doesn t suit the way innovation happens today. Now, networks of highly specialized knowl-
17 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts edge quickly rearrange themselves to continuously improve products through numerous iterations. Firms contract out work to specialists rather than doing everything under one roof. John Seely Brown, who was chief scientist at Xerox, and John Hagel of Deloitte write that economic growth occurs when bright individuals and innovative organizations come together and collaborate in evolving networks of creation, or creation nets. They play off each other, appropriating each other s work, learning from it, building on top of it and then watching and learning from what others do with their own creations. 4 The more complex and fragmented the field, the greater the need to collaborate in networks just to comprehend challenges, much less devise and then implement solutions. N.C. State s Centennial Campus Knowledge transfer is a contact sport, says Claude McKinney, Hon. Assoc. AIA, former dean of the School of Design at North Carolina State University and later the director of its Centennial Campus. McKinney got to design a perfect playing field for that sport. 5 In 1984, the state transferred hundreds of acres of wide open kudzu and red dirt just south of N. C. State s campus in Raleigh for use not only for its growing facilities but for the nation s largest university research park. The new park wouldn t just duplicate the Research Triangle Park 15 miles down the road, it would In 1984, Governor Jim Hunt pushed a skeptical Council of State to transfer a farm from the state s mental health hospital to N.C. State, its largest land-grant university. Hunt, an alumnus, knew that the campus needed expansion room, and room to explore new ideas. I will never forget sitting in a classroom at N.C. State where we were learning about how many textile jobs were leaving the state. I mean to tell you they were just flowing out of here. It was the early 60s and Research Triangle Park had just begun, but not much was happening there yet. I just thought to myself, What in the world are we going to do? I used to worry about how we haven t figured out what the next big thing is going to be, what industry was going to save us. We don t know. We can t know. But what you can know is that the bright, innovative, creative people will come up with it. The most bright people will lead it. 16 be an environment in which scientists from university, industry, and government can work together in close proximity. Instead of wooded estates, the new campus would have structured parking: research by university architect Edwin Harris, FAIA, determined that keeping buildings close enough to permit people walking through its quads to recognize one another would facilitate casual conversations. Those conversations could then continue in Centennial s libraries (see pg. 62), courtyards, a broad academic green, an Entrepreneurial Village dormitory, a lakeside conference center, on trails, on a golf course, and in the distant future, aboard a monorail. Countless architecture students examined parts of the future campus in their studio classes, ultimately envisioning a nine million square foot campus for 30,000 occupants. A different kind of campus requires different rules. One early decision was to retain control of land by leasing, rather than selling, to provide greater adaptability as needs and tastes change and to ensure that value gains will accrue to the university. An exemption in state law allows revenues from Centennial Campus to be reinvested in campus development rather than the state treasury; another exemption permits the university to build profitable facilities like apartments, offices, or a hotel. A slow start convinced university officials not to do everything themselves, instead working with developers to deliver buildings through leases and land swaps with non-profit affiliates like the university endowment. Industry, in turn, is usually more comfortable leasing from a developer than from the public sector, says Michael Harwood, AIA, current Associate Vice Chancellor for Centennial Campus Development. 6 Close coordination doesn t happen between just any research partners, of course. Outside tenants are vetted by the university s Partnership Office to ensure active engagement with the campus community. Once they arrive, partnerships keep tenants engaged with full campus membership, including free or discounted access to university facilities. Harwood notes the campus was fully occupied throughout the downturn because we ve embraced collaboration and fostered a community. Even though tenants can get cheaper rent somewhere else, there are lots of other reasons to stay. For example, Pentair Aquatic Systems arrived on campus to test swimming pool cleaning robots, but found on-campus expertise in non-woven textile water filters and in business management. Rounding out its innovation portent, the university even has a manufacturing incubator where small firms can use its advanced equipment for non-woven production.
18 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts Yet any successful ecosystem has churn and that s built into the structure of the campus. Then-chancellor Larry Monteith envisioned a campus where there is a turnover, where small businesses get large, where large businesses move off [to] provide dynamic and ever-changing opportunities. 7 Sure enough, the first big graduation off-site occurred in 2012: open-source software provider Red Hat, which had already expanded its footprint at Centennial ten-fold, chose a downtown Raleigh office tower to double its space again. Research Triangle Park must evolve from a suburban office park into a new hub for creativity and economic growth. Outside Red Hat s 19-story tower, Raleigh s downtown has welcomed other growing technology companies, like Citrix and Ipreo, to its traditional mix of banks and law firms. On the other side of RTP in downtown Durham, long-empty tobacco warehouses now hum with the activity of scores of start-up offices. Competitions, incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces (see pg. 73), cater to the needs of Durham start-ups at all rungs of the ladder, and so do the microbreweries, storefront galleries, and contemporary art museum hotel that have sprung up around downtown. To draw attention to the scene, the Durham Regional Chamber of Commerce recently made big news out of a small office: a competition awarded six months of free rent in a 25-square-foot smoffice occupying the former window seat of a prominently located coffee shop, plus deluxe housing and the obvious networking opportunities. Reinventing RTP Research Triangle Park, meanwhile, is not resting on its laurels as it approaches build-out under its current zoning. Recognizing that research and discovery have evolved, it unveiled a new 50-year master plan in November 2012 by architects Cooper, Robertson & Partners. 8 The new master plan promises strategic transformations to its approach to development, further stating that RTP must evolve from a suburban office park into a new hub for creativity and economic growth. It must go far beyond the five on-site small business incubators to reinvent the large corporate campuses as spaces more conducive to the smaller firms that now drive innovation. Proximity will strengthen the bonds between companies, which in turn and the plan gives a nod to Centennial Campus here facilitates commercialization. Erin Monday, communications director for the Research Triangle Foundation that governs the park, says We re going to redevelop RTP, and the structures we build will be built around entrepreneurship. 9 The plan identifies three key hubs for growth and intensification. Most notable is a new seven-million-square-foot mixed-use Triangle Commons to be designed by EE&K / Perkins Eastman and developed by Hines on a site that, like the Domain in Austin (see pg. 37), includes what was an IBM employee recreation facility. A renewed Park Center and an employment-centered Kit Creek Center round out the trio, and together will allow RTP to almost quadruple its existing capacity. One interesting balancing act that will take place will be to create additional density without losing sight of RTP s fundamental park-like setting, says Bob Geolas, CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation. The Park needs to focus on what makes our place special a park, says Geolas. We have to create special places that still have to tie into collaboration, accessibility, and affordability. 10 To implement the master plan, RTP has to adopt a new governance model as well. 11 New enabling legislation had to go before the state legislature to loosen use restrictions written into the original law, which notably included a ban on residential and strict limits on retail. New comprehensive plans and zoning laws have to be negotiated with the two counties that govern RTP, allowing taller buildings, closer setbacks, and smaller lots instead of the lost in the trees feeling evident at the development today. The current low-services, low-taxation model, which relies heavily on corporations to provide services within their campuses, will have to change in areas where smaller companies will receive higher levels of services. Urban services districts, similar to business improvement districts elsewhere, can build and manage shared facilities and spaces like parks, plazas, and transit.
19 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts Austin, Texas Columbia, Maryland Employees love working there, so employers looking to attract top talent see the Domain as a prime spot to locate. That s why the office space is full. It s all about talent: attracting the best and brightest. 15 Diana Holford, Austin SVP for Jones Lang LaSalle commercial brokerage Around the country Research Triangle Park is just one of many Edge Cities busy reinventing themselves for new ways of working. California: Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park weaves a new grid of streets and a mixed-use environment around several large office and industrial buildings vacated by Hewlett-Packard. 12 One building houses the SoCo Nexus/North Bay ihub incubator and innovation community, including offices for Sonoma State University s business school. 13 The community was the first One Planet Community endorsed in the Americas and thus aims to keep its ultimate ecological footprint to sustainable levels. Maryland: The 1963 new town of Columbia, between Baltimore and Washington, DC adopted a new vision for its mall-centric Town Center in A major new promenade will link the still-thriving mall to Lake Kittamaqundi, the community s main outdoor gathering place. The lake s signature building, originally designed by Frank Gehry, FAIA, as the developer s offices, has an ideal location for retail reuse. The first two floors will be combined for an airy Whole Foods Market and a lower level opening onto the lake will become a health club. 14 Texas: Underused land at the edge of two R&D campuses, including a recreational facility for IBM employees and vacant University of Texas land, has become the Domain, or what Mayor Lee Leffingwell calls a second downtown for north Austin. The Domain so far has grown from a regional retail destination to include 828 apartments, two hotels, and offices within its grid of streets. Its name stems from a previous development plan focused on dot-com offices; offices have successfully been leased to companies like Convio, Electronic Arts, and HomeAway. Virginia: The Center for Innovative Technology has plans to build out the land surrounding its landmark, Arquitectonica-designed Herndon headquarters into an Innovation Center. The new high-rise office and residential precinct will surround a new Metrorail station that will soon be under construction, complementing existing or planned transit-oriented developments in nearby Reston and Tysons Corner. Centennial Campus has inspired a new generation of urban, university-affiliated applied-science research campuses, in locations like Cornell NYC Tech in Queens, New York; UI Labs and Illinois Manufacturing Lab in Chicago; Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore; and UF Innovation Square in Gainesville, Florida.
20 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts Downtown Project Watch Tony Hsieh speak at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival. Excitement about innovation zones has spread far and wide, sometimes championed by unconventional leaders in places where you might least expect it. Las Vegas, long known for gambling and entertainment, has staked a new claim to fame. Several miles away from the Strip, a visionary new plan is unfolding in Fremont East called Downtown Project, which boldly aspires to help create what could be the most community-focused, large city co-working capital of the world. The leading online footwear and apparel retailer Zappos is relocating its headquarters to the former Las Vegas City Hall in the fall of This will bring over 1,000 of the company s employees into the heart of the existing community rather than the insular corporate offices they currently occupy in the suburbs. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is using his own money in hopes to transform 1.5 square miles of the downtown Fremont East neighborhood, while at the same time supporting the company s longterm growth. A separate entity from Zappos, his Downtown Project is investing $200 million into real estate and residential properties; $50 million each into tech startups and up to 200 small businesses; and another $50 million into arts, education, and culture. The $350 million total is impressive, but what really grabs attention is the project s broadly applicable philosophy and purposeful efforts to create a vibrant downtown experience. 1 I ve had some pushback from friends and family who just don t get what it is we re doing here. They ve wondered (aloud) about what kind of place this is for a child to grow up. But I feel confident in my response it s the kind of place where my son can grow up around committed, hardworking, creative, smart people who want to change the world. Kim Schaefer, writer and editor with Downtown Project Whatever amount their own cities invest in development, innovators are taking note of Downtown Project. Hsieh s initiative was inspired by the work of the urban theorist Richard Florida, who has written on the creative class, and especially by Edward Glaser s 2011 book, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Healthier, and Happier. Downtown Project is about Las Vegas as a start-up and the business advantages of good urbanism and building a community. It s an urban experiment that tests how strengthening the community, accelerating learning, and increasing meaningful chance encounters among residents and visitors can accelerate happiness, innovation, and productivity. To that end, Downtown Project is increasing density to at least 100 residents per acre, which contrasts greatly with the city s typical densities of between 10 and 25 people per acre. 2 The Project s developers envision accomplishing this by building environments that promote collaboration and cultivate a complementary mix of small companies, restaurants, bars and cultural amenities that can attract and create other projects. However, this experiment is not just for cities. As Becky McCray points out in her blog, Small Biz Survival: The Rural and Small Town Business Resource, smaller communities can also foster more street-level interaction and chances for collaboration across the usual social lines, as well as increase density with infill programs and above-the-store downtown housing. Exploring ROC: Return on Community With the premise that community is to municipal economic development as culture is to company growth, Downtown Project aims to foster a culture of openness, collaboration, creativity, and optimism. Among the efforts it hosts is First Friday, a monthly arts-and-music festival that draws over 25,000 people to the Arts District and the Fremont East area. The Downtown Speaker Series, a community learning initiative of Downtown Project, offers free weekly evening classes, discussions, and workshops facilitated by community members and visitors. If they give back to the community, temporary residents from out-of-town can stay free of charge at the Ogden Hotel, which houses Downtown Project and more living/working spaces for start-up engineers and technicians. When Inspire Theater opens in late 2013, visitors will be able to participate in weekly TED-style talks at its 150-seat auditorium, use collaborative workspaces, and share ideas at the building s bar and rooftop deck. 3
21 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Districts Facilitating Co-working Among Fremont East s co-working spaces are: Usr/lib Work Lounge: a 1,500 sq. ft. library and co-working technology hub that hosts regular start-up events for the tech community. The space is managed by Work in Progress, an expanding network of co-working venues that supports entrepreneurs in technology, fashion, music, art, sustainability, and other fields. Stitch Factory: Part of the neighborhood s possible future Garment District, 4 Stitch Factory is a designer-oriented co-working space of over 5,000 sq. ft., equipped with industrial machines, dress forms, and working tables. Stitch Factory offers brand consulting, private creativity-oriented events, seminars on entrepreneur ventures, and classes. Designing for Community, Serendipity, and Innovation Flexible Urbanism: Downtown Project s long-term aim is to create flexible buildings and spaces that adapt to evolving needs as they draw people from the Las Vegas Valley into the city core. With functioning space needed today, Downtown Project is accelerating growth by repurposing conventional shipping containers into buildings designed to support over 30 entrepreneurs. 5 Scheduled for opening in late 2013, this open-air hub will host cafes, boutiques, bars, galleries, and other businesses around the centerpiece children s play area, an outdoor theater, seating, and retractable shading. It will also house a branch of the nonprofit Little Free Library, which promotes reading through book exchanges around the world. 6 Livable, Well-Designed Communities: Downtown Project plans to foster accessible communities where people can live closer to each other and are better able to mingle in central spaces, streets, and other outdoor places. Parks will include cafes and other businesses in order to help offset the cost of their maintenance while encouraging more people to interact with each other. Given the city s hot climate, better neighborhood design with green roofs and community gardens will also create more comfortable community spaces. Downtown Project aims to make the area easier to walk, bike, and take public transit to work, socialize, and make meaningful connections. The Takeaway 1 Close collaboration between institutions and sectors may require rewriting rules that separate business and government. 2 Mixing businesses and uses requires thoughtful proximity, but be careful and patient: Communities don t happen all at once. Different buildings can be built at different times to respond to different market needs. 3 Planning and zoning in suburban contexts do not accommodate urban centers. Higher densities, mixed uses, and transit require an entirely different land use regime. 4 Rethink signature public spaces like parks and libraries. These gathering spaces are the glue that binds buildings and people together, and must not be neglected. 5 Urban districts that provide an additional layer of services, and provide an extra layer for stakeholder feedback, may need to be created to maintain shared facilities. 6 Responsible investment is on the rise and shareholders are beginning to expect more than fiscal return on investment. Perhaps more than ever, local governments have opportunities to engage businesses in conversations on how to meet their growth needs while supporting community development. Cities can provide the business community with relevant information and facilitate engagement through regulatory reform and processes. 7 Downtown Project makes one thing clear: what might seem impossible isn t necessarily so. Take stock of your existing policies, infrastructure initiatives, and community development programs in a new light. How else might you support unusual intersections and relationships between citizens and organizations? If you don t experiment, it s harder to make big strides.
22 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Co-Location Co-Location: Creating Relationship Eco-systems 5M Project Made in Midtown TechShop The Plant
23 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Co-Location One critical aspect of the emergent sharing economy is the ability to help purpose-driven people meet and work together. Such co-location sometimes means supporting new approaches to traditional models of complementary industrial loops. Our technology-driven, creativity-based knowledge economy requires unorthodox tactics for tackling challenges that have shifted from old models like locating factories near natural resources to a softer model of relationships and innovation. We need meaningful ways to interact with people whom we might never otherwise know: tech meets the arts, tinkering meets advanced robotics, nonprofit meets investor. Places that enable such bump-and-spark interactions may be built from scratch, but they can also be creatively designed within existing buildings for uses that original builders would have never envisioned. Communities across the U.S. are proving they can transform our built environment to be more sustainable, supportive, and inspiring. 5M, a Developing Innovation Ecosystem The newspaper industry has experienced tough times. One result of this has been half-empty newsrooms as editorial staff numbers have continued to shrink. Instead of a problem, some newsrooms have embraced this change to find new uses for this empty space. Historically, newspaper companies often located at the edge of downtowns, which originally provided quick access to both City Hall and newsprint-laden boxcars, but now offers access to key commercial districts. This combination of offices and production lives on in the transformation of the San Francisco Chronicle Building into 5M at 5th and Market Street, part of the South of Market, or SoMa neighborhood. 1 At 5M, the developer Forest City Enterprises is working with Gensler architects to turn the typical real estate development process on its head. Instead of proposing a campus of buildings and then looking for tenants, 5M is creating an innovative ecosystem from the ground up to serve an existing community. [They are] trying to
24 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Co-Location M links over 2,500 creative organizations and organizes hundreds of events each year through its partners, such as: 5MPlaceWorks a new program led by Intersection for the Arts in collaboration with the 5M Project and PolicyLink. It is a pioneering entity that fuses creative placemaking and economic development practice to create a new model for inclusive urban development. invent a new kind of work environment that is going to work for the economy of the future, says Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of SPUR, a longtime local urban advocacy group. 2 What began as a few subleases to young tech companies has grown to house an inter-disciplinary ecosystem for social and economic innovation and entrepreneurship. The 1,000+ firms involved in these networks include small startups in technology, the arts, and manufacturing. Their ideas are innovative and very responsive to market needs, says Jennifer E. Matz, director of the city s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. 3 Places catalyze innovation when they are built to contain the cultures and environments that help us be creative, productive, and connected making and observing art, accessing new ideas, tinkering with our hands, joining a cause, discovering new opportunities These experiences inspire us, trigger our creativity, and collectively supply fertile ground for the breakthrough solutions that our economy and communities need. 5M Placeworks The careful redevelopment of 5M s four-acre site will take place over the next 10 years. A recently unveiled plan by Gensler takes the community skyward, with eight low-, mid-, and high-rise buildings comprising 1.85 million sq. ft. of office, residential, retail, cultural, and public space. Increasing density will provide more room for 5M to reach its goal of building the network effect, which is described by the organization as help[ing] individuals and enterprises reach their goals faster, surrounded by a community that makes everyone smarter and more effective. Its design principles include pedestrian-focused alleys, civic spaces for events that inspire all ages, and flexible lease spaces for small and growing companies. As with other urban labs, 5M is intended to spill out into the neighborhood area and blend into the city s fabric. The Hub a place for purpose-driven members that attend and produce events, run their own bootcamps, access funding and mentorship, identify clients and partners, find social networks, build campaigns, launch companies, and prototype and test products. Hub SoMa is a co-working startup incubator for tech companies and Hub Office supports more established companies. TechShop a co-working, co-learning space for makers (see pg. 52). SFMade a nonprofit that supports companies producing locally-made products, encourages entrepreneurship and innovation, and creates local manufacturing jobs. SOCAP this is an event series connecting investors, foundations, institutions, and social entrepreneurs across the globe to build markets at the intersection of money and meaning.
25 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Co-Location The garment district is not necessarily a problem that we have to solve, but a series of strengths. Sarah Crean, former executive director, New York Industrial Retention Network 3 Made in Midtown: The Future of Manhattan s Garment District Sometimes, a thriving innovation district can hide in plain sight. The basic principles of co-location and collaboration apply not only to high-tech industries, but to any industry where both producers and customers have a passion for continually improving products. The Made in Midtown? 1 and Making Midtown 2 reports from the Design Trust for Public Space and the Council of Fashion Designers of America demonstrated to New York City s decision-makers that clothing factories weren t a relic of the city s past, but the foundation of a $10 billion creative industry. The fashion industry in some respects offers a preview of the future for many other American industries. America s first mass-production industry has already survived many of the broad trends that many other industries now face: simultaneous globalization and localization, fragmentation into dense networks of suppliers, shorter and continually improved product cycles possible through rapid prototyping, collaboration between designers and manufacturers and end-users, and the disruption of traditional distribution. As fast fashion has reached middleclass consumers via chains like H&M and Forever 21, innovation cycles have tightened even further. 4
26 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Co-Location Proximity absolutely increases creativity. fashion designer Nanette Lepore, who manufactures 85 percent of her collection in New York City. The Garment District arose in the 1920s on the west side of Midtown Manhattan, between the wharves and Broadway s department stores. Mass production for the middle market went offshore in the postwar wave of deindustrialization, but a segment of the industry was able to reinvent itself for a new era, catering to the ever-changing styles of high fashion, where concepts have a shelf life of weeks rather than months. This demands an R&D infrastructure that maintains adaptability through close proximity, which facilitates repeated meetings and constant changes: Having your workrooms right here, you re able to make a selection and try it and see what works, says designer Anna Sui. Fashion s relentless demand for innovation can only be fed through networks of small, nimble firms that continuously recombine to develop new products. The Garment District functions, in essence, as an incubator: providing ideas and infrastructure to start-ups, helping them learn and grow, writes Tom Vanderbilt, co-author of Made in Midtown. Fashion designers concur. New names happen because here in the Garment District are the people who can help a startup, says designer Yeohlee Teng, likening the district to an interdependent ecosystem. Local designers have great confidence in their suppliers, since nearly half of them produce samples in Garment District factories. Yet the area available to fashion businesses, especially manufacturers, has steadily eroded. Industrial tenants typically expect to pay half the rent that office tenants do, and thus even the few spaces protected by zoning for manufacturers have disappeared amid a recent influx of high-rise hotels and offices. Facing an uncertain future, building and factory owners alike have deferred investment. Making Midtown urges the city to help this innovative industry cluster thrive through policy changes, promotion, and public spaces. Revising zoning and tax policies could create incentives to preserve manufacturing space and build commercial uses elsewhere. Public space improvements along streets like Broadway have built awareness and improved traffic flow for pedestrians and trucks alike, helping to better use sidewalks and loading docks during evening hours. A broader Made in NYC promotional campaign has attracted attention from trend-conscious New Yorkers and lent new cachet to local manufacturers and designers.
27 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Co-Location TechShop: a Maker Incubator At America s growing crossroads of design, the arts, and technology, citizens are leading change through the nascent Maker Movement. Close to the epicenter of this light industry revival is Jim Newton, a serial entrepreneur, former science adviser to the Discovery Channel s MythBusters series, and a veteran of the Silicon Valley computer hardware industry. He made public his plans to create the first TechShop in 2006; six years later he has about 3,300 TechShop members in over six markets: hobbyists, artists, engineers, and promising entrepreneurs who might just be starting America s next industrial revolution. 1 In fact, the Tech Shop in San Francisco has a red Batphone with direct connection to the US Patent and Trademark Office hotline. 2 It s also the location where Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey prototyped Square, which transforms smartphones and tablets into credit card readers. 3 Newton s business model is compelling. For a small monthly membership fee, urban creatives without a garage or basement space can build anything, with past projects ranging from a laser hair loss treatment to an electric motorcycle to an incubation blanket for infants that might be on track to save 100,000 children s lives. 4 All of this happens in facilities that typically run about 17,000 sq. ft., although Mark Hatch, TechShop s CEO, is already envisioning possible extensions. For instance, TechShop could include office space and service desks where you could print 3D objects from a file. 5 The San Francisco site may be a future model for others: Its TechShop at the innovative 5M (see pg. 45) development offers offices for fully formed companies that still want access to its tools and creative vibe. 6 It comes as no surprise that TechShop s six locations include California, Austin, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. It is also negotiating with other companies to open locations in Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, and San Diego. 7 In fact, TechShop is part of a larger maker movement. Fablab, which started
28 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Co-Location at MIT, is a global network of nonprofit workshops, many associated with schools or universities. 8 Maker spaces are also becoming part of library services, frequently tied to youth programming. Perhaps most interestingly, the TechShop hackers and makers franchise is part of America s sharing economy, which is both deepening and spreading. Instead of owning something they rarely use, people increasingly prefer to share with others at marginal cost. The TechShop is filling a specialty niche on two fronts. Many of its members are solo innovators who can t afford to buy a range of expensive tools and need affordable classes like Welding 101 or those focused on drawing 3D digital models. Another growing share is companies and organizations that seek an energizing hub with easy and affordable access to equipment for rapid prototyping. A powerful nexus of forces is behind the sharing movement. To start, America is experiencing resurgence in innovation and light manufacturing. The explosion of 3D printers and microcontrollers for manufacturing equipment has spelled the end to the near-monopoly on the design prototyping of physical products by larger companies. 9 This means that hardware is cheap enough to share, though still too expensive, bulky, and difficult to master at home. Coupled with this democratization of light manufacturing is the emergence of crowdfunding, which has made it much easier to finance innovative endeavors. At the urban scale, the millennial generation is seeking purpose and opportunities to associate and create with a community of like-minded people amid the significant erosion of America s civic capital, as well as the lack of traditional paths to employment. The same desire that is luring people out of traditional suburbs into walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods drives collaborative consumption, writes Tina Rosenberg in the New York Times Opinion Pages, We like to bond with interesting strangers. 10 If we create the right spaces, people can socialize while building their dreams and our economy. Supporting Innovation at Ford The TechShop in Detroit is expected to spur innovation at Ford, which recently sponsored membership for about 1,000 of its employees. Ford tinkerers can now quickly forge prototypes and test concepts a three-minute drive away from their offices, instead of waiting for their turn to access equipment through the company s standard channels. The crisis we went through in Detroit has driven the rise of a more entrepreneurial spirit, says Paul Mascarenas, Ford s chief technical officer. His colleague Bill Coughlin, the CEO at Ford Global Technologies, manages intellectual property for the company. Coughlin expects that Ford executives will give the go-ahead to more ideas now that they can see actual prototypes in dozens of exhibit areas within TechShop s large showroom. 11 A Serious Government Affair The U.S. Department of Defense is spending $3.5 million to fund two TechShops near Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh. After regular members leave at midnight, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will be working on project ifab, factories that can be quickly reconfigured to make different products. Behind DARPA s investment in TechShop is a broader goal to see if regular citizens can out-innovate defense contractors. At the same time, General Electric and the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation will be giving a free one-year TechShop membership and classes to 3,000 veterans across the country. 12 In Pittsburgh, TechShop also joins a major Google engineering office, boutique hotels, a new bus rapid transit station, and a combination barbecue/music festival/ entrepreneur competition in the East Liberty neighborhood. 13 Fifteen years of incremental redevelopment have brought East Liberty back as the commercial hub of Pittsburgh s east side, with a new focus on arts and technology that complement the area s strong academic and medical presence. 14
29 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Co-Location You d have to sell a lot of arugula to pay for a glass skyscraper, says Edel. The Plant On a dead-end street just off South Packers Ave. on the South Side of Chicago, a dump truck sloshing with natural-flavoring manufacturing byproduct sidles up to a brick warehouse. Although the warehouse once housed one of the last meatpackers in the city, one that happened to have invented processed mystery meat, you won t need to hold your nose to learn what happens next. Even in the depths of a Chicago winter, this sludge will re-emerge as crisp baby lettuces: a riot of distinct flavors and textures in each bite, as described by local food columnist Mike Sula. 1 The magic that transpires in between occurs in a building rechristened The Plant. This urban farm aims not only to grow delicious fresh greens in January, but also produce an array of other foods, including pies, pale ales, tilapia fillets, and trumpet mushrooms. It is also set up to avoid producing any garbage or relying on grid electricity, but instead producing its own energy by absorbing 27 tons of trash a day from the city around it. The Plant, says founder John Edel, is a vertical farm, yes, but the concept behind it is farming plus whatever else can take advantage of the outputs. 2 Whatever else is namely value-added food businesses. Waste has been re-routed through seemingly every process input and output. Fermenting beer and kombucha create carbon dioxide that vents to the basement aquaponic fish-and-herb farm. Spent brewers grains fire a baker s oven whose chimney heats hot water for a shared caterers kitchen, which in turn incubates new businesses that will grow into their own spaces. Most significantly, The Plant also refers to an on-site power plant: a biogas digester that will feed a combined heat and power system now being installed thanks to a state grant. It offers a consistent, renewable energy source for electricity at half the grid price, plus free process heat for tenants like the brewer. Working with SHED Studio architects, the development team built upon the building s existing strengths: substantial thermal mass, reusable equipment like walk-in refrigerators, and robust sanitation facilities. Reusing the structure allows
30 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Co-Location The Takeaway 1 Support innovative developers that wish to revitalize communities by building district identity on existing assets and needs. Some of the means to do so are typical innovative practices such as expedited permitting and facilitated review by a dedicated coordinator. 2 Remember the arts importance to innovation when advancing programs for community development and entrepreneurship. 3 Consider aligning your city s youth programs and veterans initiatives with the Maker Movement. Watch video interviews with The Plant s entrepreneurs incremental phasing and cuts costs substantially compared to proposals for newbuild urban farms: You d have to sell a lot of arugula to pay for a glass skyscraper, says Edel. 3 Strong demand from innovative but energy-intensive food businesses led to a natural focus on food, but food production also introduces numerous layers of regulation. Old regulations like lax heavy-manufacturing zoning and new regulations like an exemption from ornamental landscape provisions helped The Plant through zoning requirements. 4 Officials supportive of The Plant s economic development promise have facilitated a collaborative relationship between The Plant and regulators, who know what s important, why it s important, and, most importantly, how to correct it, says Edel. One remaining wrinkle remains: how to regulate raising livestock, whether fish, chicken, or goats, within a big city. In some sense, The Plant recreates the integrated systems and industrial clustering techniques that the city s Central Manufacturing District (CMD) neighborhood pioneered a century ago: shared utility services, flexible lease terms in solid buildings, and the community that emerges from being amidst other producers. At its peak in 1915, 200 businesses at the CMD employed almost 40,000 people. 5 It was an innovation district for its era. Edel notes that any industrial system in a dense urban environment can be co-located for similar symbiosis. Today, innovative manufacturing on the South Side means not just The Plant s micro-ecodistrict, but also initiatives like a proposed University of Illinois Manufacturing Lab that would share and commercialize advanced technology. Brookings Institute fellow Howard Wial, in his recommendations for Chicago manufacturing policy, 6 captures it best when he states that thoughtful co-location will not only cut costs and spawn new ideas, but also foster a dense and regional industrial commons that will improve productivity. 4 Investigate opportunities to promote collaboration and shared technology resources between businesses. 5 Understand the purpose of health and building regulations, and update them as necessary to accommodate changing technology. 6 Promote collaboration between businesses and governments to identify uses for waste streams. 7 Don t underestimate the contribution of industrial uses to a region s economy. Manufacturing uses may add relatively little value on their own, but may support other sectors that add greater value. Local production, design, and distribution work together.
31 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Future Workspaces Future Workspaces: Building for Collaboration Learning Flexible Offices
32 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Future Workspaces Learning The changing interactions between people and technology are reshaping learning spaces into environments where people learn from one another and not only from teachers. Schools, universities, and libraries are being reimagined for a new generation of digital native learners who expect exploration, interaction, access, and experimentation rather than a passive absorption of knowledge. The traditional settings of lecture halls and reading rooms are becoming obsolete as contemporary learning demands more dynamic, experiential spaces that blend learning with doing. Innovation depends on lifelong learning, and public facilities like libraries, museums, and schools can create a community focal point for an innovation district. Just as the District Hall houses events and informal gatherings within the Boston Innovation District (see pg. 19), the North Carolina State University s James B. Hunt Jr. Library creates a technology-enabled public space for students and employees at the university s Centennial Campus to discover, visualize, create, and collaborate (see pg. 32). Libraries Perhaps no other building type has seen innovation and collaboration take hold more so than in libraries. These changes have made many of the libraries opening today unrecognizable from those built just a few years ago. There is no industry that has digitized faster than media, and recently some have dismissed libraries as relics of a pre-digital era. With 98 percent of young Americans using the Internet, surely warehouses of books would be withering away. Instead, young people value libraries more than ever: A Pew Research Center survey of Americans aged found that young people are actually more likely than older adults to have visited a library recently (67 percent vs. 62 percent). Young people are much more likely to have accessed library computer resources, or used libraries as a space for studying or hanging out. 1 As Geoffrey Freeman, AIA, writes in the 2005 report, The Library as Place, contrary to the predictions of diminishing use and eventual obsolescence of libraries, usage has expanded dramatically particularly at libraries that have worked with their architects and planners to anticipate the full impact of new information technologies throughout their facilities. 2 Freeman also writes that the integration of new information technology has actually become the catalyst that transforms the library into a more vital and critical intellectual center of life. NC State s Hunt Library creates a knowledge hub for a growing public-private innovation district. The library, designed by Snøhetta with Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee, 3 houses most of its two million volumes within a bookbot automated storage system that delivers books in minutes. The bookbot frees up the floors above to house a seemingly infinite variety of technology-equipped collaborative and individual working spaces. Extroverted libraries like the Hunt Library still have stately quiet-study rooms lined with books, alongside spaces that are more about energy and people, less about storage, according to Traci Lesneski, an interior designer with MS&R. 4 At the Hunt Library, social spaces include nearly 100 group study rooms wired with plug-and-play displays, a virtual-environment Visualization Lab with 3-D projection screens covering three walls, a telepresence seminar room, a video game lab and dedicated gaming workstations, a Makerspace with 3-D printers and scanners, and digital recording studios. At the same time this library has more study seats than all of the university s existing libraries combined, arranged in colorful configurations that fit every taste.
33 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Future Workspaces Many public libraries have opened Information Commons and Makerspaces (see pg. 52), investing in technology that enable patrons of all ages to learn by doing. In Sacramento 5 and Riverside, California, libraries welcome patrons to self-publish with book-printing machines; in Detroit 6 and Pittsburgh, 7 programs teach teens bike repair and video production; and the Fayetteville, New York Free Library operates a Fab Lab, staffed by Syracuse University students, featuring 3D printers. Fayetteville Fab Lab founder Lauren Britton notes that free and open access to ideas and information is our library s mission, this was a natural progression. 8 Collaborative libraries bring users together with one another and unite them with the knowledge they need. As Freeman writes, the library is the only centralized location where new and emerging information technologies can be combined with traditional knowledge resources in a user-focused, service-rich environment that supports today s social and educational patterns of learning, teaching, and research. Schools, colleges, and universities Schools today must serve a digital native generation that expects to interact with the world and the buildings around them in new ways. The AIA s Committee on Architecture for Education (AIA CAE) has noted in its recent awards that more new schools include flexible use spaces for multiple programs and seating requirements, more informal gathering spaces for students, spaces and landscapes that function as teaching tools (particularly about the outdoor environment), and spaces that enable both different learning styles and more personalized approaches to learning. 9 That social side to high school is something that I hope we never lose. Michael Weller, Assoc. AIA Innovative ways of running schools, like the increasing number of independently administered charter schools or smaller schools within a school, have also spurred innovative ideas about school spaces. Charter schools like Power House High in Chicago, designed by Farr Associates, (see pg. 67) have made homes in smaller, adaptively reused spaces, and specifically designed their buildings as experiential-learning teaching tools. In Marysville, Washington, the Marysville Getchell High School was designed by DLR Group for a cluster of small schools grouped around shared facilities. The schools flexible, daylit layouts have breakout spaces instead of hallways. Michael Weller, Assoc. AIA, says the design avoids wasted space, fostering greater peer-topeer exchange since classrooms are connected through wide common spaces that are full of shelves of books like a library, tables like a commons, [or] stairs and seat walls. He says that social side to high school is something that I hope we never lose, no matter how intensively computer-based learning is integrated into our schools. 10
34 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Future Workspaces Cumberland County College took a bold approach to opening up its campus by anchoring the Cumberland County Arts and Business Innovation Center in downtown Millville, New Jersey, designed by MMPF Architects, alongside the town s chamber of commerce and small business-incubator retail spaces. 11 The downtown location provides the college s arts and business development programs with instant access to a wider market and to economic development officials, while also generating more traffic for downtown merchants. The Life Sciences Building at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix prominently features breakout rooms that have become a magnet for the entire campus community, says architect Marlene Imirzian, AIA. 12 The building s giant roof shelters enough labs to double the college s growing biotech program as well as an outdoor hallway called the Big Porch. During class sessions in the cooler desert evenings, daylight filters into the labs on the west side while indoor/outdoor collaboration pods under the porch equipped with power and writable walls light up with student conversations that are, as Imirzian says, set in nature. Such projects illustrate the powerful draw of flexible, loosely programmed spaces, inspired by the natural conditions of the site, that support emerging networks of like-minded students and faculty. Now Henry Ford Academy: Power House High in the Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center Was Sears, Roebuck & Co. Power House Location Lawndale, Chicago Architect Farr Associates Improvements to air quality standards in energy markets have shuttered over onefourth of coal-fired power plants, which long formed the backbone of America s electric generation mix. 13 These buildings aren t your usual industrial spaces, but are vast halls filled with steam turbines. The five-million-square-foot Sears catalog warehouse on Chicago s west side had its own on-site power plant. 14 The plant s impressive scale made it a natural focal point when the site was redeveloped as mixed-income housing. The foundation that owns the site wanted to create a program worthy of the soaring spaces within, but, as Bev Shaw, a major benefactor of the site notes, it was beyond a lot of people s imagination how you could make this into a practical space. The advent of charter schools, with their flexible scales, spaces, and programs, provided an anchor tenant for a new community center that could take advantage of the plant s spaces. The resulting space, certified as LEED Platinum, fulfills the Henry Ford Learning Institute s vision of removing boundaries between school and the real world by placing teaching tools everywhere, notes Jonathan Boyer, AIA. Equipment left in place, like coal conveyor belts and hoppers, along with new systems like geothermal wells and a green roof, offer on-site science lessons. The high ceilings of the former Turbine Room hosts larger gatherings like dining, assemblies, and community events; three floors were inserted into the former heating plant to create flexible, interactive learning studios with fold-away whiteboards.
35 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Future Workspaces The Takeaway 1 Schools and universities must rewrite campus plans. Quantity of space may matter less, quality and flexibility more. 2 Curriculums must be updated to support learning through doing and learning from other users, and identify how spaces can support new ways of learning. Flexible Offices The 21st-century economy requires new methods of education both in school and at work. Learning from one another has become more spontaneous, with greater demands to build upon that knowledge on a daily basis. 3 Libraries must redefine their missions to facilitate access to knowledge across multiple mediums, and to create great spaces rather than just house materials. 2017: 100 sq. ft. 2012: 176sq. ft. 2010: 225 sq. ft.
36 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Future Workspaces Better Office Design Innovation Rooms, not Meeting Rooms Rooms in more sizes, including informal spaces without reservations to accommodate spontaneity Numerous vertical surfaces to display and discuss ideas, like wired displays and whiteboard walls inspired by design schools Movable walls to quickly redefine space, with furniture on wheels for maximum flexibility Tables and seats of varied or adjustable heights Casual Meeting Environments Comfortable indoor & outdoor gathering spaces Wide variety of seating includes chairs, stools, lounge chairs, and couches; comfortable spaces to stand and lean Take advantage of hallways and intersections New Personal Areas Quiet spaces away from desks for contemplation or ocus Phone booths for personal calls to minimize distracting colleagues Secure storage for a mobile workforce Varied Shared Spaces Third Places : unassigned shared workspace Inviting kitchens that leverage the popularity of coffee shops as workspaces, facilitating gathering and collaboration over food and coffee, both during and after business hours Just a few years ago bold futurists foretold that offices would disappear altogether, with workers connected by ever-widening broadband. Sure enough, our new ways of working and connecting have redefined expectations for office space, but in unexpected ways. It s true, offices are getting smaller: The long-standing guideline of 250 sq. ft. per employee has slowly declined over the years, dipping to 225 sq. ft. in the 2010 CoreNet Global s survey of 500 corporate real estate executives. 1 However, the recession-induced efforts to cut business costs saw this metric drop sharply to 176 sq. ft. by 2012, with 40 percent of respondents predicting their employees will be allotted less than 100 sq. ft. apiece by However, the same study revealed that 72 percent of employees believe the office is the best place to interact with colleagues. At the same time, 80 percent of organizations surveyed by IBM want workers to collaborate more. 2 America is seeing more efficient layouts with fewer hallways, a slow disappearance of private offices as management hierarchies flatten, fewer file storage requirements (freeing up 15 percent of office footprints) and smaller devices, as well as more compact workstations, but not necessarily cubicles. Alternative work strategies like hoteling and remote work, now available at 86 percent of companies, 3 have removed some desks entirely. The federal government s General Services Administration (GSA) has found that at any given time, only one-third of employees are at their desks. 4 At the Houston offices of Accenture consulting, where many employees work remotely or off-site, the employee-to-desk ratio plunged from nearly 1:1 to 8:1. While reducing its space by two-thirds, Accenture s move into its new downtown office in 2009 accommodated employee growth and created more common spaces. 5 While its employees now have less assigned space, Accenture s new office thoughtfully accommodated their needs by reducing spaces that require a reservation from 90 percent to 10 percent of the overall office area. Denser offices literally bring employees closer together, but sparking serendipitous office conversations demands more thoughtful approaches to design. However, architects are creating more collaborative office spaces with impressive results. Innovative floor plans offer employees choices from a wide variety of spaces for equally varied tasks, from highly focused work to social interaction for individuals and groups of varying sizes. Such customized layouts not only accommodate the many different contexts in which work happens today, but can also promote employee productivity, well-being, and retention.
37 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Future Workspaces New Workplace Design: How Well Does It Work? Government Administration Services (GSA) Workplace redesign program, launched in % increase in satisfaction with communication within primary work groups 57% increase in satisfaction with communication with other groups 58% increase in satisfaction with productivity 17% increase in overall workplace satisfaction Accenture Moved into its new Houston office in 2009 Pre-occupancy surveys vs. post-occupancy surveys 41% agree that leadership is more approachable in the new office 29% agree that the new office better encourages impromptu collaboration 27% agree that it better encourages team collaboration Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Moved into its new Seattle office in % say the redesigned workspace is inspiring 89% say it encourages informal collaboration Note: The GSA survey identified a 2% increase in employee dissatisfaction with noise levels. This is one element of redesigned offices with which employees are frequently less satisfied. However, it is a direct result of the collaborative energy within new spaces. Employees adapting to increased communication with quiet spaces, white noise machines, and headphones. Sharply increased office density and more collaborative workflow have profound effects both within and beyond the office. When NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, asked architects to imagine the Office Building of the Future as part of a competition, the responses forecasted greater workforce mobility, collaboration, and focus on sustainable office construction. 6 Proposals for new buildings showed narrow buildings that maximize daylight and views, a sharp contrast from many of today s windowless interiors. Hickok Cole Architects envisioned each floor s elevator lobbies melding into lounges for casual exchanges, an approach that NBBJ Architects took at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle by placing coffee and copier stations at stair landings. 7 Architects also imagined offices that share services and amenities with the cities around them. The Miller Hull Partnership showed cafeterias and gyms distributed throughout the city, rather than exclusive to towers or campuses. Gensler s building proposals mixed diverse uses vertically, pulling in outside program like apartments, auditoriums, and retailers to keep footloose workers engaged with the workplace. Co-working The most radically different new offices are co-working spaces, described as office communities where numerous firms and individuals share facilities and varying levels of common services. Thousands of co-working spaces have opened around the world in recent years, with new ones launched every day. 8 Many co-working facilities focus on early-stage companies or non-profits operating on shoestring budgets. Global confederations like The Hub (see pg. 36), which houses over 5,000 companies, 9 focus on co-working as a platform for bringing together small organizations in specific sectors like sustainability. The 501(c)3 Hypepotamus, which connects Atlanta tech startups with talent, corporations, and media outlets, offers free co-working space to the start-up community. 10 Everyone knows the legend that innovation starts in a garage, but sooner or later we all grow up and need a place to work, writes Tom Kelley, partner at the innovation consulting firm IDEO, in his 2001 book, The Art of Innovation. 11 Today, for many young businesses, the garage and place to work is a co-working space. Small businesses appreciate co-working facilities affordable rates and flexible terms. Hot desks, the most common arrangement, offer drop-in access to an array of shared desks and a shared sense of purposefully going to work. One very-well documented co-working community is the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), which operates four thriving co-working spaces
38 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Future Workspaces Why Tenants Choose CSI 70% say CSI makes them more effective 71% say CSI makes them more efficient 85% have collaborated with other tenants 67% have learned new information that helped their work across 100,000 square feet of space in Toronto and New York City. CSI not only offers small social-mission enterprises low-cost and scalable workspaces, but also helps them build the relationships that foster entrepreneurial approaches to meeting their clients needs. CSI s Shared Spaces booklet series outlines the how and why of its success. 12 CSI was launched in 2003, inspired by an already successful experiment in co-location: 401 Richmond, a loft converted to small spaces for artists and cultural entrepreneurs just west of downtown Toronto. In another building around the corner, developer Margie Zeidler and CSI s CEO Tonya Surman took a chance on offering even smaller spaces, integrated with what the team considered community, connectedness, shared services, well-managed facilities and a happy workplace. 13 Take a look around CSI For each iteration of its co-working spaces, CSI honed its approach to engaging and connecting social-mission enterprises around social problems that are too complex for any one individual or firm. Most of CSI s new tenants move from home offices, so renting an office increases their costs. However, they benefit from greater productivity both from outsourcing routine office tasks and from making community connections. As one of its tenants wrote in a survey, It is wonderful to work... where so much is done for you in terms of amenities so that you can get down to business. CSI s approach to space mirrors much of what modern offices provide, starting with a light-filled open floor plan with few full partitions, as well as phone booths that offer privacy on demand. Forty percent of CSI s floor plan is devoted to common space, including a comfortable lounge and kitchen along with a series of meeting rooms open to public events, open desk areas for individuals, and more permanent offices for larger groups. Some larger companies with more extensive facilities budgets and who might once have physically hidden their R&D departments on remote campuses in places like Research Triangle Park (see pg. 31) have lately awoken to the value in sharing offices. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, five large firms from vastly different industries, from Steelcase and Amway to the shoe manufacturer Wolverine have created a joint design hub called GRid Each firm occupies its own door-less suite, but shares the building s common meeting facilities that include a telepresence room and the highly flexible Skunkworks Room. John Malnor, Steelcase s vice president of growth initiatives, who points out the inherent economy in the approach, says we re all sharing the cost of very high-performance collaborative spaces... Especially in today s economy and with commitments to sustainability stronger than ever, this kind of collaborative consumption makes good business sense. We wanted to dramatically increase connection and collaboration between our teams, to positively impact productivity, and to actually change the culture. We were successful on all counts, and more importantly, this was accomplished in an office that was performing very well in the old workplace. Dan Johnson, Accenture s global director, corporate real estate workplace. New ideas flow more freely and have greater impact when they re not confined behind cubicle walls. Architects and visionary managers can reshape offices to help employees work more effectively and collaboratively, whether within or between organizations.
39 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Future Workspaces New Offices: Reinventing Shopping Malls Underused shopping malls offer a good opportunity to create productive office spaces through adaptive reuse. Twenty years since shopping mall construction slowed to a halt, hundreds of once-popular malls now stand largely empty. 15 CoStar Group, a real estate analytics firm, found over 200 large shopping centers that are more than 35 percent vacant and are soon likely to close entirely. 16 In many cases, these monolithic buildings have been demolished. We don t design for the life-cycle of buildings like we used to 50 or 60 years ago, says Robert Yuricic of GreenbergFarrow, a multi-disciplinary design firm. Now Vanderbilt Medical Center at One Hundred Oaks Was 100 Oaks Mall Location Berry Hill, Nashville, TN Architect Gresham Smith & Partners Yet vacant malls offer large quantities of ready-to-go, well-located space, with welcoming landlords and communities. These properties are on excellent real estate, and reworking assets that have outlived their format or usefulness to better serve modern needs is a better solution than tearing them down, says Kristin Mueller, a real estate broker with Jones Lang LaSalle. Urban Land Institute CEO Patrick Phillips adds that local governments regulatory and financing structures are evolving [to] allow more of these properties to be repurposed in a productive way. 100 Oaks opened in 1967 as the first enclosed mall in Nashville. Even as tenants left its upper-floor enclosed mall for newer malls, big-box retailers with exterior entrances still thrived on the ground floor, complicating any plans requiring demolition. Across town, landlocked Vanderbilt University Medical Center needed to add 300,000 square feet a year to keep up with growth. The solution: renovate the mall into 440,000 square feet of outpatient clinics while keeping existing retail in operation. 17 Not only did this move outpatient services to a more convenient location, it also freed up on-campus space for research programs. The LEED-Commercial Interiors certified redevelopment required new plumbing, electric, and data infrastructure, new windows and skylights for improved daylight, and a design that turned a 1970s neon-lit metal shed into what project designer Jeff Kuhnhenn, AIA, calls a dignified institutional space, a space that would inspire confidence [in patients]. 18 Kuhnhenn says these sites are typically viewed as blighted, but they are in fact great untapped resources. They were developed to have excellent vehicular access, but usually never came close to realizing the floor area potential to match the access potential... because they are so underdeveloped they are seen as barriers or great asphalt deserts. Properly redeveloped and renovated, they could really become agents for creating connectivity and foster much more enjoyable and sustainable communities. Over 50 such medical malls exist around the country, according to Don Hunter, a real estate consultant in Annapolis, Maryland. 19 The concept was pioneered by Jackson Medical Mall in inner-city Jackson, Mississippi. 20
40 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Future Workspaces Now The Castle, Rackspace headquarters Was Windsor Park Mall Location Windcrest, Texas Architect TBG (site planning), Studio 8 (Phase 3) The Takeaway 1 Fewer but denser office areas need special infrastructure around workplaces, including roads and retail amenities. Plan for consolidation around the strongest nodes, with adaptive reuse on peripheral sites. 2 Support the design of office buildings for flexibility and reuse from the start. Single-tenant buildings can be difficult to repurpose for multiple tenants owing to a lack of common facilities. 3 Consider how industry clusters relate to co-location strategies; mix office and industrial uses as appropriate. 4 Identify landlords and communities of interested tenants that may be receptive to shared facilities. Learn from best practices in managing and activating shared spaces. 5 Investigate and embrace unconventional project finance since the flexibility of co-working spaces doesn t lend well to conventional leases and bank loans. Windsor Park Mall, northeast of San Antonio, was abandoned just 20 years after it was built and for another 10 years darkened the entrance to the small suburb of Windcrest. Meanwhile, the rise of cloud computing prompted Rackspace, a web hosting firm with 2012 revenues of $1.3 billion, to add 600 employees a year to its cramped offices. 21 For just $27 million, Rackspace purchased the 1.2 million square foot mall and began a phased transformation of the entire complex. Starting with one department store, it gradually filled the mall with the zany touches emblematic of tech offices: a slide in Center Court, refurbished neon signs and amusement-park rides, and food truck caravans in the parking lot. Next on CEO Graham Weston s to-do list: live-work development to enliven downtown San Antonio. 22 This is about helping San Antonio become a city over the next decade that s more attractive to young and single people looking to live in a city for the experiences it can give them, for the people they can meet, the things they can do, says Weston. Owners of other malls have also found their accessible locations and mixed-use programs make them well-suited for a new life as non-traditional office space. The Scottsdale Galleria outside Phoenix never found its retail moorings, since shops gravitated to either the larger Fashion Square or to the old town surrounding it. However, its ample skylights, large floors, and walkable location eventually landed it technology tenants like Yelp and SAP. 23
41 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Housing Innovation Housing: Buildings for a Life Within Reach
42 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Housing Architects are responding to Americans changing tastes in housing. Today s new houses reflect a renewed desire to live in more convenient locations, recognize the continually changing family structure, and also pay closer attention to design details. Information graphics designed by Paste in Place Back in 1960, the adventures of Ozzie, Harriet, David, and Ricky on their half-acre of imaginary paradise found a ready audience among an American population that looked strikingly similar. Back then, 44 percent of households were married couples with children, 80 percent of young adults aged were married, and only 15.1 percent of households were singles. American families in 2013 look entirely different. Nearly 26.7 percent of households are singles, easily outnumbering the scant 20.2 percent of households that are married couples with children and the 41 percent of children born to single parents million Americans live in multi-generational households, twice as many as in Changes have been especially stark among young adults and seniors. Only 46 percent of young adults are married, since the average age at first marriage has risen by a full 5.5 years, and 42 percent of householders under 25 live with roommates, relatives, or domestic partners. Almost half of senior-headed households are single, nearly twice the proportion of the general public. 1 Changing ways of life go far beyond demographics, of course. An economy-wide shift towards services rather than production, collecting experiences rather than goods, a growing sharing-based economy, increased attention to the environmental footprint of consumption, higher energy prices, and the steadily shrinking footprint of stuff itself (digital media, smaller electronics, fast fashion) have lightened the footprints of many American households. In an era of austerity, simplicity sells. Some communities, particularly since the recession nearly halted homebuilding, are now experimenting with adapting laws so that architects can design houses that better reflect the way people live now.
43 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Housing Quality & quantity Architect Sarah Susanka, FAIA, struck a chord with the public with her 1998 book The Not So Big House, calling for a house that favors quality of design over quantity of space. Since then, she has sold over 1.5 million books about a dozen different not so big themes. 2 The books share a similar vision that better design and better details matter even more when the architecture is constantly under close inspection. Residents will only demand smaller spaces if they work better than a larger space, with less waste and more usable features and details. Architects have responded with new designs that make every cubic foot count. Built-in furniture conforms to the available space, takes advantage of unused walls, and makes moving in quick. Since Americans now dine and entertain more outside their homes in 1960, Americans spent 81 percent of their food dollars at home, versus 52 percent in 2013 formal dining and living rooms have disappeared, replaced by informal spaces like breakfast bars. 3 Inside & outside game Ready access to gathering spaces outside the home, as well as lower land costs per unit, explain why smaller houses have proven most popular in denser settings like downtowns, urban neighborhoods, and established inner-ring suburbs. Central locations have clearly gained favor in recent years. 4 Since 2010, large metropolitan areas central cities have accounted for 55 percent of population growth, compared to 22 percent in the previous decade. 5 Even within cities, most recent population growth and construction has occurred in central neighborhoods, convenient to downtown jobs, cultural amenities, and retail. 6 Having places to go outside the home makes all the difference when living in close quarters, says Ben Brown, storyteller for planning firm PlaceMakers. Brown spent three months living in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, in a 308-square-foot cottage. What Brown deemed the most important take-away from 90 days in tight quarters is this, It takes a town. 7 For him, having great public spaces to go to once you re outside your private home means less time spent cooped up inside the cabin. Like the formal dining room, more functions that used to be inside the home can be shared with others outside the front door. The current wave of rental apartment buildings under construction allow renters to entertain or engage in hobbies using shared facilities, outside of their individual units, like business centers, cybercafes, party and game rooms, demonstration kitchens, fitness centers, movie theaters, grill-equipped decks, children s playrooms, bike workshops, and dog washes. Apartment developers have also rushed to accommodate a wave of 80 million Millennials who collectively have few assets but big aspirations. 8 Downtown micro-units Tiny apartments with shared facilities outside don t only work in high-cost big cities like Boston (see pg. 24). These micro-units also have broad appeal to young people who don t own much, are highly mobile, and don t mind living in close quarters like college dormitories. Similar proposals have surfaced in cities as small as Providence, Rhode Island, where a long waiting list of renters have signed up for sq. ft. apartments within the Arcade retail building. Architect J. Michael Abbott, AIA, explains that to bring back affordability, the developer opted for rooming-house zoning that permits smaller rooms than apartment zoning but prohibits in-unit stoves. 9 Having a ready market of residents will also help fill the building s remaining retail and restaurant spaces. Ted Smith, AIA, of Smith and Others in San Diego, began experimenting with arranging several small apartments into a single housing unit in 1983, with the first of what he calls GoHomes. 10 The suites within share some facilities, particularly full kitchens, but also have individual stairs to the outside and can be locked off, providing young urbanites with affordable and stylish quarters in expensive single-family neighborhoods. Later prototypes extended the idea to townhouses, live/work units, and to multi-family buildings. 11 In Seattle, over 400 apodments, buildings of studio apartments grouped into what are legally eight-bedroom townhouses, have stoked controversy but continue to find a ready market. 12 In-town cottages Pasadena, California was a hub of architectural experimentation in the early 20th century. Architects there not only perfected the Craftsman bungalow style, but started grouping tiny bungalows around courtyards, combining single-family privacy and gardens with multi-family density. 13 Subsequent zoning ordinances had setback and parking requirements that inadvertently outlawed bungalow courts. An outcry over preserving historic courts led to new zoning standards in Pasadena in and Seattle in with specific standards for cottage courts. Recently, many other cities have revised zoning ordinances to specifically recognize this proven housing type by permitting multiple small cottages in place of single-family houses, subject to regulations specifying a maximum house size and a minimum common open space. Architect Ross Chapin, FAIA, has designed 40 pocket neighborhoods nationwide, usually in groups of fewer than a dozen houses where he envisages that meaningful neighborly relations are fostered. 16 Many of these have been built throughout suburban Seattle, where they appeal both to young tech employees and to empty-nesters who appreciate the sociability and compact spaces. 17
44 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Housing The cottage where Ben Brown lived while in Ocean Springs was originally built as a demonstration project in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Architect Andres Duany, FAIA, suggested that families could be re-housed in small but dignified houses at the same cost as in a temporary FEMA trailer. Designer Marianne Cusato responded with a Katrina Cottage design that won national attention. 18 The cottage, later Brown s temporary home, was moved to Ocean Springs, where architect Bruce Tolar designed the Cottage Square neighborhood around it. 19 Cottage Square is part of a concerted post-katrina redevelopment strategy for Ocean Springs under Mayor Connie Moran. The historic downtown has thrived with new shops and infill housing, but the high cost of goods in the aftermath of the storm exacerbated a workforce housing shortage common to resort towns. Through thoughtful design, solid construction, and curb appeal, the cottages are appealing and often better built than the wealthier surrounding neighborhoods, which helped ease community acceptance of affordable rental housing. Three dozen cottages across two neighborhoods have rented to a variety of small offices and to service-sector employees. 20 In Rio, a beachfront town in Martin County, Florida, plans for a cottage community emerged as an affordable means of providing sanitary living conditions. The county s community development department extended street and sewer improvements and paid to demolish a parcel of derelict housing. 21 The resulting cluster of new houses and live/work spaces, rechristened Rio Porches, support the community s plans for a mixed-use town center while remaining within economic reach of locals. 22 ADUs and multi-generational houses Smaller housing units have also found their way onto existing single-family lots across the country. An increasing number of cities are allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) either inside or outside the home. ADUs are particularly effective as a way of giving multi-generational households the extra space and flexibility they need, but also the potential to be rented out for additional income. 23 Coach houses and granny flats are found in historic neighborhoods throughout the country, but ADU ordinances have become most popular on the West Coast, where high housing costs and a preponderance of post-war single-family housing has made apartment construction difficult. ADUs have considerable potential to seamlessly integrate smaller housing units into existing neighborhoods. In Vancouver, where ADUs are broadly legal and even permitted within condominiums, University of British Columbia professor Patrick Condon found that one fashionable low-rise neighborhood had more than doubled its original density through ADU construction. 24
45 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Innovation Housing California s state government has gone furthest in this regard, first passing statewide legislation in 1982 (since strengthened in 2003) that required cities to approve ADUs. 25 Some California cities have gone above and beyond. Santa Cruz used a state grant to develop design guidance and sample plans for homeowners. 26 The statewide approval has resulted in substantial innovation, particularly in a state where many immigrants live in extended families. Latino and Asian households are 50 percent more likely than Americans as a whole to live in multi-generational households. 27 Even production builders like Lennar and Standard Pacific Homes now offer newly built houses with ADUs throughout the state. 28 Through some creative code interpretation, such as no stoves and only one electric meter, the builders have also started offering the same plans in other markets nationwide. Once I ve gotten to the right people, to the mayors and vice mayors of municipalities, they ve been supportive, says Lennar Arizona division president Alan Jones. 29 We re in a situation where the world is changing. We need a home for the way people are living today. The Takeaway 1 Change definitions in zoning and other codes to maximize use of existing housing stock. If particular sections of housing code are consistently being violated, that may indicate that it s time to change the code. For example, there may be 100,000 illegal dwelling units in New York City and that situation isn t safe for anyone. 2 Investigate whether minimums in housing and zoning codes have valid health and safety rationales. 3 Charge permit fees, connection fees, and the like by the size of a unit, rather than by the number of units. 4 Allow markets to add additional housing units in desirable infill locations and work with architects to ensure high design quality. Yet proposals even to legalize existing ADUs have run into stiff opposition from homeowners in many cities, like Chicago 30 and Washington, D.C. 31 Even where ADUs have been legalized, they may be severely restricted to the point they are no longer feasible. Sightline Institute executive director Alan Durning writes that Yakima, Washington enacted ADU rules more than three years ago, and not a single ADU application has yet arrived at city hall. Even though Portland legalized ADUs and waived fees for approval, some estimate that the city has 2.5 unpermitted ADUs for every one legal unit because of approval requirements. 32
46 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Public Spaces Public Spaces: Fostering Connections City Streets Temporary Architecture
47 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Public Spaces City Streets Buildings occupy only a fraction of urban land. The public spaces between them, particularly streets and parking lots, have in many cities for years been thought of mostly as just space for movement between buildings. Architects and designers have led the recently resurgent movement to reclaim some of these spaces for new uses. The same lane widths, the same color stripes, the same palette of signs: Engineering manuals imposed rigid standardization upon American roadways, perhaps making them easier to drive and cheaper to build, but also forcing a dull uniformity across all of America. Instead of accepting this Minneapolis mayor R. T. Rybak called upon the AIA Minnesota chapter to convene Great Streets Design Teams that could work across disciplines to bring focused attention to several neglected main streets around the city. status quo, pioneering cities have started to take a new, design-centered approach to the streets and public ways that occupy up to one-third of urban land. 1 They re finding that better-designed streets create more value, including new public gathering spaces, stronger community identity, safer and better transportation alternatives, better environmental outcomes, and better business. What transportation engineers call context-sensitive design, 2 or the idea that streets should reflect and respect their surroundings, might seem common sense to anyone else. Yet only in 1997 did the Federal Highway Administration indicate any flexibility in how public roads could be designed. Since the federal and state governments pay for most transportation projects, their flexibility has been crucial in allowing local government leaders to advance more innovative designs for their streets. At the same time, a national movement towards the concept of Complete Streets encourages an increasing number of state and local governments to consider access by all modes of transportation, not just auto traffic, whenever street construction happens. 3 Pedestrians and cyclists move more slowly along streets, so designers must pay closer attention to the temporal experience of the street. In addition to infrastructure for other travel modes, designers have also seized upon the potential of streets to provide space for green infrastructure as well, such as integrated stormwater management systems like rain gardens and bio-swales.
48 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Public Spaces Designing within the public realm adds considerable complexity to the design process. Mike Lydon, with Brooklyn s Street Plans Collaborative, says designers must strike a balance between being rapid and getting the design right for numerous stakeholders and regulators, in addition to meeting tight public or non-profit budgets. 4 The engineers and politicians in charge of the public way have cultures that have been strongly averse to change and experimentation. Sometimes individual stakeholders can be particularly recalcitrant. Lydon thinks this challenging complexity can be attractive, saying it appeals to younger architects who are looking for a creative outlet, and a way to engage both their environmental awareness and the role that architects can play in addressing larger issues. During the recession, public space projects allowed one of the few opportunities to make a design impact for the larger context of something on the scale of revitalizing an entire neighborhood. In recent years, architects have led some of the most high-profile redesigns of street spaces, like the Snøhetta-designed public stage and plaza that replaced gridlocked traffic under Times Square s neon lights. 5 Similarly high-profile streetscape projects have revitalized business districts across the country. Yet this new attention to street design has given many more architects a new canvas for creative, small-scale placemaking just outside the front doors of their projects. The expanded Birchwood Café in Minneapolis, a building meant to be as sustainable as the menu, according to architect Wynne Yelland, AIA, 6 reaches outside its front door to welcome the neighborhood with a vertical vegetable garden that shades dining tables. The other side of the sidewalk incorporates bike racks and a bike-sharing dock that displaced former on-street parking accommodation. 7 Architects play a crucial role in helping communities envision streetscapes in three dimensions, and in bringing together the multiple professions that shape neighborhoods. Minneapolis mayor R. T. Rybak called upon the AIA Minnesota chapter to convene Great Streets Design Teams that could work across disciplines to bring focused attention to several neglected main streets around the city. Rybak points to the need for carefully designed streets, saying Minneapolis has a collection of tremendous buildings, [but] they need to be woven back into an urban fabric that focuses on the pedestrian experience. 8 Lydon notes that really successful street projects tend to involve lots of different kinds of people. Street projects create an opportunity for collaboration and mutual understanding across disciplines, but within neighborhoods, around value, safety, and vibrancy. Terry Avenue North, Seattle The South Lake Union neighborhood just north of downtown Seattle has evolved from sawmills and shipyards into an urban hub where 15,000 now live or work for dozens of innovative firms, including the headquarters of Amazon.com, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Seattle BioMed. 9 Its transformation hinged not only
49 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Public Spaces upon a major rezoning, but also improving accessibility to a neighborhood cut off by highways and lacking in open space. 10 They re part of the sidewalk space, adding a layer of structure that pulls it away from a pure landscape project. Matt Nardella, AIA, of Moss Design In the guidelines used to incrementally rebuild the streetscape as development progressed, Lesley Bain, AIA, principal at Weinstein A U, wrote that Terry Avenue North, a quiet but wide street at the center of the neighborhood, was ideally suited to form a place for social connections in the midst of a denser, more active neighborhood. The guidelines envision Terry as a social hub rich in amenities, with a broad sidewalk/plaza on the east, sunset-facing side for street furniture, public art, large plantings, and small clusters of angled parking, effectively blurring the line between the private side of the property line and the public side, creating generous gathering spaces within this urban innovation hub. People Spots & Parklets in Chicago Other architects have literally taken their work into the streets for parklets. These miniature parks replace on-street parking spaces with small patches of greenery and seating, perfect for a respite within a busy urban commercial district. 11 One sunny afternoon in late 2005, the Rebar Group public art collective fed a San Francisco parking meter and rolled out landscaping within the space, christening the event PARK(ing) Day. 12 The event spread in subsequent years, to nearly 1,000 worldwide installations in 2011, 13 and inspired the city to license parklets that would be built and maintained by community partners. The parklets installed so far in San Francisco have all been individually designed by their sponsors, leading to unique approaches at each site. 14 Other cities have standardized to a greater extent: in Long Beach, California, one firm designed several parklets for the city; the Chicago Department of Transportation s guidelines for People Spots encouraged a fairly typical formula of seating platforms. Matt Nardella, AIA, of Moss Design, helped to bring the concept of the parklet to Chicago after seeing PARK(ing) Day in San Francisco. 15 He began first through an ambitious series of temporary parks and subsequently with three semi-permanent installations sponsored by local Business Improvement Districts. Having experience doing one-day, quick-fabrication projects prepared us for designing the seasonal parklets, Nardella says, which in Chicago must be disassembled and stored each autumn. Nardella sees everything as an architecture project, including these tiny parks. They re part of the sidewalk space, adding a layer of structure that pulls it away from a pure landscape project, he says, adding that too often, streetscape has fallen to the realm of planners and engineers who view the space purely in terms of function, neglecting the attention to forms and details that architects and landscape architects bring. Similarly, his early participation encouraged the city to relax its approval standards, which helped the architect generate more expressive designs and better relate the parklets to their respective neighborhood contexts. The neighborhood business groups Nardella has worked with have strongly supported parklets as a complement to more permanent streetscape projects, as an amenity for customers, and as a marketing opportunity. Not only do they add valuable gathering spaces for the enjoyment of the city s brief pleasant weather season, but their adaptability adds visual interest to the street. Public space should be filled with a comfortable mix of temporary, seasonal, and permanent fixtures, he says. Nardella says he hopes to see parklets progressively evolve into something larger, perhaps reclaiming some street space from obsolete uses, for more sustainable and more productive uses for the space that all of us own as citizens. Activating Alleys Even the most neglected public ways in American cities can thrive with some design help. Alleys might be overgrown, trash-strewn, or even dangerous, but their tight scale, close relationship to neighboring buildings, and low traffic volumes makes some of them good candidates for pedestrian-centered designs, particularly true in Midwestern and Western cities with traditionally wider streets.
50 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Public Spaces The Takeaway 1 Think of streets and public spaces as assets and leverage the opportunities therein, rather than only viewing them as cost centers. 2 Redefine the mission of public works departments as not only moving cars, but creating great spaces that support and enhance neighboring buildings. 3 Recognize the value that creative designs have in activating pedestrian spaces in particular. Interventions within the roadway continue to be regulated by state or national codes, but sidewalks are typically under municipal control. In Seattle, the local chapter of the AIA has sponsored two projects inspired by Nord Alley in the city s Pioneer Square neighborhood, which the International Sustainability Institute (ISI) and its neighbors adopted and revitalized. It organized a Green Alleys Competition, with the City of Seattle and the ISI, to integrate stormwater treatment into the alley 16 and in 2010 awarded its Emerging Professionals Travel Scholarship to Daniel Toole, Assoc. AIA, for a global study of alleys as new public spaces. 4 Embrace creative interventions. Policy changes can open a whole wave of entrepreneurial energy that can reactivate the street, says Mike Lydon. Respond to grassroots public space initiatives not with a flat-out no but with how do we help this proliferate to meet the demand? San Francisco s parklets, and Intersection Repair, in Portland, Oregon, began with civil disobedience, but local governments stepped in to manage risk and ensure mutual understanding through the public process. The 5M Project in San Francisco (see pg. 45) prominently designates its alleyway, Mary Court, as the cultural and events heart of the site. Existing alleys currently create a fine-grained network of streets through its site, a sharp contrast to the busy streets outside in its South of Market neighborhood. The alleys have proven popular during events like food truck roundups, and 5M s design team sought to build out small-scale spaces shared between vehicles and pedestrians where activity can seamlessly spill out from buildings and across the entire street surface. In Austin, architects Dan Cheetham, AIA, and Michelle Tarsney staged the project 20ft WIDE with Art Alliance Austin in April 2013, framing a downtown alley with murals, origami, woven twine, and five days of events from breakfast to last call. 17 Cheetham says even a temporary project can really reframe the alley and give it a personality, albeit temporarily. He considers it an essay on a kind of can-do attitude. (For other temporary interventions by architects, (see pg 101).
51 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Public Spaces Temporary Architecture Some of the most daring architecture in recent years has involved deliberately temporary structures that fill voids in the urban fabric, experiment with new forms or uses, and create unforgettable experiences. Temporary structures not only offer more flexibility, and lower cost, but offer a chance to engage with new ideas with little risk. In an era when seemingly everything can be seen online, a temporary space draws attention by offering unique and fleeting in-person experiences. During the recent recession, some pending construction projects on highly visible sites staged temporary, pop-up structures as a form of previtalization. 1 Other temporary structures fill with seasonal festivals, marketplaces, or traveling exhibits, and still others function as large-scale sculptures that must be seen to be believed. 2 Architecture has long embraced temporary settings, such as World s Fair pavilions, to test and advance new ideas. Numerous art museums and foundations have taken a cue from the famed Venice Architecture Biennale 3 by regularly commissioning highly sculptural, temporary architecture to house events and exhibits. For many cities, open competitions provide a magnet for unknown talent, like relatively untested younger architects. For 14 summers, the Young Architects Program (YAP) has built an annual shade structure in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 in Queens. 4 Some of the YAP winners have built practices that specialize in temporary structures: 2011 s Interboro Partners brought interim public plazas and tree nurseries to two Manhattan sites and also designed a parklet (see pg. 96) in Boston this year. 5
52 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Public Spaces Other arts foundations have used temporary structure competitions to pre-vitalize and provide arts-program space within promising urban neighborhoods. Across from the Pulitzer Foundation s architecturally striking museum in St. Louis, the foundation and Washington University will replace a vacant lot with a pavilion housing public programs that, according to Gretchen Wagner, curator for the Pulitzer, will invite a broad cultural collaboration, a dialogue about innovative solutions to city growth. 6 Architects can provide the design inspiration that creates great places, even on much smaller projects. Katherine Darnstadt, AIA, founder of Latent Design and winner of a 2013 AIA Young Architects Award, 7 along with Alex Gilliam of Public Workshop, provided design guidance to 11 teen women who improved a vacant lot on Chicago s Far South Side using science and design. 8 Over the course of the twoweek Femme 2 STEM summer camp, the women worked on site daily to create a peaceful and imaginative play area for neighborhood children. They gathered ideas from passersby with signs, then measured, designed, tested, engineered, and built the Climb, Jump, Leap, Imagine playground with wood decking, a rope course, and a sandbox. Passersby were inspired to spend evenings helping out, offer up donations, and even spontaneously clean up a neighboring vacant lot. Sherida Morrison, CEO of the nonprofit running the camp, calls Darnstadt someone who can see the intersections between what our organization stands for public health, community, education and design. 9
53 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Public Spaces Temporary architecture regularly sparks conversations about the future of design at the Department of Energy s biannual Solar Decathlon, previously held on the National Mall but traveling in 2013 to Irvine, California. Twenty collegiate teams design, build, and exhibit off-the-grid solar-powered houses, and complete a decathlon of 10 challenges to maximize affordability, appeal, design excellence, energy efficiency, and energy production. In its five iterations to date, nearly 17,000 students have gained hands-on experience in designing and building leading-edge architecture. 10 Art and commerce work together at another pre-vitalized site: ProxySF, on what was a freeway that divided San Francisco s Hayes Valley neighborhood. The architecture firm Envelope A+D previously designed two different plans for housing on the site, most recently one for micro-units (see pg. 85). 11 When the housing market stalled, the city asked Envelope for ideas on temporary uses for the area. Envelope soon had the chance to design, develop, and operate Proxy, a space for flexible urbanism. 12 Structures built from shipping containers and scaffolds house a semi-rotating cast of local food, drink, and apparel vendors alongside art installations. The containers loosely bind one open plaza and one tent-covered outdoor courtyard, with seating for both dining and for special events like film screenings. Envelope founder Douglas Burnham says that a thoughtful insertion of compelling temporary uses can be an effective strategy to bring vibrancy to languishing parts of the city. There s nothing trendy or faddish about this. 13 The Takeaway 1 Allow interim use and provide user-friendly guides for the public on how to enact temporary projects. Allow developers of stalled projects to keep entitlements current (and not have to renew them) while a meanwhile lease for another public use fills the site. 2 Allow realistic flexibility in permitting, recognizing the inherent cost and time limitations of temporary structures. A competition sponsored by the AIA Flint Chapter for a downtown summer stage missed its launch date due to building-permit troubles. 14 Proxy s containers are not heated; instead, opening hours are limited during San Francisco s mild winters Hyper-local government structures, like business improvement districts, can coordinate site preparation and the ongoing programming that keeps sites active.
54 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab EcoDistricts EcoDistricts: Enabling Vibrancy, Ensuring High- Performance
55 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab EcoDistricts The focus on district-wide solutions as a more effective way to improve building operations, livability, and overall growth is part of America s emergent sharing economy. This approach is frequently considered for improving sustainability through district-wide heat recovery, distributed generation, reusing water between properties, and otherwise reducing stormwater runoff. However, EcoDistricts also offer a framework to think more broadly about revitalizing our urban cores, encouraging business development, improving public health, and promoting resilience in the face of increasing natural disasters. EcoDistricts are emerging as a new practice for cities, says John Dalzell, AIA, senior architect for sustainable development at the Boston Redevelopment Authority. 1 For instance, the city views its Boston Innovation District as an urban lab to pilot its first EcoDistrict. It is coordinating community-wide action, setting sustainability goals, and planning to test district-scale approaches to sustainable energy infrastructure. At the same time, the Innovation District will test and implement cutting-edge clean energy technologies, explore large-scale solar ownership for the business community, and improve active mobility. At the core of this new urban design movement is the notion that districts are the best scale to accelerate progress. They are small enough to innovate more quickly, yet large enough to have significant impact without delaying implementation. High-performance districts are a means to align disparate initiatives in order to make improvements. They measure and communicate progress toward a community s individual goals and create a roadmap to own, manage, and develop better buildings and the spaces that connect them. An EcoDistrict offers residents, tenants, member building owners, property managers, and other stakeholders new partnership opportunities and resources to overcome current silos and market barriers. A district-level focus increases the area s value as a whole, making it more appealing to buyers and tenants. Seattle 2030 District The Seattle 2030 District is a special type of EcoDistrict. It is one of America s first efforts to transform existing infrastructure into a groundbreaking high-performance building district. Founded in late 2009 by a local architect and sustainability specialist, Brian Geller, the District boundary was drawn around its initial member property owners and managers. However, it now reaches into the busiest parts of Capitol Hill and First Hill. In the future, the District will be expanded to accommodate new members within Seattle s high-density center-city neighborhoods Districts: Why Now? Energy consumption is frequently the de termining factor in a building s financial performance. However, McKinsey &Co. reports that the large commercial building sector can cost-effectively reduce its energy use by 28 percent. A recent analysis by the Institute for Market Transformation and the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, found that savings in energy costs from typical energy efficiency improvements in buildings could reach over $18 billion by The Seattle 2030 District is a public-private partnership of over 90 organizations. More than 40 of the District s members are building owners and managers who now benefit from having a forum to communicate with one another. The District also includes nearly two dozen community stakeholders like AIA Seattle and over 30 professional services stakeholders, including leading architecture firms, engineering companies, energy services vendors, utilities, and contractors. Local architects keen interest in cutting-edge approaches to sustainability led the AIA to award AIA Seattle a 2013 Innovation Fund Grant for 2030-specific education programs. 2
56 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab EcoDistricts Property owners, managers and developers in the Seattle 2030 District commit to making good-faith efforts to meet the District s performance goals within its boundaries. All participating buildings in the District have been benchmarked against the Architecture 2030 Challenge for planning performance goals. The organization has also developed an integrated approach to guide member buildings through deep green retrofits. Funding for the Seattle 2030 District comes from grants, fundraising, and its feefor-service work in the area. The District does not finance projects directly, but its members have access to discounted educational sessions, limited pro-bono professional services from District members, and participation in the District s Assess Target Deliver service. This service evaluates current performance and offers anonymous benchmarking against local peer buildings, as well as guidance for improvement. Members of the Seattle 2030 District also have unique opportunities to provide input on District policy and incentives. Joseph Vance Building In 2006, the building s owners and managers worked with an interdisciplinary team of architects, engineers, and contractors to create a retrofit plan. Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects (ZGF) focused on restoring original materials and passive sustainable design features like high ceilings, terrazzo floors, operable windows, and floor plans that maximize sunlight. The building s water use was reduced by 30 percent and energy use by 65 percent (which already exceeds the District s 2030 energy goal). Alternative transportation is now 80 percent of tenants trips. How To: Supporting 2030 Districts The First-of-a-Kind Collaboration What is unique about a 2030 district is the collaboration between property owners, managers, and all the professional and community stakeholders. In the past it has been about competition, but the Seattle 2030 District created an environment of mutual support, sharing of resources, and the responsible management of information. Cassandra Delaune, Sustainability Director at AIA Seattle and Inaugural Board Member of the Seattle 2030 District The Seattle 2030 District did not emerge as a result of any legislation or executive orders. The city s former mayor Gregory Nickels signed onto the 2030 Challenge in The City of Seattle plans to become carbon-neutral in operation by 2030 and has joined the Seattle 2030 District as a community stakeholder, as well as a property owner and manager. Soon after the launch of the Seattle 2030 District, similar district planning began in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Cleveland s initial focus area encompasses roughly 75 million sq. ft. of its downtown, but future 2030 Districts are also anticipated in greater Cleveland. 3 In Pittsburgh, 31 property owners representing 28 million sq. ft. (half of the designated district area) joined the District less than six months after its official launch. 4 Los Angeles is also making significant strides to revitalize its urban core and established a dedicated committee within the non-profit Architectural Foundation of Los Angeles in Seattle 2030 District Performance Goals Existing Buildings and Infrastructure: Energy: minimum of 10 percent reduction below the national average by 2015 and 50 percent by Transportation and CO2 Emissions: minimum of 10 percent reduction below the District average by 2015 and 50 percent by Major Renovations, New Buildings and Infrastructure: Energy: immediate 60 percent reduction below the national average and operational carbon neutrality by Water and Transportation CO2 Emissions: immediate 50 percent reduction below the District average. 5 By 2015, the 2030 Project expects to support five to 10 new 2030 Districts nationwide. 6 Other communities that wish to create their own 2030 Districts can expedite them with measures such as: Building Energy Benchmarking and Reporting Ordinance. The City of Seattle s Energy Benchmarking and Reporting Program, launched with a 2010 ordinance, requires non-residential and multifamily building owners to track energy use with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency s free Portfolio Manager tool and an-
57 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab EcoDistricts nually report this data to the City. Similar ordinances have been enacted in Austin, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Such measures can significantly facilitate 2030 Districts and should ideally require benchmarking and reporting for both energy and water use. Priority Green Permit Program. Seattle s Priority Green EXPEDITED program is currently in its pilot phase and offers a faster permit review for new developments that meet certain green building requirements. Applicants receive a single point of contact, assistance by an integrated team of design and permitting staff, priority processing, and an expedited land use and building permit review. Such expedited review of green projects, which was first developed in Chicago, is becoming more common in America s cities. 7 Exploring Other EcoDistricts America s EcoDistricts are now in the earlier stages of coordination and planning, but their growing momentum can be seen in cities like Portland, Seattle, Austin, Cleveland, Charleston, Denver, and a dozen others. As a long-time leader in urban innovation, San Francisco is also adopting the EcoDistricts framework. The Central Corridor EcoDistrict, a 24-square-block area south of Market Street, is now undergoing planning and rezoning. Once an industrial area, the Central Corridor is increasingly home to the city s high-tech sector and San Francisco seized the opportunity to manage growth around a new underground light-rail line. The San Francisco Planning Department has identified four types of Eco-Districts for future local development. This framework s categories require tailoring for other communities, but it is a helpful method of thinking for other cities wanting to understand different development approaches for a variety of EcoDistrict typologies: The Blank Slate. large tracts of undeveloped land, typically held by a single owner; The Patchwork Quilt. mix of undeveloped, underdeveloped, and developed land with many different owners (such as the Central Corridor); The Strengthened Neighborhood. existing residential neighborhoods and their commercial corridors, typically in areas that are not anticipated to accommodate growth; The Industrial Network. focuses on improving coordination between businesses involved in production, and distribution and repair. 8 Multi-block urban redevelopment projects offer a prime opportunity to consider implementing efficient EcoDistrict infrastructure and align development timeframes to maximize improvements. The following examples illustrate potential opportunities for various types of EcoDistricts. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn unveils solar-powered Sonic Bloom art Lloyd District in Portland, Oregon: Just across the Willamette River from downtown Portland, this neighborhood was the first of the city s designated EcoDistricts. Lloyd District s mostly commercial and public facilities make it a prime candidate for shared thermal connections. Its district energy plan will extend these connections east into the district core and is projected to reduce energy use by 25 percent
58 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab EcoDistricts over existing operations. A 2012 Rose Quarter plan by Michael McCulloch, AIA, capitalized on the area s existing sports and entertainment facilities while envisioning a mixed-use community to create a thriving District of Sport. 9 Local leaders are now taking advantage of the fact that the Rose Quarter s arena, coliseum, and convention center rarely use their HVAC simultaneously. Using the arena s spare mechanical capacity is estimated to save $1.3 million on rebuilding cooling systems during the current renovation of the historic coliseum. 10 As the area intensifies through developments like the Lloyd Blocks, its large parking lots will provide room not only for apartments and retail but also for on-site blackwater treatment via a living machine. 11 Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia: Sandwiched between the Pentagon and Washington Reagan National Airport, the Crystal City area of Arlington faced economic shock in 2005 when the Department of Defense announced it was moving 13,000 jobs away to more secure facilities. Yet Arlington seized the chance to reinvent the area s dowdy buildings and aging infrastructure, commissioning architects Torti Needing an Umbrella Group One of the biggest questions that emerging 2030 Districts encounter is, Do we really need another group to do this? Although it is true that there are many people already working to meet similar goals, our experience in Seattle shows that you need a holistic, unifying approach to measurement, communications, and everything else. It is essential to have a clear role in partnership with the City and the utilities, which is vital for doing pilot projects. Briian Geller, Founder and Executive Director, Seattle 2030 District Gallas and Partners to create a livelier, denser neighborhood. 12 Crystal City s reinvention makes it a natural fit for EcoDistrict strategies. It s Arlington s most energy-intensive neighborhood, and principal landlords Vornado/Charles E. Smith had long collaborated with the county on energy initiatives. An in-progress Crystal City Integrated Energy Master Plan has found that a chilling-heating-power system, with conduits installed during future streetcar construction, could feasibly replace older buildings HVAC systems and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 21 percent. 13 That series of plans ensures that 1900 Crystal Drive, designed by Cooper Carry architects and the first office tower to be redeveloped under the Sector Plan, will have thermal connections to the future district system. Southwest EcoDistrict in Washington, D.C.: A series of federal and city plans recognized that this precinct of 1960s federal office buildings across from the Smithsonian Castle wasn t living up to the potential inherent in its prestigious address. The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) launched an EcoDistrict study for the area in 2009, hiring architects Zimmer Gunsul Frasca for their district-scale sustainability expertise from cities like Portland, Seattle, Beaverton, Ore., and Wenjiang, China. The federal government has embraced the EcoDistrict strategy, since more efficient offices would cut space requirements and maintenance costs, while opening up room for new uses like residences and museums, as well as improving outdoor public spaces and reducing stormwater runoff. In early 2013, NCPC adopted an EcoDistrict Plan with four scenarios, and the GSA put out a request for developers interested in the site. 14 The organization EcoDistricts, formerly known as the Portland Sustainability Institute (PoSi), developed the EcoDistricts framework in 2009 with support from the City of Portland. Its successful national program continues to help cities develop EcoDistricts in the U.S. and beyond. In 2013 the group moved its headquarters to ZGF Architects and re-launched its structure to meet communities increasing interest in developing EcoDistricts. Its efforts are supported by a growing list of founding members, including ZGF, Google, AECOM, the cities of San Francisco and Portland, and the Canada Green Building Council.
59 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab EcoDistricts The Takeaway 1 EcoDistricts are likely to become standard practice as our cities adopt more fiscally and environmentally effective ways to manage development and building operations. EcoDistricts take time to coordinate, which is why astute communities are beginning early. 2 Identify your community s own unique needs, such as promoting public health and planning for an aging population, increasing resilience to natural disasters, or addressing the needs of underserved citizens. Consider incorporating these goals into your EcoDistrict framework, but remember that it may take longer to build consensus around targets that have not been adopted elsewhere. 3 Increased stakeholder involvement and coordination in the planning and management of local initiatives is key to seizing funding opportunities and is the future of civic engagement. Facilitating EcoDistricts is a resource-efficient way to meet these goals at the same time. 4 Some of the effective means to promote EcoDistricts are frequently the same or advanced versions of progressive municipal benchmarking, zoning, and permitting rules and incentives. Look to established best practices rather than to reinventing the wheel. Arlington VA Washington, D. C.
60 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Resilient Design Resilient Design: Preparing for an Uncertain Future
61 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Resilient Design Resilience Resilience is the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events. In December 2011, The Guardian ran a series of Predictions for 2012 in which columnist Tony Juniper wrote that the R word, meaning resilience, was set to join the S word (sustainability) and the C word (conservation) to be another means by which we look at the widening gap between human demands and what our planet can supply. 1 Like those other terms to which it directly relates, resilience in the context of cities can mean many things, including economic health, adaptability to climate change, and the maintenance of residential population and workforce in the face of transformative changes. Recently, urban resilience has come to primarily mean planning for future extreme weather events, most notably illustrated by the work currently underway along the East Coast following Hurricane Sandy to prevent flooding disaster and energy, water, and waste infrastructure failure. In this instance, the resilience of cities to emerge from such events without catastrophe will rely on the innovative use of sustainable strategies that, in part, rely on the conservation of wetlands and other buffers between the ocean and the city, among other things. Such strategies will rely on innovation in large part because it s not a problem that a single entity can solve, but rather a complex issue involving multiple stakeholders, property owners, and governments. Speaking at an event on the topic of Resilience in February of 2012, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate remarked, We cannot afford to continue to respond to disasters and deal with the consequences under the current model. Risk that is not mitigated, that is not considered in return on investment calculations, will often set up false economies. We will reach a point where we can no longer subsidize this. 2 Many have offered definitions for resilience, including the military, the Resilient Design Institute, and others. For this publication, we will use the definition created for the 2012 report, Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative, produced by the National Academies. That report defines resilience as the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events. After Hurricane Sandy, interest in resilience from business and civic executives truly began to rise. Coalitions have been forged, media outlets are abuzz, and innovative leaders are reevaluating their policies, plans, and expenditures according to whether they would improve or impede the resilience of their communities. And with good reason, since federally declared disasters in the United States are increasing in frequency and severity. Resilient Communities for America has a stated goal to champion the leadership of local elected officials who commit to creating more prepared communities that can bounce back from extreme weather, energy, and economic challenges. It is organized by ICLEI, the National League of Cities, the World Wildlife Fund, and the USGBC. For more information, visit City Innovations in Resilience A recent report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) found that disasters inflicting at least $1 billion in damage (adjusted for inflation) have risen from two per year in the 1980s to more than 10 per year today. Furthermore, the report calculated that Congress spent at least $136 billion on disaster relief between 2011 and And it should be noted that 22 federal disasters have been declared just from April to July 2013, including severe fires in California and Colorado, flooding in the Midwest, and the tornadoes in Oklahoma. 4 As our communities have expanded geographically and become more integrated into the global economy, it appears that risk is also growing. Not only are weather events occurring more frequently, but we have more to lose when they do occur as disruptions ripple through transportation networks and business supply chains. The cost of natural disasters might be tallied at the federal level, but it is the local level cities and the people who inhabit them where these disasters and the long, grueling recoveries that follow are felt and experienced. Conversations about resilience often focus on the need to create a stronger nation, but many of the critical policies and actions required for improved national resilience must be enacted and implemented at the state and local levels. 5 Long-term planning, land use, zoning, building code enforcement, and even much of the physical infrastructure that collectively factors into the equation of resilience are all controlled by cities and, in some cases, counties. At the city level, policies and programs to improve resilience are still in their infancy and it will take time to experiment and calibrate these efforts enough to determine what works and how it might be transferable. However, cities will receive a signifi-
62 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Resilient Design cant boost on the learning curve with the recent launch of the 100 Resilient Cities campaign from the Rockefeller Foundation. The Foundation will select 100 cities over the next three years to be entered into a Resilient Cities Network, receive support to hire a Chief Resilience Officer, and be given assistance to create a resilience plan along with tools and resources for implementation. Sacramento Resilient Communities for America Ever since it was settled at the fork of two rivers in the 1840s, Sacramento has been one of the most flood-prone cities in the United States. For over a century, the city has tried just about everything to reduce flooding, including re-channeling the river, building levees, constructing dams, and even raising city streets. 6 Sacramento was also one of the cities hardest hit by the housing crisis, when prices plummeted and caused a wave of foreclosures. The market was near bottom in March 2009, when foreclosure deals accounted for 70 percent of all sales. 7 For ecological and economic reasons, the city needed to reconsider its development strategy. As a result of these challenges, few cities have embraced the movement toward resilience as quickly and comprehensively as Sacramento. In June 2013, Mayor Kevin Johnson was announced as the first Chair of Resilient Communities for America, committing Sacramento to join with 70 other inaugural signatories in a campaign to better prepare for climate change and energy challenges. Just as communities have frequently sparred with one another over which one has the most green roof space, the most alternative energy supply, or the lowest CO2 emissions, the Resilient Communities campaign hopes that friendly competition will inspire other mayors to join the race to become the most resilient. The commitment doesn t require Sacramento to shift gears and make a series of radically new investments. Instead, Mayor Johnson says the steps we take to prepare for more frequent storms, floods, droughts, and heat waves will renew our infrastructure, build on our competitive advantages including our agricultural economy, and enhance our ability to attract new businesses to our region. In many ways, it s a traditional economic development plan that takes weather and energy risk into account. And many of the programs that Mayor Johnson will pursue to achieve these goals had already begun under other guises. The Blueprint Project Sacramento s innovation in resilient development goes back further than Resilient Communities, even though the efforts weren t communicated as resilience policies at the time. In 2002, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments began the Blueprint Project, one of the first regional planning processes in the nation to make use of scenario planning, a system that takes a specific forecast for population growth and projects multiple development alternatives for the future. The alternatives are based on a variety of infrastructure projects and zoning policies the city could pursue as scenarios for investigating a variety of outputs. The outputs include things like population density, new infrastructure costs, maintenance costs, tax base, energy consumption, and average commutes. One of the scenarios is set as a baseline for projected development based on current policies. Rather than asking public participants to state preferences about policy, scenario planning allows participants to look at projected maps and illustrations to state preferences about what kind of community in which they want to live. For the Sacramento region, the scenario planning effort lasted two years before a preferred scenario was adopted in The Blueprint Project was a milestone in regional planning and garnered multiple awards for innovation and leadership. Most importantly, the preferred scenario was projected to make better use of existing assets through infill and redevelopment, reduce the need for new urbanized land by over 300 sq. mi., reduce daily commutes by 15 minutes, and save taxpayer money by reducing the need to create and maintain new roads and other infrastructure. 8 All of this would make for a more resilient community.
63 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Resilient Design One objective of the Greenwise Action Plan is to design all new planned communities with 20-minute neighborhood principles. It s not Easy being Greenwise Following the regional adoption of the preferred Blueprint scenario, Sacramento went to work implementing some of the new programs that could help it achieve the vision. The Greenwise Initiative, first conceived in 2010, is a series of incentives that have improved the resilience of local buildings in just a few short years. Now organized as the Greenwise Joint Venture, the program set out to achieve Three Transformational Goals through a Regional Action Plan. The goals are: Create a self-sustaining sector of green jobs Economy Become the greenest region in the country Environment Brand the region as the Emerald Valley Engagement In pursuit of these goals, the city adopted a principle to focus on innovative policy and outlined a series of bold objectives to make Sacramento a greener, safer, more resilient community. One of the most challenging objectives stated in the Greenwise action plan is to design all newly planned communities to be consistent with 20- minute neighborhood principles, which have been successfully adopted in cities like Portland, Oregon. The 20-minute neighborhood is a mixed-use community where one can walk or bike in 20 minutes or less to meet most basic, daily needs. For decades, Sacramento pursued a suburban, single-use style of development, one that contributed to a much more severe housing crisis when the recent recession struck that housing stock particularly hard. It will take many years to modify zoning codes, improve transit, and target infill redevelopment to correct this imbalance and provide the region with a mix of neighborhood options. Sacramento s Flood Risks Still Demand Large-scale Infrastructure Investment The Blueprint Project and the Greenwise ventures have each been successful experiments to build consensus and put Sacramento on a path to more resilient development. However, a topic that is conspicuously unaddressed in the official documents is flooding. Sitting between the Sacramento and American Rivers, the Natomas basin, which includes over 100,000 residents in the Northwestern areas of Sacramento, has as much risk for flooding as New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina, many of Sacramento s flood maps were updated to reflect much greater flood risk. The city s key areas for the most promising infill and redevelopment opportunities have been under a de facto construction moratorium owing to this increased risk. 9 The Natomas basin is surrounded by 42 miles of levees, many of which were built early in the 20th century to protect land that was, at the time, agricultural. Since the floodwaters originate elsewhere, no amount of local stormwater management or innovation will protect Sacramento: the levees must be rebuilt and maintained. To date, the state and local government have completed or initiated reconstruction of 18 miles of the levee and the Army Corps of Engineers is seeking approval to reconstruct the remaining 24 miles. 10 With support from Greenwise staff, Sacramento also joined President Obama s Better Buildings Challenge. Local building owners and managers who participate in the program commit to reducing 20 percent of their energy and water consumption by 2020 and Sacramento commits to providing technical and financing support. The commitment is paying clear dividends. In July 2013, the city announced the largest property assessed clean energy (PACE) project in the country, a $3.1 million retrofit of the Metro Center Building. The city plans to continue utilizing the PACE model as it pursues another objective to retrofit 25 percent of all existing residential and commercial space by Courtyard Playground of the Kiowa County School, Greensburg, KS A LEED Platinum facility that incorporates 05 kw wind energy, rain catchment, and a FEMA approved tornado shelter. NYU CoGen Plant A building at NYU retained power because of its combined heat and power or cogeneration plant, while most of the surrounding area was dark following Superstorm Sandy.
64 Local Leaders Cities as a Lab Resilient Design Summer Climate Migration New York City Even before Hurricane Sandy, New York City was a global leader in generating multiple innovative practices that would improve resilience to natural hazards. Although New York is such a unique context that it can be difficult for other communities to replicate its activities, nearly every community can learn from its proposed Flood Resilience Zoning Amendment. The change has not been adopted yet, but an important goal of the proposal is to remove regulatory barriers that make it difficult, or in some cases impossible, for owners to build or retrofit to [flood resistant construction standards]. Too often, local building or zoning restrictions prevent architects and their clients from doing the right thing. Requesting a variance may solve the problem, but causes costly delays. Grand Rapids, Michigan When Grand Rapids began implementing its sustainability plan, its leaders noticed that warmer summers and more frequent and severe storms were significantly impacting energy, stormwater, sewer, and water infrastructure. In response, the community began to reprioritize its action plan, putting a stronger emphasis on items that would reduce flood risk and urban heat island effect. The city has committed to increasing tree canopy cover to at least 37.5 percent, reduce stormwater discharge by 50,000 gallons per rain event (a target they have already met twofold), and engage in a public-private partnership to incorporate bio-retention islands into an already planned street maintenance project. The partnership was the first of its kind in the state of Michigan and naturally treats 90,000 gallons of water per inch of rain. 11 Keene, New Hampshire Keene has been planning, setting targets, and implementing a comprehensive mitigation and adaptation strategy for over a decade. In 2000, the city created a Cities for Climate Protection Committee to analyze the community s vulnerability and recommend an action plan. To date, a handful of the 30-plus targets have been implemented, including a hillside development ordinance that limits high-impact development and a surface water protection ordinance that protects water quality, safeguards wetlands, and reduces flood risk. The community has also integrated the climate plan into its comprehensive plan and Capital Improvements Program. 12 The Takeaway 1 Resilience is a Local Responsibility: The federal government has made impressive strides to promote resilience in its own agencies and incentivize state and local governments to do the same. But every community faces different threats and conditions, and there is no onesize-fits-all approach. Even after a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy, most of the federal assistance is in the form of reimbursements, while other funds support the implementation of recovery plans that are developed at the state and local level. 2 Leverage Existing Programs that Affect Resilience: Building out a portfolio of programs that improve community resilience doesn t necessarily require a host of new initiatives. As noted above, resilience can be a lens through which existing programs and expenditures are evaluated and prioritized. Long-term planning initiatives, zoning updates, building code updates, and every piece of infrastructure that is built or maintained is an opportunity to improve long-term resilience that can be seized or squandered. 3 When You re in a Hole, Stop Digging: This lesson is particularly important for cities to develop economic resilience as they recover from the recession. The region already has most of the large-lot detached housing stock that it will need to attain the mix of residential options under the Preferred Blueprint Alternative. The city has thus committed to designing all new developments with 20-minute neighborhood principles. It isn t enough to begin infill and redevelopment projects if a jurisdiction also continues to pursue low-density greenfield development.
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