Greenbuild Conference 2012 San Francisco

Did anyone else attend USGBC’s annual conference this year?

I was impressed by the overarching themes of ecological systems thinking throughout many of the topics–including sessions about biomimicry, biophilia and permaculture.

Check out the links below for some of the interesting projects across the country and abroad.

District Energy

Vancouver, B.C. The False Creek neighborhood district energy plant is capturing thermal energy from an underground sewage pipe to power the neighborhood. The project also includes a public art project with LED panels that change color depending on the amount of energy being used.

Ecodistricts

Using the neighborhood as the building block for a sustainable city, check out what’s being done in the two cities below:

Portland

District of Columbia

Biophilia-Recognizing humanity’s innate connection to nature

Judy Heerwagen researches the health implications of increased interaction with natural systems in our daily life. Did you know a 20% increase of green space in your daily surroundings leads to the equivalent of being 5 years younger?

Timothy Beatley, at the University of Virginia and director of the Biophilic Cities Project, recently completed a documentary Singapore: City in a Garden about the innovations in Singapore –including a spotlight on a hospital that is protecting rainforest species and improving the health of their patients at the same time.

Green Infrastructure

Syracuse N.Y. The city started rethinking storm water retention after one half-hour period of rain caused $50 million in damage due to flooding. Their green infrastructure program includes rain barrels, permeable pavement, green roofs and more.

The Harbor Brook Wetland Project in Syracuse
Photo From: http://savetherain.us/str_project/wetland/

There are still legal and policy barriers to implementing many of the above projects. Each of them took extensive coordination and in some cases public private partnerships that are difficult to replicate or mainstream. Our jobs are cut out for us. Plan on.

-Sarah Dominguez, 2nd Year MPL, Concentration: Sustainable Land Use

If you’re interested in any of the above topics and have something to share or want more links, contact me at sarahdom@usc.edu

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