Sustainable Design of Communities: Kammen and Fraker in Scientific American

Neighborhood efforts to reduce fossil fuel and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, could go beyond serving as a model for sustainability by providing local construction jobs and revitalizing entire communities, energy professor Daniel Kammen writes in a commentary about the Oakland EcoBlock project he is co-leading with architecture and urban design professor Harrison Fraker. The multidisciplinary effort, which is already attracting global attention, will retrofit 30 to 40 old homes in a lower- to middle-income neighborhood. “In the past decade, the construction and retrofitting of individual homes to reduce energy and water use has grown explosively,” Professor Kammen says. “Yet applying green construction to multiple buildings at once may be an even better idea. Sharing resources and infrastructure could reduce waste, and retrofitting impoverished or moderate-income neighborhoods could also bring cost savings and modern technology to people who would normally lack such opportunities. Working at the neighborhood level does add complexity to planning, but these neighborhood efforts offer rewards that even green single-family homes cannot offer.”

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