Design firm Arup is looking to turn Treasure Island – a 400-acre man-made structure halfway across the bay Bridge, between Oakland and San Francisco – into a model of sustainability. The island, a former naval base decommissioned eleven years ago, currently features low- to mid-income housing for about 1,400 residents mixed with military and industrial refuse. The revamped area will house over 13,000 people, and the superfund site will be cleaned and greened-up.
“If you could start from scratch, absolute scratch, what would you build?” asks Jared Blumenfield, director of San Francisco’s Department of the Environment. As Popular Mechanics reported in a recent article, the new Treasure Island will boast all of the latest green bells and whistles.
City streets will be reoriented to allow buildings to get the maximum benefit from solar gain and shelter from the prevailing winds. All of the buildings will achieve LEED Gold Certification status. Rooftop solar panels, wind turbines, transparent photovoltaic skins over glass, and possibly a biogas generator at the wastewater plant will provide the community’s power. A large Living Machine will treat waste water with bacteria in wetland cells, allowing grey and black water to be recycled.
Of course it’s the sustainable transportation aspects of the plan that pique our interest at Carectomy the most.
From Popular Mechanics:
Housing density will increase from eight to 75 units per acre, allowing developers to double the amount of land left as open space while accommodating five times as many people.
The sprawling blocks, which now stretch up to 2000 ft. long, will shrink to a pedestrian-friendly 400 ft., and 90 percent of residents will be within a 10-minute walk of downtown. There, they will be able to access stores and services such as a post office and a new ferry terminal that will provide frequent shuttles to San Francisco. Bicycle lanes will connect residents to Yerba Buena Island and the east span of the Bay Bridge.
A new ferry route will transport island residents to downtown San Francisco in ten minutes. Cars are being phased out in the plans for this super-eco island. Housing won’t come equipped with parking spaces, and cars won’t be allowed on most of the island. Instead, narrower streets will be restricted to bicycles and a shuttle.
Cities largely deserve their reputation as dingy, polluting centers of population. As Popular Mechanics reports, over half of the world’s people live in cities, they consume 75% of the resources and account for most of our greenhouse gases. However, by increasing the density of our communities, we’re able to leave more of the planet as undeveloped pristine land and decrease our shared footprint.
Cities make environmental sense – especially when properly designed. Biking, walking, and mass transit become the obvious choices. Some of the leftover room can be used to grow the community’s food, decreasing “food miles” – as is the plan for Treasure Island.
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