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Retro-Fitting Suburbia: TED Talk

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on July 16th, 2010

Source: TED

Images above: Suburban retrofits contribute to sustainability in a variety of ways, most of which are manifest at Belmar in Lakewood, CO. It replaces an auto-dependent, private mall with an urban, walkable, and bus-served mix of uses and public spaces. It provides a range of housing types, diverse architectural styles, and variety of cultural activities, including but not limited to shopping, with the intention that it function as a downtown. It also uses green bonds to finance rooftop photovoltaics and a small wind farm.

Ellen Dunham-Jones fires the starting shot for the next 50 years’ big sustainable design project: Retrofitting Suburbia – dying malls rehabilitated, dead “big box” stores re-inhabited, parking lots transformed into thriving wetlands.  Ellen Dunham-Jones teaches architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is an award-winning architect and a board member of the Congress for the New Urbanism. She shows how design of where we live impacts some of the most pressing issues of our times — reducing our ecological footprint and energy consumption while improving our health and communities and providing living options for all ages.

Dunham-Jones is widely recognized as a leader in finding solutions for aging suburbs. She is the co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs. She and co-author June Williamson share more than 50 case studies across North America of “underperforming asphalt properties” that have been redesigned and redeveloped into walkable, sustainable vital centers of community—libraries, city halls, town centers, schools and more.

Watch the TED talk.

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