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E-M:/ Sierra Club Names America's Best New Development

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <Anne.Woiwode@sierraclub.org>

While none of these communities are in Michigan, this is a great overview of
the potential for good development/redevelopment!  AMW

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Eric Antebi 415-977-5747
David Willett 202-675-6698


The Sierra Club, America's oldest and largest environmental organization,
today released its first-ever Guide to America's Best New Development,
which names a dozen cutting-edge projects that have positively transformed
neighborhoods.  Better known for its efforts to combat sprawling
construction, the group is making the point that there is a better way to
build and produce healthy and livable communities.

Profiles of the winning projects can be viewed at:

"Too often local governments accept poorly planned development, and the
traffic that goes with it, because they believe they have no other choice,"
said the Sierra Club's Executive Director Carl Pope.  "Our hope is that
Americans will look at these winning projects and demand better projects in
their own communities."

The Sierra Club applauded a diverse set of projects, from cities large and
small, to suburbs, to small towns in each corner of the nation. They
involve economically challenged areas like Fruitvale in Oakland and
Highland Park in Milwaukee, as well as well-off areas like
Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. They also included massive projects
like Atlantic Station in Atlanta, which encompasses 138 acres and includes
12 million square feet of retail, office, residential and hotel, and by
contrast, smaller scale projects like 66 residential homes and an
industrial building in Hopkins, Minnesota.

To merit consideration for the Sierra Club's top development honors,
projects had to:

.     Offer a range of transportation choices, including walking, biking,
and public transportation;
.     Redevelop existing areas, rather than developing natural areas,
working farmland, or wetlands;
.     Locate homes, retail shops, and offices close to each other;
.     Preserve existing community assets, by re-using older buildings and
protecting rivers, woodlands, and farms;
.     Minimize stormwater pollution and handle runoff in an environmentally
responsible manner; and,
.     Be the product of meaningful input by local citizens and reflect a
broad set of local values.

The Sierra Club also considered the use of "green building" design and
housing affordability in compiling its list of the best new development.

"The single, most important factor in all of these projects is that
neighborhood residents actually had a say in how they were built,"
explained Pope.  "And when you ask people what they want, they ask for ways
to get to and from work without sitting in traffic, and they want walkable
neighborhoods, clean water, and green space."

Much of the development in the United States today is sprawling, low
density, car-dependent "bigbox" or "strip-mall" construction, which
produces more and more traffic and harms our land, air, and water. While
the Sierra Club opposes poorly planned, sprawling development, built on
natural areas and farmland, it actively supports quality investment in
areas that already have a history of development to enhance communities and
the environment. By reinvesting in existing neighborhoods and creating more
walkable, transit accessible places to live and work, a select subset of
the nation's development leaders are raising the bar for neighborhood

The Sierra Club also noted that these models for new development could
inform the massive rebuilding effort in the Gulf following Hurricane
Katrina.  In fact, just a few weeks ago, the Sierra Club applauded both
Mississippi and Louisiana for recruiting the nation's top architects,
designers, and planners to explore with local officials and citizens
options for rebuilding ravaged towns.

Said Carl Pope, "The point for state and community leaders is to not just
rebuild, but to rebuild smarter and better.  We think there is a lot to
learn from these successful projects."

The projects which made the Sierra Club's list of America's Best New
Development Projects are:

TACOMA, WA - University of Washington, Tacoma; Charles Moore, LMN
PORTLAND, OR - The Pearl District; Hoyt Street Developers and Gerdling
Edlen Development Co.
WINDSOR, CA - Town Green Village Project; Orrin Thiessen and Town Green
OAKLAND, CA - Fruitvale Transit Village Project; The Unity Council
SAN MATEO, CA - Bay Meadows; Peter Calthorpe, Architect
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - Central Business District Extension Project and
Gateway Area; Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - East Downtown Redevelopment Project; Rob Dickson,
Paradigm and Co.
HOPKINS, MN - Excelsior Tech Center Redevelopment and Regency Project; Bill
Beard, The Beard Group, Inc.
MILWAUKEE, WI - Highland Park: Highland Gardens and Highland Homes; Housing
Authority, City of Milwaukee
MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, MA - 10 and 12 Summer Street; Manchester Housing
GREENSBORO, NC - Southside Neighborhood; Robert "Nate" Bowman, Bowman
Development Group
ATLANTA, GA - Atlantic Station; Jacoby Development

To access the full report, visit:


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