The Low Carbon Neighborhood (a concept we really like!)
Imagine, for a minute, the future of our neighborhoods in a carbon constrained world. What will they look like and how will they function?
Neighborhoods and regional leaders should be asking this question and search for solutions that take an integrated approach. Enter the low carbon zone, climate benefit district, or low carbon neighborhood. While we’re not the first to propose this concept–we like the idea. The tools we need for a low carbon future are at hand, but we’ve yet to develop the toolkit for implementation.
Check out our proposal for a living city neighborhood, utilizing our research on behavior, community engagement, sequestration, food, and carbon neutrality!
Our urban neighborhoods hold the highest prospects for a low carbon economy, but also tend to face difficult problems such as aging infrastructure and population decline. The low carbon neighborhood can address both the opportunities and challenges. The groundwork for such neighborhoods will require four core approaches:
1. Policy: legislative tools and rezoning based on principles of sustainability and long term growth
2. Funding: provision of incentives and funding for community initiatives
3. Engagement: communication and engagement with local residents and businesses
4. Measurement: needs to occur to gauge the success of the program and potential as a global model (metrics for measurement should be focused on carbon, social, and economic indicators)
A low carbon district or neighborhood is a truly holistic approach to the issue of climate change, long term community sustainability and social equity; it provides solutions for urban environmental problems, will soften the costs of regulatory carbon schemes, and will be a huge engine for green jobs growth.
What does our neighborhood of the future look like? We imagine a neighborhood that provides opportunities for low carbon lifestyles by creating access to: pedestrian and bike friendly streets, high density mixed used development, locally produced food and products, efficient regional public transit, locally produced district energy and water supplies, renewable energy, and responsible citizens.