The new Água Espraiada Operação Urbana urban planning program in Sao Paulo has taken a major approach to sustainability. With this plan in action, the Rochaverá Corporate Towers, a high profile mixed residential, office, and shopping complex, is a great example. The recently built project is located at a former industrial area along the Pinheiros River Basin. This enormous 1.2-million-square-foot development, designed by Aflalo and Gasperini Architects, was built to be highly energy efficient, control water usage, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and ease traffic congestion. With the success of the mentioned project, we can begin to ask ourselves, ‘How can a development accomplish all of those objectives?’ Start with urban planning that mitigates sprawl, one of biggest threats to the planet today. More information after the break.
Rochaverá Corporate Towers incentives that enabled them to cut through local municipal regulations and build in a way that did not contribute to sprawl. In exchange, the developers provided cutting edge sustainability technologies such as a new storm water management system. Many city planning codes developed in the last century took a fundamentally anti-urban approach to planning by separating areas where people lived from where they worked and from where they shopped. And these zoning codes are at cross purposes with contemporary environmental agendas. When people live in different areas from where they work and shop, they have to travel farther to take care of their daily business.
This presents a cost benefit challenge for a developer interested in sustainability, because in sprawling cities such as Sao Paulo, it is generally more cost effective to build in outer-lying areas. The land available for large-scale development in more centrally located areas often has been contaminated by former industrial uses, which adds to the expense of the development. Agua Espraiada Operação Urbana guidelines are trying to alleviate these obstacles for developers going forward.
The new tower complex also reflects the growing green aspirations of Brazilian companies, such as Odebrecht Realizações Imobiliárias which has made sustainability a key aspect of their corporate identity. The company has taken a firm stance against sprawl and announced that its agenda is to build homes and neighborhoods located near the main amenities of major metropolises.
If more companies followed the example set by this development, cities would be able to dramatically cut their greenhouse gas contributions. Challenging the ideal of the single-family house in the suburbs, which is still the predominant ideal in many cultures, is a key part of the strategy.
Courtesy of The Atlantic Cities