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Community Planning: The Latest Architecture and News

Co-Housing Movement Sweeps through Europe

00:00 - 18 February, 2015
Co-Housing Movement Sweeps through Europe, R50 – Cohousing / ifau und Jesko Fezer + HEIDE & VON BECKERATH. Image © Andrew Alberts
R50 – Cohousing / ifau und Jesko Fezer + HEIDE & VON BECKERATH. Image © Andrew Alberts

In the Spanish suburb of Alfafar, conditions were looking grim as economic hardships plunged over 40% of its residents into unemployment and left significant portions of its housing vacant. In response, a group of young architects have developed a co-housing plan for the area to accommodate its shifting needs, enabling residents to exchange and share space as needed. Using the existing buildings as the framework, the line between public and private will evolve over time with changing conditions, following in the footsteps of other European countries that have successfully employed similar undertakings. Read more about Alfafar's co-housing plan, here.

Tiny-House Villages: Safe Havens for the Homeless

00:00 - 24 January, 2015
Tiny-House Villages: Safe Havens for the Homeless, Quixote Village. Image © Leah Nash for BuzzFeed
Quixote Village. Image © Leah Nash for BuzzFeed

As the need for smart housing solutions rises, so does the appeal of tiny-house villages, not just as shelter for the homeless, but as a possible look to the future of the housing sector. The new article, Are Tiny-House Villages The Solution To Homelessness? by Tim Murphy, takes a closer look into the positive and negative aspects of these controversial communities, as well as their social and political ramifications so far. Through interviews with residents of several tiny-house villages, Murphy investigates the current impacts they have had on the homeless populations within major American cities, and questions how the lifestyle will evolve in the future. Read the full article, here.

Strelka Talks: Architecture and Community / Reinier de Graaf

00:00 - 26 May, 2013

"The Community" might be the most frequently used term over the last 50 years of Architectural and Urban discourse. For decades, "the community" has served as a legitimization for anything from Team X to New Urbanism, from Celebration to "vancouverism". But what is "the community"? Where should we look for the proper definition? How did communities appear in the past and how do they form today? Can 'the community" influence the design of its own space, territoiry or context? If yes, what could be the relationship between the community and architecture in the future?

In his Strelka talk Reinier de Graaf is trying to answer these and other, even more complex questions.

Via the Strelka Institute.

U.S. EPA: Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Advancing Smart Growth, Environmental Justice, and Equitable Development

00:00 - 13 March, 2013
U.S. EPA: Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Advancing Smart Growth, Environmental Justice, and Equitable Development, Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Advancing Smart Growth, Environmental Justice, and Equitable Development
Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Advancing Smart Growth, Environmental Justice, and Equitable Development

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released an extensive new publication that serves as a guide for low-income, minority, tribal and overburdened communities to build smart, environmentally just, and equitable developments using strategies that are accessible and affordable. The guidelines build upon precedents of past successes within struggling communities, whether these struggles are in the face of discrimination, social or economic prejudices, or environmental injustive. The EPA identifies seven common elements that have been illustrated in in-depth case studies of communities that have struggled with those very issues. By targeting community groups, governmental agencies, private and non-profit partners, regional and local planners and residents of these communities, the EPA's smart growth guide for "Creating Equitable, Healthy and Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Advancing Smart Growth, Environmental Justice, and Equitable Development" seeks to bring access to valuable information about the inherent possibilities to creating healthful, sustainable, and prosperous communities under a variety of circumstances.

Join us after the break for a breakdown of the EPA's findings and how they address equitability in community development.

San Francisco's Zero Waste Successes

00:00 - 21 February, 2013
The "Pit" in San Francisco © Walter Parenteau
The "Pit" in San Francisco © Walter Parenteau

Approaching zero-waste is a matter of changing the way our culture thinks about use and reuse.  It's not an impossible task, and San Francisco is leading the march to establish a feasible means of enacting public policy, structuring programs and educating the public on what it means to be "zero-waste".  With a goal set for 2020, SF hopes to keep 100% of its waste out of landfills.  Mayor Ed Lee estimates that the leading waste management company "Recology" is diverting nearly 80% of trash from landfills to be recycled or turned into compost.  This begins with a public policy that sets a standard and gains traction as citizens embrace the goals of the city.  Support programs reinforce these guidelines that eventually become habits and a cultural response to treating our environment.

Read on after the break for more on San Francisco's road to "zero-waste".