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contents J U LY 2 013


Jason F. McLennan


Michael D. Berrisford


Joanna Gangi




Erin Gehle Joanna Gangi

Chris Hellstern, Mona Lemoine, Jason F. McLennan, Susan Block Moores, Kathleen O’Brien, Jerome Partington, Stan Richardson, Amanda Sturgeon, Paul Werder


J U LY 2 013 , I S S U E 18

Trim Tab is a quarterly publication of the International Living Future Institute, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. Office locations: 721 NW 9th Ave Suite 195, Portland, OR 97209; 1501 East Madison Street, Suite 150, Seattle, WA 98122; 1100-111 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 6A3. All rights reserved. Content may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission and is for informational purposes only.





Living Building Education: Evolution of Bertschi School’s Science Wing BY CHRIS HELLSTERN + STAN RICHARDSON






Child-Centered Planning: A Specialized Pattern Language – A New Tool BY JASON F. MCLENNAN



DC Heats Up with the Challenge BY SUSAN BLOCK MOORES

The printed version of Trim Tab is made possible by a generous grant from the Martin Fabert Foundation.


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For editorial inquiries, freelance or photography submissions and advertising, contact Joanna Gangi at Back issues or reprints, contact


Flourishing: Next Frontier for Sustainability? BY PAUL WERDER


Rooted in the Bioregion


Taking a Stand for Sustainable Building


Emerge: Effective Leadership for Sustainable Solutions that Stick


A Living Village in a Rebuilt City


Site & Water Petal









Moving Upstream


FWD: Read This

Turner’s Special Projects Division in Miami completed work on a PNC Bank branch that produces more energy than it uses. This LEED Platinum building features 211 solar panels, high-efficiency LED lighting, Energy Star appliances, and an energy recovery ventilation system, which dramatically reduces heating and cooling costs.


Making a Difference Summer 2013

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UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain, the compact, mixed-use, transit-oriented community adjacent to Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, models best practices in sustainable community building. Strictest Green Building Standards in the World: The Living Building Challenge™

And Growing. Changing Lives. One Unit at a Time. Since 1999, King County GreenTools has focused on facilitating greener home design, building and material, and more selection through collaborative partnerships with organizations like Built Green, Cascadia Green Building Council, and Washington State Department of Commerce.

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We continue to think big by helping make green homes available to every family, regardless of economic situation. This is part of our vision at GreenTools, and it’s one we proudly share at King County—to support affordable housing projects in transit-oriented communities to help residents achieve their full potential. And build a good, healthy, environmentally-friendly place for all.

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We are proud, at UniverCity,

The UniverCity Childcare Centre, which opened on April 12, 2012, aims to be Canada’s first Living Building certified by the International Living Future Institute™ . The centre will produce more energy than it consumes and recycle or collect more water than it uses. Built and operated using non-toxic materials, sourced as locally as possible, it has a net-zero ecological footprint. All with no cost premium to conventional childcare centres being built in the region.

Comprehensive Green Building Bylaw – Raising the Bar for North America to be building a community that people want – one that is affordable, enduring and,

Innovative legislation requires new development to meet high environmental performance standards. For example, all new construction at UniverCity must outperform the national standards for energy by a minimum of 30-45% and water by 40%, as well as meeting other rigorous standards for landscape, air quality, and local materials.

Award-Winning Stormwater Water Management especially, one that has a light environmental footprint.

UniverCity’s stormwater management system is designed to mimic nature by returning nearly 100% of stormwater to the environment instead of conventional drainage pipes and ditches, protecting downstream aquatic life. Connect with us to learn more about UniverCity:

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Living Building Education: Evolution of Bertschi School’s Science Wing

Chris Hellstern and Stan Richardson were part of the design team of the Bertschi School’s Science Wing and share the innovative project with Trim Tab. Bertschi School is a place defined not only by its physical being, but also by its community of purpose. As an independent urban elementary school, that purpose has been developed and honed by every student, teacher, administrator and board member that has spent time here over the school’s 37-year history. Today that purpose and place are defined in the mission and values of the school and embodied in the curriculum and campus. The recently certified Living Building Science Wing fits well with the place that is Bertschi School. 8

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“If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.” 


The Living Building Science Wing is a project that fits perfectly into the school’s long history of sustainable curricula. For nearly 15 years, the school has taken an active role in making environmental education and sustainable practices core educational values. In each grade level, students focus on a year-long investigation of topics. The third grade studies waste and recycling, the fourth grade studies water, and the fifth grade studies energy. These lengthy study units allow the students to explore many facets and gain an under—WENDELL BERRY standing of environmental issues. This unparalleled and inspiring commitment to sustainability education is what initially attracted the design team to Bertschi School. Beyond simply reading about these issues, their new Living Building allows the students to experience sustainability on a daily basis. From watching Located on a half city block in a dense Seattle residen- the collection and treatment of water in the building, tial neighborhood, Bertschi School’s 40,000 square to understanding how their choices influence their enfeet of built space is comprised of seven structures: ergy needs, each student plays an active role in practicfour houses and a church building all built in the early ing ecological concepts. twentieth century, the 2007 Bertschi Center and the 2010 Living Building Science Wing. On this snug cam- The performance aspect of the Living Building pus, every space is used to its fullest. For students and Challenge presented a wonderful opportunity for parents, the campus is welcoming and comforting. For student involvement with the building as part of faculty and staff, it supports the educational program the certification process. The fourth and fifth grade in sometimes unusual and unexpected ways made pos- water and energy studies fit well with tracking the sible by the intimate nature of the campus. performance of the building during the 12-month occupancy stage that is required for Living Building Prior to the Living Building addition, the 2007 comple- Challenge Certification. The building has been and tion of the LEED Gold Bertschi Center building and continues to be a part of the Bertschi sustainability site improvements made room for enhanced art, music curriculum, because the Challenge requires ongoand physical education programs. As new construc- ing monitoring of water usage and treatment, energy, tion, it presented an opportunity for building sustain- and air quality. No other green building standard is ably that the school was ripe for, since the curriculum as action based, requiring the users of the building already supported many of the ideas that were realized to be a continuous part of its performance and habin that LEED Gold certified building. The new gym itability. No other green building standard lends and playfield spaces that were part of this development itself so readily to learning about sustainable pracalso freed up the paved ball court on the other end of tices in a concrete manner that even young students the campus to become the site for the new science wing. can understand.

No other green building standard lends itself so readily to learning about sustainable practices in a concrete manner that even young students can understand. PHOTO: BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER


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Integrated design was truly necessary for this project. A team of consultants from across western Washington came together, donating all of their services for the design and much of the construction for this project. From the very first design charette, everyone from subcontractors to user groups to city officials were involved. Most importantly, this collaboration did not stop after the first meeting. These integrated team meetings continued throughout design and construction, which allowed all of us to investigate and implement the most sustainable solutions for the project. Having everyone involved during problem solving allowed us to quickly gain perspective from a variety of industry experts at once. This partnership brought out more creative and collaborative solutions for the duration of the project. A team that is truly invested at every level of the process is beneficial to the owner, the individual team members and the environment. A Living Building requires true collaboration.

When we began the project, we knew it was important to start with students. So we worked with Bertschi’s Science Specialist, Julie Blystad, to talk with the students about what their idea for a Living Building science classroom should be. They created an inspirational wish list of items that, to them, embodied nature in a building. For us, it served as an inspiring theme we carried throughout the project. Inspiration became the catalyst for every aspect of this project, from the very first idea of creating a case study Living Building. This student-generated wish list served as the starting point for the design of many of the key sustainable strategies and systems for the building. Using this list, we made their dreams into functional methods to solve the Challenge. The students’ idea for a ‘river in the classroom’ became the glass-covered runnel that carries rain water from the building roofs to the cisterns. Their ‘room where something is always growing’ became the living wall of plants that treats the


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“It really lets us connect with the environment. It also plays a large role in teaching us how to take care of the environment. I now compost at my house.”

building’s grey water. One student even asked for became part of the beauty of the site while providing a bamboo fountain where she could go to relieve her biophilic elements. stress, and this became the terminus art piece for When this site was a ball court, it was surrounded by the runnel. a solid wood fence with high netting above, presenting a closed, unnatural face to the neighborhood. In RECLAIMING THE SITE its restoration, the site fence and netting were replaced The site where the Living Building science wing now with an open grid planted with grape and kiwi vines. stands was once an asphalt-covered play court. Not A stepping stone pathway winds through Scotch and only did this present a site that supported storm water Irish mosses, taking students through the lush garden. runoff and introduced an unnatural surface, it did not The beautifully curved exterior runnel, lined with repromote nature. There was no natural water infiltraclaimed pebbles, transports collected rain water to the tion, no plant life growing, and no urban sanctuary. cistern and distributes excess water to the rain garden The site had been previously developed for generations, during storm events. At the beginning of the runnel, a and it needed a restorative improvement. steel grating includes student artwork depicting kelp, sea urchins, and their keystone species, sea otters. At We quickly learned that every square foot of the site its terminus the runnel spills into a basin with a bamwould be important to creating a functioning Living boo fountain that slowly fills and empties in a rhythBuilding since so many of the Imperatives are directmic pattern. All of the elements are in an intimate garly or indirectly tied to the site. The Net Zero Water den sanctuary where students delight in nature and are Imperative is particularly site dependent. Even in the insulated from the busy street nearby. mild maritime climate of the Pacific Northwest, the collection and storage of enough potable and irrigation URBAN AGRICULTURE water during the dry summer months, with the ability to infiltrate excess water during the remaining wet The Bertschi Science Wing is the first certified months, was a huge challenge. Pervious pavement, un- Living Building under the 2.0 Standard. The new Urderground storage tanks, and rain gardens were the so- ban Agriculture Imperative requires an area equal to lution. Through the landscape design, these elements 30% of the project area to be dedicated to agriculture.


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“My favorite part is that we are living the things that we have learned.” Left Photo: GGLO Right Photo: Bertschi school

This resulted in two garden spaces incorporating both traditional vegetables as well as native ethnobotanical plants, many of which are also food sources. This was a learning opportunity for the design team and school, as well as for the International Living Future Institute since this project was the first to implement the urban agriculture Imperative. The garden has proven to increase the learning opportunities for students through spaces of quiet interaction and other natural elements while meeting the intent of the local food production requirement. In addition to providing food, a portion of Bertschi’s garden is ethnobotanical. Ethnobotany is the study of the relationship between people and plants, and the garden serves both as a productive landscape and an educational tool. The garden adds a physical component to the school’s existing curriculum on Northwest Native culture and history. The team chose plants once used by Northwest Native people for food, fiber and medicine. These species are key components of


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pre-European ‘productive landscapes’ and provide lessons both in the variety of productive landscapes and the ingenuity of Native peoples. Students and others can explore the ethnobotanical garden plants and their uses through an interactive web site accessible through plant markers accessed with Quick Reference or QR codes. A scan of the code on the plant’s identification plaque shows the common and scientific names, as well as a web site link providing information about the plant’s many uses and botanical data. There are also pictures of each plant in different seasons so the students can see its cycle. These tools give students a greater understanding of and appreciation for the local flora while getting them outside to connect to it. Soon after planting, the gardens began to produce. Vines filled with grapes climb the fences, grasses stand tall; ferns and moss have filled in, and blueberries, snowberries and lingonberries are flourishing. Students harvest fruit and other materials for consumption and for art projects. Students grind the berries

into various color paints and using grasses and sticks from the garden, students fashion paint brushes to create natural art. Additionally, the harvest from the vegetable garden has been utilized for meals in the afterschool and summer programs. This outdoor classroom enhances student learning across disciplines, integrating science, social studies, geography, math and literature as the garden prompts students to consider their relationship with food and the natural environment. OUTSIDE, INSIDE Inside, the Science Wing houses a rectilinear classroom space, a restroom, and an entry vestibule. It also contains the curved glass-walled, high-ceilinged Ecohouse, an indoor greenhouse space. The Ecohouse opens directly onto the outdoor teaching area and ethnobotanical garden. In this space, no matter the weather, students can examine and grow plant samples, and experience hands-on learning about botany

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and habitats. Teaching occurs in both the classroom and the Ecohouse, and both spaces have north-facing windows that look out into the garden and provide generous daylight. These are no ordinary teaching spaces. Running through the floor of both rooms is the pebble-lined and glass-covered runnel that transports water to the cisterns and outside. The spaces are light filled and with open circulation, the rooms function well together as an extended classroom space. As a science classroom for young learners, the space holds plenty of intrigue and opportunities for exploration with multiple connections to nature. EFFICIENT SYSTEM On-site photovoltaic power from a 90 module array provides all the energy for the Bertschi Science Wing. The PV system utilizes efficient micro inverter technology, and students can monitor the exact details of each panel through a web interface. As


a grid-connected system, net zero status is achieved through a calculated balance for the year and no storage capacity is necessary. The first step in creating this energy efficient, net zero building was to understand the building’s power requirements. Through detailed analysis, the design team was able to learn the science program power requirements as well as help reduce the school’s preconceived energy assumptions. With any net zero building, energy efficiency is always a chief concern throughout design. A highly-insulated building envelope was one of the first priorities to create a thermally efficient building that would require minimal heating. The envelope consists of a 2x12 wood framing system and thermally-efficient insulated glazing throughout, all atop a ten-inch insulated slab. The roof is a structurally insulated panel, or SIP, which provides great insulating properties. The selection of every piece of equipment went through a rigorous evaluation process to determine its effect on the building’s energy use. A hydronic radiant floor system provides heat for the building, while natural ventilation is used for cooling. From daylighting and controls that reduce electric lighting load to the use of gravity for water collection, energy efficiency was considered throughout the project. To eliminate phantom loads, automated controls turn off most plug loads each night. The occupants are required to activate a switch each day to turn receptacles back on.

runnel to be transported outside to the irrigation cistern and rain gardens. Entirely visible to the students, this process mimics the hydrologic cycle within the classroom. Excess storm water is also managed entirely on site. The first infiltration method for storm water occurs when rain is absorbed by the two moss mat roofs. These are similar to a traditional green roof but much thinner as they are located in the shadow of the adjacent building, providing excellent growing conditions for moss. However, the majority of excess storm water that reaches the site flows into the rain garden to achieve 100% infiltration. ON-SITE TREATMENT The building treats rainwater to potable standards using carbon filters and ultraviolet light. While this is not yet allowable by the Washington Department of Health, the school and team had the foresight to install the system to be used as a case study in hopes that it can help change water regulations. We believe the importance of demonstrating energy efficient potable water treatment is an essential step in our efforts to conserve resources.

To truly use net zero wate, the classroom also treats all of the waste water it produces on site. Grey water is directed to a system of coarse filtration and holding tanks before final treatment is performed by a living wall of five species of tropical plants. This is the very wall the RAIN WATER HARVESTING students had wished for with ‘something always growThrough perhaps one of the most delightful features ing.’ Located in the Ecohouse, the 165 square foot wall of the building, the Bertschi science wing operates on of common tropical plants naturally uptake grey water net zero water. Rainwater is captured from the build- for growth and treatment, completely disposing of it ing’s roofs, as well as from a section of the roof of the through evapotranspiration. This closed-loop proadjacent church building. As water collects on the cess requires no grey water storage. Most importantly, classroom’s butterfly metal roof, it cascades through with this system the students have a direct link to the rain leaders exposed inside the building. From there natural process and understand how the water they use it flows into a rock-lined runnel, or river, in the class- must be treated and conserved. room floor, winding near student desks and into the potable water cistern under the slab. Once that cistern One of the features that students have the most fills, water overflows back into the continuation of the interest in, the composting toilet treats all black water.


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Church building rain leader to cistern, exposed for education


Rain leader from classroom butterfly roof


Glass-covered interior runnel transports rain water to potable cistern


Potable water cistern

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Potable tank hand pump for water appreciation


Energy Recovery Ventilator (ductwork omitted for clarity)


Operable curtain wall window for ventilation


Using a vacuum flush unit, the waste is broken down CHEMICAL AVOIDANCE and composted within two tanks. After six to twelve As a Living Building 2.0 project, the science wing months the compost is then ready to be added to the complies with the stringent Materials Red List and non-edible plant beds around campus. Appropriate Sourcing requirements. The team exhaustively vetted all products through an intense research The students are able to interact with water at every and data collecting process. Five full-time team memlevel in the Living Building. Removable glass tiles bers spent countless hours working with manufacturcovering the runnel allow for water testing. Students ers to understand the components of their products can remove the lids on the cisterns and monitor the and advocating for transparency. In addition to chemilevel indicators, as well as perform volume studcal avoidance, each product had to meet strict sourcies. They can see the green wall treat the water they ing requirements. All of this work averaged approxihave sent down the sinks, and use the hand pump to mately eight hours of research per material. Although retrieve water from the cisterns. Through hands-on this process was time consuming and often difficult, interaction with water, we find that students gain an a detailed database was generated outlining product appreciation and understanding for its conservation. and manufacturer information that can be translated to future design work, whether buildings are pursuThroughout the project, it was important that ing the Challenge or not. Of course, one of the greatstudents have a direct relationship with both the power est achievements with the Materials Petal from the and water they use. As they turn on a light, they watch Bertschi project and others is the awareness we all the energy increase on the meter. As they collect water have brought to the industry regarding human and in the cisterns, the gauges let them know the amount. environmental toxicants in building materials. Bertschi students’ choices are making a direct impact on the building, which is helping to improve its operations.

While it is important to perform materials research and advocate for greater transparency, as designers we can first strive to reduce the need for products when possible. We worked to make careful choices to reduce the number of finish materials and even some systems used throughout the building. The wood structure of the SIPS roof is left exposed as the finished ceiling and the slab-on-grade concrete floor remains the finished surface. We chose simple mechanical systems to reduce site disturbance, piping and wiring. And because conservation should have multiple purposes, all mechanical and plumbing systems are left uncovered, both to reduce unnecessary materials and expose the building’s functions to the Bertschi students. STUDENT VOICE An often forgotten metric of sustainable design, we distributed post-occupancy surveys to Bertschi’s fifth graders near the building’s one-year anniversary. With these responses we worked to address any concerns or recommendations students have, empowering them with the knowledge that their opinions matter in both

“It helps me learn how to be kind to the earth”

the design of the space and in how well it functions. It is so heartening to see that the students understand the purpose of their building, and connect with it to inform their educational journey on so many levels. Beyond its sustainable features, the Bertschi project most importantly impacts its students. Making a space that is comfortable, engaging, inspiring and healthy will help support their education, and in turn create lasting environmental stewardship. NATURAL EDUCATION ELEMENTS Always keeping the students and their educational needs in mind, we worked to ensure that the project made use of every opportunity to educate and inspire. All building functions are labeled so students can easily track building operations. And while the Living Building serves as a science classroom, the importance of its mission is translated to curriculum that spans all disciplines across the campus. The students monitor energy and water consumption in math while the art students are painting with grasses and berries from

“Our classroom has made me more aware of buildings that aren’t living.”


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the garden. Building art installations bring the five salmon species, native leaves and beetles imprints to the children’s fingertips. A hand pump in the greenhouse space allows students to pump their own water, bringing awareness about the billions of people on the planet that do not have access to clean water through a faucet. With these features and so many more, the Bertschi science wing strives to be a place of function and beauty for those who learn with it. CONCLUSION With daily integrated exposure during early education, the students at Bertschi School will carry these sustainability concepts with them years after leaving their journey from pre-K through fifth grade. In addition, they bring these concepts home to their families and friends who may not attend Bertschi. Just as important, the building also serves as an example to the greater community. It shows that this type of extreme sustainability and regenerative architecture is possible. While this project is only a single building, the legacy of the Living Building Science Wing is not only how it will care for the environment by reducing its impact on it, but also how the sustainable features serve as an inspiration for future facilities and future generations.



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CHRIS HELLSTERN M.Arch, LEED AP, CDT served as a designer, project manager and the construction contract administrator for the Bertschi Living Building. He now practices sustainable architecture at ZGF Architects in Seattle.

“As a member, I feel part of a community focused on Finding solutions that help resolve some of today’s pressing environmental challenges.”

STAN RICHARDSON is the Director of Campus Planning for Bertschi School and was the school’s project manager and owner’s representative for the Living Building Science Wing.


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Columbia Forest Products’ PureBond

-Priya Premchandran

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Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur and author. As an environmentalist he has worked tirelessly to build the movement across many subjects, including ecological business. In one of his many books, The Ecology of Commerce, he weaves together business practices with environmental concerns, and urges that issues must not be mutually exclusive from each other.

including social justice and civil rights. His eloquent philosophies are certainly poignant, possessing extraordinary power in leading us to reconsider traditional ways of doing things.

Hawken is one of the most forward-thinking individuals today. He took some time at the recent Living Future conference to talk with the Institute about his Well-seasoned and respected for his leadership over thoughts on the environmental movement, changing several decades, Hawken worked in the environmen- ideas on carbon, and why people should get back to tal field before it was even considered a movement. His their childlike selves. Many of his notable ideas from work has impacted many facets of human life, especially the exchange are present in the following conversation. those intertwined with the environmental movement,


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Trim Tab: It seemed like we stopped talking about green when the green building movement took off, which then seemed to get co-opted. Why do you think that’s the case?

a point where people can more easily imagine the end of the world than the transformation of the world. This is very understandable given the science.

Paul Hawken: I think we co-opt ourselves first and then we’re subject to being co-opted later. I think people are a bit overwhelmed. When overwhelmed, people seek ease, convenience, reassurance or comfort. Or they seek peer affirmation and confirmation à la Facebook. In the investment world, there’s something called confirmation bias. Once you believe that a stock of commodity is a good investment, you tend to read all the things that say it’s a good investment and shun those that do not. I think the same thing can happen in the green world.

The catastrophization of the future as a motivating tool has not worked. And it lends itself easily to its opposite. Deniers label environmental extremists, people want to take away your way of life, et cetera. And that polarization erodes the basis for dialogue, for people to listen to one another. It’s difficult to listen when both sides are shouting. We are not talking our mutual needs but our divergent beliefs.

The media has a field day with opposites because it thrives when there is division. Generally, more extreme or singular points of view are chosen to be contrasted, I don’t think Hollywood, Vanity Fair, or glamoriza- while the middle ground of our shared destiny goes tion of the environment has helped. I do not question untended. That’s where most of us reside, both in our the sincerity of famous people. However, stars can in- minds, spirit, society and our daily life. Human beings advertently portray green as being easy, that you can are social beings who want to connect to their famichange the world with certain actions but do not have lies, their neighborhoods and their communities in to change your fundamental lifestyle. That is ‘brown’ ways that don’t create polarization. Polarization makes world thinking. Green world is a radically different way us numb. of life, but it has been soft-pedaled in a way that implies you don’t really have to change. If you do this, eat that, TT: You’re one of our best story tellers. What is the story that buy that, and drive such and such, you are green. That you’re currently telling, and how are you telling it right now? sells well, and I think it sells well in part because we do not want to face the enormity of the transitions that are PH: I have been thinking about how we use the word coming about. carbon and the attitudes that are forming around it. In that process we may have lost our sense of enchantment Trim Tab: What does the environmental movement and fascination with the living world. When we talk need to stop doing in order to help the progression of about carbon, we talk about carbon footprint, carbon the movement? pollution, and carbon trading as if carbon was something we need to rid from the world. Carbon is key to Paul Hawken: The environmental movement has the intricate web of life we are trying to restore, When used fear as a tool to raise money and awareness for we get up in the morning, we eat carbon, not breaka long time. I think we tried to scare people into new fast. At lunch, we eat carbon. Same with dinner. We behavior, even though we didn’t know exactly what are carbon-based creatures who oxidize it every day so that new behavior should be. Today, with respect to cli- that we can sing, dance, think, work, and care for othmate change, we are putting forth an apocalyptic view ers. We have separated ourselves from an element that of the future. However it is not so effective for open- is the answer to our dreams and nightmares. It is the ing up people’s minds and hearts. We have come to molecule that holds hands and collaborates, which is


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exactly what we need to do if we are going to reverse the Keeling Curve and honor life on earth. To address climate change, we need more life in our forests, soils, and oceans. We need to literally re-green a biosphere that has been decarbonized. When we combust a gallon of gas, we burn 100 tons of green matter from the past. TT: Where do you see technology fitting into this? PH: Humans have been making tools for thousands of years. I think we understood why we were making tools. Primarily we made them to work in more harmonious and less laborious ways. Now we create “tools” to make money, to dominate life, to overpower the oceans, skies, and earth itself. We make tools to accelerate the use of resources. Having said that, there is no doubt in my mind that there are vast technological breakthroughs ahead of us. Not the science fiction technologies of fantasy, but practical, down-to-earth ways of creating the services and products we need for a healthy and fulfilling life. One of those technologies is the built environment. They are technologies and systems.

We will have the ability in a very short time to create buildings that are literally as complex as a plant or a flower, that are biophilic in the true sense of the word. I think the future of technology is fantastic if we actually have an ethos that informs it.

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TT: How do you maintain your optimism? PH: Actually, I try not to. Maintaining a state of mind like optimism takes a lot of work. Instead I try to watch my mind and observe what it’s doing. My mind is mostly all over the place, I can assure you that. Sometimes it’s up, sometimes it’s down, sometimes it’s jumping around in the trees. I try to be watchful but not to listen to it. Someone once said, the mind is a dangerous neighborhood, don’t go there alone. When you try to be hopeful or optimistic, you’re cutting off that which might cause you to feel otherwise. Hope is a kind of mental narcotic that we use to mask our fears. If you have no fear, there is no reason to be hopeful. I think we need to look at our fears and make friends with those feelings. They are an ally if we don’t turn away and cover our anxiety with a façade of hope or Panglossian optimism. It is very helpful, albeit painful, to look at all the suffering that exists. Yet the capacity to do this can be a source of inspiration, compassion and renewal within us. Our happiness doesn’t come from trying to be happy. It comes from being present, from being in awe, from looking at everything that is happening with new eyes. What happens as we get older is we lose that innate ability that a child has—to see the world anew every moment. To be amazed every time we experience, smell, see, touch, or taste something that we may have never done before, or more importantly, do every day. We’ve lost those qualities. They’re covered up with our cleverness. We can uncover those original childlike abilities, and see the world the way it is and be deeply grateful for simply being alive. It is not that we lose our innocence. We lose our faith that it will serve us and turn away from it. Life is our most trusted guide, that indescribable sense of being connected to all things. When you sense that all phenomenon are inseparable, even the absurd pronouncements of deniers, you smile, feel compassion,


Instead I tried to offer people a sense of the enormous diversity of this blessed unnamed movement we are all a part of. And the diversity and numbers keep changing. No one knows how big, how many people, where it’s located. No one knows how it’s organized, how it is changing, or how it is organized. There is no tracking, no record, and no updated list. In that way it is very much like your body. Like, who is keeping track of the quadrillion cells in your body?

TT: Can you explain why equity and social justice are So, it remains as it did then, something that can be important to the environmental movement and if there is approximated and certainly described in many ways, anything missing? but not measured because it involves several hundred million people, probably two million organizations, PH: What the International Living Future Institute and 192 countries. is doing with Declare and JUST is very important. I think we’re ready for that kind of disclosure and TT: Can you tell us what your dream of a living economy transparency everywhere. You are creating the tools would look like? to make this happen. PH: I think of a livable future as a process, not an outOnce somebody after an interview said to me, aren’t come. I see it as the way people talk to each other and you just a dreamer? I said, yeah, but somebody’s got to the way they respect all forms of life. I see it as a redream a livable future. If we don’t dream a livable fu- lational awareness that manifests in everything we do ture, then we, in a sense, are consigning our children and everything we say. to a nightmare. It’s a gift to the future to dream of what is possible. It’s mindfulness. Mindfulness doesn’t mean perfection. If you have a view of the future that has a particuTT: You’ve spent a lot of time researching organiza- lar manifestation, that can easily grow into an impositions dedicated to retoring the environment and social tion or blindness to possibility. We are not going to get justice. Can you give us a status report on the Blessed rich creating a livable future. We are rich because we Unrest movement? are all creating it. We have to ask ourselves whether the multiple crises that beset the world are happenPH: I can’t give you a status report on blessed unrest ing to us or for us. There’s a profound internal differbecause it’s a living thing. It’s the collective wisdom of ence between the two responses. If it is happening to humanity mobilizing to address political corruption, you, you are a victim. “For us” leads to innovation, economic disease, and environmental degradation. devotion, and joy. One of the things I tried to do in Blessed Unrest—or you could say try not to do—was to call out the charismatic NGOs that we’re so familiar with. Because if I BY TRIM TAB EDITORIAL TEAM did, then people would say, I know this movement because I already know about Oxfam, Greenpeace, etc.

Photo Nic Lehoux

and take responsibility for everything—and there is no blame. I do not understand the rhetoric that says the environmental movement is failing or losing. What I see are magnificent human beings doing the very best they can, who shrug off incalculable odds and continue to serve. We mistake the inertia of the current thermoindustrial system with movement failure. It is not the environmental movement that is failing; it is the catabolic system of consumption and finance that is failing.

ideas + buildings

With pioneering tools to advance sustainable design practices, the largest green building portfolio in North America, more than 1,000 LEED ® Accredited Professionals, and a commitment to the 2030 Challenge, Perkins+Will is recognized as one of the industry’s preeminent sustainable design firms. ABOVE: The VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre in Vancouver,

British Columbia was designed to exceed LEED Platinum status and is pursuing the Living Building Challenge.


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B Y J A S O N F. M C L E N N A N

ChildCentered Planning A Specialized Pattern Language – A New Tool By Jason F. McLennan


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This last year global population crossed the seven billion mark, and within less than two decades another billion are projected to live on planet earth. The hidden statistic is that almost all of the last billion and likely the majority of the next will be city dwellers. It was only in the last several decades that we moved from a predominantly rural civilization to an urban one. As megacities grow, even as small and mid-sized cities grow around the world, our technologies, especially our cars and other modes of transportation, continue to have the largest impact on the nature of the City: how it looks, functions and is experienced. What’s obvious is that nature is continually being squeezed out of our urban experiences, as are the kind of experiences that are good for people. Especially telling is the lack of attention placed on our most vulnerable and important citizens: our children. We might design

c­ ommunities fit for auto transport and auto storage, but too many cities are cruel and inhospitable to our most impressionable. I have written previously about the wisdom of designing buildings and communities that deeply consider children first as a way of ensuring that communities are well designed for people of all ages. (See “Our Children’s Cities: The Logic & Beauty of a Child-Centered Civilization” in my new book, Transformational Thought, and in the summer 2011 issue of Trim Tab.) What can be more important than ensuring that our urban habitats are nurturing and supportive of human development, and that we create environments that maximize human potential?

Recently I returned to my decades-old copy of Christopher Alexander’s seminal work, A Pattern Language, which had a profound influence on the design world (and on me) following its publication in the late 1970s. With child-centered design on my mind, I began to think about how one might apply an Alexander-esque pattern language to plan children-centric cities that are safe, beautiful and enjoyable for kids of all ages. After all, if great places share common patterns as Alexander asserts, then great child-oriented communities also should reveal certain patterns that can form the basis of planning. The beauty of planning cities for their youngest inhabitants stems from the idea’s simplicity. Designing places for our most vulnerable citizens allows us to create places that better serve everyone. The focus on the

young has particularly strong benefits for the elderly. Rather than constructing communities around the automobile, we should treat our kids as our highest priorities. Doing so will keep them safe and keep us sane. What follows is a preliminary list of 40 patterns that I have identified as necessary for a child-centered community to be successful. Over time we hope to expand and add to this list as an important new design tool for architects, planners and community leaders to use wherever civic engagements are happening. The International Living Future Institute would like to welcome you to submit other pattern ideas to us, and from time to time we will update this list through Trim Tab or on our website.

The idea is to help children find their way while making them feel celebrated instead of simply tolerated.


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CHILD CENTERED PATTERNS The Child Centered Patterns are organized into the following categories. Many of the patterns relate to multiple categories at the same time, and are especially important.



the areas so that they can fully grasp the complexities– and make the most of the unique offerings–of their homes. Tools such as community weather stations and public interpretive elements will help children place their communities in a global context while rooting them more solidly in place. Pattern 2 The Child’s-Eye View

Beauty, Safety, Connectedness, Accessibility





Respecting a lower ground plane lets us all see what children see. To enhance visibility, safety and beauty, accommodate individuals who stand 3-4’ tall rather than following the old standard that assumes everyone walks or wheels 5-6’ off the ground. Sight lines are clearer, barriers are less restricting, and spaces are more open. Pattern 3 Humane Scale





Pattern 1 The Story of Place

Education, Beauty, Resilience, Connectedness, Biophilia The more children who understand the places where they live, the more committed they will be to celebrating and protecting their regions. In child-centered communities, youth must be taught the social, ecological, climatological and even architectural histories of


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Beauty, Safety, Joy, Connectedness, Biophilia, Accessibility This is another way of thinking how to keep things at a child’s-eye view. Any component of the built environment that is disproportionately scaled can make even a tall adult feel diminished. Imagine how oppressive such elements are to a child. When a community’s infrastructure is outsized, it makes all residents feel insignificant. Retaining a humane scale means that building heights, parking lot footprints, signage square footage and more all stay within reasonable limits. See the Living Building Challenge for more specifics on what constitutes humane scale.

Pattern 4 Safe Crossings

Pattern 7 Tamed Commercialism

Design/Beauty, Safety, Playfulness, Joy, Accessibility

Design/Beauty, Joy, Biophilia

Painted cement doesn’t do much to keep pedestrians out of harm’s way. Develop more interactive crossing signals with sounds, colorful flags, visual pattern changes and a host of other features. This will do more to keep people engaged, entertained and protected when crossing the street.

Children, like all of us, deserve to walk down the street without being barraged by advertising. Cities that cater first to kids and prioritize nature over marketing will limit commercial signage that barks at residents about what they should buy, do and prefer. Choosing products and services will then emerge from a more organic decision-making process based on needs instead of manufactured wants.

Pattern 5 Finding Home

Pattern 8 The Child and the Seat Safety, Playfulness, Joy, Connectedness Identify pathways or individual neighborhoods using dedicated iconography or color palettes to help children navigate safely and independently through communities. A certain animal species’ footprints could lead to schoolyards, or certain city blocks could use common front door colors. The idea is to help children find their way while making them feel celebrated instead of simply tolerated. Pattern 6 Revealed Systems

Education, Design/Beauty, Resilience, Playfulness, Connectedness When we expose occupants to the systems that power their buildings, we help connect them to their built and natural surroundings. Reveal water, energy and transportation systems within structures and communities to provide living classrooms (that never close) for students of all ages. Don’t hide vital operational functions; show them, study them and celebrate them so that our children can discover how to improve upon them.

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Design/Beauty, Safety, Playfulness, Health, Joy, Connectedness, Biophilia, Accessibility Since children need and want to sit with greater frequency than other people, their cities must feature a variety of seating options. Such amenities will also serve the elderly, individuals with mobility challenges and anyone who chooses walking as a primary mode of transportation. Offer seating at multiple heights, similar to the way drinking fountains and even urinals are situated in many public spaces. Seating should be located frequently on every street. Pattern 9 Biophilia and Unstructured Play

Design/Beauty, Playfulness, Health, Joy, Connectedness, Biophilia Add plentiful opportunities for children and adults to interact with nature, even in the midst of urban settings. Design around fishponds, water features, fountains, climbing trees, sandboxes and anything else that allows citizens to expand on their relationships with the environment, particularly in spontaneous ways. This is one way to protect our children from


The conceptual masterplan for the final phase of the Univercity Phase 5 - A Living Neighbourhood designed by the International Living Future Institute team including Jason F. McLennan, Richard Graves, Josh Fisher.


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what writer Richard Louv calls nature-deficit disorder. Kids want to get dirty because it’s fun, and it’s good for them. Let’s show them we approve, and then we should join them. Pattern 10 Access to Nature

Pattern 13 The Hunter/Gatherer

Pattern 16 Amenities at the Heart

Pattern 19 Universal Children’s Design

Education, Design/Beauty, Resilience, Health, Joy, Biophilia

Education, Design/Beauty, Resilience, Connectedness, Accessibility

Design/Beauty, Safety, Playfulness, Joy, Connectedness, Accessibility

Consider placing key community resources at the center of the community. Schools, playgrounds, gardens and other amenities offering the most advantages to the greatest portion of the population should be located in the core, with less critical services and residential structures radiating outward. This pattern stands in contrast to Pattern 15, so planners must determine the ideal approach for each community and balance between a decentralized network with key amenities that are central.

Expand on the concept of universal design, which caters primarily to the elderly and the physically challenged, by thinking first of how to adapt buildings and communities to children’s needs. Just as universal design benefits users of all abilities, universal children’s design makes things easier and more enjoyable for users of all ages.

Pattern 17 Non-Toxic World

Education, Design/Beauty, Safety, Connectedness

Surround children with edible landscapes so that their cities become agricultural classrooms. Start with urban farms, then extend the concept into all public spacDesign/Beauty, Playfulness, Health, Joy, Connectedness, es so that residents are able to pick and snack at any Biophilia, Accessibility point during a stroll down the street. Plant only edible, Nothing should stand between children and the natu- non-toxic species, mixing fruits and berries with herbs ral world. Ensure that they have direct and ongoing and hardy plants that are native to the region. access to non-design-based water, sunshine, trees and vistas wherever they live. Give them opportunities to Pattern 14 The Farmer visit the natural world, support their rights to nature and never let the built environment stand in the way. Education, Design/Beauty, Resilience, Health, Joy, Pattern 11 The Sense of Danger Connectedness, Biophilia Expanding on Pattern 12, involve children in local food production efforts. Public gardens, p-patches Education, Resilience, Safety, Playfulness, Joy and other resources connect people to the food they We need to reintroduce elements of “safe danger” to eat while also connecting them to one another and our cities so our children learn how to test and mas- enhancing community resilience. Providing children ter suitable boundaries. Give them balance beams, zip with farming-related roles and responsibilities gives lines and climbing apparatis that offer them experien- them the gift of sustainability. tial knowledge of what they can and can’t do. Children are better able to distinguish between real and imag- Pattern 15 Decentralized Amenities ined danger when they’re occasionally allowed to fall. Pattern 12 The Engineering Child

Design/Beauty, Playfulness, Health, Joy, Connectedness, Biophilia, Accessibility

Distribute child-friendly amenities throughout a city to ensure that all citizens have ready access to them. Give children opportunities to participate in their cit- Sprinkle bike racks, sport courts, public art, water ies’ changing systems so that they can observe simple features, revealed systems and natural playgrounds cause-and-effect dynamics. Let them serve as junior throughout the community (and not just in concenhydrologists by experimenting with how a waterway trated mega-parks). This will keep citizens of all ages alters its course when dammed. Show them the modu- healthier, happier and more likely to spend their leisure lations in a photovoltaic array’s energy draw on sunny time in the outdoors rather than in front of a computer versus rainy days. Enrich them with the option to take screen. If amenities are centralized its more likely that part in what’s happening around them. children have to be driven to use them. Education, Resilience, Playfulness, Connectedness


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Pattern 20 Sheltered Waiting Areas

Protect every generation by designing sheltered public waiting areas. Turn these structures into mini classResilience, Safety, Health rooms with interpretive historical information on the Eliminate poisonous substances from the built en- neighborhood, mini galleries with student art from vironment that surrounds our children. Adhere to nearby schools or mini communication centers where the requirements of the Living Building Challenge’s people can interact in writing. Materials Petal by using only Red List-approved supplies and substances for all community structures and Pattern 21 Public Drinking Fountains infrastructure materials. Pattern 18 Programs for Children

Design/Beauty, Safety, Playfulness, Health

Kids love moving water, and everybody needs to stay hydrated. Offer this fun and healthy service Education, Resilience, Joy, Connectedness throughout the city. Drinking fresh water is essential Curate activities and curriculum in schools and com- to health and reinforces appropriate hydration over munity centers that educate and inspire kids. These drinks like soda. programs might be overseen by municipal parks and recreation departments and/or private non-profit organizations. Nest them with other initiatives designed to engage and support citizens of all ages as a way to bring the city’s youngest and oldest citizens closer together.

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Children need a visual connection to the life of the street so that they can see people and nature in vibrant action.

Pattern 22 The Hill

Pattern 23 Swings for All Ages

Design/Beauty, Playfulness, Health, Joy, Connectedness, Biophilia, Accessibility

Playfulness, Health, Joy, Connectedness

Swinging is intoxicating. Cities need places where Every child knows that there is something uniquely everyone can experience such dizzying exhilaration, enjoyable and empowering about being on higher whether for stress relief, family togetherness or just for ground. Hills of any elevation offer endless opportu- the sheer fun of it. nities to run, sled, roll, and take in more of the view. Reshape parks to create a modest hill in an otherwise Pattern 24 Sound Parks flat region if necessary, but give people an opportunity to climb, toboggan or slide down. Education, Design/Beauty, Playfulness, Joy, Biophilia Help community members hear the music of nature by creating dedicated places where sound is celebrated and multiple senses are engaged. Imagine drums


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powered by fountains, wind chimes powered by the wind, or simply opportunities for musicians to regularly perform. Pattern 25 Crazy Art

Pattern 26 Patterned Walks

Design/Beauty, Playfulness, Health, Joy, Connectedness

Encourage childhood games in public places for all community members. Design beautiful patterns Education, Design/Beauty, Playfulness, Joy, of hopscotch squares, sidewalk skipping lines and Connectedness other modules into the walkways of the city. It will Install public art that starts by identifying place and invite sport, encourage rhythmic activities and allow continues by inspiring kids to think beyond the or- children to lead the way. dinary. Instead of creating intersections merely with numbered roads, establish artistic navigational tools that support whimsy such as public clocks, colorful paintings and interactive sculptures.

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Pattern 27 Six-Story Max

Design/Beauty, Resilience, Safety, Health, Connectedness, Biophilia, Accessibility Places where children live should be limited in height to six stories. This will keep residents close enough to the earth to allow them to stay connected to the natural and human elements on the ground level. Even from the roof of a six-story building, children can still see and call to their friends who pass by on the sidewalk below and make out facial features, beyond that a distinct human connection is lost. A six-story building is also walkable, children can walk the stairs to the top floors or they can scurry down to join in a street-level activity. They are never far from anything that grows in the soil. And, crucially, all buildings can be net zero living buildings. Pattern 28 House Size Mix

Design/Beauty, Resilience, Connectedness, Accessibility

vibrant action. Design bedrooms with views of the street rather than internal courtyards. Pattern 30 Courtyards for Reflection

Education, Design/Beauty, Resilience, Safety, Joy, Connectedness, Biophilia, Accessibility In the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s important to have places that are sanctuaries of quiet and personal reflection. Include frequent courtyards linked to public spaces that offer acoustical and visual privacy from the street. Pattern 31 A Place for Dogs

Joy, Biophilia Children need dogs! Create places in the city where dogs can safely run off leash. Dog parks bring community alive. Install dog-walking infrastructure such as bag stations throughout the city and signs to keep pets on leash and safe.

Any city celebrating children has to include a reasonPattern 32 Small Egg Business able blend of house sizes and types. Plan a mix of residential structures that accommodates every resident and family grouping. Keep all larger ‘family’ style Education, Resilience, Joy, Biophilia units as close to the ground as possible. What better job than allowing children to raise chickPattern 29 Bedrooms to the Street ens and collect and sell eggs? Ensure that local community bylaws allow for a small brood of chickens for each family and designate chicken spots within each Education, Design/Beauty, Resilience, Safety, Joy, development, even if on a rooftop. Connectedness, Biophilia, Accessibility Pattern 33 Ground Level Fountain Residential buildings must give children (and the adults who care for them) visual and physical access to the world outside their rooms. While this pattern is Education, Design/Beauty, Joy, Biophilia, Accessibility particularly important for urban apartments and multistory housing, it is important to consider in any liv- Having the ability to actually run through water is ing space. Children need a visual connection to the life a sheer delight. Fountains should be active and invite of the street so that they can see people and nature in you in rather than being off-limits for play. Design


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public fountains that are inviting and accessible, even for wheelchairs. Pattern 34 Neighborhood Treehouse

sidewalks create valuable urban space for childhood activities and games, compelling street furniture and spaces for trees. Sidewalks should be at least eight feet wide to be truly social. Pattern 36 Bike Path Network

Joy, Biophilia, Design/Beauty, Playfulness Every child loves a treehouse. It encourages sociability and activity, and allows for prospect over the neighborhood. Design safe and accessible treehouses into public parks and encourage private treehouses in developments. Pattern 35 The Wide Sidewalk

Connectedness, Safety

Connectedness, Safety, Joy, Biophilia Nothing worries parents more than their child being hit by a car, whether crossing the street or biking on the side of the road. A bike path network separate from the automobile system encourages biking and walking, and changes the pace and enjoyment of being outside. Establish a bike network that allows people to move through a community away from automobiles for long stretches.

We’ve all walked along those narrow sidewalks that don’t allow two people to walk side-by-side. Generous

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Pattern 37 Short Blocks and Short Cuts

Pattern 39 Community Meeting Place


Connectedness, Education, Playfulness

Long city blocks diminish the quality of experience of pedestrians especially people who have short strides like children. Designing short blocks or interrupting long blocks with bisecting pedestrian pathways allows for ‘shortcuts’ and reduces distances to various destinations.

A children’s center, community center or centralized structure where groups of kids can meet for activities, birthdays and events helps to nurture a family-­f riendly environment. Include at least one classroom-sized building in each neighborhood that can be rented or signed out by the community. The community meeting place should have outdoor covered structures as well as an indoor climate controlled space for greater summertime use.

Pattern 38 Clock Tower

Connectedness, Education, Safety

Pattern 40 Kid Food Vendors

Having a sense of time, even if not wearing a watch, is good for children to orient themselves relative to getting home at the right hour. Perhaps more importantly, Joy creating a local icon that helps to identify a commuIce cream trucks, french fry vendors and other infornity and provide a place to meet is essential. Meeting mal and mobile food concessions breathe life and pe‘under the clock’ can be a great community identifier. riodic excitement into a neighborhood. Allow for and encourage street-side vendors to frequent neighborhood amenities and parks.


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In the coming months, the Institute will continue to expand its work with child-centered planning and would like to invite the readers of Trim Tab to This tool is meant to stimulate thought and reflecsubmit feedback and additional patterns that we may tion when designing any piece of urban fabric. It’s not have missed. intended as a ‘checklist’, although it certainly can be used that way. It is more important to be thoughtful We surround our children with love and do everyin how the various patterns can be used. Each comthing we can to protect them from harm. But we tend munity and place should feature a different mix and to dismiss them when we plan the communities where proportion of patterns. Intentionality is the key to they live, which makes no sense. It’s time to nurture child-centered planning. our cities the way we nurture our children. Following a pattern language catering to little ones will yield sigCurrentl,y the International Living Future Institute nificant long-range benefits for everyone. Childrenis involved in master planning the final phase of the centered cities will be more enriching, stimulating, UniverCity development at Simon Fraser University educational, secure, resilient and sustainable. And they in Burnaby Mountain. Our team is using the Childwill be more likely to remain thriving cities when our Centered Planning approach in the design in order grandchildren–and theirs–need places to call home. to create a positive community for people of all ages. The plan illustrated above shows the master plan where over 1,000 units of housing are being planned as part of a mixed use urban village. Areas where we are JASON F. MCLENNAN is the CEO integrating the patterns we’ve identified are clearly of the International Living Future shown on the diagram. This community, that housInstitute. He is the creator of the Living es a daycare pursing the Living Building Challenge, Building Challenge, as well as the will be a pioneering model of a new way to approach author of five books, including his latest: Transformational Thought. community design.

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Every Collaborative has their story. The story of the Washington D.C. Collaborative is one of the determination and hard work it takes a group of people, connected by passions and ideals, to bring transformational change to their community. They have whole-heartedly embraced the Living Building Challenge as a philosophy and advocacy tool while putting their hands to work supporting local project teams working to achieve Living Building Challenge Certification. The D.C. Collaborative is redefining the green building community in their region.

DC Heats Up

with the Challenge



Before the founding of the D.C. Living Building Challenge Collaborative, there were three local Living Building Challenge Ambassadors giving presentations to groups around the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. The establishment of the D.C. Collaborative brought the ambassadors together and provided more people an opportunity to be involved in synergizing ideas. After some local outreach, the first meeting discussed clarifications relating to the Living Building Challenge Imperatives. Early on, the Collaborative’s main goal was education for attendees and the region. Soon after the initial meeting, the group established short-, mid- and long-term plans in order to meet its goals. The short term goals included a Petal Awareness Campaign in order to become more knowledgeable about existing buildings in the region that had components of the Living Building Challenge. Mid-range goals included scheduling tours and lectures around the D.C. region. Thinking big, the long-term goal was to establish or be a part of a local Living Building Challenge project. Along with meeting regularly with some significant contacts at the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), the Collaborative began cataloguing local green buildings that eventually turned into a list of buildings the D.C. Collaborative wanted to tour. The Sidwell Friends Middle School—the first LEED Platinum K-12 school in the country—was the first building toured by the Collaborative.


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In order to meet some of its other goals, the D.C. Collaborative created an “Educational Series” team that planned for local Ambassadors to present the Living Building Challenge to the group. Sandy Wiggins, former chair of the USGBC and current owner of Consilience, LLC—a national consultancy—was among the presenters. Wiggens presented on a nearby project pursuing the Living Building Challenge; the Potomac Watershed Study Center at Hard Bargain Farm in Accokeek, Maryland. Wiggens showcased the natural beauty of the farm itself, rooting it in its place. This included the faces of the kids who might occupy the spaces, the designers who helped tell the story of this special place.

to capture the sun’s energy to power to itself and the Moss Lodge. The design included net zero water, net zero energy, salvaged materials and much more. Wiggens was extremely passionate about displaying his love for the building being as “lyrical as the sails on a ship” with its windows opening and closing, sunshades rising and lowering. The Collaborative’s lecture series achieved its goal of providing educational opportunities for the community.

Quickly, the Collaborative was becoming a centralized desitination for local green building projects in the Washington D.C. metro area. An industrial building renovation project pursuing the Living Building Challenge invited the Collaborative to participate in Included in the design process was a four-day Living a charrette for its project with Hamel Green, a local Building charrette which resulted in two building contractor. The value of collaboration was evident to forms. Using the science of biomimicry, one building the Collaborative as this was the first Living Building represents moss, the other grass. Both plants are natu- Challenge project they had ever worked on. ral elements, but are drastically different in their composition, form and function. Nestled in the woods on Shortly after the charrette Peter Doo, a local Ambasa north-facing slope, the roof on “Moss” will gather sador and architect, seized the opportunity to work on rainwater that will be purified and used throughout a 2,000 square foot house. The Gaddy House was not only the Center. Located at the sunny edge of a south-fac- pursuing the Living Building Challenge, but was also ing field, the roof on “Grass” will spread out like wings registered under LEED v.4 and Passive House. The

project owner, Edward Gaddy, was incredibly interested in documenting the level of detail that goes into building a green home. He also wanted a project to serve as an educational tool for the community. The Collaborative became a source of support to help in the design of his project. The most significant resource was a Red List Materials spreadsheet that the Collaborative had created. Doo encouraged the Collaborative to take the lead in the documentation for certification of the Challenge. The experience was invaluable to the Collaborative, which began to realize its longterm goal of working on a real project.

have been submitted and reviewed, but the selection has not yet been published. The Collaborative looks forward to supporting this group on this innovative local project.

The impact of the Collaborative is evident in the Washington D.C. metropolitan region. There are now four registered projects pursuing Living Building Challenge Certification and the number of local Ambassadors has doubled. The fast-growing Collaborative has met several of its goals in a short amount of time. Its members look forward to spreading knowledge about the Living Building Challenge and paving the way to Since the DDOE staff had been hosting and more Living Buildings in their region. Through its attending the Collaborative meetings, its members work, the D.C. Collaborative is pioneering the creation knew and understood that the Living Building Chal- of communities that are socially just, culturally rich lenge was the next level in ecologically restorative de- and ecologically restorative. velopment. Subsequently, the DDOE applied for and was awarded a grant by the District of Columbia to design a Living Building. Though still in the early stagSUSAN BLOCK MOORES AIA, LEED es of finding a client with a real site and intention for AP, founder & facilitator of the DC a building type, further development is already well unLiving Building Challenge Collaborative derway. The DDOE recently issued the Green Build ing Fund Grant Request for Applications to award the grant to a local non-profit organization. Applications

Left: Potomac Watershed Study Center – Nature Lodge – Courtesy of the Alice Ferguson Foundation Right: Gaddy House – Perspective – Courtesy of Ed Gaddy


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We thank our industry partners for their support in envisioning a living future. Santa Fe



Construction Specialties, Inc. Coughlin Porter Lundeen GBD Architects IMAGINiT Mithun

Oregon BEST Oregon Electric Group Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Pidcock: Architecture & Sustainability Thornton Tomasetti


Access Consulting Ankrom Moisan Architects Balfour Beatty Construction Berger Partnership Big Ass Fans BNIM Architects Brasfield & Gorrie CALMAC CDi Engineers Centerbrook Architects Chesapeake Bay Foundation dbHMS DCI Engineers ECI/Hyer Architecture & Interiors Epsten Group GBL Architects Gerding Edlen Group Mackenzie

HKS, Inc. Hourigan Construction KMD Architects KPFF Consulting Engineers LMN Architects Lutron Electronics Mary Davidge Associates McCool Carlson Green Opsis Architecture Otak Inc. RAFN Company Redside RIM Architects Solomon Cordwell Buenz Triangle Cables Tube Art Group Unico Properties Weber + Thompson

COMMUNITY PARTNERS CSA Architect Ecotope Northwest Environmental Business Council


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Sustainable Connections Urban Fabrick


FLOURISHING: The Next Frontier for Sustainability? Paul Werder is currently working on a Fellows team at Case Western Reserve University’s Fowler Center for Sustainable Value. Its purpose is to explore the role of spirituality as a key factor in helping businesses thrive in service of a sustainable world. This is the second of a four-part series that shares the highlights of its work.

Personally Flourishing to Create Systemic Solutions Think globally and act locally. Those old bumper stickers are all wearing thin. But you know they still ring true. We can do nothing of meaning if we are not flourishing from the inside out, and what we do is of little impact if we do not work at the systems level. How do we flourish personally within our long-term commitment to impact systems when many of our larger systems are so dysfunctional?

Click here to read the first articles in this series of Trim Tab.


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We start where we are with the reflective practices we find most meaningful. We stay in shape by deepening our ability to find internal peace amidst the external chaos. Whether we use remembrance, meditation, mindfulness or another practice, we cling to our favorite method as a means of deepening our attunement to all that is and the mystery of life.

expand upon our highest-point moments, and Design our future based on these dreams. This leads to our Destiny of following through to create new realities at a systemic level. We launch this work in large gatherings with representatives from every stakeholder. These summits allow systemic change to occur in many people’s hearts in a matter of days.

There is an ancient and wise saying that still carries deep truth; “Without vision the people perish.” So we allow our heart’s attunement to the vision within ourselves to show us where we are meant to serve. Of course, we start where we are, not where we’d like to be; and we begin to impact the system that is most clearly calling for our assistance, whether it’s two people or thousands of interconnected people. We sharpen our community organizing skills and strengthen our ability to share and enlist others into the vision that is emerging from the collective heart of the people in our chosen system. We face disappointment and failure, deepening our reliance on reflective practices to rekindle our vision as needed. We recall, for a moment, how fast the green building movement has awakened the consciousness of an entire industry. We ask ourselves, in every moment, “Where do we see our next opportunities?”

But the secret to making these events even more lifechanging is having participants invest a few minutes in their own reflective practices, to go deeper when they engage in Discover, Dream, Design and Destiny, and again when they momentarily lose heart.

Once we settle into a targeted opportunity, we gather people under the safety net of inquiry. We ask them, “What is going right here that we can build upon?” It is more effective than focusing on what is broken, and as we know from our own mistakes and disappointments, it is vital to fill the spirit of peoples’ passion with their past successes. These successes can serve to fuel their future accomplishments. We hold on dearly to our reflective practices as people invariably try to pull us back into the conversation about what’s gone wrong and what’s not working. We manage the conversation for love of the future, knowing that this form of creativity only arises from being powerfully present. One proven way to do this is Appreciative Inquiry, where we Discover the best practices within a system, Dream about what would be possible if we could

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One of our fellows from the Fowler Center tested this approach during a recent Appreciative Inquiry Summit, and the experience was phenomenal. The initial 170 first day participants grew to over 200 on the second day. The depth of the positive energy in the room was contagious, and participants recruited their colleagues to come and be part of something special. The security guard there to oversee the traffic flow even said he’d never before listened to the content of the meetings he attended, but this one hooked him. When asked how it happened, he replied, “I don’t really know, but it hit me right here,” as he thumped his chest over his heart a few times. So we must strengthen our hearts through reflective practices if we are to become strong enough to move the systemic mountains that must flourish if we are to flourish as a civilization. Personally flourishing is the prerequisite system condition, but it is only the beginning. Otherwise, our efforts make a difference to a point until the toxicity in our larger systems overwhelms us once too often and we lose heart. When we lose heart we become vulnerable to working without vision and without vision, the people will certainly perish. PAUL WERDER , founder of LionHeart

Consulting, is the author of The ­Zugunruhe Mastery Guide with Jason F. McLennan.


Rooted in the Region: Reaching Toward a Living Future


he Cascadia bioregion has earned a reputation as a North American leader in progressive environmental practice and policies. It is also recognized as home to many of the green building movement’s leading projects and practitioners. The bioregion’s green building story began in the early 1990s, when the discussion about forming an organization to spearhead green building efforts in the region began. In fact, many pioneers of the national green building movement in both Canada and the U.S. hailed from the Cascadia bioregion. Over the following two decades, the development of the green building movement gained strong momentum, and the region continues to be a leader in shifting the market and mainstream toward sustainability. The Cascadia region was a term coined to refer to the historical migration range of the Pacific salmon, which covers land that drains to the Pacific Ocean through the greatest temperate rain forests on the planet across Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Northern California. Due in part to the challenges of distance, the Cascadia Green Building Council (Cascadia) coalesced representing Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon and was named for the bioregion.


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THE CASCADIA BIOREGION STATS Living Building Challenge: • There are 52 Living Building Challenge Ambassadors • There are 45 registered Living Building Challenge Projects • There are 3 projects certified under the Living Building Challenge program • There are 6 municipal governments that have made policy commitments that advance transformational building practices by rewarding leadership with the Living Building Challenge. More than any other bioregion in the world!

LEED: • There are just under 10,000 LEED Accredited Professionals across the bioregion. • There are 47 municipal governments across the bioregion that have made policy commitments that advance transformational building practices by rewarding leadership with LEED. • Washington ranks among the top 10 in the Unites States with 1,449 commercial buildings that are LEED registered and certified, totaling more than 184 million square feet of LEED registered and certified green building space.


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Cascadia is now the leading green building organization in the bioregion concerned with making change in the built environment for positive environmental impact. As a cross-border advocacy organization, we bring a unique perspective to green building by taking a bioregional approach to problem solving and market transformation. We endeavor to make significant change out of all proportion to our size, by acting as a catalyst and a lever for organizations in both the private and public sectors through creative programs, events and the implementation of tools like LEED®, the Living Building ChallengeSM, Declare and JUST. While Cascadia is part the International Living Future Institute (the Institute), it remains a strong and committed chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and a powerful organization rooted in the region. Our vision is to continue to display our deepest leadership in our own backyard and to lead the world in progressive policy reform, the uptake of the Living Building Challenge, and the creation of deeply transformed communities working hard toward true sustainability. We do this through a highly effective network and regionally attuned education, advocacy and community engagement. Cascadia will become an international example of rapid and effective transformation toward resiliency and true sustainability: a model of a Living Future that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. Our advocacy and community engagement provide deep examples of an international network by implementing solutions locally and sharing lessons learned in order to inspire communities in countries far-ranging as Australia and Mexico. As a regional organization, Cascadia builds the green building and green infrastructure movements across Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Cascadia is a testing ground for ideas and a site of locally informed innovation.  Just as an effective movement needs a clearly defined end goal, a strategy for change needs to reflect and embrace local, grounded realities.

Left: Kootenay Rockies Branch mid-construction of the Rosemont Washroom. Right: Thompson Okanaagan hosts a Net Zero Water Workshop.


The Branch Collaboratives play an important role in activating and educating people within a specific comCascadia is a powerful network of 15 Branch munity or sub-region within a state or province, with Collaboratives in Alaska, British Columbia, Washa focus focuses on rapid and effective transformation ington and Oregon that support local programming. toward resiliency and true sustainability. Their main Our members are at the core of our mission and are purposes of action are listed below. the people on the front lines. They are heavily rooted in their marketplace as each of our communities IDEAS IN ACTION is shaped by its own unique ecosystem and by its resources, history, character and culture. Our Branch It takes a lot of heavy lifting to move from big-picCollaborative leaders work together with Cascadia ture ideas to grounded practice. Cascadia Branch staff to push the green building movement’s boundar- Collaboratives are in towns and cities around the bioies in each locale through targeted and locally relevant region are pursuing a variety of initiatives, including: programming and professional development. EDUCATION Creating specific programming The Branch Collaboratives play a critical grassroots and outreach efforts needed within their specific role in activating and educating people within a spe- community. cific community. For Cascadia, they help the organization broaden our base of knowledge, connections and ADVOCACY Being a voice of Cascadia in a specific support; they are essential components in realizing the community by championing and raising awareness of organization’s goals. The magnitude of necessary envi- local and regional environmental and green building ronmental change requires that we be effective, active issues in order to achieve our vision of a living future. and deeply rooted in communities all over our region. The Branch Collaboratives are made up of local lead- ACTION Pushing the green building movement’s ers in the green building movement. Together these boundaries through applied learning volunteers are active in engaging and mobilizing the larger membership, and enable the sum of Cascadia’s efforts to become greater than its parts.

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Right: NW Washington Branch design/ builds the City’s first parklet. Bottom Left: Klamath Falls Branch and Oregon Institute of Technology students tour Desert Rain, a registered Living Building Challenge project. Bottom Right: Inland Branch annual 10x10x10 Green Building Slam.


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The biggest barriers to a transformed built environment and re-focused building industry are not techniCascadia Green Building Council has been involved cal: we have the skills and technology needed to thrive with many campaigns that have effected positive in partnership with the resources that sustain us. Inchange in the bioregion. From 2003–2004, Cascadia stead, as many innovative project teams have found, hosted a series of presentations showcasing the planoutdated regulatory and financial structures make ning process of three major waterfront developments it difficult to implement ecologically wise building that exemplified sustainable development and green practices that advance public health and enhance the building: South Lake Union in Seattle, Southeast False long-term resiliency of the built environment. These Creek in Vancouver and South Waterfront in Portland. barriers are the guiding force behind our research and These presentations, which traveled throughout the advocacy agendas. region, were significant in establishing a sense of collaboration and regionalism for Cascadia’s work. It was Here are some of the regulatory incentives and also in the Cascadia bioregion that we first encounordinances currently in place: tered the legal and regulatory obstacles to the Living Building Challenge. Through local effort we were able • Living Building Pilot in Seattle, WA gives Living to work with government officials to remove barriers Building Challenge projects special assistance. to systemic change, and to align incentives and market signals so that they truly protect the health, safety and • Ordinance 2009-06 in Bainbridge Island, WA welfare of people and all beings. creates flexible development and density incentives for housing projects. Cascadia is now a leading advocate for progressive green building laws, regulations and incentives. • Sustainable Communities Pilot Program in Clark Through research and advocacy, we’ve helped remove County, WA allows departure from code requirelegal barriers to advanced green building practices, ments that may discourage or prevent Living Buildsaving project teams time and money, and raising the ing Challenge Imperatives. bar for sustainability in our region. Of course, it takes a lot of heavy lifting to move from big-picture ideas to grounded practice. Project teams are in the field every day demonstrating that we can indeed thrive in partnership with the resources that sustain us, but we know that financial and regulatory barriers make things harder than they need to be. In collaboration with the Institute, we work hard to help identify and remove barriers to change. We partner with governments and regulatory bodies to support and incentivize emerging best practices. We perform critical research on policy issues including new approaches to water treatment. We explore structural biases in our current financial systems that make unsustainable practice seem like smart business decisions. We partner with local governments to guide the transition to 21st century infrastructure.

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• House Bill 2080 in the state of Oregon legalizes rain and graywater use in residential and commercial buildings. • Green Building Policy in Portland, OR proposes up to $17.30/f2 rebate for Living Building Challenge projects. Cascadia Green Building Council is dedicated to spurring community-driven transformation toward deep and lasting ecology. The ideas you’ll encounter while engaging with our expansive network of individuals involved with our Branch Collaboratives will inspire you to imagine what ecologically robust, thriving communities can look like. Remember that ideas have no carbon footprint, and that a vision for change can travel the world in no time flat. Cascadia is the


Photo: East Side Leaf Community Raingarden, Washington.

place where you can put aside your sense of limitations and really play with ideas. Embrace the scope of what is possible. We challenge you to align with our local leaders and turn that inspiration toward the critical work of local implementation. Join us in helping the Cascadia bioregion grow as an international example of rapid and effective transformation toward resiliency and true sustainability. MONA LEMOINE M.Arch, LEED AP

BD+C, is the Executive Director of Cascadia Green Building Council and the Vice-President, Education and Events at the International Living Future Institute.

GROUNDSWELL Celebrating support & aChievement aCross the CasCadia bioregion

save the date september 27th, 2013 415 West lake, seattle Wa 60

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Recently, we at the Institute learned that Skanska USA, an international leader in sustainable construction and development, has withdrawn from the United States Chamber of Commerce in protest of the Chamber’s support of a chemical industry-led initiative to effectively ban the future use of LEED®  for government buildings. The initiative—involving lobbying efforts by the chemical industry related to the Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill (S. 761)—has the potential to undermine years of progress in the field of sustainable development.   In an op-ed that ran July 1, 2013 in the Washington Post, Skanska President and Chief Executive Mike McNally explains, “A limited number of chemical companies— principally in the booming plastics business—have been hiding behind the American High Performance Buildings Coalition (AHPBC) and trying, unsuccessfully, to gut progressive green chemistry provisions of a proposed update to the green standards called LEED v4...Opponents are now trying to hold a popular energy bill hostage by proposing language that would effectively ban the use of LEED by the federal government unless the update is changed to remove the offending chemistry provisions. Let’s be clear: What the chemical industry and its cronies want is not a new standard that will improve energy efficiency and green building programs. What they want is a standard they can manipulate and weaken. They are putting their bottom lines first and social responsibility second.”

“Construction firms have a responsibility to customers and shareholders, but long-term success requires a longer view. At Skanska, the intersection of that responsibility and profitability is in green buildings, and that’s why we are members of the U.S. Green Building Council and proponents of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the most recognized and widely used green building system in the world.” This is the kind of bold leadership we’ve come to expect from Skanska, a firm that just recently built the fourth certified Living Building® in the world, the  Bertschi Living Building Science Wing  in Seattle. The Living Building Challenge places a fundamental importance on human health, and advocates for transparency in the building materials industry. By requiring every Living Building Challenge project team to request a list of ingredients for each material used in a project, we’ve helped inform manufacturers that today’s owners and occupants demand—and deserve—to know that their buildings won’t make them sick. 

Voluntary programs like LEED have a proven track record of popularizing critical environmental issues and inspiring industry-wide change. When it comes Skanska engaged the Chamber of Commerce in dis- to increasing transparency around building product cussions regarding its support of the AHPBC’s lob- selection, these programs have the potential to create bying efforts, asking leadership to reconsider its posi- a stronger, healthier materials economy. tion. When the Chamber refused, Skanska removed its Skanska took a stand based on the belief that the firm name and its funding in protest. has a responsibility to lead through environmentally The firm’s bold decision was not an instance of a large responsible innovation. We at the Institute are imfirm choosing social responsibility at the expense pressed and heartened by this decision, and we conof profit. Rather, it was a powerful demonstration sider ourselves proud allies in the endeavor to build that this oft-presented choice is a false one. McNally enduring, vibrant and truly sustainable communities.  opened his commentary by asserting,   BY TRIM TAB EDITORIAL TEAM


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I have a vision of a society in which a sustainably built environment is the norm, not an abstraction. To achieve this vision, we need a dramatic change in thinking and practice. And we need effective leaders to facilitate this change; it won’t happen without strategic intervention. Given the urgency of our times and the complexity of the issues involved, we need these leaders to be

working from multiple vantage points within and throughout our organizations, and at all levels of community. We cannot continue our simplistic reliance on leadership by charismatic celebrities, titled personalities, and/or legal force. Leaders can learn to be leaders, and can lead from any chair through collaboration and persuasion. In fact, this manner of leadership is wellsuited to achieving lasting change and more aligned with the philosophy of sustainability. This article introduces the EMERGE Leadership Model (ELM), which is intended to help you more effectively lead in your work advancing sustainable building practices. The goal is to build effective leadership capacity at the personal, organizational and community levels in order to transform our built environment through integrated, sustainable solutions that stick.

Figure 1 Š 2013 Emerge Leadership Project


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directly with innovative builders to offer vertically-integrated education with the goal of accelerating their adoption of high-performance practices. Our underlying strategy is to leverage the energy and motivation of the innovators, propel them more rapidly toward net zero energy, and draw attention to their successes, prompting emulation by others and thus moving the industry toward the tipping point. Successful examples foster a mindset of confidence and acceptance in place of the commonplace mindset of mistrust for innovation. Essentially, it’s the ‘Does Mikey like it?’ phenomenon.” 2 Left: Figure 2 © 2013 Emerge Leadership Project Right: Figure 3 © 2013 Emerge Leadership Project

The ELM consists of three components (Figure 1): Leadership, Change and Community. Each of these components includes aspects that should be familiar to the reader, but that are combined in a way that provides a refreshing pathway to leadership in our field. It’s also very roomy. Emergence is the phenomenon in nature where simple(r) elements come together to form a functional and beautiful complex system. Think snowflakes. What I like most about the ELM is that it is suggestive, not prescriptive. And as with snowflakes, the leadership that emerges using this model is expressed in as many unique ways as the individuals and organizations using it. Prescriptive leadership formulas—the “five easy steps” kind—are by their very nature, not strategic.

In the U.S. we rely heavily on education and mandates; while convenient/inconvenient policy levers are used much less and for shorter durations, often they are characterized as undeserved “gifts” or punitive actions. And of course, as any green-minded professional can tell you, there are policies ostensibly protecting the environment that actually make it inconvenient to do the “right” thing! We need a systems-based framework that encourages us to be strategic. For example, instead of trying to change everything at once, Margaret Wheatley encourages us “to create energy in one strategic location, then watch the networks work.” 1

Green building and net zero energy consultant (and LEADERSHIP EMERGE faculty member) Ann Edminster recounts one example of applying Wheatley’s approach: “In What kind of leadership does it take to address sysCalifornia, a number of us are working with the Pubtemic change? Certainly not business as usual. In very lic Utilities Commission to shift the focus for statebroad terms, our society has four means of intervenwide energy education from a fairly random offer-ittion: education and advocacy, making the “right” acand-they-will-come set of class offerings, to working tion convenient, making the “wrong” action inconvenient, and making it illegal to do the “wrong” thing. 1 In Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World. (Wheatley, p. 153)


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Edminster’s emphasis on addressing mindset is in keeping with the advice of pioneer systems thinker and environmental scientist Donella Meadows. In her famous essay “Nine Places to Intervene in a System,”3 Meadows places the kinds of interventions that represent technology and tools—taxes, subsidies, and positive and negative feedback regulators at the bottom. In her commentary, one can infer that the “best” technologies and tools are worthless (or even harmful) if they drive change in the wrong direction. For those of us who find it hard to juggle nine concepts at the same time, Bill Reed of Regenesis has simplified Meadows’ nine places to four, with mindset and process as the In The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes & Posner charactop two places to intervene (in that order), followed by terize a good business leader as someone who models the way, inspires, challenges, strengthens and encourtechnology, then tools. ages on behalf of those they lead.4 In the ELM, the Leadership component is made up of competencies in three areas (Figure 2): principled With the ELM, we step it up by asking the emergent business management practice, servant leadership leader to embrace Servant Leadership and meet the (the centerpiece), and aspirational leadership (the dis- following test offered by Robert Greenleaf in 1970: tinction, or “cherry on top”). The foundation, or bot- “The best test (of leadership) is: do those served grow tom line, is that we would expect an emergent leader as persons, do they grow while being served, become to do no less than what any decent, forward-thinking healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely business manager would. Business management lit- themselves to become servants?” 5 erature cites study after study revealing that the most effective manager is ethical, open and credible. 2 Edminster, Ann, Email Communication, June 17, 2013, 12:55 pm. 3 Meadows, Donella (2008) Thinking in Systems: A Primer, Chelsea Green, White River Jct., VT., p. 145

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4 Kouzes, James and Posner, Barry (2007) The Leadership Challenge 4th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc./Jossey Bass, San Francisco, CA., p. 26 5 Greenleaf, Robert (1970). The Servant as Leader. Retrieved June 30, 2009 from the Greenleaf Institute website index.html.



for families in the Rainier Beach community struggling with food security. Although the City of Seattle introduced progressive Urban Farming Codes in 2010, every one of the existing greenhouses on the property exceeds the maximum square footage the City allows for structures related to urban and in-ground farming. Being the first of its kind in Seattle, the project must now go before Seattle City Council for approval.  “RBUFW highlights some code changes that need to occur if urban agriculture is to get beyond P-Patches,” says Rachael Meyer, Project Manager at Berger Partnership.

A perfect example of the Emerge Leadership model arose in the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands (RBUFW), located in southeast Seattle on a site previously occupied by the Atlantic City Nursery. The nursery was operated by Seattle Parks and Recreation for over 70 years until early 2010 when it was closed for fiscal reasons. The nursery was reopened as RBUFW and is now run by Seattle Tilth and the Friends of RBUFW, though the land is still owned by the Parks Department. The landscape architecture firm Berger Partnership was hired to develop a site master plan, the focus of which is to apply innovative green infrastructure The Berger Partnership approached O’Brien & Compapractices for the farm and wetland restoration while ny early in 2012 to be a part of the design team. As the public supporting experiential learning on multiple levels. process began, Rachael Meyer attended the EMERGE Leadership Workshop and wanted help infusing the Located in the heart of one of the nation’s most diverse lessons of the ELM into the firm’s plan for the project’s zip codes, the ten-acre site has the potential to produce collaborative design process.The result of our discussion over 20,000 pounds of fresh healthy food each year is illustrated in Figure A.  

For anyone using an integrated approach to his or her work, the illustration should look familiar, with three important distinctions. First, learning (by everyone involved throughout the life of the project and beyond) is a key component to promoting healthy collaboration. Creating and activating a model for lifelong learning is an explicit task for the emergent leader devoted to sustainable place-making. Second, identifying and supporting leaders within the client base who will continue to support the project after the official planning process is complete is crucial. And third, treating it as a change management process—and, in particular, understanding where individuals and organizations “are” attitudinally relative to the envisioned change—is necessary for to successful implementation. The range of community involvement that outside consultants can face in a community-based project is significant. In the case of RBUFW, Berger Partnership was asked to facilitate an outreach process in which there was plenty of community participation. In addition to Seattle Tilth and Friends of RBUFW, there are at least seven highly organized cultural groups centered around farming or cooking invested in what happened with the farm.

resulting plan needed to be flexible, to allow for evolution over time,” says Meyer. Emergent leadership was clearly already in play with RBUFW; the key to success was to recognize this and structure the planning process to create a master plan designed to nurture the relationships that would support the project going forward. “We had many meetings with different groups and different combinations of groups,” Meyer notes. “We wanted all of the stakeholders to hear and learn from each other.”  Seattle Tilth and the Friends of RBUFW supported this collaborative learning process, bringing in a demonstration food market stand during a meeting and inviting local restaurants to cook and serve meals. These and other activities creatively drew connections between what was already happening in the community and what could be happening, without prescribing it.

In addition to all of the organizational leadership represented in the RBUFW process, the RBUFW team recently learned of a ninth grade girl who attends the high school across from the site. She had started a gardening club to grow food on the school campus. andwithout any farming or gardening background she has asked Seattle Tilth for help creating the garden in the With this project, it was a matter of designing an out- school’s interior courtyard so she could have a better reach process that made good use of the significant space to ‘hang out with friends.’ At a recent school community interest. Ideally, the process would help work party, despite her inexperience, she impressed identify both common and diverse interests, and result everyone with her initiative to start the project and in an achievable plan that respects those interests and her confidence that the garden and process would help provides a foundation for long-term and sustainable re- shape her community. development of the farm. Emergent leadership is like that; you can’t exactly preMeyer notes, “It was really important for us to avoid dict how and when it will emerge, but you can certainly ‘driving’ the design agenda. In some ways the process create conditions for it. was more important than the outcome. We needed to balance listening with designing.”  For RBUFW, the framework the team white-boarded served as a tool to help the project team think about the project and understand its role.  “Both the planning process and the

Figure A © 2013 Emerge Leadership Project 68

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Figure 4 © 2013 Emerge Leadership Project

The “cherry on top” of the Leadership component of the ELM is aspiration. We aren’t just suggesting that you be a successful leader, but that your leadership is intended to catalyze positive change in society. In our case, this transformation is the built environment in a way that brings about a restoration of the sustainable balance of all living systems: natural, social and commercial. (Conceptually illustrated in Figure 3.) CHANGE

Figure 5 © 2013 Emerge Leadership Project

for design makes it safe to “see” and “see again.” A respectful approach to implementation and evaluation makes it safe to learn and flourish. Unfortunately, we don’t always get the opportunity to explicitly build or take part in an integrated process for problem solving in our work or community. But we can still bring into the process the understanding of how change occurs in the given system, and how to foster it.

We have a tremendous amount to learn from the health services sector about the psychology of change. In The In the case of the Change component (Figure 4), let’s Power of Sustainable Thinking, Bob Doppelt applies the start with the “cherry on top.” The ELM premise is results of health-related behavioral research conductthat the most effective sustainable solutions (i.e. reed by Psychology Professor James Prochaska and colstores and regenerates to achieve the dynamic balleagues, and develops a “staged” approach to “climate, ance sustainability represents) are achieved through environmental, and social welfare change efforts.”6 By an integrated approach. How does the ELM support understanding where our colleagues and constituents integration? Underlying the ELM is a belief that an are in the spectrum that spans from disinterest to dediintegrated process—whether designing and implecated doing, we can more effectively provide leadermenting a building, community, policy, program or ship with intention. curriculum—is a change management process. It is not prescribed; it is emergent. Discussions of integration (or the Integrative Process) stress that we provide Doppelt, Bob (2008) The Power of Sustainable Thinking: How to Create a structure that allows for learning, testing, sharing 6a Positive Future for the Climate, the Planet, Your Organization and Your and stretching. A thoughtfully constructed framework Life. Earthscan, London, UK., p. 73


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Doppelt and behavioral researchers before him have identified three factors that create conditions for change: • sufficient tension must exist between the existing state and important unmet values and aspirations; • benefits of making the change must be seen to outweigh downsides; and • adequate confidence must be felt in ability to close the gap and resolve the tension. 7 At first, this may seem straightforward. But creating opportunities to recognize and foster these conditions, and accepting that one is not really in control of the process (nor the results) takes a mature and dedicated leader. This requires personal awareness and—perhaps antithetically—great humility.

7 Doppelt, Bob (2008) The Power of Sustainable Thinking: How to Create a Positive Future for the Climate, the Planet, Your Organization and Your Life. Earthscan, London, UK., p. 71

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COMMUNITY The most obvious application of “community” in the ELM is the use of collaboration to inform and shape decisions and actions that “fit” and “stick.” It’s hard to imagine an integrated design emerging from a hierarchical or individualized approach. Thus collaboration is the foundation of the Community element in the ELM (Figure 5). Using the ELM lens, learning is an essential aspect of successful collaboration and in the development of a caring community that is healthy enough to risk growth. Also contained within the Community component of the ELM is the idea that emergent leaders benefit from reliance on others for intellectual support and thoughtful dialogue. Transformational work, although inspiring to think about, can be draining in the trenches. Developing deep connections with like-minded and similarly committed individuals is an important aspect of EMERGE. Besides the fact that I haven’t done one iota of the work in the sustainable building world alone, I enjoy the fact that you who share my vision have my “back.” In Teachings on Love, Thich Nhat Hanh


notes that “happiness is not an individual matter,”8 and I agree. Later in the book he notes, “If you are a psychotherapist, a doctor, a social worker, a peace worker, or ...working for the environment [my emphasis], you need a Sangha.”9


With the EMERGE Leadership Project, the goal is to both offer a useful model for leadership, as well as the basis for a leadership community—a “sangha,” if you will. EMERGE participants are surprisingly diverse in terms of age, professional status and location within the system(s) impacting design, construction, operations, regulation and education related to the built environment. The one thing they have in common is the calling to provide leadership in the creation of a more sustainable society.

Reed, Bill, “Regenerative Design & Development Workshop,” Living Future Conference, May 2013, Seattle WA.

8 Hanh, Thich Nhat (1998) Teachings on Love. Parallax Press, Berkeley, CA., p. 55 9 Hanh, Thich Nhat (1998) Teachings on Love. Parallax Press, Berkeley, CA., p. 138

The Bertschi School Living Science Wing The first Living Building on the West Coast

Prochaska, James, Norcross, John, and Diclemente, Carlo (2006) Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward. Harper Collins, New York, NY.

Congratulations to the Bertschi School, its students, and the Restorative Design Collective for making a place where students can learn the importance of sustainability first hand. GGLO is proud to have been a part of the Restorative Design Collective in the role of landscape architect. For more information on how the Living Science Wing achieved Living Building status, go to

Wheatley, Margaret (2006) Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World. Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, CA. Case Study: Creating Conditions for Leadership in Place


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A LIVING VILLAGE IN A REBUILT CITY The ‘Breathe’ competition for a new urban village project (Whakaaturanga Kāinga Nohaanga), in Christchurch New Zealand, asked international designers to provide a concept for medium density inner city living with a variety of housing options and lifestyle choices. The goal was to establish an ambitious benchmark for sustainability, innovation and community housing in the rebuild of inner-city Christchurch, presently devastated by earthquake. Jerome Partington, the sustainability Manager of Jasmax and recent Living Building Challenge Hero, describes the ideas behind the design selected as a finalist for further development in conjunction with community group Viva.


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The Canterbury region surrounding the city of Christchurch is a sunny, semi-arid coastal plain located between the Pacific Ocean to its east and the dramatic Southern Alps to the west. Fed by glacial melt, the landscape of the plains was once crisscrossed with streams feeding into the Avon River, forming vast wetlands interspersed with stands of Totara forest. The environment provided ideal conditions for wildlife; such as birds, eels and plants, and great foraging for ‘kai’ (food) for the indigenous Maori population. With the advent of European settlement, the plains were cleared and drained. An abundance of crops and fertile grazing pasture funded the growth of Christchurch City as a political and economic force in the development of early New Zealand.

A campaign team was led by Jane Quigley, Lin Roberts, Rex Verity and Jurg Honger of Viva, along with Jasmax urban designer Tim Robinson, landscape permaculture expert Gary Marshall and Jerome Partington to develop a project designed to the Living Building Challenge standards.


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a government-led ‘Christchurch Central Recovery Plan’ for zoned ‘activity districts,’ and a focus on improved seismic solutions. Though both local council and the wider community aspire to create a modern green and sustainable city, there is no formal mandate for this, and a tepid commercial market for ‘green’ buildings and green infrastructure is frustrating the aspirations locals have for a new and better ‘garden city.’

Furthermore, a degree of tension exists between the top-down planners and the community over the rebuild, from which the ‘Viva Project’—a grassroots collective—emerged with a strong vision “to create a vibrant urban village, an innovative and inspiring example of sustainable design and connected community.” To kick start the venture, Viva organized a comChristchurch is New Zealand’s ‘Garden’ city, planned munity-led workshop to design a sustainable village, and built along the banks of the enchanting Avon attracting over 100 people. Jasmax helped facilitate the River. Its leafy suburbs and academic and commer- day, and introduced the Living Building Challenge as cial institutions reflect the modern settler’s English a measure of creative sustainable opportunities. origins. Like many global cities over the last decades, Christchurch has inefficiently sprawled due to the ad- Late in 2012, the city council and government jointly vent of the car, average quality developments and free released ‘Breathe,’ an international design competition market expansion. to create a ‘new place for living in the City.’ It called for sustainable, replicable and affordable housing proposIn February 2011, following an earthquake the year be- als informed by best practice urban design. fore, a truly devastating second quake struck the city. Although the seismic risk to the Canterbury region In a radical move for New Zealand development, had been largely overlooked, the geotechnical makeup Jasmax asked the community group Viva to be both of the soils provided the perfect conditions for magni- collaborator and client, and jointly deliver a ‘Breathe’ fying damage from a shallow earthquake. The city es- entry. The goal of the project was not simply to provide caped the first shake with minor damage, but the ground a development with ‘green’ credentials, but a sustainand buildings were left weakened. February’s event able village that might restore the integrity of the landoccurred in the middle of a busy working day and laid scape and heal its dispirited community. waste to the city. Over two hundred people died and 80% of the business district was damaged beyond re- The team agreed on key goals and tested a range of ideas; pair; it has now been demolished, along with many including options for the mix of housing/retail and workacres of housing. space, orientation, urban form and infrastructure solutions. This project attempts to imagine how real people Two years and 40 billion dollars (NZ) later, re- might create community spirit as inhabitants of building efforts are now underway, directed by a ‘Living Village.’

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The Living Village is one of four first-stage winners of the Breathe Housing Competition. The Jasmax Viva entry can be seen here: http:// For details on the Breathe competition and other fascinating entries, see: http://www.

‘LIVING VILLAGE’ GOALS : • Mixed use - homes, retail and commercial • A range of dwelling sizes to meet needs & affordability • Net zero energy & water • Materials are Living Building Challenge Red List compliance • NZGBC 9 Star Home Star rating for homes • Living Building Challenge certified landscape • Minimize landfill waste for occupancy & construction • 50% reduced car use • A beautiful place with living water • Maximize permeable landscaping • Indigenous planting & food production areas

A key driver in the design is the arrangement of housing around two large courtyards oriented to maximize passive energy capture. Massing of buildings provides extensive north-facing roofing (this being the southern hemisphere) and shelter from cool prevailing sea winds off the Pacific. The ‘block’ arrangement can be replicated city-wide and is intended as a model for future inner city developments. The design offers connectivity across the village for both pedestrians and cyclists, humanizing the large scale of existing urban blocks, with cars parked at the perimeter of the site. Christchurch has a strong cycling culture and, appropriately for this flat terrain, all homes will have convenient, secure bike storage. Compact one- and two-bedroom apartments are combined with family houses including large, four- bedroom houses, all with rear access to communal gardens. Private garages are replaced with group and on-street parking. At +/-100m², the domestic components offer

affordability and very low running cost solutions due to their density. The mix is completed with a small quantity of retail and commercial space, as well as a community centre.

it ready for reuse in toilets. The stream is a powerful reminder of the wetland legacy, and offers a living experience suffused with beauty, plantings and running water in an urban setting.

The net zero energy strategy is predicated on best solar orientation and form for passive solar gains. Each dwelling is a well-insulated ‘box’ with roof-mounted solar thermal and electric panels. The high performance envelope includes simple details such as a ventilation path to prevent summer overheating. About 2,000m² of solar collection provides all energy to the 8,000m² total gross floor area (GFA). A collective electricity grid is planned for the village with excess exported to the grid connection, offering cheaper wholesale charging to occupants.

Though the development is medium density, it was always intended to provide a foil to the endless tarmac and concrete, common to city living. The Living Village is intended to show the positive aspects of mindful living in harmony with the limitations of climate and nature. We hope the Living Village might re-define what a ‘garden city’ can be, and leave a positive legacy for generations to come.

Water is especially challenging on urban sites. The design captures waste water and treats it in a highly efficient processor before secondary treatment in 300m3 of wetlands and a landscaped stream makes

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JEROME PARTINGTON is the Sustainability Manager of Jasmax and recent Living Building Challenge Hero. He resides in Christchurch, New Zealand.


At the Living Future unconference in May, new Living Building Challenge Handbooks were released for the Site and Water Petals. They join the Materials Petal Handbook, released in November 2012, to serve as a resource for project teams pursuing the Living Building Challenge (the Challenge). Because the Challenge is continuously informed by the work that project teams are doing on the ground, these Handbooks have been developed to clarify and consolidate the rules at a set point in time, providing a unified reference for project teams. The Site Petal, like all Petals and Imperatives of the Challenge, seeks to restore a healthy coexistence with nature. The intent of the Site Petal is to clearly articulate where it is acceptable for people to build, illustrate how to protect and restore a place once it has been developed, and to encourage the creation of communities that are once again based on the pedestrian rather than the

automobile. In turn, these communities should be supported by local and regional agriculture, since no truly ‘sustainable’ community can rely on globally-sourced food production. All registered project teams have access to the online Community Dialogue, which provides a platform for project teams to request exceptions, clarifications and definitions related to program requirements. Up to the release of the Handbooks, the dialogue has been the only source of clarification for project teams pursuing the Challenge. The Dialogue is a well-used resource and the number of questions and responses has made it challenging to navigate. The Petal Handbooks consolidate the Dialogue posts and the footnotes from the Standard into one location, providing a simplified and consistent set of rules for easy reference. In some situations, new clarifications and exceptions have been established as well. The Handbooks also illustrate the



Water Petal Handbook Site Petal Handbook

May 2013

May 2013

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Urban Agriculture Allowable Areas (a x b) = area of vertical plantings up to the estimated full growth height (c x d) = area of garden storage shed used for seeds, supplies and equipment

b c j



i k



(e x f) = area of planting beds, plus up to 3’-0” of spacing between rows (g x h) = area of chicken coop and run (i) = area of estimated full growth canopy for a single tree



Illustration shows Scale Jumping within the Net Zero Water Imperative.

Ideas and accepted methods of compliance for Urban Agriculture have been outlined and illustrated in the Handbook. While the Handbook does clarify types of agriculture that can be used and how those types The Site Petal has four Imperatives, and has been the should be calculated, it is not intended to be a conclusource of many questions and clarifications from proj- sive list. We hope that teams will continue to be creect teams. The majority of the questions occur around ative and suggest ideas for urban agriculture that we Imperative 1: Limits to Growth, and Imperative 2: have not yet considered. If a team can make a case for Urban Agriculture. Given that Limits to Growth is a a type of food production that meets the intent of the required Imperative for all three certification paths— Imperative, then it is likely to be approved. Living Building Certification, Petal Certification, and Net Zero Energy Certification—clarifying whether The intent of the Water Petal is to realign how people a project site is compliant with the intent of the pro- use water and redefine ‘waste’ in the built environgram is critical for project teams. ment, so that water is respected as a precious resource. Scarcity of potable water is quickly becoming a seriThe Handbook clearly identifies when an exception ous issue as many countries around the world face can apply to Limits to Growth—when a project can severe shortages and compromised water quality. be built in a greenfield or within a 100-year floodplain Even regions that have avoided the majority of these for example—and what is needed from the team to problems due to a historical presence of abundant document the exception. As transects have the ability fresh water are at risk: the impacts of climate change, to change the rules for an Imperative, clarifying the highly unsustainable water use patterns, and the concorrect transect for a project is crucial. The Handbook tinued drawdown of major aquifers portent significant outlines a new process for confirming a project tran- problems ahead. sect, and teams are now encouraged to confirm their transect with the Institute in order to make sure that The Water Petal Handbook follows the same meththe rule set they have assumed is correct. odology as the Site Handbook for the two Water

Imperatives: Net Zero Water and Ecological Water Flow. The Living Building Challenge has a scale jumping overlay to allow multiple buildings or projects to operate in a cooperative. Scale jumping endorses the implementation of solutions beyond the building scale that maximize ecological benefit while maintaining self-sufficiency at the city block, neighborhood or small community scale.

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intent of each Imperative and how Living Buildings can be fully connected to their place and thrive within the resources available on-site.


(j x k) = area of estimated full growth canopy and the space needed between to prevent self-shading for multiple trees

Two more Petal Handbooks—Health and Energy— are currently being created and should be completed before the end of the year. The Living Building Challenge staff team has already witnessed that the Handbooks are being widely used and appreciated, and are encouraged to see how they are supporting the continued success of Living Building Challenge projects. The Handbooks are a companion to a range of project team resources that have been developed in 2013, As scale jumping is allowed for both of the Water Im- including monthly project team calls, a new project peratives, the Handbook outlines examples of scale team Linked-In group, a project team directory, and jumping together with illustrations. Before the release periodic face-to-face project team summits. If you are of the Handbook, the concept of scale jumping has been thinking about registering a project, do it soon and a subject of confusion for some project teams. The il- take advantage of connecting with the rapidly growlustrations provide helpful examples of allowable scale ing community of Living Building Challenge project jumping strategies. thought leaders. For both Handbooks, the documentation requirements necessary to submit for certification have been strengthened and clarified. Providing a clearer scope of how to document exceptions with the provision of a sample water use table, for example, should make the process for documenting compliance straightforward. The documentation requirements outlined in the Handbooks will be the new set of requirements for certification submittals moving forward.

AMANDA STURGEON, FAIA is Vice President of the Living Building Challenge.



Your ingredients here.

11th annual green roof & wall conference San Francisco: October 23 — 26, 2013


Declare your product and stake your claim in the transparent materials economy. Consumers are demanding a new kind of information about the products they buy. They want to know what’s in the air they breathe, the food they eat and the ­buildings they occupy. Declare. It’s an ingredients label for the ­building industry, and it lets you connect with your market on a whole new level.

securing urban resilience with living architecture

uPCOMING 3-DAY BOOT CAMPS San Francisco August 22-24 Toronto September 19-21

Food - water - energy explore the many links between the roofs and walls of our cities and the critical social, environmental and economic necessities of urban life that lead to urban resilience. In partnership

Sponsored by: Universal CityWalk, Los Angeles, CA

Credit: greenscreen®

Green = Pantone 356C / Red = Pantone 506C / Black = Black

Chicago September 26-28

The Best InTension

New York October 3-5 education



California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA

Credit: DC Bryan/Rana Creek Design





MAY 21-23, 2014 PORTLAND, OR unconference2014 84

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MOVING UPSTREAM & MAKING WAVES A SENSE OF PLACE, A TEDX EVENT Enjoy these series of TEDX Talks, all recorded in Santa


Rosa, California on June 16, 2012 and the Mid Atlantic

The Economist columnist Patrick Lane discusses the

in 2011 around the theme, “A Sense of Place.”

increasing overlap between our gadgets and our physical location, effectively dismissing the myth that as we become


is about them that connects them so thoroughly to their communities.

our sense of place.

ART’S ROLE IN PLACEMAKING: ARTSCAPE DIY “A growing body of evidence indicates that fostering cultural and creative activity is an essential strategy in building




more dependent on technology we become less aware of

This organization houses an excellent blog discussing some of the premier places in the world, and what it


quality of place, maximizing talent, enhancing sustainability and defining competitiveness in the knowledge economy. From large metropolitan areas to smaller towns, creative

“Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist

placemaking is becoming a crucial means of mobilizing

whose writings championed a fresh, community-based

creative entrepreneurship; supporting cultural diversity;

approach to city building. She had no formal training as

attracting new residents, talented workers, and tourists,

a planner, and yet her 1961 treatise, ‘The Death and Life

and leveraging investment.”impact. It’s been about leaving

of Great American Cities,’ introduced ground-breaking

the world better than we found it for “Tomorrow’s Child.”

Melbourne, Australia used to have a reputation for some of the sketchiest downtown areas around, but all of that is now history with the city’s groundbreaking zoning plans, centered around providing both residents and visitors with a world-class dining experience. Follow the link to see how this was accomplished via the city’s website.


ideas about how cities function, evolve and fail, that now seem like common sense to generations of architects,


“A documentary film and educational outreach project produced as a collaboration of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Northern Light Productions. . . As cities across the country today attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, invest in transit, and focus on infill redevelopment as an alternative to car-dependent sprawl, the experience of Portland provides a cautionary tale for planning in the 21st century, involving issues of economic development, gentrification, local food and farming, property rights, and civic participation.”

planners, politicians and activists.” Learn about Jane and why she was such an excellent place-maker.

Kylie Legg’s article for Res Publica, the Polish magazine, sums up the ideas behind the idea of placemaking nicely.

MAKING PROGRESS? Do you have a lead on cutting-edge green building progress in the region?


Contact with “Moving Upstream News Lead” in the subject line.


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If you have something that should be included here please send it to us at

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Public art, pedestrian and cyclist friendly streets. This and so much more adds to the accessibility of Montreal for both residents and visitors. Plenty of Montreal’s lessons could help your city connect more with the people who occupy it, too.




Sign up to be a member and you’ll get one. ADVERTISE:

WANT TO REACH NEARLY 25,000 LEADING PRACTITIONERS? Contact us to advertise in the next issue!


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