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Sustainable Cities Design Academy Pursues
Next Generation Sustainability for Urban Communities

The Sustainable Cities Design Academy [1], a program of the Center for Design & the City [2] at the American Architectural Foundation [3], convened June 5–7, 2013, in Washington, D.C. Over the course of three days, city leaders, developers and design professionals representing Denver [4], Los Angeles [5], Tucson [6]and Greensboro, N.C. [7], collaborated with nationally recognized experts in sustainable design to maximize the potential for sustainability of four in-process public-private partnership projects:

Denver: The 40th/Colorado Transit Oriented Development is planning to redevelop a commuter rail station in a former industrial district on the FasTracks’ East Rail Line, which connects downtown Denver to the Denver International Airport. Concurrently, the Urban Land Conservancy is planning to develop a nine-acre parcel within the five-minute walking radius of the station. The Regional Transportation District will develop the station, while the City and County of Denver will work to resolve connectivity and drainage issues in the area.

Aerial view of Denver’s 40th/Colorado Transit Oriented Development. Image courtesy of Google Earth and the Regional Transportation District.

Los Angeles: United Technologies Corp.’s Warner Center is a 46-acre former Rocketdyne industrial site north of downtown Los Angeles developed by Boston Global Investors, LLC, with support from HOK and Vanderweil Engineers, LLP. The proposed project calls for a central park surrounded by six mixed-use development blocks. The focus is now on such aspects of the plan as water conservation strategies, building-specific energy efficiency mandates, cogeneration/central plant feasibility and landscape design parameters.

View of proposed UTC Warner Center Redevelopment in Canoga Park, Los Angeles, California. Image courtesy of HOK, New York.

Tucson: The Downtown Links project is a $76.1-million component of a twenty-year multi-modal transportation plan. It includes a four-lane, 1.3-mile roadway connecting Barrazza-Aviation Parkway southeast of downtown Tucson with Interstate 10 to the west. The project team consists of the City’s Transportation Department, the University of Arizona, HDR Engineering, Inc. and Wheat Scharf Associates. Their goal is to best align the corridor with the existing Warehouse Arts District and a new Modern Streetcar. Other proposed improvements to the corridor area include substantial bike, pedestrian and drainage improvements as well as the preservation and reuse of several historic structures.

View of Downtown Links Project area in Tucson, Arizona. Image courtesy of University of Arizona Sustainable City Project.

Greensboro, N.C.: Integral City is an arts-led economic development project fostering connectivity and collaboration throughout downtown Greensboro. The project team includes Elsewhere (a living museum coupled with an artist residency program), the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro, Action Greensboro and North Carolina A&T University’s Architectural Engineering Department. This partnership is interested in strengthening grassroots arts leadership in Greensboro, catalyzing redevelopment of Greensboro’s historic urban core and restoring connections to underserved neighborhoods, educational and cultural institutions and the city’s burgeoning Greenway.

City of Greensboro citizens enjoying Integral City Project activities at Elsewhere Museum. Image courtesy of George Scheer.

“The Sustainable Cities Design Academy is a marquee program of our Center for Design & the City,” said Ronald E. Bogle, Hon. AIA, president and chief executive officer of the American Architectural Foundation. “Through convening intensive and diverse design collaborations, it has served more than thirty urban communities and helped to elevate the quality of life in those communities.”

The Sustainable Cities Design Academy was established in partnership with United Technologies Corp. (UTC) in 2009. UTC is the presenting sponsor of the program.

Project Team Members and Design Experts

Denver Project Team Members:
Debra Bustos, Director of Real Estate
Urban Land Conservancy [8]
Ignacio Correa-Ortiz, AIA, AICP, LEED AP, Senior Architect / Urban Designer
Regional Transportation District [9]
Steve Nalley, Senior City Planner
City of Denver Community Planning and Development [10]
Emily Silverman, Associate City Planner
City and County of Denver, Department of Public Works, Policy, Planning, and Sustainability [11]
Design Experts:
Sharon Bradley, RLA, ASLA, President & Founding Principal
Bradley Site Design, Inc. [12]
Jee Mee Kim, AICP, Vice President / Director of Planning & Design
Sam Schwartz Engineering [13]
Tom von Schrader, PE, LEED AP, Founding Principal
SvR Design Company [14]

Los Angeles Project Team Members:
Andrew Albers, Director of Sustainable Development
Boston Global Investors, LLC [15]
Ken Drucker, FAIA, Design Director / Senior Principal
HOK [16]
Charles Reid, RA, Executive Vice President
Boston Global Investors, LLC [15]
Charles Veley, Director of Real Estate Development
United Technologies Corporation [17]
Chad Wisler, PE, LEED AP, Managing Principal
Vanderweil Engineers, LLP [18]
Design Experts:
Kevin Cahill, PE, CPD, LEED AP, Principal
Interface Engineering [19]
Astrid Diehl, Associate
Mia Lehrer + Associates [20]
Mark Williams, CPSWQ, CPESC, QSD, Associate Principal, Water Sciences Manager
AECOM [21]

Tucson Project Team Members:
Tom Fisher, Project Manager
City of Tucson Department of Transportation [6]
Brent J. Kirkman, PE, Project Manager
HDR Engineering, Inc. [22]
Linda C. Samuels, RA, PhD, Project Director
Sustainable City Project, College of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture, U of Arizona [23]
Eric Scharf, RLA, ASLA, Principal
Wheat Scharf Associates [24]
Design Experts:
Projjal Dutta, AIA, LEED AP, Director of Sustainability
NYS Metropolitan Transportation Authority [25]
Betsy Jackson, President
The Urban Agenda, Inc. [26]
Faith Okuma, AICP, LEED AP, RLA, Principal
Surroundings Studio, LLC [27]

Greensboro Project Team Members:
Tom Philion, President & CEO
United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro [28]
Robert Powell, AIA, LEED AP, Assistant Professor
Architectural Engineering Dept. North Carolina A&T State University [29]
Dabney Sanders, Downtown Greenway Project Manager
Action Greensboro [30]
George Scheer, Co-Founder & Director
Elsewhere [31]
Design Experts:
Monica Chadha, LEED AP, Co-Founder/Adjunct Assistant Professor
Converge:Exchange [32]  / Illinois Institute of Technology [33]
Janice Marks, Principal
High Marks Consulting, Inc. [34]
Charlie Stott, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Associate
Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects [35]

About the Center for Design & the City
The Center for Design & the City at the American Architectural Foundation is an international platform for the development and implementation of innovative urban forms that promote economic, social, cultural and environmental vibrancy. Its efforts coalesce at the intersection of design, public policy and technology.

About United Technologies Corp. (UTC)
United Technologies Corp. is a diversified company that provides a broad range of high-technology products and services to the global aerospace and building systems industries. Its commercial businesses are Otis elevators and escalators and UTC Climate, Controls & Security, which includes Carrier heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems; building controls and automation from brands such as Automated Logic and Lenel; as well as fire and security solutions from brands such as Kidde and Chubb. Its aerospace businesses are Sikorsky helicopters and support; Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines; and UTC Aerospace Systems advanced aerospace and defense products. More information is available at http://www.utc.com [17].

Featured image of Greensboro citizens participating in Integral City activities at Elsewhere Museum. Image courtesy of George Scheer.