The City of Dallas will host a full-day "Design Charrette" Friday, Dec. 5, to examine the necessary framework and community impact of what will become the first fully sustainable, urban square block in the United States. The Charrette, attended by community design and urban planning experts from across the nation, will be held at City Hall from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm.
The outcome of the day will include a series of recommendations, which will in turn structure an international design competition to create the actual block. That competition, which kicks off in January 2009, will invite architects and planners from around the world to translate the needs of the Dallas Community into structural designs for the future city block.
"The goal is to create the first fully sustainable block downtown," said Brent Brown, Dallas architect and founder of the Building Community Workshop (http://www.bcworkshop.org). "And by sustainable, we mean a place that is socially, economically and environmentally healthy. We'll take the first step in that effort on Friday."
Hosted by the City of Dallas, San Francisco-based Urban Re:Vision (http://www.urbanrevision.com) and Dallas' Building Community Workshop, the Charrette will look at the common city block in an uncommon way, examining the impact of this particular city block's development on the City of Dallas and its surrounding area. In rethinking the city block, experts will re-assess the potential value of available resources like water, waste, and air and how to strike the delicate balance between economy and equality.
"Our job on December 5th is to explore how pivotal the city block is in the urban landscape, and how it can be used as a catalyst for a whole new way of living," said Stacey Frost (http://www.urbanrevision.com/biography/stacey-frost), Founder of Urban Re:Vision.
"This process is one that puts real people first and promotes sustainability." Potential requirements, barriers, and changes will be examined in an effort to pave the way for the implementation of the proposed site. This examination will also serve to aid both site-specific, and regional decision-making.
Topics will include: energy systems, transportation, the natural and developed environment, community, the economy and technology.
Additional groups involved include Downtown Dallas, The Real Estate Council, Central Dallas Ministries, The Institute for Urban Policy Planning, Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture, Enterprise Foundation, Fannie Mae Foundation, Vision North Texas and others. Participants from outside the Dallas area include representatives of the Biomimicry Institute, Architecture for Humanity, ARUP, Organic Architect, United States Green Building Council, and others.