Monterey Bay Competition
Monterey, CA, 2004
Shared Streets…Shared Roofs is a resource-based neighborhood planning proposal focused on civil infrastructure with a conception of the house as an extension of the street. The goal is greater resource efficiency while enhancing social and aesthetic capital. This honors conservationists’ “factor four principle” of doubling wealth while halving resource use. The proposed neighborhood transect is a mosaic of shared “green” streets, photo-voltaic motor courts, building light courts, patios, and individual dwelling units.
The Shared “Green” Street: Infrastructure as Ecology
Modeled after the Dutch woonerf (meaning residential yard), shared streets combine social uses with the needs of local traffic. The street is designed as a series of landscaped urban rooms for calming traffic rather than as a transportation corridor for segregating and optimizing traffic flows. Shared streets integrate walks, plazas, courts, and the roadway as one continuous surface without the use of curbs, sidewalks, and other rigid means for segregating and optimizing traffic flows. Playing, walking, and gathering are allowed everywhere.
Shared streets also incorporate stormwater retention gardens (with hyper-accumulator plants) for the treatment of polluted stormwater runoff. The street as a biological filter eliminates the need for unsightly, centralized detention ditches and underground sewer lines to transport runoff. Construction and maintenance costs from sewer lines and other catchment infrastructure are eliminated. The street becomes another component in the site’s ecology, providing environmental services like on-site waste treatment, pollution abatement, flood control, enhanced biodiversity, and local aquifer recharge
The Umbrella House
In a new paradigm for attached housing, a shared roof creating shaded public motor courts link dwelling units in a duplex organization. Public motor courts are shaded by translucent photovoltaic arrays to create collective porches that extend the public space of the street. Housing arrangements combine 1) public, 2) affordable, and 3) market-rate units within the same building.
All units have double-height living areas and most have exterior light courts within the footprint of the unit. Primary living spaces in attached units occupy opposite sides of the building to maximize privacy and to eliminate front/back yard typologies. The umbrella house can be deployed in both urban infill redevelopment and greenfield development. This typology can be stacked for higher densities.
Sustainable Technologies: Closed-Loop Energy Systems
Technologies, infrastructures, and energy systems are modeled after closed-loop energy systems. Closed-loop energy systems are cyclical organizations of energy distribution that recycle their own energy flows, approaching self-sufficiency and the elimination of waste. Photovoltaic Cells: Since energy prices in California have made use of photovoltaic technology economically feasible, arrays are integrated functionally and aesthetically as a neighborhood infrastructure.
Direct Gain Space Heating: Light courts and glazing allow direct sunlight to unit interiors, providing well-lit and naturally warmed spaces for the cool climate.
Straw Bale Wall Construction: Aligning wastes from one system as nutrients for another, the motor court walls are constructed of discarded straw bales (slated to be burned, adding to pollution loads) as an acoustical buffer between automobile parking and dwelling units. An excellent sound insulator, straw bale walls will facilitate quiet patios and larger semi-private landscapes that extend the interior spaces of the dwelling units.
Natural Wastewater Treatment Wetlands and Gardens
Wastewater treatment systems are organized as recycling facilities, rather than as disposal systems, to reclaim treated water and valuable nutrient byproducts for domestic and agricultural uses. Known as bioremediation, wetlands are employed as a core treatment component, functioning like “green machines” to break down pollutants, eliminating the need for conventional chemical-based and power-intensive treatment solutions. In creating a closed-loop energy system, clean effluent is recycled as irrigation for community gardens and local farms, and for non-potable domestic uses
Since construction costs between affordable housing and comparable market-rate housing are often equivalent, infrastructure and land-use arrangements hold the greatest opportunities for achieving affordability. Shared Streets… …Shared Roofs is a resource-based neighborhood planning proposal focused on civil infrastructure with a conception of the house as an extension of the street. The goal is greater resource efficiency while enhancing social and aesthetic capital.
This honors conservationists’ “factor four principle” of doubling wealth while halving resource use. The proposed neighborhood transect is a mosaic of shared “green” streets, photovoltaic motor courts, building light courts, patios, and individual dwelling units. Shared Streets… …Shared Roofs will yield significant cost benefits by bundling infrastructure otherwise separated in conventional suburban development.
Roads, parking, stormwater catchment, pedestrian networks, and recreation are integrated to create novel operational overlaps. Second, Shared Street…Shared Roofs generate energy and recycle outputs, challenging the concept of waste through the creation of closed-loop energy systems in the community and the unit. Third, in contrast to the privatization and cul-de-saving of suburban organizations, Shared Streets… …Shared Roofs promotes greater collective use of streets, driveways, courts, patios, parking, landscapes, and recreation—all significant consumers of land when privatized.
Considering post-suburban development, Shared Streets…Shared Roofs begins with four questions.
- How might neighborhood mosaics of high connectivity, elastic densities, and mixed-use functions create places of distinction?
- How can the automobile achieve compatibility with pedestrian-oriented neighborhood development; and how might the automobile be tucked into the site?
- What new theaters of public life and economies of feedback in energy distribution might stem from a smarter, more integrated site and services infrastructure?
- What kinds of housing densities and organizations allow the possibility of street yards, motor courts, light courts, and patios, which increase the livability of the attached dwelling unit?
Boulevard and local streets provide a hierarchy in movement among different scales and speeds of traffic. Streets are defined by building edges, creating clear demarcations between the public space of the street and the private space of mid-block courts and patios. Zero-lot line development facilitates the creation of streets as landscapes with greater opportunity for social interaction and a continuous public realm.
Transect accommodates a range of densities from aggregated to disaggregated neighborhood fabrics within the same development. The nonhierarchical fabric allows great flexibility in the creation of mixed uses, accommodation of different densities, and response to growth and
change. Highly decentralized parking and stormwater garden infrastructure renders the car less intrusive, allowing for a more continuous pedestrian life throughout the development. A decentralized pedestrian network extends beyond the street into greenways and paths between dwelling units.
Suburban picturesque formalized to provide changing roadway vistas, maintaining speeds appropriate to residential areas. Roundabouts and continuous movement are favored traffic lights and stop signs (which steal time) as traffic regulators. Two-way and one-way flow networks can be altered easily in response to development changes. Modules are flexible and can be developed in many different sizes.
Site transects aggregate new neighborhood fabrics with adjacent suburban subdivisions, arterial roads, and agricultural fields. Boulevards, local streets, and greenways facilitate safe modalities of movement among different scales and speeds of traffic. Extensive pedestrian networks and mixed-use arrangements encourage nonmotorized movement. Integration of Cellular and Braided Grains provides diverse streetscapes and open space systems.
Their differing logics of aggregation offer flexibility and an infinite variety in density modulation and neighborhood spatial organization. Recombinant grains establish planning “eco-tones” where different housing typologies and mixed uses are integrated to create anchoring seams within the neighborhood fabric.