2030 Districts

By Christina Birchfield | 11/27/2013

2008 was the tipping point when more people lived in urban than rural areas. The United Nations predicts that by 2030, 6 billion people will live in cities. Cities are creating 2030 Districts—sustainable urban environments.


What do Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and Seattle have in common. They have the first of what will soon be a longer list of cities with 2030 Districts.

2030 Districts are public/private partnerships among property owners, managers, residents and local governments. These districts are being formed to meet the energy, water and vehicle emission targets called for by Architecture 2030 in the 2030 Challenge for Planning.

A decade old in concept, the first 2030 District came to fruition in Seattle. Though Cleveland, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, are the focus of the 2030 Web site, 29 cities, including Ann Arbor, Mich., and Washington, D.C., are in the process of creating 2030 Districts.

The 2030 Districts “are forming to meet the energy, water and vehicle emissions reduction targets for existing buildings and new construction called for by Architecture 2030 in the 2030 Challenge for Planning. Among the Challenge Plans goals are its stimulus plan that would save consumers $142 to $201 billion in energy costs and mortgage payments.”

The Districts may be small or large, have well-defined grid patterns or more amorphous boundaries. In Seattle, for example, the local steam company provided climate control for more than 200 buildings. Thus boundaries included those buildings.

Just launched in November is another related Web site to help the number of 2030 Districts grow. The 2030 Palette is a free online tool -- an “interactive online platform that puts the principles and actions behind low-carbon and resilient built environments at the fingertips of architects, planners and designers worldwide.”

Architecture 2030 developed 2030 Palette as a catalyst for driving broad implementation “of the 2030 Challenge and more -- ensuring that our buildings and communities consume fewer fossil fuels, complement and preserve sensitive ecosystems, access renewable energy resources and successfully adapt to climatic changes.”

Web site features include:
• Local actions for global transformation at every scale of the built environment
• Carefully curated content, powerful visuals and straightforward, accessible language
• Memorable and location-specific actions to inform the planning and design process
• An extensive photographic library of built work exemplifying best practices
• An interactive map for exploring images by geography, latitude, climate, and population density
• Ongoing development of in-depth information for successful application of 2030 Palette strategies
• Essential links to tools, resources, and world experts
• Customizable Palettes comprised of those principles most relevant to your project
• Tools that allow users to develop and share their own content to augment the Palette's core material

The 2030 District Toolkit, available on the original 2030 District Web site also helps plan such districts.

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