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4 San Diego Uptown News | September 2–15, 2011 FROM PAGE 1


Preservation and SDG&E, the project brings professional archi- tects together with community and sustainability stakeholders in order to design a coordinated approach to conserving energy, lowering the cost of doing busi- ness and preserving the neigh- borhood’s historic integrity. At- tracting consumers, residents and green businesses owners to North Park is a goal as well. “We want to create a lasting framework for economic prosper- ity, community action and an im- proved urban environment,” said Stephen Russell, architectural intern with Platt/Whitelaw Archi- tects, one of the firms at the fore- front of the project.

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NEWS/FEATURE About 125 people attended

the three-hour exhibit, hosted by North Park’s Art Produce Gallery. Attendees were eager to see how the neighborhood could look af- ter renovation and to learn about green building practices as well as financial incentives to assist in implementing the changes. “So many people…want to [get involved] but they don’t really know how, [or] when and where to go,” said Angela Landsberg, executive director of North Park Main Street (NPMS), a business improvement district affiliated with the National Trust for His- toric Preservation.

Along with soliciting addition- al federal and state grants to fund the project, Landsberg said her as- sociation will work with business and building owners by directing them to resources and coaching

September 16 Home Improvement Section

them through the process of go- ing green. “We’ll be putting together a committee that will keep this ball rolling … and we’ll be looking for community input on that,” Lands- berg said.

Keeping the momentum go- ing is key to such large-scale projects. Although the North Park sustainable project was initi- ated three years ago, it began los- ing steam due to a lack of human capital. It was not until graduates from the NewSchool of Architec- ture & Design in downtown San Diego volunteered to help that the plan began to materialize. “We’ve been working since last summer on a pro bono basis to…provide visuals,” said Söeren Wegener, one of six NewSchool graduates who donate design ser- vices to SNPMS. “First, we docu- mented what is in North Park and gathered data, and then we estab- lished a vision for what could be a sustainable North Park.” The process also includes gath- ering community feedback. As a result SNPMS has been able to de- velop a matrix of the public’s priori- ties for the project. “We received suggestions for sustainable practices...More bike racks, more use of local growers in restaurants, and no Styrofoam usage were some of them,” said Landsberg.

Implementing the plan will take place in several stages. Hav- ing completed the envisioning stage, SNPMS is now examining the specifics of increasing energy efficiencies in the area’s buildings and businesses. Wegener said the SDG&E grant enables “taking a generic building envelope, similar to what you find a lot [in North

Park], and [evaluating] what measures we apply to the build- ing and what the impact on the energy load is, in terms of heating and cooling loads. Depending on the orientation of the building, we’re going to develop all these scenarios [to reduce energy expenditure]. We hope that by showing this, people can apply it to their own [buildings].” In an effort to encourage such transition to sustainable infrastruc- ture, the U.S. Environmental Pro- tection Agency (EPA), in 2009, de- veloped a National Smart Growth Achievement Award. To date the EPA has awarded nine communi- ties for green building, policies and civic development. In 2010, in collaboration with other federal agencies, the EPA began releas- ing $409.5 million in local grants to support creating sustainable living communities nationwide.

In addition to boosting the economy and raising quality of life, sustainable communities “also attract green businesses” and raise property values, Wegen- er said. “A building that’s green is more valuable. Your utilities bills go down, your lease rates go up… [and] doing business in a walk- able community allows more cus- tomers to come in.”

Planners have developed “a

very detailed [chart] that has interventions listed with the specific business type that coor- dinate with the actual resource that we’re working on. So, we might look at water [and] the type of business that it is and how that business would use that intervention. It’s really user friendly,” said Landsberg. She added that in addition to hiring a staff person to help

businesses and building owners find the resources they need to implement such improvements, North Park Main Street plans to erect a website where such information will be posted. SNPMS will release specific anticipated cost savings analyses for particular buildings it has stud- ied in North Park on Fri., Sept. 30. The report will aide in securing additional grant monies, which SNPMS needs in order to take the project further.

“I’m going to be out there look- ing for grants to do what we need to do,” said Landsberg, saying the project’s scope will depend on how much funding is secured. “We’ll take this as big as we’re able to,” she said.

As SNPMS gains more finan- cial support, its credibility as a model for other community plan- ning efforts will also grow. “I really see what we’re doing right now as an umbrella,” Lands- berg said, noting that the project has the potential to provide a framework that will guide other neighborhoods that want to plan communities based on similar objectives.

SNPMS has identified sev-

eral such objectives, including: increasing conservation and the efficient use of resources within the district; increasing community connectivity; pro- viding a setting for a sustain- able green economy; maintain- ing the cultural and historical integrity of the built and social environment and, of course, making sure gum won’t stick to the sidewalks. For more information, contact Angela Landsberg, at North Park Main Street at (619) 294-2501 or e- mail angela@northparkmainstreet.u

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